The World Poker Tour continues its breakneck schedule through the early part of 2020 with their latest stop on the East Coast. The Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ, is the host for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and, once again, the players have flooded the floor to the tune of 1290 entries for the event. After the conclusion of Day 3 on Wednesday, WPT Champions’ Club member Patrick Serda is looking to add his name again to the Champions’ Cup over the final 28 players.

Start In the Lead, Stay in the Lead

Serda would start Day 3 on Wednesday with the chip lead, but it would be an adventure for him. According to the WPT Live Updates and his own admissions, Serda swung massively throughout the day. “I (got up to) maybe 1.1 or 1.2 million early in the first level,” Serda is quoted by the WPT staff, “then I dropped to about 300K.” Apparently many of his problems were caused by another member of the WPT Champions’ Club, Olivier Busquet, who was at the table with Serda.

Busquet was charging along nicely until he ran into an unfortunate break. After an 8-7-2 rainbow flop, Sungwon Lee would check his option to Busquet and, after Busquet bet out 175K, would power in an all-in bet over the top of Busquet. Perhaps knowing what he was facing, Busquet made the call with his pocket Aces, but Lee had hit the jackpot with his pocket eights. Needing to find one of the two Aces remaining in the deck, Busquet would instead see blanks hit the turn and river to double up Lee and chop his stack down to only 125K. Busquet would be eliminated moments later when his pocket sixes were run down by Veerab Zakarian’s A-9 on an A-Q-9-8-7 board.

Once Busquet was out of the way, Serda was actually able to breath and expand his chip stack. He tested Larry Abrams in winning a large pot to crack the three million chip mark, then approached the four million mark in besting Matt Waxman. But it was another hand which pushed Serda into the stratosphere.

After a bet from Waxman and a call from Baitai Li, Serda defended his big blind to see a Q-9-4 flop. Three checks brought an eight on the turn, at which point Li checked, Serda pushed the issue with a bet of 115K and Waxman called. Li chose this moment to attack, pushing out a bet of 600K that Serda called and Waxman let go.

Now down to two players, the river eight paired the board and saw Li pound the pot with an all-in bet of 1.5 million chips. Serda pondered the action and, after completing his deliberations, made the call. It turned out to be the right move; Li could only show a 6♠ 2♠ for complete air while Serda turned up 10♠ 9♠ for a flopped pair and rivered two pair.

That pot pushed Serda over the six million mark and kept him in the lead for Thursday’s action:

1. Patrick Serda, 6.26 million
2. Veerab Zakarian, 4.075 million
3. Brian Altman, 3.88 million
4. Peter Vitantonio, 3.55 million
5. Stephen Press, 2.55 million
6. Jesus Martinez, 2.545 million
(tie) Paul Sneed
8. Derek Marmen, 2.11 million
9. Jorge Confesor, 2.03 million
10. Bin Weng, 1.895 million

Altman Drives for WPT POY Award

While Serda is in the pole position for the tournament, it is Brian Altman who is on the hot streak. After winning the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open last week, Altman took over the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. With a deep finish in this tournament, he will add on to his current lead and take the helm in the race for the POY championship.

1.Brian Altman, 2100 points
2. Alex Foxen, 1400
(tie) Toby Joyce
4. Donald Maloney, 1350
5. Geoffrey Hum, 1300

Maloney is still alive in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, but he’s down the leaderboard significantly of the 28 remaining players. Both players have already earned 50 points for their cashes, but the points ramp up the deeper that a player goes in a tournament. With Altman still up around the top of the standings, Maloney will not gain any ground on Altman unless he lasts longer in the tournament.

The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will resume at noon on Thursday, with the plan to play down to the final table. At that point, play will be suspended until April 1, at which point the tournament will resume at the HyperX eSports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas. The players who make the final table won’t mind the wait, as all six will be guaranteed six figure paydays and the champion will receive $674,840.

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