Barely more than 100 players remain of the original 493 after Day 2 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic. It should be a tense day, as 62 players get paid and there will be plenty of short stacks just trying to stay alive while the big stacks work on accumulating chips.
The race at the top is extremely tight, which is not something we frequently see at this stage in a major tournament. There is often one player who pulls ahead at this point (and often drops down later); sometimes two players form their own mini peloton. But in this case, the top FOUR players are within 10,000 chips of each other and another three are not too far behind.
Kimbo Ung is the chip leader with 379,400 chips, but hot on his heels are Chance Kornuth (374,400), Dennis Blieden (370,500), and John Misirian (370,000). In the fifth spot is Tan Nguyen with 350,000 and then, after a bit of a gap, are Marc Macdonnell with 333,200 and Toby Lewis with 315,300. Seven players with more than 300,000 chips. Should be a fun day at the top and bottom of the standings.
Ung, who won his seat in a $1,100 satellite, told WPT.com at the end of the day that he didn’t really do anything special to get to that position.
“I just gradually built, the same thing yesterday and today. I just keep chipping up. I’ve lost a few pots here and there. I lost a big pot at the end, I would have had 500,000 if I didn’t lose that pot,” he said. “I didn’t have any good hands at all, I just kept playing the suited connectors and building up little by little.”
The hand to which Ung referred appears to be the last one that WPT.com reported for Day 2. The site caught up with the action on the flop with the board reading J♣-9♥-2♠. There was about 40,000 already in the pot and Ung raised a 17,500 chip bet to 38,000. Kornuth thought about it and re-raised to 77,200. Ung then tanked for a couple minutes before finally folding. Kornuth showed 6♣-7♣.
As mentioned, there were 493 entries in the $9,500 + $500 tournament, creating a prize pool of almost $4.7 million. $1 million will be awarded to the winner, which was the guaranteed first prize. Payouts go down to 62nd place; the min-cash is $16,640.
According to TheHendonMob.com, Kimbo Ung has but two live tournament cashes, which is double the number that this writer has (and mine isn’t even recorded on TheHendonMob.com). One is for just $585, but the other is a sweet $125,901 cash for winning the 2010 Heartland Poker Tour Las Vegas Main Event. Thus, any sort of cash will be significant to Ung relative to his career earnings.
2018 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders
1. Kimbo Ung – 379,400
2. Chance Kornuth – 374,400
3. Dennis Blieden – 370,500
4. John Misirian – 370,000
5. Tan Nguyen – 350,000
6. Marc Macdonnell – 333,200
7. Toby Lewis – 315,300
8. Jean Gaspard – 298,000
9. Manuel Martinez – 276,500
10. Sam Sanusi – 254,500