Building a very nice prize pool, there were many stragglers who came into the game for Day 2 of the World Poker Tour’s Gardens Poker Championship at the Gardens Casino in California. Those extra entries didn’t have an effect on the decimating rate of eliminations, however, as only 48 survived the day with Markus Gonsalves capturing the lead heading into Day 3 action on Sunday.
What Took You So Long?
Only 198 entries were registered through the first two Day Ones of the tournament, but the stragglers would come in before the end of late registration on Saturday. Hollywood producer Randall Emmett led the way for the 110 players who were still alive in the tournament, but they would have to contend with nearly 60 players who decided to take advantage of the “last chance” entry into the event. Some of those players who were late to the party included notables such as Mohsin Charania and Alan Goehring, among others.
By the start of Level 11, the final numbers were set for the event and they were decent, especially for a $10,000 buy in tournament. 257 entries were received for the tournament (no word on how many individual players that represents or how many re-entries were used), besting the 2018 numbers for this event by a mere four entries. The prize pool came up just short of $2.5 million ($2,476,200), with the final 33 players divvying up the spoils of battle. The lion’s share will be in the hands of the eventual champion, who will take home the $554,495 first place prize.
Leaders Hang In Through the Day
The chip leaders from the two-Day Ones, Emmett and Cole Sudeck, both hung in through the Day Two action. Sudeck had to deal with Joseph Cheong, who had nearly an equal stack at their table. But Sudeck would get the best of Cheong in the early evening hours, rivering a set of fours to take a decent sized pot to push his stack to 345,000 in chips.
Emmett’s road was a bit tougher as he wasn’t able to add to his stack but did tread water. He trapped Peter Neff in a hand, with the flop and turn reading 2-7-A-9, by putting out a bet that would cost Neff the remainder of his chips to call. Neff did make the call, not believing Emmett, and showed Big Slick for a pair of Aces. Emmett wasn’t fooling around, however, showing pocket sevens for the flopped set to leave Neff drawing dead. After the meaningless river card, Emmett’s stack went up to 280,000, slightly more than he started the day with.
Gonsalves Storms to the Lead
As the evening hours played out, Gonsalves took command of the game. It was a strange hand with Byron Kaverman that got him started, one in which Gonsalves four bet the action and saw Kaverman make the call. After a 5-7-7 flop hit the baize, Kaverman would check his option and Gonsalves put out a rather small 30K bet. Kaverman didn’t waste any time putting his cards in the muck, leaving Gonsalves scratching his head but with 415K in chips.
Gonsalves would ride that odd hand to the overall chip lead for Day 2, but he will have a slew of top professionals hot on his heels among the 48 players that remain in the tournament:
1. Markus Gonsalves, 473,000
2. Joseph Cheong, 451,000
3. Ali Imsirovic, 446,500
4. Upeshka De Silva, 439,000
5. Jonathan Cohen, 420,500
6. Tuan Pham, 392,000
7. Lior Orel, 359,500
8. Randall Emmett, 352,500
9. Straton Wilhelm, 333,000
10. Sorel Mizzi, 307,500
Action will resume at noon (Pacific Time) at the Gardens Casino, with the first order of business to get down to the money. Once the final 33 players have been determined, then the next job for the tournament then the work to get the field winnowed to a reasonable number for Monday’s action will take place. The money will start at $18,825 for a min-cash, with the final table players earning six-figure paydays.
This will be (not sure whether to say it is unfortunate or not) one of three delayed final tables for the WPT in 2020, with the WPT Gardens Poker Championship set to be played out at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas (along with the upcoming WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and the WPT L. A. Poker Classic) from March 31 to April 2. The action will still be intense as the players look to make their way to Sin City to be a part of that action and represent the WPT Gardens Poker Championship.