The World Series of Poker is over, so it is time for other poker tournaments to return to the spotlight. Up now: World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw. The WPT Choctaw Main Event moves on to its third day today with Michael Stashin holding the lead out of the remaining 24 players with 5.585 million in chips.
There were two starting flights for this tournament; Friday’s Day 1A saw 340 entries (unlimited re-entries were permitted until the start of Day 2) and Day 1B was larger, as expected, with 562 entries. Add to those the 22 late entries before Day 2 began and the total field for WPT Choctaw is 927 entries.
After pulling out the various tournament fees from the $3,700 buy-in, the total prize pool amounts to $3.121 million. The top 99 players make the money (min cash is $6,400) with the winner receiving nearly $600,000.
Now let’s go back to Michael Stashin for a moment. I don’t know when the last time was that I saw a player with such an otherworldly chip lead at this point in a major tournament. There have been plenty of times when someone has a huge stack with nine players remaining or six players remaining, but look at what Stashin is doing.
Stashin has 5.585 million chips. The second place player, Eric Bunch, has only 1.965 million. And that’s with TWENTY-FOUR players remaining! Stashin has more chips as the second, third, and fourth place players combined and again, there are two dozen players left in the field. That’s almost unheard of.
Two of Stashin’s bigger hands that allowed him to jump that high in the chip counts came late in the day. According to the WPT.com report, with 28 players remaining, KC Panjwani bet 75,000 pre-flop, Cary Moomjian called, and Stashin raised to 200,000. Panjwani shoved for 846,000 and Stashin called after Moomjian folded.
It was a bit of a cooler hand, with Stashin holding Kings against Panjwani’s Jacks. The Kings improved to a set and Panjwani was out of the tournament. That took Stashin’s stack up to 4.210 million at the time.
Then, shortly thereafter, Bryan Campanello raised to 55,000 pre-flop UTG and Stashin raised to 125,000. Moomjian called and Campanello folded. On the flop of A-8-5 rainbow, Moomjian checked, Stashin bet 90,000, and Moomjian called. When a Jack came on the turn, Moomjian got aggressive, betting 350,000. Shashin then moved all-in, obviously putting Moomjian to a decision for all of his chips. Moomjian decided it was go time, calling for about 900,000.
The cards that were revealed shocked everyone. Stashin had a Jack for top pair (WPT.com did not see/tell us the other card), while Moomjian had…K-Q? It’s one thing to lead out with a bluff, but then to call off what is still a decent stack with air is just bizarre. Granted, Moomjian still had outs, but if he was up against an Ace, which considering Shashin’s all-in move, he very well could have been, he would have been drawing dead. As it stood, Moomjian got no help on the river and was eliminated in 26th place.
According to the WPT.com report, Campanello said, “I watched the hand and I don’t know what I just saw. If I knew it wasn’t collusion, I would think it’s collusion.”
Stashin and the other 23 players are just now resuming the action. The plan for Monday is to play down to six players.
2017 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event Day 2 Chip Leaders
1. Michael Stashin – 5,585,000
2. Eric Bunch -1,965,000
3. Bryan Campanello – 1,800,000
4. Kamran Munaf – 1,730,000
5. Jordan Cristos – 1,695,000
6. Zachary Smiley – 1,645,000
7. Kevin Calenzo – 1,585,000
8. Jeffrey Chang – 1,330,000
9. Josh Kay – 1,260,000
10. Jason Emmons – 1,110,000