Four days down and one to go at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, CA to see who will play on March 11 at HyperX Esports Arena for the WPT L.A. Poker Classic title. In the lead for the second straight day is David ODB Baker (pictured). The 46-year-old Baker holds 4.61 million and is nearing his second career WPT final table. Baker more than doubled his start of Day 4 total and is in front of the 12 remaining players of the 35 who started Day 3.
“It feels amazing,” said Baker upon bagging the chip lead. “This tournament has just been incredible, everything I’ve done has worked.”
Baker commented that he’s usually had the best hand in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic and has played well, by his own standards.
“Obviously, nobody who signed up for this tournament is in better shape than I am at this point. I’m thrilled with it, but there’s so much work left. I think half the field remaining have won WPTs already so I’ve got my work cut out for me.”
The Champions Club remains the common storyline from Day 3 with five of the 12 remaining players already a WPT Champion. None other than four-time champion Darren Elias (pictured) is second overall in chips with 3.365 million. Elias doubled up through Ryan Hughes and Andrey Zaichenko on Day 4 to keep his pursuit of a fifth title alive.
A win for Elias would be his first career seven-figure score and put him two WPT titles ahead of Anthony Zinno, Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, and Carlos Mortensen for most all-time. Just making the final table would be five consecutive seasons with at least a single final table appearance.
Also in the mix in third and fourth place are WPT champions James Carroll (3.085 million) and Tony Tran (2.5 million). Both are searching for their second title with Tran looking for a piece of history. Tran can become the first player in Season XVII to win two titles, a streak that dates back to Season XV. With at least a fifth-place finish, Tran can jump past Ping Liu for first place on the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings.
Season XVI Tournament of Champions runner-up Matas Cimbolas lurks with 1.6 million while Season IX WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger has some work to do with 290,000 heading into Day 5.
Champions who hit the rail on Day 4 were J.C. Tran (33rd place), Taylor Paur (15th place), and Mohsin Charania (14th place).
A few other well-known players said their goodbye from Commerce as Dan Shak (32nd place), Bob Bounahra (28th place), Mike Matusow (27th place), America’s new favorite poker backer Douglas Smith (22nd place), and Day 2 chip leader Zaichenko (18th place) were all felted.
Purple Heart recipient John Smith hung tough on Day 4 and enters Day 5 with a chance at his first career WPT final table along with 1.62 million. Season VIII WPT L.A. Poker Classic finalist Jean-Claude Moussa is on the cusp of another TV final table appearance with his stack of 2.18 million.
All 12 of the remaining players have at least $78,040 locked up and all are gunning for the $1 million first-place prize, a $15,000 seat to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, and the Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.
Day 5 starts at 12 p.m. at Commerce Casino as we play down to the final table of six. You won’t want to miss any of tomorrow’s action.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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