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WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open Day 3: Hirezi Leads Stacked Final Table; Mercier Exits

Nabil Hirezi

After a short day of poker, a final table has been reached at the 2014 World Poker Tour Jacksonville bestbet Open. Nabil Hirezi (pictured) leads the way with a massive stack of 2,792,000, but he has some stout competition in the likes of former WPT champs James Calderaro and Jordan Cristos, as well as Season VII WPT Player of the Year Faraz Jaka. The winner will be crowned on Tuesday and receive the $206,041 top prize and a spot on the WPT Champions Cup Trophy.

WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open Final Table

1James Calderaro1,916,000
2Nabil Hirezi2,792,000
3Peter Le1,083,000
4Faraz Jaka542,000
5Brian Green444,000
6Jordan Cristos975,000

Day 3 began with 19 players looking to reach the six-handed final table. It took less than four hours to reach the unofficial final table of 10, as well-known pros Dylan Wilkerson (19th), Dan Heimiller (18th), Jason Mercier (16th), and John Racener (13th) quickly hit the rail.

Mercier was looking to capture his first WPT title and the vaunted "triple crown," but his run ended during the second level of the day. According to the WPT Live Updates, Nghia Le raised to 22,000 (blinds 5,000/10,000/1,000) from middle position, and Mercier moved all in for about 290,000 from the hijack. Luke Graham then called all in for 135,000, and Le called, having both stacks covered.

Mercier: {A-Spades}{K-Diamonds}
Graham: {7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}
Le: {Q-Hearts}{Q-Spades}

The board rolled out {Q-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{3-Spades}{5-Hearts}{A-Hearts}, giving Le a set of queens and the win. Graham and Mercier were eliminated, each receiving $9,722.

Day 3 chip leader Jared Jaffee, who had already won a WPT tournament in Jacksonville this year, was unable to produce a repeat performance. Jaffee exited in 12th place when he four-bet shoved for 440,000 from the button and Calderaro called from the small blind. Jaffee needed help with his {5-Clubs}{5-Spades} against the {K-Clubs}{K-Spades}, but the {K-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{9-Spades}{2-Clubs} board ended his run.

Kevin Cho was eliminated by Hirezi just moments later, and the remaining 10 players combined to make the unofficial final table. Calderero had the lead, and his stack grew even larger when he eliminated Sean Winter in 10th place. Winter four-bet jammed with the {7-Diamonds}{7-Spades} and Calderaro called with the {Q-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}, and the {K-Spades}{J-Clubs}{9-Spades}{5-Hearts}{J-Hearts} board gave Calderaro trips, increasing his stack to 2,105,000.

Ali Alawadhi met his demise in ninth place after a turbulent confrontation against Hirezi. After Millard Hale raised to 36,000 from under the gun, Alawadhi moved all in for 193,000 from the cutoff. Hirezi opted to call from the small blind, and Hale tank-folded.

Alawadhi was in bad shape with the {6-Diamonds}{6-Hearts} against Hirezi's {A-Diamonds}{A-Spades}, but the {K-Hearts}{6-Spades}{2-Spades} flop shot him into the lead with a set of sixes. Hirezi picked up several out when the {4-Spades} hit the turn, and sure enough the {3-Spades} completed the board to give him a flush and eliminate Alawadhi in ninth place.

Hale and Bryan Irish-Jones were the short stacks with the final table just two spots away, but neither was able to get there. Hale exited in eighth place after taking an ugly beat to Calderaro. Irish-Jones raised to 40,000 from middle position, Calderaro called from the hijack, and Hale shoved for 358,000 from the small blind. Irish-Jones folded and Calderaro called with the {9-Hearts}{9-Spades}, which was way behind Hale's {10-Hearts}{10-Spades}. However, a {A-Spades}{J-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{K-Spades}{2-Diamonds} runout gave Calderaro a set of nines to knock Hale out of the tournament.

Irish-Jones then landed on the bubble when his {A-Spades}{Q-Spades} failed to hold up against Hirezi's {K-Spades}{J-Clubs} after all the chips went in preflop. The dealer fanned a {K-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} flop, and Irish-Jones was already drawing semi-dead to Hirezi's full house. The {K-Clubs} on the turn ended it, and Hirezi secured his spot as the final table chip leader.

The action will resume at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and the WPT live stream will be available at 2:30 ET on a 30-minute delay. Be sure to check out PokerNews for a full recap of the action upon the completion of play.

Photo and data courtesy of the WPT Live Blog

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