Shawn Cunix entered Day 4 of the 2015 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with the chiplead and never ceded that control to another player. He’ll take the biggest stack into Friday’s action, but the last 15 hands of the night Thursday guaranteed that things are quite a bit tighter going into the televised final table.
Cunix flirted with the 10 million chip mark, getting to 9.9 million before immediately dropping a pot and falling under 9 million; his 8,880,000 puts Cunix just ahead of Aaron Mermelstein and his 7,160,000. Eugene Todd was down to less than six big blinds eight-handed, but a double soon followed and he’d ultimately take out the finally two players of the night to cement the final table of six and a stack of 5,150,000.
Esther Taylor-Brady looks to break the unlikeliest of streaks – one that’s lasted well into the WPT’s 13th season – and become the first woman ever to hoist the Champions Cup. Taylor-Brady is very much in the mix with 4,020,000, while local grinder Justin Liberto (2,500,000) and Randy Pfeifer (1,985,000) will have some work to do to in order to pull back into contention.
All six players managed to survive a Day 4 that was unkind to many. Loni Harwood lost a coinflip against Cunix early in the day Thursday to go out 25th, while James Calderaro saw his hopes of a final table reunion with Cunix peter out in 22nd. Aaron Massey (18th), Aaron Steury (17th), Justin Lunin-Pack (12th) and Kevin Calenzo (11th) each went out before they combined to a single table.
Barry Leventhal was the first to go, falling to Mermelstein’s trip eights on Hand 33 of the final table. They were also the final two players standing in the Skrill last-longer contest, earning Mermelstein his buy-in back in addition to whatever other prize he earns at the final table.
Michael Wang followed soon after in ninth, after running pocket fives into Liberto’s pocket jacks. Todd fell precariously short in the next 30 hands, but his comeback started when his pocket queens held off Mermelstein’s pocket 10’s. They’d ultimately play 49 hands with eight players, but a three-bet all in with A T by Philippe Belley ran head-first into Todd’s A K and the board offered little help.
It’d take just eight more hands to bring Day 4 to its close. Casey Yontz open-shoved 17 big blinds with A 8 and Todd isolated him with an all in from the button. Todd’s A Q was ahead, but a 9 7 6 flop gave Yontz eight extra outs with an open-ended straight draw. Todd sweated through the 3 turn and 2 river, but his hand held and Yontz exited in seventh.
The final table gets underway at 3 pm ET from the Borgata Event Center, and the action will be live-streamed on a 30-minute delay with commentary from the likes of Team partypoker Pros Tony Dunst, Jamie Kerstetter and Scott Baumstein, among others. By the close of play, there could be a two-time champion, the first female WPT champion, a win for Todd in his third try at a WPT final table or a first-time winner.
No matter what happens, somebody will get $712,305, the title and all that comes with it. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.
2015 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open – Final Table Chip Counts
- Shawn Cunix – 8,880,000
- Aaron Mermelstein – 7,160,000
- Eugene Todd – 5,150,000
- Esther Taylor-Brady – 4,020,000
- Justin Liberto – 2,500,000
- Randy Pfeifer – 1,985,000
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