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Faraz Jaka Leads the Field and the POY Race
Level 20: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
WPT World Championship, Day 4 Recap
By BJ Nemeth
Faraz Jaka entered the WPT World Championship as the leader in the WPT Player of the Year race with 1,300 points, but it wasn't a secure lead. Dozens of players were within striking distance of that mark, and it seemed likely that someone else would reach it.
Instead of sitting back and hoping the other players fall short, Jaka has taken control of his own destiny in the POY race by taking control of the tournament -- with a lot of help from Lady Luck.
Heather Sue Mercer ended the previous day with the second-most chips, and was still going strong here on Day 4. But then she got into a preflop raising war against Jaka, who five bet all in. Mercer insta-called with A-A, and Jaka turned over -- 93. Mercer was poised to double up into the chip lead, but the board came 983510, and Jaka won it with two pair.
Nine-three cracked pocket aces in the biggest pot of the tournament.
That hand changed the entire course of the tournament. If Mercer's aces held up, there's a good chance we'd have a female chip leader in the WPT World Championship on the same day that a woman (Liv Boeree) won an EPT event in Europe. Instead, Mercer was eliminated by one of the cruelest beats possible deep in one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Mercer played great, and definitely deserved better, but as they say, that's poker.
If the aces had held up, Jaka would've been knocked to the bottom of the chip counts instead of catapulting to the top. Here's a look at the top of the tournament leaderboard at the end of Day 4:
1. Faraz Jaka - 3,117,000
2. David Benyamine - 2,350,000
3. David Williams - 2,072,000
Jaka also takes control of the WPT Player of the Year race, where six players are still chasing him for the award. They'll need to reach seventh place or higher to earn more points, and if Jaka goes that deep it becomes much harder to catch him. Here's a look at the remaining POY contenders and how many POY points they have:
Faraz Jaka - 1,300 POY pts
Olivier Busquet - 1,000 POY pts
Josh Arieh - 700 POY pts
Matt Stout - 600 POY pts
Shawn Buchanan - 500 POY pts
Scotty Nguyen - 400 POY pts
Phil Hellmuth - 300 POY pts
And the POY points up for grab in this event:
1st place: 1,000 POY pts
2nd place: 700 POY pts
3rd place: 600 POY pts
4th place: 500 POY pts
5th place: 400 POY pts
6th place: 300 POY pts
7th place: 200 POY pts
With multiple storylines, there is plenty to watch here at the WPT World Championship, and action continues Thursday at 12:00 noon PT. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for continuing live coverage of all the action.
07:00 AM, 04/22/10