By Jan Kores
Sometimes, playing poker can seem easy. Being on the right side of the coolers and big pots is a precious experience. And when it’s an elite player going through such a spree, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
That’s what the 73-player field saw today when they came back for Day 3 of the WPT Germany Main Event. It felt inevitable that Gianluca Speranza would emerge as the chip leader by the end of the day. Sharpened by his major online victories, Speranza has been arguably one of the most experienced players who had entered the 510-strong tournament, let alone made it this far.
Now he’s pacing the final nine players who keep chasing the €270,000 first-place prize which comes along with a $15,000 package to the WPT Tournament of Champions presented by Baccarat Crystal. While every player who was eliminated today received a chunk of the €1,453,500 prize pool, the largest shares are yet to be awarded. The top nine runners will come back one more time on Sunday, February 23, at 12 p.m. to play it out for the title at King’s Resort, Rozvadov.
Here’s how the remaining contenders line up:
Seat 1: Laszlo Papai – 1,765,000
Seat 2: Joep van den Bijgaart – 3,095,000
Seat 3: Christopher Puetz – 2,230,000
Seat 4: Gianluca Speranza – 4,415,000
Seat 5: Renato Nowak – 2,335,000
Seat 6: Hossein Ensan – 3,900,000
Seat 7: Josef Gulas – 1,270,000
Seat 8: Farukh Tach – 460,000
Seat 9: Rifat Gegic – 895,000
Speranza has 4,415,000 after nearly an inch-perfect day in the office. Not only was he fortunate to get into an aces-versus-kings clash, holding the blades, but it was also for the 2.6 million pot that would determine the outright chip leader. It was midway through Day 3, and Peter Jaksland took the unavoidable and decisive beat.
Since then, Speranza has been rolling. With the skill and stack both at his disposal, it may have looked like a cakewalk. That’s not to take away the Italian’s craft; he utilized the chip-leverage with excellence. Opening pot after pot, and claiming one after another so to speak, Speranza’s piles kept gradually increasing.
Moreover, he got one more gift from the dealers, dismissing Marian Dumitrache‘s flopped top two with a turned straight to force him out in 19th place.
Such was the Saturday for Speranza, but he won’t be the only star on the nine-handed table.
Second in chips is Hossein Ensan (3,900,000), who lets his live results speak for himself. Ensan’s path to a big stack was very different from that of Speranza’s.
Ensan found himself short-stacked on the last two tables, but he turned it around with two doubles within a few minutes and took off from there. Flopping the nuts against Artan Dedusha — and eliminating him in 10th — gave Ensan even more hopes for his shot at joining the Triple Crown club (a WPT victory would open the door for him).
The only player who recruited for the final nine from the online Days 1&2 at partypoker is Joep van den Bijgaart. The Dutchman seemed to be the only player able to resist Speranza’s heater, at least to some extent. Van den Bijgaart has done well for himself on that outer table, finishing the day with 3,095,000.
Christopher Puetz and Renato Nowak are virtually tied in the middle of the pack, and they’re followed by Laszlo Papai who still sits above the 30-big blind mark. Josef Gulas dropped to 25 bigs after three-bet folding on a flop against Speranza, but he has a significantly bigger maneuvering room than Rifat Gegic and Farukh Tach.
In conclusion, it’s guaranteed that the WPT Germany final day will bring some exciting action. Online hero Gianluca Speranza tries to capture his first major live event title. Hossein Ensan looks for a WPT win to complete the Triple Crown. And seven players will have plans to stop them.
While the play resumes at 12 p.m. local time, with 40 minutes left to play at 25,000-50,000, the coverage will be delayed by one hour in alignment with the live stream which kicks off at 1 p.m. Tune back to WPT.com then to follow the final stretch as a new champion will be crowned tomorrow.