After making back-to-back final tables, Zhen Cai improved on his fifth-place finish in Event #7 by going wire-to-wire in Event #8: $10,100 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, eventually defeating Ryan Rapaski heads-up to capture the $176,000 first-place prize and the title.
Cai came into the day with 31% of the chips in play and quickly put those chips to work as he eliminated Adam Hendrix in fifth place for $44,000 about 20 minutes into the day when his ace-queen high scooped Hendrix's ace-seven when no low materialized.
Minutes later, Cai scored his second elimination of the day when he turned trip aces against Nick Schulman. Schulman had outs to a lo to stay alive but caught inferior trips on the river as he headed out the door in fourth place for $55,000.
Cai seemed to be running away with the trophy as he started three-handed play with 65% of the chips in play, but when the deck gives, the deck also can take away.
Jesse Lonis put the first dent in Cai's chip stack when he flopped a full house to scoop the pot for his first double, but even with the double, Cai still held a four-to-one chip lead.
Cai's chip lead would then briefly vanish a few hands later when Lonis scored his second double of the day when he turned a pair of aces and had his nine-kicker play to send the remaining three players to the first break of the day, all sitting at just over two million in chips.
Cai would pick up a few small pots as the players returned from break to extend his chip before Lonis took a stand against the aggressive chip leader.
Lonis opened the button to 300,000, Cai potted the small blind to 900,000, and Lonis moved all-in for 1,675,000 total. Cai held ace-jack-jack-four with nut diamonds against the ace-queen-six-five with nut clubs of Lonis.
The flop fell three-three-duece with two diamonds, and when the turn fell a five, Cai made a wheel to scoop Lonis and send him out the door in third place for $77,000 while taking a five-to-one chip lead into heads-up play against Rapaski.
Cai quickly lengthened his lead and appeared to have the tournament locked up, going as far as picking up the trophy and shaking Rapaski's hand, only for the dealer to inform the players that what looked like a scoop on the river for Cai was actually a chop as play continued.
Despite the false start, Cai would end the tournament moments later when he turned trips threes to best Rapaski's flopped pair of nines. A five on the river gave Cai a full house, and Rapaski had to settle for second place and its $115,500 prize, which doubled his career earnings.
|1st||Zhen Cai||United States||$176,000||176|
|2nd||Ryan Rapaski||United States||$115,500||116|
|3rd||Jesse Lonis||United States||$77,000||77|
|4th||Nick Schulman||United States||$55,000||55|
|5th||Adam Hendrix||United States||$44,000||44|
The penultimate event in the PGT PLO Series II drew 55 entrants to create a prize pool of $550,000 with the top eight players finishing in the money.
Richard Gryko, Jim Collopy, Matthew Wantman, and Allan Le all fell in their quest to add points to their total in the hunt for the Player of the series before Alex Foxen's ace-king-jack-duece double suited fell to Schulman's pocket aces to burst the money bubble.
Ky "suitedsuperman" Nguyen would pick up his first cash of the series when he fell eighth place for $22,000, but it was seventh-place finisher Joao Simao who picked up $27,500 and 28 PGT points to further distance himself atop the Player of the Series standings.
Simao now sits with 341 points, 54 points ahead of second-place Collopy and 57 points ahead of Cai, who moves into third place with the win.
Sixth-place finisher Bryce Yockey moves into fourth, one point behind Cai, while fifth-place finisher Hendrix moves into sixth with 270 points, five points behind fifth-place Benjamin Juhasz, with one event to go.
The PGT PLO Series concludes on October 30th with the final table of Event #9: $25,200 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, and with just 71 points separating first and sixth place, the race for the $25,000 in added prize money is down to the wire.
PGT PLO Series II Leaderboard
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