After three days of action at the Bicycle Casino in California, a field of 593 entries has been whittled down to 16 at the season-opening World Poker Tour Legends of Poker. Tyler Kenney leads with the way a stack of 2,955,000 going into Day 4 and is best positioned to collect the $576,369 top prize. However, all eyes will be on Keven Stammen when the action resumes on Thursday.
Stammen, who won the season-ending World Poker Tour Championship at Borgata in April for $1,350,000, looks to become the second player ever to win back-to-back WPT titles. The first was partypoker Team Pro Marvin Rettenmaier, who coincidentally won the WPT Championship in Season X and then went on to win the first event of Season XI at the Merit Cyprus Classic.
Stammen enters Thursday as one of the short stacks and will have to contend will a number of the game's top talents in order to make more WPT history. Among them are big stacks Jeremy Kottler, Tyler Cornell, Owen Crowe and Andy Frankenberger.
WPT Legends of Poker Final 16 Chip Counts
Day 3 began with 67 players trying to sneak into the top 54 spots and into the money. It didn't take long to reach the money bubble and Ali Eslami was the odd man out in 55th place. According to the WPT Live Updates, with the blinds at 3,000/6,000/1,000 action folded to Eslami in the small blind and he raised to 88,000, leaving just 1,000 behind. After some playful banter with Eslami, Keven Stammen called from the big blind, and the two saw a flop of .
"That is a decent flop for me," said Stammen. "I bet 1,000." Eslami paused and thought about his decision out loud before deciding to call and finding out the bad news.
Stammen had flopped a full house and Eslami was drawing dead before the turn and river completed the board, eliminating Eslami to burst the bubble.
Joining Eslami on the rail but with a small payday on Day 3 were David Williams (52nd - $8,630), Freddy Deeb (43rd - $9,710), Lee Markholt (36th - $11,865), Ryan Riess (35th - $11,865), Matt Salsberg (27th - $14,025) and David Chiu (20th - $14,025).
Chiu was one of the final eliminations of the day after taking a beat at the hands of Stammen. After Stammen min-raised to 32,000 from the cutoff, Chiu three-bet to 76,000 from the button. Only Stammen called, bringing a flop of . Stammen checked, Chiu moved all in for 169,000 and Stammen called.
Stammen needed to come from behind and he did just that when the on the turn gave him two pair. The landed on the river, and Chiu graciously made his exit.
Meanwhile, Kenney, the younger brother of well-known poker pro Bryn Kenney, took the lead from Jeremy Kottler on one of the final hands of the night. Kottler raised to 35,000 from the hijack (blinds 8,000/16,000/2,000) and Kenney called from the cutoff. The flop rolled out and Kenney fired out 35,000. Kenney called.
The hit the turn and Kottler slowed down with a check. Kenney bet 59,000 and Kottler called, bringing the on the river. Kottler checked again and then faced a bet of 167,000 from his opponent. Kottler thought it over for about 30 seconds before deciding to call, and he mucked when Kenney tabled the for top two pair.
Kenney and the other 15 survivors will return at 1 p.m. PDT on Thursday to play down to the six-handed final table. Be sure to check out a full recap of the action here at PokerNews upon the completion of play.
*Data courtesy of the WPT.