Big-time poker is coming at us fast and furious right now. The final table of the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) Bobby Baldwin Classic is here, then it will be the WPT Tournament of Champions, followed by the World Series of Poker. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves (then again, we’re talking a matter of days here, so it’s not all that far), let’s focus on the Bobby Baldwin Classic, where Darren Elias has a massive chip lead going into the six-handed final table.
Elias will begin Wednesday’s action with 2.127 million chips, nearly as many as the next three players combined. He has more than two and a half times as many chips as his closest competitor, Dietrich Fast. Needless to say, Elias is in the driver’s seat at the final table. This is poker, though, and the tide can turn quickly. And if one of the other players does much of the dirty work at the final table, things could get very tight in a hurry.
Beyond the size of his chip stack, the importance of Elias’ position is that he has an excellent shot at becoming the first player in history to earn four World Poker Tour titles. There are currently five men who have three titles: Elias, Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem, and Anthony Zinno. Jonathan Little, who is the short stack today with 300,000 chips, could match them provided he goes on a hell of a run.
Elias also made history in November 2014 when he became just the second player in history to win back-to-back World Poker Tour titles. He won the WPT Borgata Poker Open that September and followed that up with a victory at the WPT Caribbean. Marvin Rettenmaier was the first player to do so, but the difference in his effort versus Elias’s was that Rettenmaier’s spanned two seasons. He won the season ending WPT World Championship in 2012 (which in itself is probably a more “prestigious” win than either of Elias’) and then kicked off the next season with a win at WPT Cyprus.
Not long after Elias accomplished the feat, Anthony Zinno did the same, winning the 2015 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic and then the WPT L.A. Poker Classic. Zinno edged out Elias for the WPT Player of the Year title that season.
While many people would be thrilled to make the final table of the WPT event and cash for six figures (the top four will make at least $130,895), Elias is not one of those people today. He is well aware of the position he is in and has no interest in anything but his fourth title.
“No, no, if I don’t win, I’ll be pretty disappointed,” he told WPT.com after Day 3. “I had a similar situation in Jacksonville earlier this [season] and I wasn’t able to win. Hopefully, I can redeem myself this time.”
Five other players will have a say in that.
2018 World Poker Tour Bobby Baldwin Classic – Final Table Chip Counts
Darren Elias – 2,127,000
Dietrich Fast – 801,000
Kitty Kuo – 683,000
Sam Panzica – 566,000
Joe McKeehen – 385,000
Jonathan Little – 300,000