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Mike Sexton Headlines WPT Venice Grand Prix Final Table

Mike Sexton

On Friday, the final 18 players of a 173-player field returned to the Casino di Venezia, the oldest casino in the world, to play down to the televised final table of six in the World Poker Tour Season XI Venice Grand Prix. The man best positioned to capture the $180,097 first-place prize is Marcello Montagner, who leads the final table with 1.805 million. Others still in contention include Mike Sexton and former chip leader Erion Islamay.

WPT Venice Grand Final Table

1Xia Lin309,000
2Rocco Palumbo406,000
3Mike Sexton1,079,000
4Erion Islamay406,000
5Marcello Montagner1,805,000
6Roberto Begni1,203,000

Sexton put himself in excellent contention in Level 22 with the blinds at 8,000/16,000/2,000 when Islamay opened from early position, and Robert Begni called from the hijack. Sexton did the same from the big blind, and the three players took a flop of {8-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}. Sexton checked, Islamay bet 41,000, and Begni folded. Sexton then woke up with a check-raise to 115,000, and Islamay responded by moving all in. Sexton called off his sizable stack with the {6-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}, and his two pair was out in front of Islamay’s {7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}. The {2-Diamonds} turn and {7-Diamonds} river completed the board. Despite Islamay rivering a better two pair, Sexton improved to a flush that doubled him to 1.3 million. Islamay, who began the day as chip leader, dropped to 137,000.

At the beginning of the day, action recommenced in Level 19 with the blinds at 4,000/8,000/1,000, and it didn’t take long for the first elimination of the day to occur. According to the WPT Live Blog, it happened when a short-stacked Angel Recchia opened from the button only to have Islamay move all in from the big blind. Recchia called off with the {A-Hearts}{Q-Clubs} and was well out in front of Islamay’s {A-Diamonds}{7-Spades}. Unfortunately for Recchia, the board ran out {8-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{5-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} to give Islamay a straight. With that, Recchia became the day’s first elimination in 18th place for $7,975.

From there, Ivan Gabrieli (17th - $7,975), Antonio Zito (16th - $7,975), Lauri Pesonen (15th - $9,261), Gianluca Speranza (14th - $9,261) and Kara Scott (13th - $9,261) all it the rail. Scott’s demise came in Level 20 (5,000/10,000/1,000) when she got her last 100,000 or so in preflop with the {K-Hearts}{8-Diamonds} and was up against the {A-Hearts}{K-Diamonds} of Begni. Scott was in bad shape and failed to get lucky as the board ran out {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs}{9-Spades}{q-Spades}{10-Spades}.

Mike Sexton Headlines WPT Venice Grand Prix Final Table 101
Matt Salsberg

The eliminations continued to mount as Ludovic Lacay (12th - $11,255), Matteo Fortunato (11th - $11,255) and Martin Staszko (10th - $11,255) all hit the rail. The 2011 World Series of Poker runner-up fell in Level 21 (6,000/12,000/2,000) after Sexton opened for 25,000 and he moved all in for 128,000 from the big blind. Sexton called with the {K-Clubs}{Q-Hearts} and needed to improve against the {A-Hearts}{J-Spades} of Staszko. That’s exactly what he did when the flop came down {q-Clubs}{6-Spades}{4-Spades}. The {K-Hearts} turn and {K-Spades} river delivered the final blows to Staszko, and he was bounced from the tournament.

From there, Giorgia Tabet (9th - $15,436) and Giuseppe Pastura (8th - $20,581) were both eliminated in Level 22, which brought about the televised final table bubble. It was there that WPT Grand Prix de Paris champion Matt Salsberg fell. It happened when Montagner called from the cutoff, and Salsberg limped from the small blind. Xia Lin checked from the big blind, and the {q-Spades}{3-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} flop saw Salsberg lead out for 30,000. Lin folded, Montagner called, and the {9-Clubs} turned. Salsberg fired out 100,000 and then called off when Montagner moved all in.

Salsberg: {3-Clubs}{3-Spades}
Montagner: {J-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}

Salsberg got it in good with a set, but Montagner was drawing to a flush and an open-ended straight draw. The dealer burned one last time and put out the {K-Hearts} on the river. Montagner spiked his straight to finish the day with the chip lead and send Salsberg home in seventh place for $25,831.

The fifth and final day of WPT Venice will play out on Saturday. Be sure to check back in at PokerNews for a recap of the day upon the completion of play.

Data and photo courtesy of

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