With six players waiting with their tickets punched for the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $3,500 Main Event final table, the focus in Florida turned to the $10,000 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Finale. That field played through Day 2 yesterday, going from 193 entrants, of a record-breaking 349 total, and when the dust settled, 27 players had advanced to the Finale’s penultimate day.
As the final open-WPT event of the season, the Seminole Hard Rock Finale had multiple story lines to follow. Not only was it the last chance for players to win their way into the WPT Tournament of Champions but it would also decide WPT Player of the Year for Season XV.
Benjamin Zamani busted early and Sam Panzica then needed an 18th place finish or better to claim POY. He fell in 40th, meaning that Pay Lyons, who late registered the Finale, is the only player left in the field that can catch Zamani. The only caveat, he needs to win to do so.
Lyons will come back with a decent stack but the entire field is trailing Alan Sternberg, who finished at the top of the Day 2 counts with 2,600,000. Only two other players bagged over seven-figures, creating a huge disparity at the top of the leader board. Former World Series of Poker Main Event champion Ryan Riess was one of them, as he finished the night with 1,056,000.
A player with more recent WSOP Main Event success, Cliff Josephy, bagged shy of seven-figures, and he’ll take 746,000 in to Day 3. That is as far as the Main Event pedigree goes but in terms of past WPT success, the field is stacked.
Jonathan Jaffe, Harrison Gimbel, Marvin Rettenmaier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Will Failla and the previously mentioned Lyons have already etched their names into the WPT Champions Cup, while Anthony Spinella, Jake Bazeley and Matthew Haugen have come close over the last year. Add in Jason Koon, Josh Kay and Jake Cody and from top to bottom, this may be the toughest Day 3 field the WPT has seen throughout Season XV.
The final 27 players will restart this afternoon at the Seminole Hardrock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL and play down to the final six. That final table will then play to a winner tomorrow, along with the $3,500 Showdown field, before the WPT Tournament of Champions begins later this week. Updates from the event can be found on WPT.com.