You might be forgiven if you missed the fact that the World Poker Tour is continuing its Season XX schedule right now in Las Vegas. The WPT opened action on the 2022 WPT Venetian Las Vegas, right smack in the middle of the climactic moments of the 2022 World Series of Poker, but they have shown that they can draw a crowd for their events. As the tournament prepares to head into their Day Three action, the money bubble has been popped and Josh Reichard is atop the leaderboard with his 4.2 million in chips.

Three Day Ones and Unlimited Entries Builds Large Field

The WPT Venetian took the approach they had to in building the field (and the prize pool) for this event. There were three Day Ones offered to pick up any stragglers to the field, with unlimited buy-ins of $5000 for each of those efforts. They were able to build quite the impressive prize pool after those three-Day Ones, making for a high six figure payday for the eventual champion.

As per usual in these multi-flight tournaments, the initial action did not bring out the players. Only 176 entries were received on Day 1A, with 40 players surviving the carnage to bag for Day Two. The numbers got a bit better for Day 1B on Wednesday, with 241 entries received and 58 people earning the right to come back for Day Two. Of course, the final flight is the one where EVERYONE comes out, and the WPT tournament was no different than any other.

A stunning 761 entries came in on Thursday, bringing the total number of entries for the 2022 WPT Venetian Las Vegas to 1178. Surprisingly, that is less than the 1199 that showed up in 2021, but it still will rank quite highly in the WPT annals. Also impressive is the prize pool created – the $5,418,800 in entries beat the $4 million guarantee, while the entirety of the six-handed WPT final table will take home six-figure paydays as $894,100 will go to the eventual champion.

Playing Through the Money Bubble

The 326 players who returned on Friday for Day Two of the 2022 WPT Venetian Las Vegas had quite a bit of work ahead of them. In theory, they could reach the 148 players who would take home some money from the tournament, but it was going to take some work from the players to get there. The day’s proceedings got off to the usual expected start, with more than 30 players being dumped from the event within the first hour of action.

As the day moved forth, some trends began to emerge. Veteran pro Mark Seif would make a run towards the top of the leaderboard, cracking the million-chip mark around the dinner bell, an outstanding run for the two-time WSOP bracelet winner. He would suffer a difficult loss against Rainer Kempe that essentially ended his day, however.

On a 3♣ Q 2♣ board, Kempe was in a hand with Robert Mizrachi and Seif that would change the fortunes of the combatants. Kempe checked his option and Mizrachi put 80K in after three-betting pre-flop. This did not stop Seif as he plopped a massive 580K bet in the center, but even he was not ready for Kempe’s all-in response.

Mizrachi got out of the carnage while Seif, after a moment of thought, made the call and the cards went to their backs:

Kempe: pocket deuces
Seif: K♣ Q♣

Even though he had flopped a set, Kempe was still in dangerous territory with Seif’s flush draw looming with two cards to come. A black Ace hit the turn, but it was the A♠, and another black card came on the river, the 5♠. Neither of those were what Seif was looking for, giving the double up to Kempe and sending Seif to only about 525K in chips; he would eventually depart in 58th place.

The player who had a fabulous day was Reichard. Reichard caught a nut flush against Robert Tanita that gave him a massive 3.9 million stack just before the close of action on Friday night. He was able to add a few chips to that mountain and will start Saturday’s Day Three play leading the 36 players left with a 4.2 million stack.

1. Josh Reichard, 4.2 million
2. Mike Eskandari, 3.6 million
3. Dapo Ajayi, 3.515 million
4. Javier Zarco, 3.11 million
5. Raul Manzanares, 2.975 million
6. Juan Pardo, 2.7 million
7. Mike Vanier, 2.56 million
8. Rainer Kempe, 2.41 million
9. Robert Mizrachi, 2.405 million
10. Leon Sturm, 2.4 million

Play resumes at noon (Pacific Time) on Saturday, with the plans to play down to the WPT six-handed final table for Sunday’s Championship Day. Everyone left is guaranteed a $22,800 payday, but everyone really wants the nearly $900K that awaits the eventual champion tomorrow.

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