2019 WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 3: Kevin Albers Leads, “Retired” Vanessa Selbst in the Mix
25 September 2019
PokerBrave (1135 articles)

If the World Poker Tour has a tournament with a monstrous field, you can usually figure that it is the Borgata in Atlantic City that is responsible (the other is the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida). The 2019 WPT Borgata Poker Open has proven to be another sizeable field as, after Day 3, the 1156 entry field has been whittled down to the final 24. There’s another surprise for poker fans as the “retired” Vanessa Selbst, who took time away from her job as a hedge fund manager, is looking to run down chip leader Kevin Albers.

145 Players Stared Day 3 Action…

Everyone was guaranteed a minimum cash ($5797) at the start of the day, but the 145 players that were left wanted much more than that. Former WPT champion Jonathan Jaffe was leading the way when the cards went into the air on Wednesday, followed closely by another WPT Champions’ Club member in Victor Ramdin. There were a litany of top pros trying to claim this WPT championship, as Jean “Prince” Gaspard, Justin Liberto, Jonathan Little, Andy Frankenberger, Asher Conniff, and WPT color commentator Tony Dunst all had chip stacks at the start of the action.

Jaffe would fall from the lead very early on Wednesday after an intriguing battle. After a 10♠ 8♠ 8♦ flop, Jaffe checked his option from the small blind and Bill Jennings, in the big, showed no interest in checking himself. The third party in the hand, Jason Wade, DID want to play as he shoved a 20K bet to the center. Jaffe only called the action, but Jennings check-raised Wade’s original bet, which was enough to get rid of Wade.

Jaffe either didn’t believe him or liked his chances as he now re-raised Jennings’ bet, forcing Jennings all in for his last 295K. When the cards came up, the hands basically played themselves.

Jaffe: K♠ 7♠ (King high flush draw)
Jennings: 8♣ 7♣ (flopped trips)

A King on the turn improved Jaffe, but not in the way he needed. Needing one of the remaining nine spades in the deck, Jaffe instead saw a red trey come on the river, shipping a monster stack of chips (660K) to Jennings as Jaffe fell from the lead. Jaffe would never recover from this setback, eventually finishing in 72nd place in the tournament.

Selbst Climbs Quickly, Finishes Strong

Selbst, who “retired” from poker and hasn’t cashed in a tournament since 2017, started out the day as one of the shorter stacks in the room. Sitting on a stack of 318K at the start of Day 3 play, Selbst found herself on an even shorter stack after Vladimir Peck doubled up through her. She wouldn’t let that minor setback get to her, however, as she steadily climbed the ranks through the remainder of Wednesday’s action.

The pivotal hand for Selbst was against Aaron Mermelstein and Nicholas Salimbene. After a bet from Mermelstein and calls from Peck and Salimbene, Selbst powered out a three-bet of 200K that Mermelstein and Salimbene called. A Q-8-7 flop greeted the trio and both Selbst and Mermelstein checked their options. Salimbene pushed out a 450K bet, oddly leaving 80K behind, but Selbst wasn’t stunned. She check-raised all in and, after Mermelstein finally believed her and folded, Salimbene released his final 80K into the pot ant the cards were turned up:

Selbst: A-Q off suit
Salimbene: K-Q off suit

Both had top pair, but Selbst had Salimbene outpipped. The only card in the deck that would give Salimbene an outright win was a King, which didn’t come on the turn deuce or the river six. As Salimbene packed up his bags in 39th place ($15,527), Selbst stacked up her 2.4 million chips and cruised to the end of the night.

1. Kevin Albers, 4.34 million
2. Dave Farah, 4.135 million
3. Victor Ramdin, 3.74 million
4. Uke Dauti, 3.305 million
5. David Prociak, 3.28 million
6. Vanessa Selbst, 3.09 million
7. Nick Pupillo, 2.75 million
8. Donald Maloney, 2.505 million
9. Tyler Phillips, 2.04 million
10. Timothy Little, 1.945 million

Others with a shot at this WPT title including WPT Champions’ Club member Mike Linster, Ryan Olisar, Liberto and Ryan D’Angelo. Those that will have their work cut out for them include short stacks Mermelstein and Scott Baumstein.

The final 24 will reconvene at noon at the Borgata to play down to the six-handed WPT final table. That action will be livestreamed on Friday afternoon, with the eventual champion taking home a seat in the 2020 WPT Tournament of Champions and a $616,186 payday.