There were probably a few poker players that had trouble sleeping last night in the Los Angeles area, as Day 2 finished up in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Festival Main Event just seven spots away from the money. I know if I was a short stack, I would have been tossing and turning, trying to figure out how was going to stay alive in order to cross the money bubble. With just 54 players remaining (and 47 getting paid), Lior Orel is the chip leader with 1.005 million chips, the only player to finish Monday night over that million chip plateau.

Just behind Orel is Cord Garcia, the chip leader going into Day 2. Garcia has 945,000 chips. The leaderboard is really all about Orel and Garcia, as they are very much alone at the top. After the two of them, there is a massive drop-off; sitting in third place is David Miscikowski with 639,000. Nobody else has more than 575,000 chips and nobody outside the top ten even has 400,000.

Lior Orel is a local to the Gardens Casino and is primarily a cash game player, so he does not have an extensive tournament resume. He has banked almost a quarter million dollars in live earnings, most of which came from a $207,000 score when he finished second in the $160 No Limit Hold’em Mega Millions XV at the 2016 WPT Legends of Poker.

He told afterward that his day was pretty much like most poker players’ days: he ran cold and hot. Fortunately, the cold streak didn’t bust him and the hot streak followed to allow him to build a chip lead. Orel said he was fortunate to have had the better hand in sizeable pots against another big stack. I think he might be downplaying the role he had in his success just a bit.

Registration for the tournament closed after the first two levels of Day 2. 80 more entries were filed on Monday, bringing the total field to 373. First prize will be $368,475 and, as mentioned, payouts will go down to 47th place. The min cash for the $5,000 buy-in Main Event is $9,330.

The plan for Tuesday’s Day 3 is to contest another five 90-minute levels beginning at noon Pacific. As always, the Action Clock is in play at this point in the tournament, limiting the time players have to make decisions. Players do have time extension chips available, but nobody will be able to really stall on the bubble. Expect things to go fairly slowly at the outset as short stacks try to hang on until the money, followed by a spree of knockouts once the money bubble bursts.

2019 World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Festival Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

  1. Lior Orel – 1,005,000
  2. Cord Garcia – 945,000
  3. David Miscikowski – 639,000
  4. Alex Tran – 575,000
  5. James Calderaro – 572,000
  6. Vladimir Vasilyen – 568,000
  7. Andrew Wisdom – 502,000
  8. Laszlo Molnar – 496,000
  9. Eric Wong – 466,000
  10. Anatolii Zyrin – 466,000

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