The World Poker Tour is back in Las Vegas this week as the WPT Venetian moves on to Day 3. There are just 39 players remaining heading into Tuesday’s action, with Ari Oxman leading the way with 3.310 million chips. Tim McDermott is close behind with 3.120 million and six more players cracked the 2 million-chip barrier.

The minimum payout at this point is a healthy $23,145, but the prize money really starts pumping in the top ten. Ninth and tenth will receive $91,035 and then it’s six figures after that. The eventual winner will almost become a millionaire (if they aren’t already), banking $910,370.

With unlimited re-entries, WPT Venetian drew 1,199 total entries and generated a $5,545,375 prize pool, smashing the $3,000,000 guarantee. The tournament is the largest $5,000 buy-in event in World Poker Tour history. It certainly seems like live poker is back after the extended pandemic shutdowns, as in April, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown drew 2,482 entries, making it the largest WPT Main Event of all time.

Nine former WPT champs are still in the running for another title (listed in chip count order): John Hennigan, Tony Dunst, Keven Stammen, Pat Lyons, Tony Tran, Scotty Nguyen, Michael Mizrachi, Harrison Gimbel, and Ben Palmer.

If you have gotten this far and are thinking to yourself that you could have sworn that the WPT Venetian just occurred, you would be correct. The “WPT at Venetian” (yes, there is an “at” in there) ran in March, the first major tournament to be held in Las Vegas since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Qing Liu won the tourney and a quarter million dollars. He actually had a chance to win two WPT Main Event in one week, as he was at the final table of the 2020 WPT Gardens Poker Championship, which had been postponed because of the pandemic, the next day. Unfortunately, he was the first eliminated, finishing in sixth place (though he did win $111,795, so don’t feel too bad for him).

The current chip leader, Ari Oxman, is in an unfamiliar position. According to TheHendonMob.com poker tournament database, he has just two live tournament cashes for less than $9,000 total, the last coming in December 2017. Thus, even if he bows out immediately on Tuesday, he will multiply his career winnings several times.

The plan for Day 3 is to start at noon Pacific time and play all the way down to the six-handed final table. At that point, the tournament will be paused and resumed on Wednesday to determine the champ.

2021 World Poker Tour Venetian – Day 2 Chip Leaders

  1. Ari Oxman – 3,310,000
  2. Tim McDermott – 3,120,000
  3. Mike Liang – 2,750,000
  4. Stephen Song – 2,735,000
  5. Sergii Baranov – 2,670,000
  6. Jason Koo – 2,435,000
  7. Arie Kliper – 2,135,000
  8. Nacho Barbero – 2,090,000
  9. Matt Bond – 1,945,000
  10. Landen Lucas – 1,850,000

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