A busy day at Choctaw Casino & Resort resulted in Arthur Morris (pictured) leading the final 31 players into WPT Choctaw Day 3 with 1.482 million chips. More than 200 players started the day in Durant, OK and only 25 players separate the six final tablists from a trip to Las Vegas and the final table at HyperX Esports Arena.
Morris surged to the top of the leaderboard in the early stages of the day when he won a four-way all-in with pocket aces to eliminate three players. A few hours later, Morris eliminated start of Day 2 chip leader Gary Sixkiller when he shoved with a rivered straight and Sixkiller paid him off with second pair.
The 33-year-old Morris has been in a few high equity spots before, including the World Poker Tour when he was chip leader in Season XII at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic and finished in ninth place. Those past mistakes fuel Morris’ want to finish the event strong with $379,990 sitting up top.
“I just want to be able to take the lessons I’ve learned from past experiences and utilize them this time. [At Five Diamond], I made some mistakes to LuckyChewy (Learn WPT’s Andrew Lichtenberger) and I’ve thought about those in the past. Now that I’ve had those experiences and thought about what I could do differently in those situations, I want to use that and hopefully make a better run this time and do something well.”
Morris faces stiff competition when play restarts at 12 p.m. tomorrow. WPT500 winner Craig Varnell sits third in chips and is looking to get to his second final table of Season XVII and second final table at WPT Choctaw after placing third in Season XV. Seasoned pros Nick Pupillo (1.272 million) and Will Berry (1.246 million) are both looking for a breakthrough in the form of a WPT final table.
Hublot WPT Player of the Year contender Ping Liu (pictured) continued his run at passing Erkut Yilmaz for first place in the standings. Liu returns to Day 3 with 1.006 million and needs to reach the official WPT table of six to pass Yilmaz. A sixth-place result of 400 points would be enough to get Liu over the hump.
Whoever ends up winning WPT Choctaw will be a first-time WPT champion. 74 players made the money and WPT Champions Club member Brian Altman was one of them via a chopped bubble with Jean Gaspard. Other WPT champions who cashed at WPT Choctaw include Sam Panzica (70th place), Darren Elias (63rd), Jared Jaffee (57th), Andy Hwang (56th), Will Failla (49th), Dylan Linde (44th), and James Calderaro (34th).
Linde earned 50 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race and is now 150 points behind Yilmaz for the lead. Expect to see Linde in the upcoming WPT ARIA Summer Championship to try and overtake Yilmaz regardless of Liu’s finish at Choctaw.
All remaining players have at least $11,350 locked up when they return tomorrow and no one has a better return of investment than Linda Stockstill (pictured above) and Denny Tran (pictured below). Both players qualified for WPT Choctaw through The Gardens Casino Satellite Spectacular promotion that cost $20 to buy-in. Tran (687,000) sits in the middle of the pack while Stockstill (16,000) has a long road ahead of her tomorrow to make the final table.
All of these storylines and more will play out to a conclusion tomorrow when Day 3 starts at 12 p.m. For six, a trip to Las Vegas is in the cards. Until then, #TheCupAwaits.
Photography by Jamie Thomson / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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