Forty-seven players returned to action on Day 2 of the Bally's Black Hawk 2021 Colorado Poker Championship (CPC) $1,450 Main Event with the hopes of making it through another full day of action as play was set to continue until the final table of nine was reached.
That feat was accomplished after nearly eight hours of play, at which point all nine who remained agreed to continue marching on. Four-plus hours later, the clock struck 1 a.m. as Level 26 came to a close exactly 14 hours after cards went in the air, and at that time just two remained in Colorado's Jason Dennis and accomplished poker professional Justin Liberto.
When heads-up play began, Liberto was in command after dominating much of the final table, and entered play with nearly 75% of the chips in play. However, Dennis still had roughly 50 big blinds' worth of chips with which to fight and he made the most of it, pulling even and eventually taking the chip lead for a quick moment. Liberto then doubled after hitting two pair, kings and fives on the river and getting stacks in against Dennis' inferior kings up, but Dennis battled back to even once more and finished the day with the chip lead, holding 4.66 million — just barely more Liberto's 4.555 million — through the first 80 minutes of heads-up play.
Upon play finishing for the day, the two agreed to return on Monday at 2 p.m. local time to play for the trophy and the top prize of $89,534, with both players having already locked up $57,224.
CPC $1,450 Main Event Final Table Results
Day 2 Recap
The 47 returning players came into the day knowing one-third of them would walk away empty-handed with the top 31 places set to make it into the money. Eventual third-place finisher Steve Wilkie entered the day third in chips much the same and quickly ascended to the top of the counts after waking up with pocket aces in the big blind against Aaron Frei's pocket sevens and getting stacks all in preflop to make Frei the first elimination of the day.
Despite the bump to one-hour levels and incredibly deep-stacked play all day, chips flew continuously throughout the afternoon and the likes of Ian Pelz, Sammy Aweida, Ryan Dodson, and Vincent Moscati among those to find the rail early in the day. Wilkie then struck again with 33 remaining, hitting a straight with eight-seven to crack the pocket aces of Ben Keeline and bring about the bubble prior to the first break of the day. The bubble then lasted nearly half a level, with Donna Gadd falling to Dwane Collard to bring play into the money.
Just four eliminations were needed from that point to reach the three-table redraw, which came shortly thereafter with the pace of play continuing to move rapidly. A short-stacked Rich Dixon found himself able to hold onto crumbs as one-third of the field dropped, and he eventually found himself ousted in 17th place.
Play then slowed down with 16 remaining, staying that way for nearly 90 minutes before Michael Hinde (16th - $5,567) fell to Liberto, who wound up with a top-three stack he would maintain for the next three hours as others such as Jorden Helstern (14th - $5,567), Phil Gioia (12th - $7,591) and Matt Livingston (11th - $7,591) all fell short of the final table. Collard also built up a sizeable stack during that time, and then Day 1b chip leader Mike Kenny went out in 10th after spending most of the day with less than the 550K he entered play with.
Final Table Action
Dennis entered the final table as the shortest stack with just 138,000 (5.5 big blinds), but it was Jay Teel who got his 10 big blinds in with ace-ten to Collard's ace-king in the opening hands of the final table to go out first in ninth. Half an hour later, overall Day 1 chip leader Rocco Palumbo went out in eighth after stacks went in on the river of a king-high board and Palumbo's king-jack was second best to the ace-king of Liberto.
Seven then remained and went on a break with Collard still out in front before all returned to increased blinds. Almost 90 minutes then went by with a handful of doubles occurring before Josh Saltz open-jammed with king-jack and lost a coin flip to Wilkie's two tens to go out in seventh.
Shortly thereafter, Liberto took the chip lead after opening with ace-queen in the cutoff and seeing Chris Quackenbush re-jam in the small blind with pocket jacks.. Jason Remshardt came over the top for a little bit more in the big blind holding ace-jack of hearts and Liberto found a queen on the river to knock both players out of the tournament.
Liberto continued to build throughout short-handed play and eventually got the better of Collard, sending him out in fourth after his king-queen held versus king-jack in an all-in preflop situation, and a few hands later eliminated Wilkie when his top pair, top kicker held against Wilkie's pair of jacks that had picked up a gutshot straight flush draw before stacks got in on the turn.
As mentioned from there, Liberto took a sizeable chip advantage into heads-up play but found a formidable opponent in Dennis, with the two exchanging blows back and forth for roughly 80 minutes before deciding to come back tomorrow and finish what they started.
The finale of the CPC Main Event will resume Monday at 2 p.m. local time and PokerNews will be there to bring you through to the finish line. Be sure to follow along.