Fortunes can change quickly in a poker tournament. “A chip and a chair” feels like a cliché, but it feels that way because it’s true. As long as you have chips – or a chip – you have a chance. Such was the case for David ODB Baker on Monday as he was able to elevate from his status as short-stacked for most of the tournament to the chip leader going into Day 4 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic Main Event.
Baker is the lone man among the 35 players remaining in the tournament with 2 million chips, finishing just a few big blinds above that mark. Only two players have more than 1.5 million and just six have eclipsed the 1 million chip plateau.
“It feels great,” Baker told WPT.com when the day was concluded. “It hasn’t really sunk in because I battled as a short stack for two and half days. I was pretty short most of the day today for the first half, and then caught a few hands and played well and got lucky in one spot. Mostly I just played well, chipped up and won a few hands. It was good. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I have all these chips.”
Baker admitted he had the poker gods on his side, adding, “I picked up Aces a few times. I beat Billy Baxter when he had Aces versus my Jacks. There was only like 250,000, but it was a nice little boost from 1.2 to 1.5 million. There were so many good hands today it’s really hard to keep them straight. Today was a good day.”
Hey, the poker gods can give you all the hands you could ever want, but you still have to do something with them. Baker certainly made the most of his opportunities.
David ODB Baker has had a wildly successful live tournament career, amassing over $4.4 million in career cashes (somehow that’s only 264th on the all-time money list). His best cash was for more than half a million when he finished third in the $50,000 Players Championship at the 2015 World Series of Poker. He has cashed nine times on the World Poker Tour, but has never won a title (though he has won a preliminary event on multiple occasions at past iterations of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic). Baker has one WSOP gold bracelet to his credit, earned in the $2,500 8-Game event at the 2012 WSOP.
108 players began Monday’s action, 69 of whom made the money. All 35 players remaining are guaranteed at least $26,830, with the next pay jump coming after three more eliminations. The top eight will earn a six-figure payday (ninth and tenth are close) and the winner will bank a million bucks.
Day 4 will begin at noon Pacific, with the plan to play four more levels.
2019 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event – Day 3 Chip Leaders
1. David ODB Baker – 2,086,000
2. Andrey Zaichenko – 1,715,000
3. Tony Tran – 1,561,000
4. John Smith – 1,194,000
5. Oscar Carrasco – 1,180,000
6. James Carroll – 1,031,000
7. Ryan Hughes – 965,000
8. Darren Elias – 910,000
9. Jeffrey Colpitts – 862,000
10. Matas Cimbolas – 855,000