2019 WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Day 1B: Nick Raio Finishes as Day 1B Leader, Ashraf Chehata Remains Overall Leader
18 October 2019
PokerBrave (1135 articles)

A smaller than expected field came out for the second of two-Day Ones on Saturday at the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble at bestbet Jacksonville. Perhaps because of the start of the World Series of Poker Europe (which begins on Sunday), the 195 entries that came out on Saturday barely outpaced the 154 that rolled out on Day 1A Friday. Still, Nick Raio has to be happy as he came out of Saturday’s play as the chip leader for Day 1B, while the overall lead of the tournament stayed in the hands of Day 1A chip leader Ashraf Chehata.

All the Bounties on the Floor

As the “shuffle up and deal” call rung out over the bestbet Jacksonville tournament room, 86 players were in their seats alongside most of the remaining bounties in the tournament. The $5000 buy in event (with unlimited reentries) featured 30 bounties that had a $2500 price on their head. This included several of the top names in the game, including Esther Taylor, Matt Glantz, Lexi Sterner and Allison Hollander. One of those bounties, Jo Kim, didn’t last very long in the event, going down in the first level of the day to veteran pro Jean “Prince” Gaspard.

Some of the players who would come back on Saturday were players that had already made at least one shot at this tournament from the previous day. With the unlimited reentries, such players as Tyler Patterson, Ray Quartomy, Joe McKeehen and former WPT Player of the Year Sam Panzica were back to work on Saturday, trying to improve on their fortunes – or lack thereof – from Friday.

By the start of Level 4, the numbers from Friday were met as 151 entries were in the books. With late registration going on until Level 7, there were thoughts that the Day 1B action would crack the 200 mark, but they would come up a bit short of that mark. By the time late registration ended, 195 entries were on the tournament clock to make the final numbers 349 entries for the tournament (official payouts and prize pool information have yet to be released).

Quiet Climb to the Top

Raio’s climb to the chip lead started with the knockout of a former WPT champion. Firing out from under the gun, Raio saw WPT Champions’ Club member James Romero three bet him off the cutoff. Raio didn’t back down, throwing out a four bet, but Romero also showed some fortitude in five betting the action. At this point, Raio was done and moved what was left of his stack – about 90K in chips – to the center of the felt and Romero called for less, putting his tournament life at risk.

Raio’s pocket Queens were leading the race against Romero’s off suit Big Slick and the board was quick in its execution. A Queen in the window gave Raio a set and left Romero drawing extremely slim. That “extremely slim” became “none” after a blank on the turn, sending Romero to the exit before the dinner break and pumping up Raio’s stack to over 144K in chips.

That wasn’t the last big hand for Raio either, as his chips allowed him to be a bit adventurous. On a K-5-3-3-J board, Raio fired off a 35K bet that Chad Eveslage pondered for quite some time. After his tank, Eveslage came to the decision that Raio didn’t have the goods and called, which turned out to be the wrong decision; Raio turned up an off suit 5-3 for the boat and Eveslage mucked his cards, running Raio’s stack up to 226K.

By the time the final bell rung for the night, Raio had been able to crack the 300K mark with his stack to hold the Day 1B chip lead:

1. Nick Raio, 303,500
2. Larry Greenberg, 288,000
3. Lindell King, 240,000
4. Sam Panzica, 224,500
5. Ray Quartomy, 210,500
6. Josh Kay, 206,000
7. James Carroll, 201,500
8. Scott Stewart, 194,000
9. Jonathan Jaffe, 175,000
10. Kevin Conroy, 173,500

The unofficial WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble leaderboard looks like this:

1. Ashraf Chehata, 359,500*
2. Nick Raio, 303,500
3. Larry Greenberg, 288,000
4. Tan Nguyen, 270,000*
5. Jarrett Hlavaty, 266,500*
6. Lindell King, 240,000
7. Brian Altman, 234,500*
8. Carlos Guerrero, 227,000*
9. Sam Panzica, 224,500
10. Ray Quartomy, 210,500

(* – Day 1A players)

The tournament resumes at noon on Sunday with the remaining 123 players looking to whittle the field down even further. They’ll also learn the pertinent information regarding the event – which should feature over a $1.8 million prize pool and, with current standards featuring a 15% of the field payout, should pay around 60 players – and will know what the final prize will be, along with the WPT Champions’ Cup and the seat at the 2020 WPT Tournament of Champions.