It was a short day for the WPT World Championship, but only six of the eight players would survive to reach the televised WPT Final Table.
Daniel Negreanu and Rocco Palumbo started the day as the short stacks, though Negreanu got off to a hot start, doubling his stack in the first half hour without ever putting himself all in.
Palumbo never had any momentum at all, as he only played two pots and lost them both. In the 16th hand of the day (Hand #50 from the start of the 10-handed final table), Palumbo got it all in from the small blind with J8, but ran into Brandon Steven’s KJ and never improved.
With seven players remaining, David Peters was the short stack, though Negreanu’s momentum started to swing the other way as he slipped down the leaderboard.
In Hand #67, David Peters got it all in on the turn with a full house against Brandon Steven’s two pair to double up to more than a million in chips, and that put all of the short-stack pressure on Negreanu.
Negreanu lost six of the seven pots he played after Palumbo’s elimination, and got so short that when he finally doubled thru Matt Hyman (all in preflop, his A-Q outflopped Hyman’s A-K), he was still the short stack.
Six hands later, Negreanu got it all in after the flop with top pair, but his close friend Erick Lindgren had pocket jacks for an overpair. Negreanu never improved, and he bubbled the TV final table in seventh place.
That locked in the final six for Friday’s WPT Final Table:
Seat 1. Jonathan Roy – 1,900,000 (47 bb)
Seat 2. David Peters – 1,085,000 (27 bb)
Seat 3. Erick Lindgren – 3,355,000 (83 bb)
Seat 4. Brandon Steven – 1,210,000 (30 bb)
Seat 5. Matt Hyman – 1,560,000 (39 bb)
Seat 6. Chino Rheem – 5,495,000 (137 bb)
7th: Daniel Negreanu – $137,085
8th: Rocco Palumbo – $101,935
As you can see, Chino Rheem retains his big lead from the start of the day, though Erick Lindgren has closed the gap a bit. The other four players are much further back.
The three players at the top of the leaderboard are all former WPT winners: Chino Rheem, Erick Lindgren (2 WPT titles), and Jonathan Roy.
Erick Lindgren hopes to become just the third player in WPT history to win three titles, joining an elite group that includes Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen.
This season’s WPT Player of the Year race is still undecided, as WPT Montreal championJonathan Roy is third in chips and can pass POY points-leader Matt Salsberg if he wins this event. If Roy falls short of a victory, Salsberg will win the Player of the Year title.
The other three players are all making their first appearance at a WPT Final Table.
David Peters has come the closest, just missing the TV final table in this event two years ago by finishing seventh. This is the seventh WPT cash for Peters.
Matt Hyman’s twin brother Zach has a WPT Final Table under his belt from back in Season VI, which makes them the first set of twins to make final table appearances on the World Poker Tour.
Brandon Steven’s best finish in a WPT event is ninth place in the 2010 WPT Festa Al Lago here at Bellagio, though he is probably best known within the poker world for bubbling the 2010 WSOP Main Event final table by finishing 10th.
The players have a day off tomorrow before returning to action at 4:00 pm PT on Friday for the televised WPT Final Table. Return to WPT.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage, with every check, bet, call, raise, and fold, along with updated chip counts after every hand.
Recap by BJ Nemeth
Photography by Joe Giron (www.JoeGironPhotography.com)