Eric Afriat Continues Incredible Run, Leads Final 18 in WPT Championship

Eric Afriat has a chance to become the first ever back-to-back WPT champion, and he can do it in the two biggest events of Season XII.

Eric Afriat has a chance to become the first ever back-to-back WPT champion, and he can do it in the two biggest events of Season XII.

Few players will ever enjoy the kind of run that Eric Afriat is on right now. After beating out the biggest field in the history of the World Poker Tour, Afriat has taken over the 2014 WPT World Championship for two consecutive days to put himself in prime position to contend for an historic back-to-back.

First he’ll have to make his third career WPT final table. Afriat starts Day 4 – the playdown day of the WPT Championship – with 2,029,000 and the chiplead. Four other players cleared the 1 million chip mark by the close of Day 3 – Abe Korotki (1,616,000), Tony Gregg (1,499,000), Ryan D’Angelo (1,369,000) and Curt Kohlberg (1,097,000).

Byron Kaverman and Justin Young also bagged over an average stack, each of them seeking their first WPT title. Tony Dunst and Bobby Oboodi join Afriat and Gregg as the four remaining members of the WPT Champions Club. The Day 4 field is rounded out by World Series of Poker bracelet winners Brock Parker and Keven Stammen.

The pace was quick in the early stages of the day, as 68 was reduced to a field size in the 40’s in the first couple of levels. Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin put on an impressive show in making Day 3, but couldn’t quite make it into the money. Phil Hellmuth, Matt Waxman, Nick Schulman, Garrett Greer, Steven Silverman, Lee Markholt and Amit Makhija also failed to reach the money.

As the $30,000 bubble approached, the pace predictably slowed to a crawl. Just over seven hours into Day 3, Kohlberg sent the unfortunate Michael Lavoie home empty handed as his K K held off Lavoie’s A Q to send the remaining 36 players into the money and off to the dinner break.

Alex Condon, who’s been in and out of the top 20 in the 2014 BLUFF Player of the Year race through its first four months, was one of the first players to go out, finishing 35th. He was followed by two current and one former WPT ‘Ones to Watch’ as Athanasios Polychronopoulos was eliminated in 34th, Jason Koon went out 32nd and Loni Harwood fell out in 29th.

Even with the strong final 18, a host of big names continued to fall out of the WPT Championship at an increasingly rapid pace. The eliminations of Jonathan Tamayo (28th), Jesse Sylvia (26th) and Scott Seiver (21st) were not unexpected, but the fact that they went out so quickly in this event in particular was surprising.

Jeff Madsen was in the middle of the pack with 20 players left, but a tough cooler crippled his stack and his chances in the WPT Championship. Madsen opened on the button, Leonardo Palermo three-bet all in from the small blind and Chris O’Rourke cold four-bet all in over the top in the big blind. Madsen called, having O’Rourke barely covered, and the hands were turned up.

Madsen: A K
O’Rourke: A A
Palermo: Q Q

The board ran out T 6 4 7 5, Palermo was out in 20th, O’Rourke got a triple and Madsen was left with just two big blinds. He’d get them in a couple of hands later and got called by both Glenn Lafaye and Keven Stammen. Stammen bet Lafaye out on the A 7 3 flop and tabled A 9, which held against Madsen’s T 7 and set the final 18.

There are 22 minutes and 11 seconds left at 8,000/16,000/2,000, which is where they’ll start Day 4. Play will continue for as long as it takes to get to the final table of six, which will take place on Saturday afternoon.

BLUFF caught up with Raw Deal host and WPT champion Tony Dunst shortly after the chips were bagged for the night.

2014 WPT Championship – End of Day 4 Chip Counts

  1. Eric Afriat – 2,029,000
  2. Abe Korotki – 1,616,000
  3. Anthony Gregg – 1,499,000
  4. Ryan D’Angelo – 1,369,000
  5. Curt Kohlberg – 1,097,000
  6. Justin Young – 993,000
  7. Byron Kaverman – 974,000
  8. Ray Qartomy – 955,000
  9. Keven Stammen – 867,000
  1. Brock Parker – 819,000
  2. Tom Dobrilovic – 786,000
  3. Chris O’Rourke – 670,000
  4. Tony Dunst – 622,000
  5. Corey Hochman – 598,000
  6. Bobby Oboodi – 525,000
  7. Glenn Lafaye – 395,000
  8. Hans Winzeler – 329,000
  9. David Grandieri – 269,000
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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