Level 25: 15,000-30,000, 5,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
During the dinner break, Tony Dunst (standing) and Daniel Buzton (seated) spent some time out in the parking lot enjoying the nice weather. This is a nice photo to begin the recap, though we'll revisit it later to see it in the context of the Day 4 action.
Will Failla (right) started Day 4 as the chipleader with 1.36 million, and in the first level increased it to 1.7 million. And he wasn't afraid to use his chips, as seen in this pic where he four-bet Matt Marafioti (left) before the flop.
Marafioti would eventually fold, and Failla had such a large lead at this point that he could've doubled up the fourth-biggest stack in the field and still had the chip lead.
David Tuthill (right) reraised preflop against Darren Elias (foreground, left), and then bet the flop and the turn on a board of 93359. Elias check-called the flop and turn, and then moved all in on the river, covering Tuthill.
Tuthill tanked for more than five minutes before he called, and Elias showed 109 to win the pot with the top full house, nines full of threes. Tuthill mucked his cards as he was eliminated in 14th place, and Elias moved into a tie for the chip lead with Will Failla.
With the board showing A432 on the turn, Robert LeBeau had check-raised the flop against James Calderaro (pictured), and then moved all in on the turn. Calderaro insta-called with 55 for a five-high straight, and LeBeau was drawing dead to a straight on the board with AQ (pair of aces). The river card was the 4, and Calderaro won the pot to eliminate LeBeau in 12th place.
Shawn Cunix (left) check-raised all in after a flop of 1066 against Daniel Buzgon (right). Buzgon tanked for several minutes before he folded, giving Cunix the pot.
This is a different perspective on the same hand between Daniel Buzgon (foreground, left) and Shawn Cunix (foreground, right). There were three WPT cameras recording the action as Cunix put his tournament life at risk.
Will Failla (left) says, "I gotta show one bluff every tournament." This is that bluff.
Byron Kaverman min-raised to 32,000, Failla reraised from the button to 70,000, and Tony Dunst (right) cold four-bet from the small blind to 155,000. Kaverman folded, and Failla called. The flop came K44, Dunst bet 130,000, Failla raised to 270,000, and Dunst folded, asking if Failla was bluffing in that spot..
As Failla took the pot, he turned over 109 to show his ten-high bluff.
Shortly after Tony Dunst (left) was bluffed by Will Failla, Dunst check-raised all in after a flop of 1098 against Shawn Cunix (standing, far right). Cunix insta-called with J10 for top pair with an open-ended straight draw, while Dunst turned over K7 for the lower open-ended straight draw.
The turn was great for Dunst -- the 6 gave him a ten-high straight with a club flush draw. But the Q on the river gave Cunix a higher queen-high straight -- and the pot.
This double-up propelled Cunix above average in chips, and his momentum didn't stop. Cunix kept accumulating chips after the dinner break to eventually take the lead.
WPT Anchor Marianela Pereyra (left) -- filling in for Kimberly Lansing who is on maternity leave -- stops by the tournament area and tells Will Failla (right) that if he makes the WPT Final Table, he should wear a nice button-down shirt. (Failla is not known as the sharpest dresser on the World Poker Tour.)
Marianela offers to go shopping and select a nice shirt for him to wear, and James Calderaro tells her that if she picks the shirt, he'll pay for it. (Marianela insta-called that offer.)
Failla had one demand -- he refused to wear long pants and would only wear shorts. Marianela agreed, saying that while he was sitting at the poker table, nobody would see his legs anyway.
A few minutes before the dinner break, Tony Dunst (standing, left) moved all in preflop with 22, and Daniel Buzgon (right, in black) moved all in over the top with 1010. Dunst figured his tournament was over, but the board came 7543A, giving Dunst a runner-runner five-high straight to win the pot and double up -- crippling Buzgon down to 12 big blinds in the process.
Remember this photo from earlier? Well, it takes on additional meaning now that you know Tony Dunst (center) levied a bad beat against Daniel Buzgon (left) leading into the dinner break.
But bad beats are part of poker, and there were no hard feelings between these two as they discussed the tournament and enjoyed the nice weather outside. (That's Tony's suit jacket hanging from the nearby tree.)
Peter Campo was eliminated in 11th place about 45 minutes after the dinner break, and the final 10 players combined to a single table. In seat order, clockwise from the dealer: (1) Matt Marafioti, (2) Amelio Amato, (3) James Calderaro, (4) Daniel Buzgon, (5) Will Failla, (6) Tony Dunst, (7) Shawn Cunix, (8) Blake Purvis, (9) Darren Elias, and (10) Byron Kaverman.
Blake Purvis (left) lost a big pot in the 16th hand at the final table -- his two pair was lower than James Calderaro's two pair. That hand left Purvis crippled down to less than two big blinds, and he got it all in with 65 in Hand #17 against the AA of Darren Elias (right). The best hand held up, and Purvis was eliminated in 10th place.
With nine players remaining, Matt Marafioti (pictured) moved all in after Shawn Cunix checked on a flop of A92. But Cunix insta-called with 22 for a set of deuces, and Marafioti was drawing thin with AQ (pair of aces). The turn was the 9, the river was the 7, and Marafioti was eliminated in ninth place.
Marafioti was not pleased with the way he busted, and he quietly put his head down while waiting for paperwork at the payout table.
In Hand #46, with eight players left, Will Failla moved all in with A9, and Byron Kaverman called from the big blind with KJ. The flop belonged to Kaverman as it came K107, though the 8 on the turn gave Failla an open-ended straight draw to go with his ace.
The river card was the A, and Failla was stunned by his good fortune to double up, softly saying, "How did I hit that f---ing card?"
Once he clinched an eighth-place or higher finish, Will Failla (right) officially passed Joe Serock (left) in the WPT Player of the Year standings. Serock stopped by during one of the breaks to check out the tournament and chat with Failla.
But Failla hasn't locked up anything yet. He isn't even guaranteed the lead after this tournament -- if Failla fails to reach the top four here, Daniel Buzgon could take the POY points lead with a victory.
In Hand #81, Will Failla (seated, center) four-bet all in preflop with AQ against the 99 of Tony Dunst (standing, right). The dealer quickly put out a flop of K43, and was about to put out the turn when Failla stopped him and asked him to slow down. Failla said, "I'm feeling a queen."
You can probably sense where this is going ...
The turn card was -- the Q.
Will Failla (seated, center) paired his queen and pumped his fist as he took the lead over the pocket nines of Tony Dunst (standing, right). The A on the river gave Failla the pot with two pair to double up in chips.
In Hand #88, Byron Kaverman (pictured) moved all in under the gun with AK, and he was racing against the JJ of James Calderaro. The board came Q10644, and Calderaro won the pot with his pocket jacks. Kaverman was the unfortunate TV Bubble Boy, finishing seventh. Kaverman gave an exit interview to the WPT cameras while the six WPT Final Tablists received their instructions in the background.
The six final tablists -- James Calderaro, Daniel Buzgon, Will Failla, Tony Dunst, Shawn Cunix, and Darren Elias -- fill out their WPT bio sheets, which are used by Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten to provide additional color commentary.
It's already a big story that Will Failla (left) has retaken the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race, but he is also trying to become the first player since Season III to win two WPT titles in the same season. (Failla won the WPT Legends of Poker back at the beginning of the season in August.)
Tony Dunst (right) will be appearing at his first WPT Final Table -- as a player. Dunst is normally the lead commentator for the WPT Live Stream, but he obviously can't be in the booth if he's at the table. This time, the WPT's Raw Deal Analyst will be analyzed by others that can see his hole cards -- Darryll Fish and James Dempsey will be filling in for Dunst in the live commentator's booth.
Here are the official chip counts and seating positions for the WPT Final Table:
Seat 1. James Calderaro - 2,110,000 (70 BBs)
Seat 2. Daniel Buzgon - 570,000 (19 BBs)
Seat 3. Will Failla - 1,535,000 (51 BBs)
Seat 4. Tony Dunst - 1,315,000 (43 BBs)
Seat 5. Shawn Cunix - 2,770,000 (92 BBs)
Seat 6. Darren Elias - 1,280,000 (42 BBs)
The WPT Final Table begins tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:00 pm ET, and the WPT Live Stream will be broadcast on a 30-minute delay with hole cards and commentary by Darryll Fish and James Dempsey.
As always, we will also be providing full hand-for-hand updates here in the WPT Live Updates, with every check, bet, call, raise, and fold, along with chip counts updated after every hand.
Level 21: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
Photo: Darren Elias (right) thinks for a few moments before moving all in on the river against David Tuthill (foreground, left).
Darren Elias raises under the gun to 21,000, David Tuthill reraises from the button to 66,000, and Elias calls.
This hand takes a while. The action on every street is very deliberate and thoughtful, and the entire table is silent for about 10 minutes while this hand plays out.
The flop comes 933, Elias checks, Tuthill bets 68,000, and Elias calls. The turn card is the 5, Elias checks, Tuthill bets 126,000, and Elias calls.
The river card double-pairs the board with the 9, and Elias moves all in for 820,000, easily covering the 300,000 left in Tuthill's stack. Tuthill goes into the tank for a little more than five minutes before he calls.
Elias turns over 109 for top full house, nines full of threes. Tuthill mucks his cards as he is eliminated from the tournament.
Darren Elias - 1,672,000 (139 BBs)
David Tuthill - Out in 14th Place ($20,699)
Darren Elias is about one big blind behind chipleader Will Failla, so they are effectively tied. (They are seated at separate tables, so both of them have big leads over everyone at their own table.)
It's also worth a reminder that while Elias was the Day 1 chipleader, and second in chips after Day 2, he entered the day 15th out of 16 on the leaderboard. Elias has had a great day so far to move into a tie for the lead.
Photo: David Tuthill (right) faces a decision for his tournament life against Darren Elias (foreground, left), and takes five full minutes to think it over.
Level 20: 5,000-10,000, 1,000 ante
Darren Elias opens the pot from middle position, Peter Campo three-bets the button and Elias calls.
The flop is 883, Elias checks, Campo bets 50,000 and Elias calls.
The turn is the A, and this time both players check.
The river is the Q, Elias checks, Campo bets 79,000, Elias check-raises to 240,000 and Campo folds.
Elias rakes yet another big pot, bringing his total chip count to just under 900,000. Elias started the day second to last in chips with just 262,000 and currently sits in third place with about 900,000.
Darren Elias - 895,000 (89 BBs)
Peter Campo - 890,000 (89 BBs)
According to David Tuthill who is sitting at the same table with Elias, "It's Darren's world and we're all just living in it."
Elias has a shot to take the points lead in the WPT Player of the Year race with a victory in this event -- which is suddenly much more feasible than it was when he was second-to-last in chips. But Elias also needs to fade deep finishes by Will Failla and Daniel Buzgon, who are both ahead of him in the POY standings.
Level 20: 5,000-10,000, 1,000 ante
James Calderaro raises from middle position to 23,000, Peter Campo (left) reraises from late position to 60,000, and David Tuthill (right) cold four-bets from the cutoff to 107,000. Calderaro folds, and Campo tanks for a while before he calls.
The flop comes 964, Campo checks, Tuthill bets 112,000, and Campo folds. David Tuthill takes the pot.
David Tuthill - 695,000 (69 BBs)
Peter Campo - 1,080,000 (108 BBs)
Level 20: 5,000-10,000, 1,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
The money bubble burst on Day 3, though it happened so quickly there was no need for hand-for-hand play. In a twist, players who made the money were paid by having bills stapled to their foreheads.
No, not really.
At the end of the day, Will Failla once again organized a $100 pool where players bet on which card would be drawn with 10 minutes left to see how many more hands would be played. But when James Calderaro won, Failla was reluctant to pay off his $100, so he stuck it to his forehead until Calderaro came over from the other table to claim it.
Farid Jattin (pictured) entered the day with a big chip lead, but it looked like he was going to take a big hit in the first level when Jaspreet Panchhi got it all in with KK against Jattin's QQ. But a queen on the flop gave the pot to Jattin to push him to nearly a million in chips.
WPT Raw Deal Analyst Tony Dunst (center, standing) was all in early, but he had the best of it with QQ to the JJ of Andrew Touchette. The best hand held up, and Dunst doubled up to an above-average chip stack.
In addition to the WPT's Raw Deal segment, Dunst is also the lead commentator for the WPT Live Stream, which shows all the action at WPT Final Tables -- with hole cards -- on a 30-minute delay. Of course, Dunst can't be in the sequestered booth watching hole cards if he is also at the final table -- and Dunst is still alive with 16 players left.
James Dempsey (foreground, center) began the day near the chip lead, but took a few hits before he got it all in with KK. Unfortunately for Dempsey, Alan Percal had AA. The best hand held up, and Dempsey was crippled down to four big blinds with 38 players remaining -- and only 36 would get paid.
A few moments later, Brian Haas was eliminated at another table, and it was time to begin hand-for-hand play on the money bubble. But Dempsey's hand had already begun, and when he looked down to see 88, he moved all in. But he'd have to survive against Matthew Schulte's AQ.
Will Failla (foreground, right) came over to sweat the board with Dempsey, but Schulte paired his queen on a board of Q42109 to win the pot, and Dempsey became the unfortunate Bubble Boy before hand-for-hand play even began.
With the board showing AK8J9, Tony Dunst (left) bet 81,000 into Robert Gorodetsky, who tanked for a while before he called with KJ for two pair, kings and jacks. But Dunst turned over A9 for a higher two pair, aces and nines.
At this point, Gorodetsky was one of two remaining under-21 players in the field, along with Alan Percal. Whichever one lasted longer would receive a customized surfboard.
WPT Champions Club member and recent WSOP November Niner Matt Giannetti gave a brief interview to the WPT cameras during the second break. Giannetti was holding strong at this point, but would have a rough time after dinner, busting out in 22nd place.
Daniel Buzgon (pictured) was short-stacked after dinner, and moved all in for 99,000 (16 big blinds) after Fred Goldberg and Matt Giannetti entered the pot. Both players called, and when Goldberg bet 100,000 into a dry side pot after a flop of 875, it looked like Buzgon was in trouble.
Giannetti sensed that Goldberg had a big hand, so he folded JJ face up. He was right, because Goldberg turned over AA. Buzgon was in trouble with his 1010.
But the turn card was the 10, and Buzgon tripled up to 314,000 with a set of tens. Buzgon went on a rush after that, and in less than an hour he built his stack from 99,000 to 1,000,000.
Will Failla (left) clashed in a couple of big pots against start-of-day chipleader Farid Jattin (right). Failla won a very large pot earlier by check-raising all in on a board of Q9889, but Jattin won this one by five-betting all in preflop.
Matt Marafioti (top) studies Tony Dunst (foreground, right) during a hand in the final level of Day 3.
With the board showing 1073A on the turn, David Tuthill (right) three-bet all in against Darren Elias (foreground, left). Elias would call with A10 for top two pair, and Tuthill turned over A8 for top pair with a spade flush draw.
Elias was on the verge of contending for the lead with 1.1 million in chips, but the 4 on the river gave Tuthill his flush -- and a big double up.
When 19-year-old Alan Percal was eliminated in 21st place, Robert Gorodetsky (pictured) officially won the bonus under-21 prize -- this customized surfboard. Unfortunately, Gorodetsky was eliminated himself in the final minutes of the day, finishing 17th.
A smile like this can only mean one thing -- Will Failla is crazy. But he is also the chipleader with 16 players remaining, and if he finishes 8th or higher, he will also retake the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. Failla is also trying to become the first player since Season III to win two WPT titles in the same season.
Here are the official chip counts for the final 16 players:
1. Will Failla - 1,360,000 (136 BBs)
2. Peter Campo - 1,269,000 (126 BBs)
3. Daniel Buzgon - 900,000 (90 BBs)
4. Byron Kaverman - 815,000 (81 BBs)
5. David Tuthill - 687,000 (68 BBs)
6. Amelio Amato - 666,000 (66 BBs)
7. Farid Jattin - 618,000 (61 BBs)
8. Matt Marafioti - 617,000 (61 BBs)
9. Shawn Cunix - 555,000 (55 BBs)
10. Tony Dunst - 459,000 (45 BBs)
11. James Calderaro - 423,000 (42 BBs)
12. Blake Purvis - 346,000 (34 BBs)
13. Justin Conley - 335,000 (33 BBs)
14. Robert LeBeau - 304,000 (30 BBs)
15. Darren Elias - 262,000 (26 BBs)
16. Tony Parille - 131,000 (13 BBs)
Day 4 begins tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2:00 pm ET. The field will play as many 90-minute levels as it takes to get down to six players for Wednesday's televised WPT Final Table.
Return to WPT.com for continuing live coverage, including hand-for-hand updates starting with the final ten players.
Level 19: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
Photo: David Tuthill (right) has moved all in on the turn, and is waiting for Darren Elias (foreground, left) to call or fold.
Darren Elias and David Tuthill go heads-up to a flop of 1073. Elias checks from the big blind, Tuthill bets 21,000 from middle position, and Elias calls.
The turn is the A and Elias checks again. Tuthill bets 34,000 and Elias check-raises to 96,000 total. Tuthill spends a couple of minutes thinking before he announces he is all-in for an additional 298,000.
Elias verifies the amount, then calls with A10 for top two pair. Tuthill holds A8 for top pair and the nut flush draw.
The river brings the 4, completing Tuthill's flush and he takes the massive pot to double up.
David Tuthill - 860,000 (108 BBs)
Darren Elias - 285,000 (36 BBs)
Level 19: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
With the board showing 9543K on the river, David Tuthill bets 28,000 from middle position, and Farid Jattin raises from the cutoff to 132,000. It's an additional 104,000 to Tuthill, and he only has 212,000 left behind.
Tuthill tanks for nearly two minutes before he calls, and Jattin shows 77 for a pair of sevens. Tuthill turns over A9 to win the pot with a pair of nines.
David Tuthill - 460,000 (57 BBs)
Farid Jattin - 675,000 (84 BBs)
Level 19: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
David Tuthill raises under the gun to 18,000, and Fred Goldberg moves all in from the cutoff for about 115,000. Tuthill calls with AQ, and Goldberg turns over 88.
The board comes Q42710, and Tuthill pairs his queen on the flop to win the pot and eliminate Fred Goldberg in 20th place.
David Tuthill - 310,000 (38 BBs)
Fred Goldberg - Out in 20th Place ($12,124)
Level 16: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante
David Tuthill raises to 9,500 from middle position and Shawn Cunix reraises to to 22,000. Tuthill calls and they go heads-up to a flop of Q1010. Tuthill checks, Cunix bets 25,000, and Tuthill calls.
The turn brings the 7 and both players check. The river is the 9 and Tuthill bets 42,500. Cunix takes some time before calling.
Tuthill tells him nice call and starts to muck his hand. Cunix turns to Will Failla on his left and tells him something to the effect of "You won't believe this call." Cunix then rolls over 89 for a rivered two pair, nines and tens.
Cunix jokes to the dealer, "Do you have a towel? I think I just peed myself."
Shawn Cunix - 470,000 (118 BBs)
David Tuthill - 295,000 (74 BBs)
Level 15: 1,500-3,000, 500 ante
With the board showing J32Q on the turn, Byron Kaverman checks from middle position, and David Tuthill bets 28,000 from middle position. Will Failla calls from the cutoff, and Kaverman calls as well.
The river card pairs the board with the 2, and it's checked to Failla, who bets 60,000. Kaverman folds, and Tuthill thinks for a while before he calls.
Failla turns over QQ to win the pot with a full house, queens full of deuces, and Tuthill mucks.
Will Failla - 605,000 (201 BBs)
Byron Kaverman - 463,000 (154 BBs)
David Tuthill - 412,000 (137 BBs)