2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1B: Valentin Vornicu Makes Most of Second Chance, Takes Over Chip Lead
28 August 2017
PokerBrave (3542 articles)
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After coming up dry on Day 1A of the event, Valentin Vornicu got the most out of his second shot at the tournament on Saturday, emerging as the overall leader of the 2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker with one more Day One left.

Looking to top Day 1A’s 155 entries, Day 1B saw another throng of poker professionals and amateurs looking to take their shot. At the sounding of the “shuffle up and deal” call, notables such as WPT Champions’ Club members Tony Dunst and Barry Greenstein were at their tables alongside Eric Baldwin, Ray Quartomy, and Matt Stout, who were all back from their Day 1A disappointment for another chance. Vornicu was on that list also, but the day didn’t start very well for him.

About three hours into Saturday’s play, Vornicu found himself staring at a Q♠ 10♦ 6♣ 5♣ 8♣ board, Vornicu fired off a bet but was met with an all-in check raise from the small blind. Vornicu couldn’t put together the logic behind his opponent’s hand and, after several minutes, made the call and turned up pocket fives for the turned set. Vornicu’s opponent, however, had stuck around for the runner-runner nut flush with his A♣ 3♣, sending the nine-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner to the rail for his second chance at his second chance.

Vornicu would make the most of his last chance on Saturday. Within three hours of using his re-entry option for Day 1B, Vornicu had run his stack up to over 183K in chips to take over the chip lead. After the dinner break, Vornicu’s star continued to rise as he picked off a bluff and rivered a straight to cross the 200K mark. The only thing that stopped the “Vornicu Express” was the end of 10 levels of play for the day, when he bagged 286,700 in chips.

1. Valentin Vornicu, 286,700
2. Adam Geyer, 273,000
3. Peter Neff, 266,100
4. Igor Zekster, 198,700
5. Tuan Mai, 179,400
6. Jamie Armstrong, 164,900
7. Bill Germanis, 152,100
8. Gaurav Raina, 146,600
9. Skip Huber, 135,200
10. Derek Wolters, 133,800

Among those who have to decide if playing Day 1C is going to be worthwhile are Samantha Cohen, Allen Kessler, Mike Matusow, Jordan Cristos, Poker Hall of Famer John Hennigan, Stout and Quartomy. Of the 177 entries that were received on Saturday (bringing the total field to 332), only 60 people would be standing by the final bell in the Bike’s tournament arena (117 between the first two Day Ones).

Vornicu is an intriguing player. He has the second most WSOP-C rings of all time (behind only Maurice Hawkins) and is only about $10K short of earning $1 million in his tournament poker career. Surprisingly, none of those winnings has ever come from a WPT Main Tour event; if (and it’s a strong if) Vornicu is able to cash in this tournament, it would be his first-ever WPT cash on the Main Tour schedule.

Overall, Vornicu has not only taken over the combined Day One leaderboard, the two men pursuing him join him to make up the Top Three in the tournament:

1. Valentin Vornicu, 286,700
2. Adam Geyer, 273,000
3. Peter Neff, 266,100
4. Thomas Zanot, 217,700*
5. Igor Zekster, 198,700
6. David Lambard, 183,900*
7. Tuan Mai, 179,400
8. Gary Sewell, 176,700*
9. Vince Salvatore, 173,000*
10. Christopher Staats, 167,900*

(* – Day 1A player)

The final Day One – and the final chance for many of those around the Bike – will kick off at noon on Sunday. The players will have one re-entry available should they bust on Sunday, then there will be a final “last chance” for players to buy in (30K in chips for $4000; it is possible that a player could burn through seven buy-ins, or $28,000, without success) before the start of Day Two on Monday. With the popularity of the first two days of the tournament, it is likely that the 2017 WPT Legends of Poker will crack the 500-entry mark and could take a run at 600.