While many may be lamenting that, for the first time in 16 years, there is nothing going on in the Bahamas, the tournament poker world is going on. It may have slipped under the radar, but the World Poker Tour has gotten back into its Season XVIII swing with a stop at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. The WPT Gardens Poker Championship, to this point, has a cozy crowd while Randall Emmett and Cole Sudeck have emerged as the early chip leaders.
Day 1A a Smallish Affair
Perhaps still suffering from the post-NewYear’s hangover, the field was a quaint one for Day 1A of the WPT Gardens PokerChampionship on Thursday. Only 72 entries were received on the day, with 42 ofthose players moving on to Day 2 action on Saturday. Emmett was the one who didthe best among the smallish field, emerging as the chip leader after the actionconcluded for the evening.
Perhaps the format of the tournament keptthe numbers down for the first day. The $10,000 buy in tournament offered theability for players to re-enter once if they were eliminated. While this mightsound nice, with two Day Ones – and late registration stretching into Day Two,in which players eliminated on the previous days’ action could STILL re-enter –it would be possible for a player to shoot five bullets – $50,000 – and nothave anything to show for their actions.
The players that did come out on Thursday didn’t seem to have many answers for Emmett, at least for one bullet. Emmett, the Hollywood producer responsible for one of the top films of 2019, The Irishman, had to take advantage of the re-entry option after his first try failed. That second chance seemed to work for Emmett as, within the final three hours of action and sitting at a table that featured Chance Kornuth, he was able to work his stack up to 240,900.
There will be plenty of competition forEmmett, including the record holder for most titles in the history of the WPTand one of the biggest “High Rollers” in the tournament poker world:
1. Randall Emmett, 240,900
2. David McCaw, 177,500
3. Darren Elias, 151,700
4. Ali Imsirovic, 151,500
5. Anthony Zinno, 138,300
Day 1B Numbers Improve
The players dribbled through the doors ofthe Gardens Casino on Friday in a little larger numbers, finally totaling up to124 entries. Eight levels of action saw Sudeck emerge as the leader for theday, while only 68 players will move on for further action in the event.
Kornuth was back for a second shot on Day1B and he had arguably one of the most exciting hands of the day. Late in theevening, Ping Liu made a standard raise from under the gun and the cutoffthree-bet the action. Kornuth was on the button and pushed out a four-bet (whatdoes that mean, kiddies?) and Liu didn’t hesitate in making the call. After somedeliberation, the three-bettor decided to ease out of the way and Kornuth andLiu went to battle:
Kornuth: A? A?
Liu: Q? Q?
Not only did Kornuth have Liu in the “pairversus pair” race, he also had him covered in the suits as well. That looked tobe unimportant, however, as the flop came Q? 10? 8? to give Liu the lead with aset of ladies. It got more interesting when the 3? came on the turn, however,as it opened Kornuth’s outs up from two (the two remaining Aces) to ten (theAces and the eight clubs remaining in the deck). The unbelievable backdoorflush came home on the 4? river, giving Kornuth a tournament-saving double upand knocking Liu down to fumes.
It was Sudeck’s day, however, as he fendedoff the charge of two former WPT champions to take the lead for the Day 1Bfield:
1. Cole Sudeck, 199,500
2. Jordan Cristos, 198,400
3. David Lambard, 197,600
4. Sebastian de Jonge, 194,300
5. Joe Kuether, 173,600
This left the two-Day Ones overallleaderboard (unofficially) looking like this:
1. Randall Emmett, 240,900
2. Cole Sudeck, 199,500
3. Jordan Cristos, 198,400
4. David Lambard, 197,600
5. Sebastian de Jonge, 194,300
6. David McCaw, 177,500
7. Joe Kuether, 173,600
8. Jonathan Depa, 164,300
9. Upeshka De Silva, 157,900
10. Darren Elias, 151,700
There is still no information as to the prize pool yet, due to the fact that late registration will be going on until the start of Level 11 on Saturday afternoon at about 4PM (Pacific Time). Currently the field stands at 110 players from the 198-player field and it is expected that there will be many latecomers on Saturday to push the field into the mid-200s. Action continues at the Gardens Casino at noon as the WPT looks to crown its first champion for 2020.
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