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Craig Varnell Wins the partypoker WPT500 Aria; UK’s Milan Harper Ninth

Craig Varnell
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  • UK's Milan Harper freerolls his way to a ninth place finish and $33,000.

What an amazing summer it has been for Colorado’s Craig Varnell. Six cashes at the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP), including a third place in Event #64 for $73,079 and now he’s won the 2015 partypoker WPT500 Aria for a career-best score of $330,000.

Day 3 began with 18 players in contention for the $330,000 first place prize, among them the United Kingdom’s Milan Harper who had qualified for the $2 million guaranteed event for free via partypoker’s Kings Of Vegas promotion.

Harper was already guaranteed $16,000 for his amazing run and by the time Faustino Esqueda, Silvio Panoscha, Cory Wood, Larissa Bushman, Ioannis Pentefountas, Jorge Ribeiro, Brett Murray, Steven Daoud and former WPT World Championship winner Keven Stammen had bust and the official nine-handed table was set, Harper’s guaranteed winnings topped $33,000.

Sadly for Harper, his tournament came to an end on the 27th hand of the final table. Hunter Cichy raised to 500,000 from under the gun and then called when Harper three-bet all-in. Cichy showed {4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs} and was flipping with Harper’s {A-Clubs}{Q-Spades}. The {K-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{4-Spades} flop left Harper drawing extremely thin, with the {8-Diamonds} turn leaving him drawing dead. The {2-Hearts} completed the board and Harper headed for the cashier’s desk to collect $33,000.

It took another 88 hands for the champion to be crowned.

Brent Berger got his stack in with {9-Spades}{9-Diamonds} versus the {A-Spades}{A-Hearts} of Alexander Lakhov to fall in eighth place then Brett Mueller lost a coinflip with {A-Diamonds}{K-Hearts} versus the {9-Hearts}{9-Clubs} of Chad Roudebush, the latter flopping a set.

What an amazing summer it has been for Colorado’s Craig Varnell. Six cashes at the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP), including a third place in Event #64 for $73,079 and now he’s won the 2015 partypoker WPT500 Aria for a career-best score of $330,000.

Harper’s executioner was next to fall, Cichy’s {7-Spades}{7-Clubs} losing to the {J-Hearts}{J-Clubs} of Lucio Antunes in an all-in preflop scenario.

Antunes then sent Roudebush the sidelines when his {A-Spades}{Q-Clubs} beat the {A-Hearts}{8-Diamonds} and when WSOP bracelet winner Nick Binger’s {K-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} couldn’t get there versus Varnell’s {A-Hearts}{Q-Spades} only three players remained.

Those three became two when Lakhov shoved on the button with {A-Hearts}{5-Hearts} and Varnell called from the big blind with {K-Spades}{9-Clubs}. Varnell’s call was rewarded with a {K-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}{J-Clubs}{A-Diamonds}{2-Spades} board and heads-up was set.

On the 10th hand of one-on-one play, Antunes committed his entire stack with {A-Diamonds}{5-Spades} and Varnell again called with a king, namely the {K-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}. As in the previous elimination hand, Varnell flopped trips with the final board reading {k-Spades}{k-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{j-Clubs} to bust Antunes and leave Varnell to be crowned the 2015 partypoker WPT500 Aria champion.

2015 partypoker WPT500 Aria Final Table Results

PlacePlayerPrize
1Craig Varnell$330,000
2Lucio Antunes$223,000
3Alexander Lakhov$150,700
4Nick Binger$100,000
5Chad Roudebush$75,000
6Hunter Cichy$60,000
7Brett Mueller$50,000
8Brent Berger$41,000
9Milan Harper$33,000

The next WPT500 event takes place a little closer to home than Las Vegas as it heads to Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham during November. The festival is yet to be confirmed, but after 2,133 players piled into DTD last November for the £1 million guaranteed event we expect it is just a case of finalising the details. UK & Ireland PokerNews will bring you all of the information about that event once we have it.

Lead image courtesy of the WPT LIve Updates team

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