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2011 WPT Foxwoods World Poker Finals Day 4: Harder Leads With Eight Remaining

Christian Harder

Day 4 of the World Poker Tour World Poker Finals at Foxwoods saw a field of 27 trimmed to eight players, leaving what should be a short Day 5 when the official six-handed final table is reached. Christian Harder enters Monday with a slim chip lead over Daniel Santoro, but a handful of well-known pros are still in contention for the $450,000 top prize.

Reigning WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger led the way when Day 4 began, but Jack Schanbacher, Harder, and two-time WPT champion Jonathan Little were close on his heels. Among the first to exit on Sunday were Allen Kessler (25th), Cornel Cimpan (23rd), and Josh Bergman (19th), who each received $19,916. Played slowed significantly with two tables remaining, but players like Bernard Lee (16th) and Matt Stout (14th) and Matt Glantz (12th) were sent to the rail just shy of the final table. Glantz has become very familiar with 12th place lately; he took 12th in most recent WPT event at Borgata, and two weeks earlier finished 12th in the Epic Poker Tour Series 2 Main Event.

Two former champs of the event tangled on the "unofficial" final table bubble, and one was sent packing in 10th place. Jonathan Little (Season VII champ) eliminated his good friend Hoyt Corkins (Season I champ) after the latter moved his short stack in preflop with ace-king. Little had {9-Hearts}{8-Hearts} and came from behind as the board ran out {Q-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{2-Spades}{Q-Clubs}, sending Corkins home just short of the final table for the second straight year (he was 12th last year).

After Chris Klodnicki sent Andy Rossi packing in ninth place, Harder claimed the chip lead by winning a sizable pot from Santoro. According to the WPT Live Reporting Team, Santoro raised to 25,000 preflop (blinds 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante) and Harder and Little called. The flop brought {J-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} and Little checked. Santoro bet 45,000, Harder called, and Little got out of the way. The {6-Clubs} prompted a 90,000 bet from Santoto, and Harder called, bringing the {7-Clubs} on the river. Both players decided to check, and Santoro flipped up {9-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} for a combo draw that whiffed. Harder showed {Q-Spades}{J-Hearts} for top pair and scooped a pot worth more than 350,000.

Harder has his eyes on his first WPT title, but Little is looking to add his name to the record books. Only Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen have won three titles since the WPT was formed in 2002, and Little could tie them with a victory in this event. In addition to his win at the World Poker Finals in 2008, Little also took down the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown for more than $1 million in 2007. His chance at history adds a fun dynamic to Monday's penultimate day at Foxwoods.

Play will resume at 1200 EDT (1600 GMT) on Monday and continue until a final table of six is in place. Here's a look at the seating assignment when play begins on Day 5:

1Steven Brackesy984,000
2Chris Klodnicki534,000
3Daniel Santoro1,249,000
4Christian Harder1,437,000
5Bob Carbone263,000
6Andy Frankenberger486,000
7Jonathan Little504,000
8Eli Berg227,000

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*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.

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