The final 18 players of the 2013 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic returned to the Commerce Casino on Wednesday looking to reach one of the WPT's most prestigious final tables. When the day ended, Paul Volpe led a group of lesser-known pros at the televised six-handed table, which is set to take place Thursday evening.
Day 5 began with 18 of the original 517 players looking to capture the $1,004,090 top prize that goes to the winner. Amazingly, out of the 43 former WPT champions who entered the $10,000 event, none reached Day 5. Noah Schwartz nearly got there, but he was the last elimination on Tuesday night, finishing in 19th place.
British poker pro Toby Lewis occupied the top spot in the counts when Day 5 commenced, but Paul Klann emerged as the leader after adding a million chips to his stack during the first level of the day. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Klann raised to 45,000 from under the gun (blinds 10,000/20,000/3,000), Jesse Yaginuma called from middle position, and David Tuthill three-bet to 115,000 from the big blind. Klann and Yaginuma called to see a flop of . All three players checked, and checked again when the hit the turn. On the river, Tuthill led out for 250,000 and was met with a min-raise to 500,000 from Klann. Yaginuma folded and Tuthill tank-called after Lewis called the clock. Klann flipped over the for a full house, and Tuthill mucked. Klann was suddenly the new chip leader, and he coasted for the rest of the day to make the final table.
Among the early eliminations on Day 5 were Blake Barousse (18th - $49,630), Andrew Whitaker (17th - $49,630), Michael Winnett (16th - $49,630), Ben Zamani (15th - $57,570), Randy Ohel (14th - $57,570) and Gary Lent (13th - $57,570).
The next to go was 2012 October Niner Jeremy Ausmus, whose exit came at the hands of Tuthill. Ausmus moved all in preflop from the button with the , and Tuthill called from the big blind with the . The board ran out , and Ausmus was sent to the rail in 12th place for $70,970.
Minutes later, Alex Venovski followed Ausmus to the payout desk after being eliminated by Volpe. After Volpe min-raised from the cutoff, Venovski moved all in from the small blind for 270,000. Action folded back to Volpe, and he called.
Venovski was in great shape to double up, but the flop gave Volpe a pair of aces and the lead. The turn and river provided no help for Venovski, who collected a payday of $70,970 for his four days of work.
The remaining 10 players moved to the unofficial final table, and it took 27 hands for the next elimination to take place. Bruce Kramer was all-in on the turn with a set of sixes, but was second best against Danny Fuhs' 10-high straight. Following no help on the river, Kramer was out the door.
Ten hands later, Klann eliminated Naoya Kihara when his out-flipped Kihara's . Kiahara earned $96,780, his biggest cash since becoming the first Japanese player to win a World Series of Poker bracelet last June for $512,029.
Tuthill was eliminated in eighth place after losing a heartbreaking pot against Fuhs. As reported by the WPT Live Updates team, Fuhs min-raised from under the gun to 80,000 and Tuthill reraised to 180,000 from the button. Fuhs called. On the flop, Fuhs checked, Tuthill fired 165,000, and Fuhs called. Both players checked the turn, and the dealer revealed the on the river. Fuhs bet enough to put Tuthill all in, and Tuthill went into the tank for several minutes. A player at the table eventually called the clock on Tuthill, who decided to call 10 seconds later.
Fuhs' rivered straight was enough to eliminate Tuthill (8th - $128,550), and the final table bubble was in place. Just four hands later, it was over. Volpe min-raised to 100,000 from the button, and Garrett Greer shoved from the small blind with the . Volpe called with the , and it was off to the races. The board rolled out , and Volpe's rivered set of nines knocked Greer out of the tournament in seventh place. It also moved Volpe into the chip lead past Klann heading into the final day.
The final table begins Thursday at 4 p.m. PT, and live coverage will be available to watch right here on PokerNews.com on a 30-minute delay. You may also catch a full recap of the day’s action upon the completion of play.
Photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.