The money bubble came and went on Day 3 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship with 32 players guaranteed a payout of the 54 who returned for play from a total field of 253 entries. Amidst the bubble madness, Frank Stepuchin (pictured) took the chip lead and bagged a tidy 1.19 million to lead the remaining 19 players heading into Day 4.
Stepuchin already has one deep run this season as he finished 16th in the WPT Borgata Poker Open. The Day 1a chip leader kept his table loose for all of Day 3 and his fun-loving antics may have benefitted him in key hands. The 59-year-old retired real estate investor from Utah coolered Adam Geyer flush-over-flush late in the day and used the final surge to take the lead over Toby Lewis (1.1 million) and Shannon Shorr (1.027 million).
“It feels awesome. I’m loving it,” said Stepuchin of his status as chip leader. “The money would be great but winning and getting my name and the trophy and getting to play with all the professional ballers at the WPT Tournament of Champions would be even better.”
Lewis and Shorr are well established among the professional ranks are each looking for their respective fourth WPT final table. Looking for his third WPT title is Marvin Rettenmaier (pictured), who bagged 468,000. Rettenmaier is the last WPT Champions Club member remaining as Yevgeniy Timoshenko (31st) and Mohsin Charania (25th) fell shy of a Day 4 berth.
Also advancing is Dayron Huertas-Carballo (pictured), who qualified for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship via the $20 Gardens Casino Satellite Spectacular. Coming into Day 4, Huertas-Carballo has $25,225 locked up. Carballo bagged 306,000 and is in the middle of the pack when play starts tomorrow.
Familiar faces to the WPT Ray Qartomy (951,000), Brent Roberts (790,000), Steve Sung (707,000), and Garrett Greer (355,000) are on to Day 4 as well.
13 players made the money on Day 3 including Paul Hoefer, Kitty Kuo, Ankush Mandavia, Jim Collopy, Adam Geyer, and Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Festival final tablist Saya Ono.
Finally, Nicole Schwartz took 20th as the last player eliminated on the day. Schwartz earned her seat through a $100 buy-in charity event held at the Gardens Casino on Day 1a.
Day 4 starts at 12:00 p.m. at the Gardens Casino with six seats reserved at HyperX Esports Arena on March 12 for the final tablists. $545,825 sits up top for first place along with a seat to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
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