WPT Playground Main Event Day 2: Top Three Separated by a Thread

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The World Poker Tour (WPT) got back in action this weekend north of the border at Montreal’s Playground Poker Club with the aptly named WPT Playground Main Event. This is not to be confused with WPT Montreal, which the legendary Mike Sexton won at the same venue in November. After just two days (technically three, since there were two starting days), there are only 28 players remaining of the original 380. It is a very tight race at the top with Hendrik Latz going into Monday as the chip leader with 838,000 chips, but both Jean-Pascal Savard and Eric Afriat are close behind with 834,000 and 825,000, respectively.

A World Poker Tour title would be significant for anybody, but it would be tremendous for Latz, who has just $156,426 in lifetime live tournament earnings (my usual disclaimer applies: I say “just” like I wouldn’t KILL to have won that much money playing poker). Latz’s biggest live cash was for just over $50,000 when he finished 27th in the 2014 European Poker Tour (RIP EPT) Grand Final in 2014. Latz has one WPT cash to his credit: $31,611 for a 31st place finish in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

As mentioned, the race for the top spot is extremely close, so it obviously didn’t take much for Latz to eek out the lead over his competitors. His big boost came at the end of the night. Nicolas Le Floch, who qualified via the tournament’s partial namesake, partypoker, moved all-in pre-flop for 150,000 chips with pocket Fives. Latz called with A-Q. The board left little suspense, producing an Ace on the flop. Le Floch got no help the rest of the way and was eliminated in 29th place while Hendrik Latz grew his stack to 830,000 chips. Clearly, he nabbed a few more chips to reach his end of Day 2 level.

The buy-in for the WPT Playground Main Event is CAD $3,200 + $300. After three percent is taken out for staff gratuities, the total prize pool came out to CAD $1,179,520 (US $907,323). Just 48 players will finish in the money with CAD $261,000 (US $200,769) going to the eventual winner.

Obviously, the money bubble burst on Day 2; it did so in dramatic fashion. Thundup Ringpa and Savard raised and re-raised each other until Ringpa was all-in for 215,000 and Savard called. Ringpa had A-K suited and Savard had Aces; Savard had a huge advantage. The flop was K-J-9, pairing Ringpa’s King and then another King on the turn gave Ringpa trips and improbable lead. The river, though, was an Ace, giving Savard a full house and knocking Ringpa out of the tournament. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Hendrik Latz – 838,000
2.    Jean-Pascal Savard – 834,000
3.    Eric Afriat – 825,000
4.    Kelly Kellner – 809,000
5.    Henry Tran – 693,000
6.    Kalpesh Raichura – 645,000
7.    Pascal Lefrancois – 635,000
8.    Patrick Blye – 508,000
9.    Anthony Zinno – 499,000
10.    Ryan Yu – 491,000

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