The field of the World Poker Tour (WPT) at Venetian Main Event has been whittled to just nine players as the tournament heads into its final day. Everyone will be seated at one table, but as is custom on the World Poker Tour, the official final table does not begin until six players remain. Leading the charge to the title is Ben Palmer, who I originally thought was “Ben Poker” when I first glanced at his name. Frankly, I was disappointed, as “Ben Poker” would clearly have been the best poker name since Chris Moneymaker (and before that, Chip Reese, who was preceded by Flushy McDoublegutter). Palmer, the man whose name is a letdown, has 5.460 million chips.
Palmer has more than $2.3 million in live tournament earnings in his career, his largest cash coming way back in 2008, when he won a $5,000 event at the Festa al Lago Classic for $189,975. Even with the large sum of money he has amassed, most of Palmer’s cashes are in the four and five-figure range. One, an adorable $72, looks like something I might have done. What I am saying is that it is plenty impressive that he has won so much money when not much if it is from really big scores.
Interestingly, Palmer made his way to the top without seeing the showdown in several of his big pots. Case in point, the hand that gave him the chip lead during Level 24, early in the evening. He raised pre-flop and saw Mark Ioli re-raise to 180,000. After Palmer called, the flop was 7-6-2 rainbow and Palmer checked, Ioli bet 180,000 again, and Palmer called. With a Queen on the turn, Palmer again check-called, this time for 440,000. With a Ten on the river (no flush possible), Palmer checked and Ioli bet 960,000 chips. Palmer tanked for a bit before shoving for 1.3 million. Without hesitation, Ioli folded and Palmer had risen to the chip lead with 3.900 million chips.
As mentioned, the plan for today is to play all the way down to a winner, rather than break when the official six-handed final table is set. Levels will continue to be 90-minutes long until the field is narrowed to six, at which point the levels will shorten to an hour each. When the tournament gets heads-up, level duration will be cut in half again.
Action has already gotten underway at the Venetian in Las Vegas as the remaining players jockey for the $431,655 first prize. Everyone entering Tuesday has already won at least $41,665.
2019 World Poker Tour at Venetian Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts
1. Ben Palmer – 5,460,000
2. Jay Farber – 4,690,000
3. Orlando Barrera – 4,115,000
4. Will Givens – 4,045,000
5. Sean Yu – 2,930,000
6. Tony Gargano – 2,740,000
7. Danny Qutami – 2,205,000
8. Mark Ioli – 1,660,000
9. Skip Wilson – 1,380,000