As usual, the World Poker Tour’s final event for the 2019 calendar year has once again drawn out the players looking for a Christmas present. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic is in full swing, having built a 1035 entry field with one of the few $10,000 buy-in events left on their schedule. There are 81 players left from that field, with WPT veteran T. K. Miles holding the lead pulling into Thursday’s action.

Popping the Money Bubble

There was still a great deal of work to do as the players convened on Wednesday for the action in the Bellagio. 224 players were back on the felt, looking to be one of the lucky 130 that would at least earn a resume line on their Hendon Mob page and a minimum of $18,530. The players at the six-handed WPT final table would all earn a six-figure catch or at least $355K, but the big prize (and wonderful present) of $1,694,995 would be reserved for the next WPT champion.

Still, nearly 110 players would leave the Bellagio with nothing in their sock and there were some familiar names topping that list. WPT Champions’ Club members such as Mohsin Charania, Tony Dunst, Joe Hachem, Anthony Zinno, Will Failla, Scott Seiver, Taylor Paur and Harrison Gimbel all would be gone well before the popping of the money bubble. But it would be another top professional’s departure that would bring the players to the money.

After a raise from Roland Rokita from the button, Byron Kaverman was in the big blind and glanced at his hole cards. With less than Rokita’s bet in his stack, Kaverman had the option of letting his hand go and sticking around for a little longer, but his holdings wouldn’t allow for that. Kaverman made the call and tabled his Big Slick, which was racing against Rokita’s pocket eights. With his tournament life on the line, Kaverman saw the board run out Jack high to miss him completely and send him away from the felt in 131st place ($0).

Race for the Cage

Once the momentary celebration was done, the remaining 130 players went about whittling the field down even further. With the Action Clock in use – the players being forced to make their decisions within 30 seconds (unless they used a “time extension” chip) – the carnage was quick and plentiful. Among those who would depart with some cash in their pockets were Justin Bonomo, Shannon Shorr, WPT Champions’ Club members David Williams and Mike Leah, Maria Ho and Stephen Chidwick.

Only five players would end the day on Wednesday with stacks over a million chips. One was the chip leader, Miles, who was able to build up a stack of 1.341 million chips by “winning more than losing,” according to the WPT Live Updates team who spoke with Miles. The other big story on the day was former WPT champion Jonathan Jaffe, who ended the day in the second place slot with 1.244 million chips, followed by Eric Afriat (1.07 million), Alex Papazian (1.029 million) and Alex Foxen (1.02 million).

1. T. K. Miles, 1.341 million
2. Jonathan Jaffe, 1.244 million
3. Eric Afriat, 1.07 million
4. Alex Papazian, 1.029 million
5. Alex Foxen, 1.02 million
6. Brett Richey, 989,000
7. Mike Vanier, 954,000
8. Adam Owen, 947,000
9. Tony Sinishtaj, 922,000
10. Timo Kamphues, 893,000

If you’re looking down the ladder for a late closer to drop some money on, you might want to check out Kevin MacPhee (12th place, 874,000), Seth Davies (14th, 855,000), Rokita (15th, 848,000), Andrey Pateychuk (19th, 797,000) and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias (21th, 793,000).

Day 4 of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic will begin at noon (Pacific Time), with plans of setting the final table on Friday. Saturday will be Championship Day for the tournament, with the final table to be played out during the afternoon.

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