After three Day 1 flights and a 13-hour grind on Day 2, just 11 players stand between Maxx Coleman and a second victory in three years at WinStar River Poker Series $2,500 Main Event.
Back in 2015, Coleman got by far the biggest share of a three-way chop in this event, taking down $750,000, the biggest score of his live tournament career. The Kansas native followed that up with another strong showing in 2016 when he finished 32nd for $7,864.
Now, he finds himself in a great position to truly make it a three-year run for the ages near the Texas-Oklahoma border. Coleman finished Day 2 with a stack of 3,230,000, leaving him in second place after starting the day as chip leader. That represents more than 50 big blinds as the tournament heads to Level 27 (5,000/30,000/60,000).
However, a mountain of a chip stack stands in his way, belonging to Chengce Jiang. Jiang ran white-hot and finished with 6,675,000, more than a quarter of the chips in play.
It seemed every time Jiang got in a big showdown he held two aces. It started early in the day when he three-bet an open and had Charles Bass shove over behind him with king-seven of spades. Jiang snapped it off with aces to begin his climb. He busted a short stack with the blades and had one of the best stacks going into the final 27 redraw, and he found himself with aces again in a fortuitous spot.
This time, he three-bet a late-position open from DJ Alexander and they got stacks in on a ten-high flop, with Alexander revealing two kings for a tough cooler. Nobody even came close to catching Jiang after that monstrous win.
Coleman certainly isn't the only headliner remaining in the event. Anthony Spinella (2,560,000), Johanssy Joseph (1,715,000), two-time bracelet winner Ben Zamani (535,000), and Mike Dentale (475,000) are all still trucking along, though the latter pair are in dire need of an early double when Day 3 gets going.
That happens at noon Tuesday, with the final 12 players taking seats and battling it out for $400,032 in first-place prize money. Make sure you come right back to PokerNews as the field it whittled to a champion.