The World Poker Tour (WPT) Venetian Main Event has reached its final table, with six players left to vie for the title. Leading the charge toward the three-quarters of a million dollars first prize is 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe McKeehen with 10.850 million chips.
Though there are just six players at the final table, there are several interesting story lines to follow when action gets underway at 2:00pm PT. Let’s start with the player in the pole position. McKeehen is aiming to become one of the elite few to win both a WSOP Main Event and a World Poker Tour title. There is as long list of players who have won a WSOP bracelet and a WPT championship, but only a handful have the ultimate bracelet to go along with the WPT victory.
If my list reading and memory are correct, I believe the only people who have won both a WSOP Main Event and WPT title are Doyle Brunson, Joe Hachem, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen, and Ryan Riess.
Sitting in the middle of the pack is Qing Liu with 5.725 million chips. Liu is in an enviable position (aren’t they all, really) in that while he is not currently on the WPT Player of the Year leaderboard, he could find himself in second place by the end of the day tomorrow. In addition to today’s final table, he is also at the final table of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, which was one of the delayed final tables from last year that had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled for tomorrow in Las Vegas, so Liu will soon find himself with a much heavier wallet and flush in POY points.
Finally, there is Jack Hardcastle, who is not a tough-as-nails detective, but rather the short stack at the WPT Venetian final table. Hardcastle won the WPT Montreal Online in January, so he is not only trying to win his second WPT title in quick succession, but he is also trying to become the first player in history to win World Poker Tour championships online and live. Sign of the times.
McKeehen reached the chip lead thanks to a late double-up through Liu. After Liu three-bet all-in, McKeehen called, putting himself all-in for 4.125 million. Fortunately, he had pocket Kings against Liu’s pocket Deuces. A King landed on the river to make it look better and McKeehen jumped into the lead with 8.400 million chips.
On the last hand of the night, McKeehen eliminated Sergio Aido in seventh place to take his chip stack to where it is going into the final table. Aido had A-6 and McKeehen had A-J and while Aido did turn a 6, four clubs were on the board by the river and McKeehen had the Ace (Aido had a 6c, so he also rivered a flush).
2021 World Poker Tour Venetian Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts
- Joe McKeehen – 10,850,000
- Roland Rokita – 8,450,000
- Trace Henderson – 5,925,000
- Qing Liu – 5,725,000
- Kou Vang – 3,550,000
- Jack Hardcastle – 3,025,000