The six-handed final table has been determined for the World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event. The players will now take a week and a half break before commencing final table play at the Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas on the final day of May. Right now, it looks like a two horse race with Will Berry out in front with 7.575 million chips and Craig Varnell in second place with 6.230 million chips.
I say “two horse race” because after Berry and Varnell, there is a steep drop off to the remainder of the field. Nick Pupillo is in third place with 3.135 million chips, followed by Trung Pham and Austin Lewis with around 2.6 million each. The short stack at the table is Stacey Jones with under a million. Blinds will only be 40,000/80,000 and the ante 80,000, so almost everyone is plenty deep. Only Jones has under 30 big blinds (25 bb) and nobody else has fewer than 64 big blinds. Thus, while Berry and Varnell are way ahead of everyone, the other four players can easily make a dent in their stacks and turn the final table upside down if the right hand comes along.
The total field of WPT Choctaw was 577 entries, creating a prize pool of nearly $2 million. Payouts went down to 74th place with a min-cash of $3,032. Everyone at the final table is guaranteed at least $76,890 and fifth place is where the six-figure payouts begin. The winner will receive $379,990.
Varnell may have been the chip leader going into the final table were it not for the last hand of Day 3. Varnell raised pre-flop to 100,000, Pham called, then Denny Tran re-raised to 700,000. Berry pondered his move for a while and then finally moved all-in for 3.930 million chips. Varnell and Pham folded, but Tran – after using four time chips – called all-in for 3.365 million.
It was interesting that he thought for so long, as he had pocket Kings. Perhaps he genuinely felt that Berry might have had Aces, but convinced himself that such a bold all-in bet indicated a strong hand, but one which he didn’t want to have challenged, or at least have to use to go up against more than one player. If so, he should have stuck to his gut, as Berry did, in fact, have pocket Aces.
The board provided no help to Tran and gave Berry a superfluous set on the river, eliminated Tran in seventh place, shooting Berry up to the chip lead, and setting the final table for May 31st.
As mentioned, the final table will be delayed until May 31st at the HyperX Esports Arena, along with a few other World Poker Tour final tables. Though opinions on the delay have been mixed since the schedule was announced, at least these are taking place during the start of the World Series of Poker, so it will be convenient for those who want to play in some of the early WSOP events.
2019 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts
- Will Berry – 7,575,000
- Craig Varnell – 6,230,000
- Nick Pupillo – 3,135,000
- Trung Pham – 2,600,000
- Austin Lewis – 2,560,000
- Stacey Jones – 980,000