Newcomer Zachary Smiley Wins 2016 WPT Maryland Live!

Despite four big name players presence at the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event final table, it was two amateur players who ended up playing for the title and the $356,536 first place prize money as medical school drop-out Zachary Smiley defeated IT salesman Ryan Belz heads-up for the win.

When play started at the final table Belz held a small chip lead over Darren Elias, and given Elias impressive record ($4m in live tourney winnings including five previous WPT final tables including back to back wins in November 2014), he was looking like the player to beat. Also present at the final table were former online pro Mario "pwnosaurus" Silvestri, WSOP bracelet winner and three time WPT runner-up (including twice in the last 2.5 months) Benjamin Zamani, and Cate Hall, at her fourth WPT final table in the last twelve months.

The big names were not destined to have their names engraved on the winner's trophy, however, and it was Hall who was first to fall after coming into the final six as the short-stack and failing to ladder any further.

A pivotal hand occurred shortly afterwards as Smiley, who had started the day as the 2nd shortest stack, tripled up after going into a pot with just 28% equity. His Ad 10d managed to flop an ace against Belz QQ and Zamani's pocket 8's. Had Belz Queens held up, he would have assumed a huge lead in the tournament with just 3 players remaining, as it was Belz still held the lead with Smiley shooting up into 2nd. Zamani crashed out in 5th for $85,429.

Elias run ended in 4th place after jamming his K6 into Silvestri's AK. He left the table with a $113,905 payday. Despite taking the scalp of Elias, it was Silvestri who bombed out in third after running his AJ into Smiley's AQ, taking away $153,983 for his troubles.

This set up a decent lead 10.6m to 6.m for Smiley going into heads-up play with Belz, a lead which Smiley managed to extend over the next 40 hands of play until the decisive hand was dealt.

After some pre-flop raises, Smiley four-bet all in holding a pair of fives and was called by Belz Ad Qc and they were off to the races. The flop was a safe 10c 9c 6d for Smiley, although the Jd on the turn gave Belz more outs as he added an open ended straight draw to his two overcards. The sweat ended when a harmless 4s hit the river sending Belz home in second place for $239,412. Given that his biggest win prior to this was $19,000 it's fair to say this was a good score for Ryan Belz.

As for Zach Smiley, this was in fact his first cash of any sort in a major live tournament - and something of an impressive one! For his efforts, Smiley becomes the newest member of the WPT Champions Club as well as winning the title and taking home the $356,536 prize money.

Final Table Results - WPT Maryland Live! Final Table Results

1 Zachary Smiley $356,536  
2 Ryan Belz $239,412  
3 Mario Silvestri $153,983  
4 Darren Elias $113,905  
5 Benjamin Zamani    $85,429  
6 Cate Hall $68,554  



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