A field of 1,189 was trimmed down to a talented final table of six at the 2013 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open on Thursday. A top prize of $825,099 will be on the line on Friday, and the player best positioned to claim that is Cong Pham, who bagged more than 10 million in chips late Thursday night. But Pham will have some serious competition in Vanessa Selbst who is seeking her first title on the WPT.
WPT Borgata Poker Open Final Table
The penultimate day of action began with 36 players eyeing the final table, and several big names were still in contention. Selbst was among the leaders when the day began and she was active right out of the gate, taking the chip lead from Pham on the third hand of the day. According to the WPT Live Updates, Jake Schwartz raised to 33,000 from under the gun (blinds 8,000/16,000/2,000), and Selbst three-bet to 90,000 from the small blind. Schwartz called, and the flop rolled out . Selbst led out for 99,000, Schwartz called, and the turn was the . Selbst fired 243,000 into the pot, and Schwartz called again, bringing the on the river. Selbst bet 497,000 and Schwartz called, creating a massive pot of more than 1.7 million. Selbst turned over the for trip kings, and Schwartz mucked, later saying on Twitter that he had pocket queens. That pot pushed Selbst over 2.6 million, and she was far from done.
Later in the day, Selbst doubled up to 7.18 million in a massive confrontation against Tyler Gaston. Selbst min-raised to 80,000 from the cutoff, and Gaston reraised to 225,000 from the small blind. Selbst called, and the dealer fanned the flop. Gaston checked, Selbst bet 280,000, and Gaston check-raised to 725,000. Selbst then moved all in for 3,330,000, and Gaston called.
Gaston was out in front with a pair of kings, but Selbst had an ace-high flush draw. The on the turn gave her a stranglehold on the hand with a bigger pair, and the completed the board to double her stack to a massive 179.5 big blinds at the time. Gaston was left with 2,340,000, and he later exited in 10th place.
While Selbst was the story of the day, she'll still be chasing Pham at the final table. Pham crossed 10 million in chips late on Day 4 by eliminating Alex Rocha in 11th place. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000 and a 5,000 ante, Rocha limped from under the gun, Jeremy Kottler completed his small blind, and Pham checked his option from the big blind. All three players checked the flop, and the action checked over to Rocha on the turn. He bet 85,000, Kottler folded, and Pham check-raised to 300,000. Rocha called, and the arrived on the river. Pham moved all in effectively for about 1.1 million, and Rocha called. Rocha turned over for a sneakily-played set of kings, but Pham revealed for a rivered flush. Rocha collected $45,278 for 11th place, and Pham increased his chip lead.
Among the other players eliminated along the way on Day 4 were Matt Glantz (23rd - $17,050), Jerry Payne (22nd - $17,050), Raj Vohra (20th - $17,050), and Zak Kottler (15th - $30,312), whose brother (Jeremy) made the final table.
Established pros Dan Heimiller and Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy also fell short of the final table. Heimiller, who finished second in the WPT Legends of Poker earlier this month, was sent packing in 13th place when his came up short against Gaston's after all the chips went in preflop. The board gave Heimiller a king-high flush, but he was virtually drawing dead after the flop against Gaston's full house.
Josephy was out the door shortly after reaching the "unofficial" 10-handed final table, finishing in ninth place for $69,528. After Selbst opened the action with a raise to 140,000 from early position (blinds 30,000/60,000/5,000), Josephy moved all in from the button, and Eric Fields re-shoved from the small blind. Selbst folded, and the cards went on their backs.
Josephy was flipping to stay alive, but it wasn't meant to be for the two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner as the board ran out , giving Fields the winning two pair.
After Richard Tatalovich was eliminated in eighth place for $98,514, Dan Howe finished as the final table bubble boy. Jeremy Kottler raised to 250,000 from under the gun (blinds 50,000/100,000/10,000) with the , and Howe moved all in for 1,720,000 from the button with the . Kottler called, and the board gave Kottler the winning flush to secure the televised final table.
There will be plenty of room to play for the six remaining players on the final day. Eric Fields, the short stack, will begin the day with 31 big blinds, and fellow short stacks David Randall (35 big blinds) and Kottler (39 big blinds) will also have plenty of room to maneuver. Pham will enter the final table with just over 100 big blinds and will look to extend his lead over the middle stacks of Selbst (79 big blinds) and Anthony Zinno (69 big blinds) early on.
The action will resume at 3 p.m. ET on Friday and won't conclude until the next WPT champion is crowned. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com for a full final table recap upon the completion of play.
Data and photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.