The World Poker Tour (WPT) is roughly mid-way through Season XII, and with it comes a stop at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
With late registration open till mid-way through Day 2 and the fact that the tournament was a re-entry, the 322 players that found a seat on Day 1 would definitely increase, but at the end of the day it was Kevin Eyster leading the field. Gary Benson was one of nine players to reach the six-figure chip count club while David Steicke managed to bag an average chip stack as 217 survived the day.
Day 2 saw the total entrants increase to 449, but at the conclusion of the day only 140 would remain with Jeff Madsen edging out Eyster by just a few big blinds to claim the chip lead. Benson chipped down to 80,000 while Steicke unfortunately couldn’t survive the day. Day 3 would leave just 59 players as Don Nguyen captured the chip lead while Benson finished slightly above average with 282,000 while Day 4 would be the money day as only 45 players would be guaranteed a piece of the US$4,355,300 prizepool and guaranteed US$21,700 minimum-payout.
As players consistently made their way to the rail, it would be Day 1 chip leader Eyster being crowned the unfortunate title of bubble boy. After Eyster and Steven Silverman traded raises back-and-forth, Eyster would find himself all in holding against Silverman’s to be in great shape to double. However, the run out would see Silverman spike a two-outer and send Eyster tumbling to the rail as the bubble boy. At the conclusion of Day 4 it would be the one-and-only Jean-Robert Bellande finishing as top dog as he bagged the chip lead over the final 21 as Benson ended the day with 643,000 – good for a placing in the middle of the pack.
The penultimate day of play was going to be a big day for every player as a mistake could mean missing out on their chance at reaching a televised WPT final table and be in the running for the US$1,161,135 first prize. Dan Martin, Will Failla and Silverman were early casualties while Benson was busy building his stack to over a million in a hand against Joe Serock. The board read and Benson called a bet on the turn and river holding to best Serock’s . Dan O’Brien, Zach Clark and Andy Philachack were all then eliminated to leave the final ten players combined into one table to play down to the six needed for the televised WPT final table.
With Dan Smith being the chip leader slightly ahead of Barry Hutter, Benson would sit seventh overall with roughly 48 big blinds, and once Bellande fell in 10th, Benson would increase his stack after taking a sizeable pot from Serock once again. Benson opened the button to 56,000 (at 12,000/24,000 blinds) and Serock three-bet to 140,000 with Benson calling as the flop fell as Serock continued for 150,000. Benson bumped it up to 370,000 and Serock called before check-folding to Benson’s all in when the turn landed the to put the Australian into third overall.
As chips passed back-and-forth between the final nine, Christian Harder was eliminated in 9th when his couldn’t spike against Benson’s on a board to put Benson into the chip lead with 105 big blinds. 2008 APPT Macau Champion Eddy Sabat would then take a big pot from Benson when he shoved on a board before flashing the . However Benson would soar back into the lead just a few hands later when he min-raised under-the-gun to 60,000 with and checked down a flop before raising a river-bet and getting a call from Hutter. Antonio Lafosse then fell in 8th before Curt Kohlberg bubbled the televised final table when his couldn’t outdraw Shaun Suller’s to leave a final six lead by Smith as Benson sat in second position with a healthy 77 big blind stack.
Final Table Line-Up
With players guaranteed US$175,766 and chasing the US$1,161,135 first prize, play is set to begin at 4:00 p.m. PST on Wednesday afternoon (11:00 a.m. EST Thursday morning) with the final six playing down until the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Champion is crowned.
*Photos and Information courtesy of World Poker Tour.
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