Another busy day at Commerce Casino resulted in 35 players advancing to Day 4 of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic. Today was money bubble day as 69 players made the money from the 108 who started play.
Above all the rest of the survivors, and the only player who bagged more than 2 million chips, is David ODB Baker (pictured). The tour favorite amassed a total of 2.086 million and was in the lead for the last two levels of the day.
“It feels great. It hasn’t really sunk in because I battled as a short stack for two and a half days,” commented Baker. “I was pretty short most of the day today for the first half, and then caught a few hands and played well and got lucky in one spot. Mostly I just played well, chipped up and won a few hands. It was good. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I have all these chips.”
Baker is in a quality position to make his 10th career WPT cash the largest of his career. In Season V, Baker placed fifth at Festa Al Lago for a $125,240 score. He can top that with a seventh-place result this week.
Ankush Mandavia’s stack ended up in Baker’s in the fourth level of the day when his four-bet shove of 320,000 with over a three-bet of 50,000 from Baker ran into . How else did Baker accumulate? We’ll let him explain.
“I picked up Aces a few times. I beat Billy Baxter when he had Aces versus my Jacks. There was only like 250,000, but it was a nice little boost from 1.2 to 1.5 million. There were so many good hands today it’s really hard to keep them straight. Today was a good day.”
Baker is far from the only notable left in the field. There’s quite a few of them. In fact, eight Champions Club members booked a Day 4 seat. Leading them is the only Season XVII winner left in the field, WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble champion Tony Tran (1.561 million). Tran (pictured) sits third overall in chips. In addition to his promising stack, Tran can climb up to first place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with at least a fifth-place finish at Commerce Casino.
Tran sat with fellow Champions Club members (in seat order, pictured) Mohsin Charania (846,000), James Carroll (1.031 million), JC Tran (197,000), and Matas Cimbolas (855,000) to end Day 3 play.
Rounding out the champions looking for another title are Taylor Paur (637,000), Andy Frankenberger (205,000), and the all-time leader in WPT titles, Darren Elias (910,000).
Start of Day 3 chip leader Andrey Zaichenko is in second place overall with 1.715 million and fourth in chips is 72-year-old John Smith (1.194 million). With Poker Hall of Fame member Billy Baxter’s elimination in 51st place, Smith is the most senior member of the remaining field.
Other storylines still in play include Mike Matusow’s run at his sixth career final table, as chronicled by WPT’s Sean Chaffin. Matusow bagged 570,000 and true to form, didn’t shy away from speaking his mind on the current state of poker.
Douglas Smith made waves on social media with his story of professional poker backing. Heading into Day 4, Smith is doing just fine on his own with 298,000. A full list of chip counts and the Day 4 seat draw can be found here.
34 players hit the rail after the bubble burst and Day 1 chip leader Blake Bohn (68th place), Matthew Wantman (67th place), Amal Bounahra (58th place), Amit Makhija (57th place), Adam Levy (49th place), Mandavia (43rd place), Champions Club member Mike Del Vecchio (41st), Brian Yoon (38th place), Jesse Martin (37th place), and Gordon Vayo (36th place) all earned a payout from Commerce.
Bounahra’s father, Bob, made Day 4 with 176,000 and will have a keen eye watching him tomorrow in son-in-law Antonio Esfandiari.
All remaining players have at least $26,830 locked up and all eyes are on the $1 million first-place prize, the $15,000 seat to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, and the Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.
Day 4 starts at 12 p.m. at with four 120-minute levels on the schedule. All updates for thepenultimatee day before playdown to the March 11 final table at HyperX Esports Arena can be found on WPT.com.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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