By Ryan Lucchesi
The first stop of 2020 for Season XVIII is the WPT Gardens Poker Championship from The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California. The tournament is down to the final 14 players after 48 returned at the start of play today.
Chance Kornuth made a run to the top of the leaderboard late on Day 3 to claim the overnight chip lead with 1,709,000. Kornuth has more than $7.4 million in career live tournament earnings, but the accomplished pro will be looking to claim his first WPT title at his second final table if he advances on the penultimate day of the tournament tomorrow.
“It feels incredible,” said Kornuth when we caught up with him at the end of play. “I had a lot of pots go my way, people folded when I was bluffing, called when I had good hands, and shoved when I had Aces. It was a pretty dreamy day. Other than about an hour on the bubble when I went from like 600,000 to 140,000, it went really well.” He continued, “I’m going to play a lot of pots, put people in difficult spots and go from there.”
Sitting behind Kornuth at the top of the leaderboard are two other players above the million-chip mark. Day 2 chip leader Markus Gonsalves holds 1,580,000, and Duey Duong is at 1,473,000.
Here is a look at all of the chip counts at the end of play:
Seat 1: Qing Liu – 140,000
Seat 2: — empty —
Seat 3: David Miscikowski – 653,000
Seat 4: Tuan Phan – 920,000
Seat 5: Lior Orel – 52,000
Seat 6: Jonathan Cohen – 652,000
Seat 7: Straton Wilhelm – 375,000
Seat 8: Markus Gonsalves – 1,580,000
Seat 1: Vlastimil Pustina – 408,000
Seat 2: — empty —
Seat 3: Jared Griener – 225,000
Seat 4: Ali Imsirovic – 768,000
Seat 5: Sebastiaan de Jonge – 651,000
Seat 6: Duey Duong – 1,473,000
Seat 7: Chance Kornuth – 1,709,000
Seat 8: Qi Hu – 698,000
The top 33 players finished in-the-money late this afternoon, and among the notables that cashed were Sorel Mizzi (15th), David “ODB” Baker (18th), Sam Soverel (19th), Gal Yifrach (22nd), Randall Emmett (25th), Byron Kaverman (28th), Joseph Cheong (29th), David Peters (30th), and Larry Greenberg (33rd).
The final six players that reach the televised final table at the conclusion of play on Monday will return to HyperX Esports Arena on Tuesday, March 31, and will be paid out at least $111,795 in prize money. Whoever can ascend to the top and be crowned the Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship champion, he will collect the $554,495 first-place prize along with receiving a $15,000 entry into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and having their name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup.
Day 4 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship begins at 12 p.m. (PT) on Monday with continuous live updates being provided by the World Poker Tour. Stay tuned right here to WPT.com for the exclusive live coverage of the tournament from start to finish to see who becomes the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, and wins his way to the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive
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