2016 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 3: Kane Kalas Leads Final 34 Players, David Paredes Seeking Second WPT Title

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The “Battle at the Borgata” is heating up as only 34 players are left in the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open. When the players return for Day 4 this afternoon, Kane Kalas will hold the honor of being the chip leader, but WPT champion David Paredes – who won the fall Borgata Poker Open that occurred this WPT season back in September – is looking to take him down.

150 players returned for Day 3 play on Wednesday, looking to work the field down to the final three tables for Thursday’s action. Cong Pham held the lead at this point and he was pretty much assured that he would be among the 110 players who would walk away with a cash from the tournament. The same couldn’t be said for Lily Kiletto and former WPT champion Steve Brecher, both of whom started the day with short stacks.

While Kiletto and Brecher looked for their place, another former WPT champion tried to make his move. Former WPT champion Andy Frankenberger opened the betting from middle position, only to see Je Oh three-bet him from the hijack and another WPT champion, Brian Altman, four-bet the action to 60K. Frankenberger didn’t waste any time in plopping his remaining stack – worth about 140K total – in the center and, while Oh decided it was too rich for his blood, Altman decided to make the call after getting a count from the deal.

Frankenberger had to feel good about his pocket Kings against Altman’s A-J off suit and the 10-8-7 kept him in the lead but provided a sweat. Frankenberger could wipe his brow once when a deuce pulled off on the turn, but the gut shot straight draw came on the river when a nine hit, giving Altman the unlikely straight to crush Frankenberger’s Kings to send him home and put Altman up to 420,000 in chips.

Brecher, meanwhile, got a bit lucky to stick around the Borgata. All in against Jared Griener with a 6-5 against Griener’s pocket Queens, the board would grace Brecher with a 10-8-4-3-2 to give him a runner-runner straight to push his stack up to 92K. That hand would allow Brecher to stick around long enough to see Stan Jablonski eliminated in 111th place ($0) by Bradley St. Vincent and give Brecher a cash in the event in 74th place (for the record, Kiletto also would nurse the short stack into the money in 80th place).

One of the more impressive stories of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open was that of Cate Hall. Nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2016 American Poker Awards, Hall had a streak of four consecutive cashes in WPT events going coming to Atlantic City at stake. Not only would Hall make that streak “five of five” in cashing once again, Hall would go one step further in still being in the running amongst the 34 players coming back to the felt on Thursday. Her 429,000 in chips puts her in 27th place and fairly deep in the pack, but she is still alive with the chance to become the first woman to win an “open” World Poker Tour “main tour” event (Van Nguyen won the WPT Invitational back in 2008; Eleanor Gudger won the WPT500 in Nottingham in 2015, Natalia Nikitina won the WPT National Paris in 2011 and Irina Nikolaidi won the WPT National London in 2015). From appearances, Hall will also take over the WPT Player of the Year lead with her five cashes and two final tables.

Kalas would establish his dominant chip stack on one of the final hands of the night. After a raise from Daniel Hindin, Kalas repopped the pot to 111K out of the hijack. Hindin didn’t back off, taking a four-bet out of his stack to 275K and Kalas moved all in. Hindin didn’t hesitate, calling off his stack, but he was disappointed to turn up his Big Chick (A-Q) and seeing it run into Kalas’ Big Slick (A-K). A King on the flop did nothing to help Hindin and, once the turn blanked for him, Hindin was drawing dead and out of the tournament in 35th place ($14,619). The misstep by Hindin allowed Kalas to scoop up over three million chips to be the chip leader at the close of Day 3.

1. Kane Kalas, 3.276 million
2. David Paredes, 2.5 million
3. Rafael Yaralieyev, 1.937 million
4. Keith Morrow, 1.805 million
5. Denis Gnidash, 1.716 million
6. John-Allan Hinds, 1.538 million
7. Brian Altman, 1.5 million
8. Hye Park, 1.48 million
9. Liam He, 1.435 million
10. Aaron Overton, 1.422 million

Also in the mix are World Champion Joe McKeehen (1.073 million), former WPT champions Mukul Pahuja (1.058 million) and Amir Babakhani (480,000) and Hall (429,000).

Play will resume at noon (Eastern Time) with what appears as though will be a long day. The 34 players remaining will have to be whittled down to the final six that will make up the official WPT final table. One of these players will be walking home with the bounty from this tournament – the $816,246 first place payday and the seat at the 2016 WPT Tournament of Champions this April.

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