Day 3 of the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker Main Event played out on Tuesday, and what an outstanding day it was.
The tournament field was cut down to the final 24 players with none other than two-time WPT champion JC Tran leading the way. Tran bagged up a towering 3.061 million in chips and is in prime position to add a third World Poker Tour title to his trophy case.
“It would be special to win this one,” Tran told WPT.com after play. “I’ve had this phrase in my head of chasing number three, and that applies for the WPT and the WSOP bracelet, so I’ve been chasing that. I’ve made a lot of deep runs here at The Bike. I think I stone-cold bubbled this one last year with a lot of chips, and the prior years I cashed and made it deep and didn’t finish. I think this is the year, and to win the tournament that paid out the billionth dollar, that would be really cool.”
Tran’s fellow two-time WPT champions Tuan Le and Marvin Rettenmaier also remain in the final 24, bagging up 1.2 million and 628,000, respectively. Tran, Le, and Rettenmaier are the only WPT Champions Club members remaining, and each of them will be looking to tie the record for most WPT titles in history with three. As it stands right now, five players are tied with the record, and those five are Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Anthony Zinno, Darren Elias, and Chino Rheem.
One player looking for his first World Poker Title is new WPT Raw Deal analyst Phil Hellmuth, who advanced to Day 4 with 790,000 in chips. Hellmuth has four WPT final tables under his belt, but the prestigious WPT title has always eluded him. Now that he’s a part of the WPT family, could we see him finally breakthrough on the World Poker Tour stage? Only time will tell.
Others still in contention are David Baker with 1.675 million, Oddie Dardon with 1.116 million, Jared Griener with 872,000, David “Doc” Sands with 814,000, and Garrett Greer with 360,000. Baker’s career is an impressive one, but he’s only made a WPT final table one time, finishing fifth for $125,240 in the Season V WPT Festa al Lago at Bellagio. Dardon entered Day 3 with the chip lead and told WPT.com he was feeling great with his run before ending the day ninth in chips. Griener has had World Poker Tour success as of late, taking third in the Season XV WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $431,340. Sands has a second-place finish at the Season X WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $806,370, plus a win in the Season XI WPT World Championship $100,000 Super High Roller for $1.023 million.Last of this group is Greer, and he has six top-10 finishes in WPT Main Tour events, including an eighth-place finish in last season’s WPT Legends of Poker.
In addition to all of the great poker players to advance to Day 4 of the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker, Tuesday’s Day 3 was extra special for the WPT history books. When the field reached the money, it was time for the WPT’s one-billionth prize dollar to be awarded. One player would earn the milestone payout, and it turned out to be 47th-place finisher T.J. Shepherd.
Severely short stacked, but deep into the money, Shepherd held on as long as he could before he eventually went out as “the billionth dollar man.” Shepherd earned a payout of $10,405, plus a special prize for being the earner of the WPT’s billionth prize dollar. For that, he was awarded a seat into next season’s WPT Legends of Poker, plus accommodation at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino.
To read more about Shepherd’s incredible run, click here.
Another amazing story on Day 3 was the run of defending champion Pat Lyons. Lyons made it deeper than Shepherd, but ultimately his title-defense run ended in 39th place.
After Denis Bagdasarov was eliminated in 25th place, Day 3 was done and dusted.
Click here to view the Day 4 table and seat draw.
Day 4 will begin on Wednesday at 12 p.m. PT at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, with the goal to reach the televised WPT final table of six. The Action Clock will once again be in play, and players will reset with six 30-second time-extension chips for Wednesday’s play. Those remaining have locked up $17,430 in prize money, but it’s the $653,692 first-place prize they’re all chasing. In addition to the lion’s share of the prize pool, the winner will receive a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.
The cards will be in the air at noon on Wednesday, and you can follow the action right here on WPT.com.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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