The World Poker Tour (WPT) at Venetian Main Event (yes, it’s actually called “WPT at Venetian,” not just “WPT Venetian”) is in full swing and after a pair of Day 1 flights and Day 2, it is a close race at the top of the leader board. Ami Alibay is the chip leader going into Day 3 with 1.260 million chips, but Mark Ioli is nipping at his heels with 1.214 million. Also over the million chip mark is Brian Yoon with 1.019 million.

There were 734 total entries for the inaugural edition of the WPT at Venetian Main Event, held at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who has poured millions into his efforts to ban online poker in the United States. So nice partnership, if you ask me. The prize pool amounts to $2,333,800 with a $431,655 first-place prize. Payouts go down to 92nd place; a min-cash is worth $5,600.

Alibay made it to the top of the pack right at the end of the night. Ioli and put Will Givens all-in after Givens raised pre-flop and Givens made the call for nearly 300,000 chips. Givens had A-K and Ioli had A-Q. A Queen flopped, giving Ioli the lead and putting Givens’ tournament life in jeopardy, but the turn and river went runner-runner Ten-Jack to give Givens a straight and a dramatic double-up. Had Ioli not gotten involved in the hand or had he won it, he would be the chip leader.

In the meantime, to end the evening, with a board of 9-8-4-2, Matthew Hunt bet 47,000 and Alibay called. When a 3 was dealt on the river, making a spade flush possible, Hunt bet 103,000 and Alibay called again, apparently not afraid of said flush. Both men had Q-T to chop the pot with a simple Queen-high. While I don’t know the total money in the pot contributed by other players, the amount, which included antes was likely just about the difference between Alibay’s and Ioli’s ending stacks.

Alibay, from Montreal, has $453,128 in lifetime live tournament earnings, but since 73 players remain after Day 2, that number is about to go up. His best live cash, according to, is for $72,859 when he finished second in the 2014 PokerStars Canada Cup High Roller event. As one might guess from these figures, Alibay is looking for his first World Poker Tour title.

The plan for Monday’s Day 3 is to play down to the final two tables. Though we typically see the last day of a tournament start fresh with just the final table, Day 4 will go straight from the final two tables all the way to a winner.

2019 World Poker Tour at Venetian Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Ami Alibay – 1,260,000
2. Mark Ioli – 1,214,000
3. Brian Yoon – 1,019,000
4. Ankush Mandavia – 948,000
5. Dilip Das – 878,000
6. Matthew Waxman – 821,000
7. Aaron Massey – 794,000
8. Brandon Hall – 793,000
9. Frederik Tveit – 757,000
10. David Williams – 743,000

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