WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3: Money Bubble Pops as Mo Arani Takes Over Lea
17 December 2018
PokerBrave (693 articles)
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The World Poker Tour’s final stop for the 2018 calendar year is inching closer to its conclusion. After setting a record for the largest ever $10,000 tournament in its history, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic popped the money bubble on Thursday and brought the field closer to crowning a champion on Saturday night.

180 to 126

For nearly a third of the crowd gathered in the Bellagio on Thursday, it wasn’t going to be a good day. 180 players came back for action but, with only 126 receiving any of the bounty from the nearly $10 million prize pool, it meant that 54 souls would leave with nothing but a story from their stay in Vegas. With the tension building from the start, several players saw their tournament end as one of those 54 players.

One of those unfortunate people was the defending champion of the tournament. Ryan Tosoc came into Thursday’s play with a middling stack, but he knew he needed to get going if he were to repeat as champion. He opened a pot up from middle position and Matt Glantz three-bet him from the small blind. Tosoc made the call and the seemingly innocent K-Q-2 flop lit the fuse. Glantz checked his option but, after Tosoc fired away, Glantz responded with a check raise. After a quick thought, Tosoc made the call and the cards were turned up.

Tosoc might have felt pretty good about his K-J off suit, but it paled in comparison to Glantz’s pocket Aces. As first the turn and then the river failed to help him, Tosoc’s reign as champion of the Five Diamond ended short of the money. Glantz, meanwhile, stacked up about 470,000 in chips and was in good shape to take home a cash.

Tosoc found quite a few familiar faces on the rail and was joined by some others. Blake Bohn, Justin Bonomo and Sean Perry all weren’t’ around by the time the money bubble approached. In a rare occurrence, however, there wasn’t any need for “hand-for-hand” play in this event. On the bubble, Andjelko Andrejevic and Nikolai Sears locked horns with Andrejevic holding a sizeable advantage with his A-K over Sears’ A-8. Once the board rolled out with nothing for either player, Andrejevic’s King played over Sears’ eight and Sears was out in 127th place ($0).

Rapid Eliminations and a New Leader

Following the departure of Sears, the cash out cage became highly popular as the first paydays were handed out. Former WPT champions Brian Altman and Martin de Knijff, Ryan Laplante, Cliff Josephy, Nick Petrangelo, Joe Cada and Dan Shak all would find their way to the rail but pocketed some cash on their way out. But it was a key hand on the chip leader’s table that saw a change atop the leaderboard.

Calvin Anderson had been running roughshod over the field as the chip leader at the start of the day. That “run good” continued throughout Thursday…until he ran up against Mo Arani. In a “blind versus blind” situation, Arani limped in from the small blind only to see Anderson push out a raise. Arani simply called and the 5-J-4 two-club flop brought a check-call out of Arani after an Anderson bet. An eight on the turn saw the same situation – a check-call from Arani, this time for 153K in chips – and the board paired with a five on the river.

Arani checked for a third time and Anderson was befuddled. Unable to put Arani on a hand, he would check also, at which point Arani turned up pocket nines for action. Anderson quietly mucked his hand and sent a sizeable pot and the chip lead to Arani with only minutes to go before the end of the night’s play.

As Anderson tumbled down the leaderboard (he would finish up the night in 29th place with only 650,000 in chips), Arani continued to play strong. He would end the night as the chip leader, although a familiar name is nipping at his heels, just as he had been doing against Anderson.

1. Mo Arani, 2.2 million chips
2. Joe McKeehen, 2.03 million
3. Patrick Mahoney, 2.005 million
4. John Dibella, 1.825 million
5. Rory Young, 1.75 million
6. Will Berry, 1.745 million
7. Andrew Lichtenberger, 1.66 million
8. Robert Mantin, 1.57 million
9. Fikret Kovac, 1.465 million
10. Ping Liu, 1.3 million

The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event will continue on Friday, playing down to the six handed WPT final table. At stake is more than $5 million at that final table, with the eventual champion etching their name on the WPT Champions’ Cup, earning a seat to the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions and taking down a $1,631,468 payday.