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L.A. Poker Classic - Day 4 Recap - Down to 18

L.A. Poker Classic - Day 4 Recap - Down to 18 0001

54 players returned to the Commerce Casino for the fourth day of action at the L.A. Poker Classic main event. By Midnight, only 18 players remained and JC Tran leaped out in front of the pack with a massive $3.46 million stack, which was almost as much as second, third and fourth places… combined. In less than eight hours of play, Tran started with 636K and amassed almost three million in chips.

The money bubble burst late on Day 3, and every returning player was guaranteed at least $22,780 in prize money. You figured that the entrants would be thrilled to make the money, but several players including pros complained at the top-heavy structure, where first place and second place will take home a combined 44% of the total prize pool. The final TV table's combined cut is almost two-third of the total $7.9 million prize pool.

In a top-heavy tournament such as the L.A. Poker Classic, players tweak their strategy a little knowing that there's very little difference between 54th and 24th place's prize money. As soon as the money bubble burst, there was a series of quick bustouts. Smaller stacks who had been hanging on hoping to squeak into the money finally loosen up and made moves. Since play ended last night just as the bubble broke, the first level of Day 4 featured a series of rapid fire eliminations. 21 players began Day 4 above the average stack of 293K. The remaining 33 were below average with ten players under 100K in chips. The short stacks had no choice but to aggressively pick and hand and move all-in.

Bill Edler entered the Day 4 as the chipleader with Jason Strasser not far behind in second place. Edler has a reputation of being one of the nicest guys on the tournament circuit. He's a patient player with solid fundamentals. He admits that his biggest leak is that he has issues with mathematics. Edler is meticulous about keeping his stacks in a specific order and size, and can often seen trading chips with other players to maintain a uniformity of chip stacks and colors. When asked about this behavior he answered, "I'm not very good at math. Earlier today I forget whether I had 260,000 or 360,000. The well ordered stacks are because I can't count."

Jason Strasser was the first player to pass the $1 million chip mark on Day 4 after he busted Gary Kainer in 44th place. Bill Edler soon followed suit and joined the $1 million club after he scooped one of the biggest pots of the tournament off of Isaac Haxton. Haxton had trip Queens, but Edler had flopped a set, then turned a full house with {9-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}.

JC Tran slowly built up his stack to $1 million when he rivered a runner-runner flush against Chris Bell. He busted Sung Yi in 24th place, and with 21 players left in the field, he had $1.3 million and a slight lead over Jason Strasser. Tran became the first player to rush past the $2 million as he took advantage of the short-handed tables and bullied everyone in his path. With a series of well-timed re-raises in position, Tran accumulated chips by winning several pots pre-flop. With a big stack, he was able to see plenty of flops and outplayed everyone at his table post-flop.

"Everything I've been doing has been working out," Tran explained. "I go with the flow and whatever is working, I stick with it. I've hit some flops and I'm running good."

Tran surpassed the $3 million mark when he eliminated Hans "Tuna" Lund in 20th place. Lund had Tran dominated when he flopped a King with Big Slick. With {j-Spades}{8-Spades}, Tran flopped an 8 and smooth called Lund's flop bet of 150K. The turn was another 8 and Tran bet out 250K. Lund quickly pushed all in and Tran could not have called faster with trip 8s. The river did not help Lund as he headed to the rail. At that point, no one at Tran's table wanted to tangle with his monster stack.

Kristy Gazes cashed in her sixth straight event. She had been limiting her tournament play which she credited to her recent run. She picked up chips early when she busted Greg "FTB" Mueller with {a-Hearts}{a-Spades} against his {a-Clubs}{k-Hearts}. She was never near the top of the leaderboard and hovered around average for most of Day 4. Her tight image allowed her to occasionally pick up chips against her opponents to stay alive.

Gazes avoided slipping into tiltdom when she became the short-stack at her six-handed table. On a board of {7-Spades}{6-Spades}{3-Hearts}{q-Spades}, Gazes faced a 100K bet from Ben Johnson and went into the tank. After only two minutes, Johnson called the clock on Gazes. She folded, but was visibly unhappy about having the clock called on her when so many players, including a few at her table, had been stalling in later stages of the evening.

"I'm a professional," she sternly said to Johnson. "Have you ever seen me stall in this tournament? We're playing for $2 million here, how about you let me make a decision?"

Gazes eventually regained her composure and survived Day 4. She ended up 16th in chips with a little over 300K.

CK Hua busted out in 19th place as play was suspended for the day. The final 18 players will return on Day 5 and play down to the final six.

Here are the end of Day 4 chipcounts:

1 JC Tran $3,461,000

2 Jacobo Fernandez $1,334,000

3 Jason Strasser $1,196,000

4 Bill Edler $1,160,000

5 Tad Jurgens $1,059,000

6 Benjamin Johnson $1,055,000

7 David Bach $985,000

8 Chau Giang $813,000

9 Paul Wasicka $806,000

10 Eric Hershler $745,000

11 Chris Bell $636,000

12 Vincent Procopio $512,000

13 Joseph Cordi $512,000

14 Richard Munro $371,000

15 Jay Chang $333,000

16 Kristy Gazes $307,000

17 Juan Alvarado $282,000

18 Shan Jing $266,000

Here's a current list of Day 4 money winners:

19 CK Hua $45,560

20 Hans "Tuna" Lund $45,560

21 Suk Sung $45,560

22 Nam Le $45,560

23 Nick Schulman $45,560

24 Sung Yi $45,560

25 Isaac Haxton $45,560

26 Jeff Cabanillas $45,560

27 Babak Razi $45,560

28 Matthew Gianetti $35,690

29 Lee Markholt $35,690

30 Markus Stranzinger $35,690

31 Ted Lawson $35,690

32 Sean McCabe $35,690

33 Joe Awada $35,690

34 John Galbraith $35,690

35 John Little $35,690

36 Michael Carson $35,690

37 Roland Weedon $28,855

38 Daniel Idema $28,855

39 Avdo Djokovic $28,855

40 Lester Naquin $28,855

41 Robert Nehorayan $28,855

42 Greg "FTB"Mueller $28,855

43 Edward "Bolivia" Moncada $28,855

44 Gary Kainer $28,855

45 Richard Tatalovich $28,855

46 Jeffrey Anderson $22,780

47 Nhut Minh Tran $22,780

48 Dan Harmetz $22,780

49 Alan 'Bodog Ari' Engel $22,780

50 Peter Getten $22,780

51 Stan Jablonski $22,780

52 Steve Yoon $22,780

53 Daniel Woodward $22,780

54 Nick Binger $22,780

The average stack is $659,166.

Action for Day 5 at the L.A. Poker Classic resumes at 3:30 P.M. local time in the ballroom at the Commerce Casino. Stop by and check out our live reporting updates, including chip counts, photos, videos, and more.

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