Day 2 of the $3,500 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida is winding down on Sunday evening as the field of 659 runners that started the day has been cut to just 99 contenders.
PokerNews has been on-site to capture glimpses of Day 2 action, which kicked off at noon local time with Level 11 with blinds of 1,500/2,500/2,500. Here is some of what took place throughout the action-packed second day of the Championship Event, which will award $1,000,300 to the eventual winner.
ClubWPT Qualifier Out; Lichtenberger Battling
During the opening exchanges, ClubWPT qualifier Brett Kunz, who recently got to attend a Miami Heat game with WPT’s Vince Van Patten, got the river in a heads-up pot with the board reading .
His opponent was first to act and put out a stack of chips to put Kunz all-in. Kunz contemplated and eventually called off for his tournament life with around 40,000 left in his stack. The opponent showed for rivered trips and the Canadian farmer mucked before leaving his seat.
Across the room, poker commentator Nick Schulman opened in early position to play a pot against Cherish Andrews in the big blind. Schulman continued with a bet on the flop reading and Andrews called, and the same action took place on the turn.
The river checked through and Schulman showed he rivered the winner with , while Andrews held .
Other poker pros battled it out early in the day, including Ian O’Hara and Chad Eveslage, the latter of whom was eliminated during the all-in confrontation against the fellow South Florida pro.
At Table 9, Andrew Lichtenberger sat two seats to the left of fellow high-stakes pro Brock Wilson,
“LuckyChewy” spoke with PokerNews during the first break about his victory earlier this week in Event #31: $50,000 Super High Roller that earned him $638,223.
“It was an amazing experience,” Lichtenberger said. “I’ve been working pretty hard on my game, I have a lot of great people around me, and yeah, I think that’s really why I’m having success. It’s not just my own efforts and motivations and inspirations, it’s the people I work with and their good vibes; it’s a whole collective experience.”
The victory came after a four-hour heads-up battle against Alex Foxen, who in turn pocketed $515,587.
“Alex is a great player, that goes without saying,” Lichtenberger said. “And we had a super tough match. And I was lucky when it mattered most in the all-ins, and I think I probably got outplayed in a few spots, to be honest, but yeah, it was incredibly fun and very spirited.”
Now looking to make a deep run in the Championship Event, Lichtenberger explained to PokerNews how he adapts to the larger field in the smaller-buy-in event.
“As far as how you adapt your strategy, people aren’t maybe playing as technical, so to speak, so there’s a little more leniency with what kind of hands you can play and how aggressive you want to be. It’s more freestyling, that’s kind of how I think about it.”
Free to Play Slots in the US
Stacked Corner in the Grand Ballroom; Hendrix Takes Chip Lead
Later in the day, a cluster of notable names were scattered across just half a dozen tables in the southwest quadrant of the Grand Ballroom.
2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen was sat at Table 2, with Angelina Rich at an adjacent table.
Meanwhile, defending champion Brek Schutten sat in the four-seat at Table 4, just a few feet away from the player he defeated last year to win the title: Steven Snyder.
Sitting at the nearby Table 10 in the eight-seat was Adam Hendrix, who had recently become one of the chip leaders in the tournament with a stack of 900,000, while five-time WSOP bracelet winner and Florida resident Jason Mercier was grinding it out a few tables behind Hendrix.
The Alaska all-time money leader took a minute to chat with PokerNews as players took a second break. He said his Day 2 had been “pretty smooth” up to that point.
“I won a big pot with kings to ace-queen early, and that sort of helped it out,” Hendrix said. “And, you know, just a bunch of small pots here and there.”
Hendrix is fresh off of a high-roller victory at the US Poker Open in Las Vegas, where he took down a $10k No-Limit Hold’em event to win $211,200 after overcoming final table big stack Jonathan Little.
“That tournament was interesting because Jonathan Little had every chip at the final table, so I was just sort of a bystander for a while,” he recalled. “And then I got pretty lucky versus him a few times, woke up with some hands that I could call him with, and then from there I just took it down.”
While Hendrix said his strategy wouldn’t change too much now that he has a big stack, he did say he will be on the lookout for opportunities to use it to his advantage.
“I can apply some pressure maybe in the next few hours on the bubble and hopefully make Day 3.”
Defending Champion Bursts Bubble
Players returned from dinner to tables now featuring stacks of rectangular time chips, as well as digital shot clocks giving players 30 seconds to make each decision before having to sacrifice a precious extension.
Toward the back of the Grand Ballroom, poker coach Lexy Gavin raked in a nice pot at Table 30 with her aces still face-up as the dealer washed the board. A few feet away, all-time Connecticut money leader Stephen Song and young Florida native Landon Tice battled it out on the same table.
Before too long, the tournament director paused the clock and announced the start of hand-for-hand play.
WPT Champions Club member Will Failla was at risk of bubbling in a hand where 2019 WPT Player of the Year Brian Altman raised in a three-way pot on a flop of and Failla check-raised all-in.
Altman, who had his opponent well covered, mulled over a call and eventually put his chips in, turning over for bottom pair against the nut straight of Failla with .
“I tried to get him to fold!” Failla screamed through a thick New York accent as the dealer waited to run the board out. “He wouldn’t fold a pair to me!”
The on the turn was the last thing Failla wanted to see as Altman picked up the nut flush draw, but his heart returned to his chest when the completed the board.
“Marshall, how do you roll off a spade on the turn there!?” someone at the table asked the dealer.
“That turn took about two years off your life,” Altman laughed to Failla.
The money bubble burst a few minutes later at another table when Schutten, the defending champion, picked up kings in to bust David Coleman, who called off in the four-bet pot to no prevail as the board ran out .
The remaining 252 players cheered as the tournament director announced they were in the money and guaranteed a minimum payout of $5,650. By the end of the day, just 99 players remained all in the hunt for the WPT title and a first prize of $1,000,300.
WPT SHRPO End of Day 2 Chip Counts
RankPlayerChip Count 1Mark Davis3,740,000 2Marcos Exterkotter3,230,000 3Aram Zobian3,085,000 4Allan Rabinovich3,010,000 5Dan Bekavac2,525,000 6Adam Hendrix2,430,000 7Javier Zarco2,350,000 8Kumal Shah2,250,000 9Carlos Dorca2,235,000 10David Moore2,135,000
Follow the action further as as Day 2 of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown closes out by checking out WPT’s live updates.
Photos courtesy of Joe Giron and WPT