World Poker Tour Maryland Live! has gone from 554 players down to a final table of six and Darren Elias is one of the remaining players. Elias is a two-time WPT champion with back-to-back wins in 2014 at WPT Borgata Championship ($843,744) and WPT St. Maarten ($127,680), so he's seeking to join the exclusive club of three-time WPT winners that includes Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem and Anthony Zinno.
Also of note: Cate Hall has repeated a final table appearance here after placing fifth last year for $58,589. A victory by Hall would crown her the WPT's first female champion.
Elias will be in second place when the final table kicks off this afternoon at Maryland Live!, just behind leader Ryan Belz. Hall is the shortest stack, basically even with Zachary Smiley. Here are the remaining counts in seat order.
|Mario Silvestri III||2,700,000||45|
Some of the players advancing into the payouts - which were awarded to the top 63 finishers - were Aaron Mermelstein, Brian Green, Kane Kalas, Ryan Riess, Taylor von Kriegenbergh, Andjelko Andrejevic, Jake Schwartz, Brent Roberts and Brian Altman.
According to the live updates, Day 3 began with 40 players still in contention for the $356,536 first-place prize and seeking spots at the televised final table of six.
Hall came in with one of the shorter stacks but ran hot early, winning a number of preflop all-ins. She busted former WPT champ Kalas with against , running two pair after neither player hit the flop, and won a race against Alex Foxen with against fives by making a diamond flush.
One interesting early pot did not go the way of Ben Zamani when he limped in from an early position for 12,000 holding . A couple of players followed suit before Zachary Smiley raised to 56,000. Zamani made it 150,000, and one of the limpers, Wesley Clark, shoved all in for 347,000. Zamani was priced in after Smiley folded and could not pull the miracle against .
Later on, start-of-day leader Schwartz found himself down to 13 big blinds and looking down at in the small blind, prompting him to shove. Hall woke up with and busted Schwartz in 19th on a jack-high runout.
Elias got all in for his tournament life holding queens against the tens of Dongjun Ji. With 17 players left, neither player hit anything, leaving the ladies best.
Hall nearly sent Zamani packing in 11th. They got it in when Zamani shoved over an under-the-gun open from Hall for 14 big blinds and Hall called with . Zamani had and was able to survive as an board gave him a winning set on what would have been his final card.
After Belz eliminated a couple of players at the final table, Hall had to get lucky twice to survive. She won with fives against Smiley's jacks and then against Altman's jacks in a blind-versus-blind spot.
After 93 hands at the final table, it was Brett Apter going out on the final day bubble when he got his short stack in with threes against the ace-ten of Belz. Belz turned a winning pair of tens.
The final table gets underway at 3 p.m. local time at Maryland Live! and updates are available on WPT.com.