A poker pro from Austin, Texas who now lives in Las Vegas, Giannetti earned $3,012,700 and his elimination set the stage for the three-handed conclusion Tuesday evening.
But despite the seven-figure windfall, Giannetti was far and away the most upset of the busted November Niners and his exit interview made it very clear how much the title of world champion meant to him.
“When you get close to something you’ve dreamed about and you don’t get it, it sucks,” Giannetti told the assembled media.
“I didn’t come here to finish fourth,” he said.
Giannetti has been playing poker for seven years and told PokerListings.com a few weeks ago in Cannes that winning the Main Event meant everything to him.
After busting out short of that goal Giannetti was visibly shaken, going through the motions of receiving congratulations and media questions but doing everything he could to get away from the final-table area.
“I’m going to go get really drunk but it’s more like depression,” he said with his eyes on the floor.
Despite winning more than $3 million Giannetti left this final table disappointed.
But, like any true poker player, he couldn’t pass up the chance to talk over a hand.
“I had an interesting seat with Heinz having all the chips directly to my left and then Lamb, who’s a tough player and pretty aggressive,” he said.
“I had to play pretty conservatively preflop so it kind of surprised me that Heinz decided to re-raise me when I hadn’t been raising that many hands.
“He ended up winning a big pot so good job but if he’d seen me play up to that point he should have known he’s getting called down most of the time."
Still, despite the disappointment, Giannetti has had the most productive year of his poker career, winning WPT Malta for €200,000 in addition to the over $3 million he pocketed for his WSOP Main Event finish.
So while time may give Giannetti some perspective on what happened in Las Vegas Sunday, right now he’s looking to put some distance between himself and the poker table.
“The last thing I want to do at least for a few days is talk or think about poker,” he said.
Unfortunately that break will come to an end this weekend when Giannetti plays the Premier League event in London.
Matt Giannetti’s Final Table Story
Giannetti entered the final table third in chips, edging out fellow American Phil Collins by less than a million.
His first taste of action came just five hands into the afternoon when he opened a pot and got called by Collins. After checking the flop, Giannetti picked up the pot with a bet on the turn.
Giannetti’s stack hovered around the 26 million mark thanks to getting a number of opening raises through to pick up the blinds and antes.
Matt Giannetti performed on poker's biggest stage in Las Vegas Sunday.
Nothing significant happened for Giannetti in the first 50 hands.
He picked up one small pot against Bob Bounahra with a standard continuation bet, he folded to a three-bet shove from Eoghan O’Dea and successfully three-bet Martin Staszko.
On Hand 54, Giannetti played his first big pot. He was in the big blind and called an opening raise from Bob Bounahra under the gun.
They checked through a J♠ 6♦ 3♥ flop and Giannetti bet the 5♣ turn. He got called there and when he bet the 5♠ river to jump up to over 35 million.
On Hand 62, Giannetti took down another big pot when he made a full house against Pius Heinz.
He got a few bets in and increased his stack to 47 million, just a few steps behind Heinz who was chip leader at the time.
Giannetti’s upward trajectory continued with a few more medium pots bringing his count up to 54 million by Hand 81.
Hand 100 saw the elimination of Phil Collins in fifth place, at which time Giannetti was right around the 50 million mark and second in chips to Pius Heinz.
Over the next 50 hands of four-handed play Giannetti worked his way up to 56 million but hit his first real obstacle in the form of a big pot lost to Pius Heinz.
Heinz three-bet with Q♣ 8♣ from the small blind and continuation bet 6.9 million on the rainbow K-K-7 flop.
They checked through a queen on the turn and a nine on the river and Heinz’s queen was enough to take the 30 million pot.
Giannetti then lost two consecutive pots to Pius Heinz on Hands 170 and 171, knocking his count down to 33 million.
That’s when things went seriously downhill.
Giannetti opened from the button and Ben Lamb shoved for 26 million with A♥ 7♥ and got a call from Giannetti with pocket jacks.
Two hearts on the flop and a third on the turn gave Lamb the pot and left Giannetti with under 7 million.
That went into the middle a few hands later with Q-T called by Martin Staszko’s Q-2. Giannetti’s hand held up and he doubled to 14.4 million.
When the button got back to Giannetti he open-shoved 12 million with A♦ 3♠ and got snapped off by Ben Lamb with pocket kings.
The flop came K-K-Q, giving Lamb quads and sending Giannetti home in fourth place for $3,012,700.