The penultimate day of the 2012 World Poker Tour Venice Grand Prix began with nine players attempting to reach the televised six-handed final table. The rapid play during the first two days in Venice resulted in the 155-player field being whittled to 27, and only nine survived a shortened Day 3. Simon Ravnsbaek held a slight chip lead over Alessandro Longobardi and Andrea Dato, and American poker pro Jason Wheeler wasn't far behind the leaders.
Day 4 began with two short-stacks hanging on with less than 20 big blinds. Massimo Mosele entered the day with 163,000 chips, just over 15 big blinds, but his afternoon at the table lasted just two hands. The WPT Live Updates team reported that Mosele's stack was carved down to just 109,000 before he moved all-in with and was called by Dato, who tabled . The board came up empty for Mosele, who exited in ninth place with €13,795.
The other short-stack, Rinat Bogdanov, fared much better. After starting the day with 201,000, Bogdanov was able to increase his stack early on and then got involved in a preflop battle with Jeremie Sochet. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Bogdanov opened to 27,000 in the cutoff (blinds 6,000/12,000) and Sochet moved all-in for 94,000 more from the small blind. Bogdanov made the call, and the cards went on their backs.
Sochet was poised for a double up, but the board gave Bogdanov trip kings to send Sochet to the rail in eighth place for €19,055.
That left Wheeler as the short-stack on the final table bubble. Despite adding some chips to his stack by moving all-in and putting pressure on the rest of the table, Wheeler's impressive run ended at the flip of a coin in Level 22. With the blinds increased to 8,000/16,000, Dato raised to 33,000 from the hijack. Andrea Carini three-bet to 85,000 from the cutoff and Wheeler four-bet shoved for 436,000 from the blinds. Dato made the call, which prompted a fold from Carini, and Wheeler's was left flipping against Dato's . The board brought no help to Wheeler, who made a disappointing walk to the cashier to collect his €25,625 prize for seventh place.
Dato ended the day as the chip leader 1,591,000. What makes his accomplishment impressive is that it marks his second straight final table at WPT Venice. He took fourth place at the WPT Venice event last December for $56,822 and will seek to improve on that result when the final table commences on Friday. First place in this event is worth €229,800, which includes a seat to the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in May.
Chasing Dato on Friday will be Ravnsbaek, who also reached his second career WPT televised final table — he made the final six at WPT Vienna last year. Ravnsbaek will take 922,000 chips to the final table and, fortunately for him, will have position on the chip leader for the remainder of the tournament.
The final is set to get under way at 1400 CET (0500 PST) on Friday as the final six play down to a champion. Here's a look at the seat draw when play resumes:
World Poker Tour Venice Grand Prix Final Table Seat Draw
For more on the WPT Venice Grand Prix, be sure to visit the PartyPoker Blog to see what Tony G and Mike Sexton have to say from the Casino Di Venezia.
*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.