Level 26: 15,000-30,000, 3,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Day 3 of the WPT Borgata Poker Open began with 170 players, though only 100 of them would finish in the money. By the end of the day, they would reach the final three tables, with the televised WPT final table (and the $922,441 first prize) clearly in their sights.
Here's a look back at some of the highlights from Day 3:
Will Failla, winner of the WPT Legends of Poker in Los Angeles last month, finished Day 3 as the chipleader with 27 players remaining. Like David Williams the day before, Failla packed his chip bag to the limit.
David Williams began the day as the chipleader, and his stack towered over the others for most of the day.
Eric Haber, more famously known as "Sheets," presumably backed himself into this tournament. While Haber didn't make it to Day 3, he did survive the money bubble, finishing in 67th place to earn $10,482.
Maurice Hawkins (center) was the center of attention for much of the day, though he had to share the spotlight when Royal Flush Girls Melyssa Grace (left) and Melissa Fisher stopped by to check the action. Unfortunately for Hawkins, he busted in 44th place, earning $14,675.
Fred Goldberg (right) fared considerably better, finishing the day fifth in chips with 2,176,000.
With 101 players remaining, hand-for-hand play began on the money bubble. As you'd expect, any all-in action would attract a crowd. In this situation, an otherwise tight player moved all in on the turn. His opponent tanked for a while before folding, and Matt Glantz (seated, blue shirt) said he would've folded bottom set there, knowing it was no good.
The player showed 9-9 for a set of nines, proving Glantz correct. The money bubble continued.
When the money bubble finally burst, the short stack in the field, Stephen Ekin, survived long enough to finish 96th and earn $8,386. After collecting his money, Ekin bought Borgata gift cards for the other players at his table, and also gave one to David Williams. Why? Williams eliminated the bubble boy, allowing Ekin to squeak into the money. (The Borgata gift card can be seen leaning up against Williams's chip stack.)
On his phone, Williams calls up a photo of his chip stack from the end of Day 2 (which you can find in yesterday's photo recap) to show the other players at his table what a chip bag looks like when it's filled to maximum capacity.
Will Failla and Doug Kim can be seen in the top left of the photo, with much smaller chip stacks.
There was an unusual hand right before a break involving Vichien Siprajim (seated, far left) and Dan Colman (standing, striped shirt). Colman verbalized a bet of one million on the river, and then tossed in a token 1,000 chip to show that he had made a bet. Siprajim, confused, thought the bet was 1,000, and tossed a 1,000 chip of his own into the pot.
Colman showed top pair to win the pot, and Siprajim mucked. Then there was an argument over whether Siprajim was all in, or only owed the 1,000. It took more than 10 minutes to resolve, but since everyone else clearly heard Colman's verbal bet of one million, the call was deemed binding for the entire amount.
Siprajim was eliminated in 58th place, earning $11,740. To read the full details about the hand, click here.
Former November Niner John Racener was in the hunt for his second televised WPT final table, but fell short, finishing in 35th place to earn $16,352.
By the time the dinner break rolled past, David Williams (center) had run into a few cooler hands to lose the bulk of his chips. Williams wasn't in any immediate chip danger, but his stack was no dwarfed by those of Joe Dittmar (left) and Darren Elias (right).
There's an extra level of excitement in the room when WPT Commentator Mike Sexton (standing, right) shows up to check out the action.
Late in the day, David Williams moved all in after the flop with top pair. Unfortunately, Vanessa Selbst had an overpaid (pocket queens), and her hand held up to eliminate Williams from the tournament. Williams seemed to be in shock for a little while, and was still scratching his head when he went to the payout desk to collect his $16,352 for 31st place.
Vanessa Selbst (left) smiles at Matt Glantz (foreground, right) as she picks up a pot with 28 players left late on Day 3.
A few moments before play ended, Will Failla (foreground, right) was moved to a new table, finding himself directly across from Vanessa Selbst (left). Failla would bag the most chips at the end of the day with 3,255,000, and Selbst finished with a roughly average stack of 1.55 million.
Here are the official chip counts for all 27 players as they begin Day 3:
1. Will Failla - 3,255,000 (108 BBs)
2. Doug Kim - 2,686,000 (89 BBs)
3. Ricky Hale - 2,554,000 (85 BBs)
4. Darren Elias - 2,547,000 (84 BBs)
5. Fred Goldberg - 2,176,000 (72 BBs)
6. Joe Dittmar - 2,067,000 (68 BBs)
7. Ryan Eriquezzo - 2,007,000 (66 BBs)
8. Matt Glantz - 1,962,000 (65 BBs)
9. Dan Colman - 1,800,000 (60 BBs)
10. Kevin Calenzo - 1,723,000 (57 BBs)
11. Miami John Cernuto - 1,642,000 (54 BBs)
12. Vanessa Selbst - 1,551,000 (51 BBs)
13. Bobby Oboodi - 1,481,000 (49 BBs)
14. Jack Schanbacher - 1,450,000 (48 BBs)
15. Anthony Rivera - 1,385,000 (46 BBs)
16. Alexander Queen - 1,301,000 (43 BBs)
17. John Hinds - 1,174,000 (39 BBs)
18. Daniel Buzgon - 1,133,000 (37 BBs)
19. Richard Marshall, Jr. - 933,000 (31 BBs)
20. Brandon Schaefer - 830,000 (27 BBs)
21. Howard Mann - 784,000 (26 BBs)
22. James Johnston - 762,000 (25 BBs)
23. Chris Martin - 641,000 (21 BBs)
24. Orson Young - 626,000 (20 BBs)
25. Wade Woelfel - 581,000 (19 BBs)
26. Dipen Patel - 485,000 (16 BBs)
27. Jin Hwang - 346,000 (11 BBs)
Day 4 begins today at 11:00 am ET. Stay tuned to WPT.com for live coverage throughout the day.
Level 23: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
Photo: Vichien Siprajim (seated, left) explains his side of the story to Dan Colman (standing, striped shirt) and TD Tab Duchateau (standing, right).
With the board showing 9632K on the river and about 100,000 already in the pot, Vichien Siprajim checks, and Dan Colman bets.
The way in which Colman bets kicks off a controversy.
Colman says, "One million," and then tosses in a single 1,000 chip. A few other players at the table confirm that this is what happened.
Siprajim, who doesn't speak English as his first language, appears confused and asks what the bet is. The dealer says it will put Siprajim all in. (Siprajim has about 100,000 behind.)
Siprajim asks Colman, "One thousand?" It seems that Colman didn't really confirm or deny anything about the bet.
Siprajim tosses in a single 1,000 chip, and Colman turns over his hand -- K8 (pair of kings). Siprajim mucks.
At this point, the other players at the table assume that Siprajim called all in, but when the dealer tries to get Siprajim's stack, Siprajim insists that the final bet was for only 1,000.
A floorperson was called over, quickly followed by Borgata Tournament Director Tab Duchateau, who listened to everyone's version of the story. Siprajim was strongly defending himself the entire time, and a few other players seemed to think he was legitimately confused.
Duchateau spent a good ten minutes weighing all of the evidence. (The level ended, and the rest of the field went on dinner break in this time.)
Duchateau eventually decides that the verbal bet of 1,000,000 was clearly understood by the dealer and most of the other players at the table. By tossing in the 1,000 chip, Siprajim was committing himself to the call. Duchateau carefully explains all of this to Siprajim and then says, "I'm sorry, but you've been eliminated from the tournament."
Siprajim was clearly upset, but seemed to resign himself to accept the ruling, and left the table to collect his prize money for 58th place.
Dan Colman - 2,800,000
Vichien Siprajim - Out in 58th Place ($11,740)