By Sean Chaffin
As Day 4 started on Thursday, Ping Liu (pictured) was making yet another deep run on the World Poker Tour here in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with a legitimate shot to take over the top spot in the Hublot Player of the Year standings.
Liu started the event second in the standings with 1,550 points, behind Tony Ruberto who has 1,850 points. As a result of making it to 15th place, Liu picks up 300 points to create a tie at the top spot. However, his total winnings this season currently top $700,000 and eclipse Ruberto’s total of $580,692.
“It’s a goal of mine for the season now that I’ve had such a good start to begin with,” he says. “But really I want to make it to the final table, and really secure that because there’s still a lot more events and anyone could overtake me. Just temporarily having the lead doesn’t mean much, I really want to set the bar high.”
If Liu can finish 10th – 12th, he’ll pick up 400 points and move into the lead outright in points and in winnings. Here at Borgata, Liu entered Day 4 the day 13th in chips with 1.9 million. Heading into Level 28, Liu is playing 1.070 million.
“It started off okay,” he said after the first break in Day 4 action. “I won some pots, but then the last hour or so I’ve kind of been slowly losing small pots – opening and getting jammed on or defending the big blind and check-folding. So I’m on the shorter side right now. I think I have around 25 big blinds when we come back, but I’ve been here before and things can change so quickly.”
It’s been a nice run since August for Liu and this becomes his fifth cash on the tour this season. That includes two final table appearances, finishing fifth at the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble for $73,734 and then fourth at the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $599,147. Already in Season XVII, he’s won $686,578.
Liu now has more than $1.4 million in live tournament earnings. Away from the WPT, some of his biggest cashes include taking third in the $1,675 WSOPC Main Event in 2014 at Planet Hollywood for $133,110, and a third-place finish at the World Series of Poker in 2015 in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $77,516.
The 29-year-old graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in neuroscience and economics. Liu now lives in Irvine, CA, and is also a regular cash game player at Gardens Casino. He’s hoping the deep run and nice season on the WPT continues.
“I’m right in the middle of it now, but I’m sure when it’s over I’ll sit back and get some more perspective on it,” he says. “It’s just kind of amazing how things are clicking and I’m running well at the right time.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
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