Day 2 of the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship is in the books, and now 159 players remain from the field of 1,244 entries. When the players return for Day 3 on Wednesday at 12 p.m. local time in Atlantic City, just three will need to bust before the money is reached.
Leading the way is A.J. Kelsall (pictured), who is coming off a fifth-place finish in the recent WPTDeepStacks Hollywood event down in Florida. Kelsall bagged a stack of 768,500.
“I had a great day,” Kelsall said. “I only started the day with 38K and $3,500 in my pocket ready to rebuy if needed, which I still have thankfully. Just from the start, I was running it up all day. I never really lost a big hand. I was just picking up 50K or a 100K here and there. I won a couple big hands right at the end to kind of top it off.”
Kelsall finished fifth from a field of 1,366 entries in the WPTDeepStacks Hollywood event and took home $56,239. That was good for the third largest live tournament score for Kelsall and one he’ll be looking to top if he can run deep at Borgata where there is more then $650,000 up top for the winner.
“I like to say that I’m a jack of all trades, but master of none,” Kelsall said of his ability to play all poker games, not just no-limit hold’em. “It’s cliche, but I think it’s true. I consider myself a B or a B+ in pretty much every game. An A in nothing, but I consider myself decent in every game. No-limit hold’em, I’ve been playing it for years and I don’t really enjoy it as much as I used to. So, I enjoy the other games — triple draw and razz and the games that I play at the World Series [of Poker] — more, but the money is in no-limit hold’em. So, that’s what I play. If they want to throw in a razz and a round of triple draw tomorrow, I’d be okay with that.”
If Kelsall is able to run deep, it could be a double win in the coming days, as he is a big Philadelphia Eagles fan and his beloved team is in the Super Bowl this weekend.
“I’ll tell you the saying that I have and it’s kind of funny,” Kelsall said. “There’s only two things I want in life. An Eagles Super Bowl and a WSOP bracelet. Then whatever happens after that is fine. Somebody asked me that last week, when I came fifth in the [WPTDeepStacks] event down in Hollywood. And in that one, I said I would probably give up the win for the Super Bowl, but this one is so big. I flew up here and went to the game last Sunday and I have a flight Saturday night to go to the Super Bowl. That should tell you how big of a fan I am. If you sign me up for like sixth right now and an Eagles Super Bowl, I’ll take it. I’ll sign it.”
Behind Kelsall is Chun Li with 755,000. Joe McKeehen (548,000), Will Givens (510,000), and WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Little (506,500) all bagged big chip stacks.
The end of Day 2 was a hectic one, with a flurry of late-night eliminations, including novelist Jane Hitchcock, who was searching for her first WPT cash. Others to bust out on Day 2 were WPT Champions Club members Lee Markholt, Darren Elias, Brian Altman, and John Hennigan, plus DJ Alexander, Aaron Massey, Tim Reilly, and Scott Baumstein all hit the rail.
Day 3 of the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship kicks off on Wednesday at 12 p.m. local time. In addition to the $651,928 first-place prize up for grabs, that includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, the winner will earn 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race.
Also to start Day 3, be on the lookout for the Action Clock, provided by Protection Poker.
Stay tuned right here to WPT.com for continued coverage of the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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