By Donnie Peters
Day 2 of the Season XVII WPT Choctaw Championship is in the books. Just 31 players remain from the 755 entries that came out for this event, with WPT Champions Club member Tony Ruberto (pictured below) leading the way with 3.75 million.
Ruberto won his first World Poker Tour title back in Season X when he topped a field of 393 entries at WPT bestbet Jacksonville to win $325,928. He entered this event with more than $3 million in live tournament earnings and is now in line for his second WPT title.
Helping Ruberto to end the day with the chip lead was when he busted both Richard Nelson and Mark Toulouse on the same hand during Level 14. The three got all the money in on the flop. Ruberto held the for top two pair, Toulouse had the for top pair and top kicker, and Nelson had the . Although the turn was the to give Nelson the lead with a set of tens, the river was the to give Ruberto a flush.
WPT Choctaw Day 2 Top 10
1. Tony Ruberto – 3,750,000
2. Men Nguyen – 3,070,000
3. Andrew Crookston – 1,975,000
4. Timothy Domboski – 1,910,000
5. Edwin Pairavi – 1,825,000
6. Brady Holiman – 1,550,000
7. Brennan Benglis – 1,400,000
8. Christopher Smith – 1,295,000
9. Viet Vo – 1,290,000
10. Jeff Banghart – 1,090,000
Second in chips with 31 players remaining in Men Nguyen. Nguyen finished Day 2 with 3.07 million and is coming off a third-place finish in the opening event of Season XVII of the WPT Main Tour, the WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event. Nguyen is also third in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. An eighth-place finish in this event would move him into first place, ahead of WPT Gardens winner Simon Lam.
Alice Zheng, who is a PokerStars Platinum Pass winner and spoke to WPT.com about that and being a poker vlogger, finished Day 2 with 570,000 in chips. Ben Mintz, who talked to WPT.com about his new life as a sports radio host, advanced to Day 3 with 520,000. Three-time WPT Champions Club member Anthony Zinno will have 335,000 when Day 3 starts up. Ruberto and Zinno are the only two WPT champions remaining in the field.
Day 2 of the WPT Choctaw Championship also saw the money bubble burst. Of the returning 207 players, only 95 were set to make the money. As it would turn out, 96 players made the money after both Kyle Perkins and WPT Champions Club member Brian Altman busted during the same round of round-for-round play. Perkins was eliminated at the hands of Ruberto. Perkins and Altman chopped 95th-place money.
In the money, notable finishes were had by Ray Whitley (42nd), who recalled his time playing basketball against the legendary Larry Bird, reigning Hublot WPT Player of the Year Art Papazyan (43rd), two-time WPT champion Marvin Rettenmaier (46th), Texas Foosball Hall of Famer Greg Sixkiller (59th), Steve Sung (63rd), two-time WPTDeepStacks champion Jeff Fielder (83rd), and WPT Champions Club member Chris Moorman (86th).
Day 3 of the WPT Choctaw Championship kicks off at 12 p.m. local time at Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. The plan is to play down to the WPT final table of six before bagging and tagging. All 31 of the remaining players have locked up $13,990 in prize money, with a trip to Day 4 worth at least $95,780. The winner is set to take home $469,185 in first-place prize money, a seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race.
Stay tuned to WPT.com for continued coverage of the World Poker Tour, starting with Day 3 of the WPT Choctaw Championship on Monday.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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