The thought going through everybody’s mind here at the Bellagio on Day 4 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship is that players are dropping at a very rapid rate. As it stands, we’re already down to three tables. Remember, the plan is for this event to last until there’s a final table entering Saturday that will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
The room got a little lighter when it came to character, as David “Devilfish” Ulliott was eliminated at the hands of the resurging Bodog pro David Williams. Ulliott shoved on the button with A-Q suited and ran into A-K, which held. Shortly after that hand, Shawn Buchanan’s near-perfect run took its first misstep when World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event winner Carlos Mortensen doubled through. Mortensen shoved with A-K suited and Buchanan made the call with Q-J suited, with the better pre-flop hand winning in the end.
We got word from our friends at the WPT that 40% of the field still playing in this event has a shot to win the Player of the Year title. Everyone is trying to catch Faraz “The Toilet” Jaka, but plenty of players have a great shot, including Mortensen, Todd Terry, Josh Arieh, and even Phil Hellmuth.
Around 3:30pm PT, play was down to three tables. Last night, the talk was about “The Table of Death,” which had three of the four chip leaders at the same table. With seats being reshuffled around, Table 1 had million-chip plus stacks of Jaka, Nikolay Evdakov, Billy Baxter, and Heather Sue Mercer. Table 2 only had one, Buchanan, and Table 3 had one in Williams. It’s great to see a member of the old school in Baxter do so well so far, but remember, only the top 18 players will finish in the money in this tournament.
Shortly after Level 18 began, it was the online legend Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin defeating Mortensen to knock him out of the tournament in 27th place. Baldwin, a UB.com pro, turned over pocket aces, which found a set on the flop against Mortensen’s pocket tens. About ten minutes later, Matt “All In At 420” Stout used pocket aces to eliminate Brian Lemke in 26th place.
Josh Arieh eliminated defending WPT Championship winner Yevgeniy “Jovial Gent” Timoshenko. The youngster was down to 10 big blinds, not considering the antes, and shoved with Q-10 offsuit. Arieh insta-called with pocket kings, which held up.
We got a chip count update with 21 players still alive on three tables. Remember, only 18 will make the money. Our chip leader is Williams with 1.89 million, followed by Jaka at 1.84 million and Buchanan at 1.56 million. Both Baldwin and Hellmuth look like they are still in decent shape, with about 100 big blinds behind them at this point.