Breaking Down the Action:
  • Stars Depart on Frantic Day of Action
  • Two Titans Plough Through Talented Field
  • Other Players Shooting for Glory

5 Minute Read

Darren Elias, a four-time WPT Main Event winner already, will battle for a seat at the final table on Day 4 with plenty of chips.

The Day 3 action in Florida was as hot as the weather, with the crown of 99 players who began the day whittled down to just 16 hopefuls by the close of play.

As just two tables of players remained and players bagged up chips, two players stood tallest, with chip leader Mark Davis (14.4 million) and four-time WPT winner Darren Elias (13.7 million) well clear of the chasing pack.

Stars Depart on Frantic Day of Action

With 99 players needing to lose over 80% of their number by the close of play, it was all change as the stacks swung this way and that over a mammoth day of action. A total field of 2,010 had already made its way into the money places, but a deep run was the desire for everyone in the Florida cardroom.

It wasn’t long before a former WPT winner hit the rail, with Champions Club member Ema Zajmovic busting in 98th place for $9,300. Several others earned the same amount, with Lexy Gavin (91st), Martins Adeniya (89th) and Kitty Kuo (86th) amongst their number. Nancy Birnbaum was the longest-lasting female player, with her run to 27th place ending when her king-queen was ousted by Andrew Davidson’s ace-jack for a score of $28,500.

Plenty of others fell on their way to failing to grab the $1 million top prize, with Markus Gonsalves (77th), defending champion in the event Brek Schutten (76th) and Thomas Laviano (73rd) each claiming $11,600 for doing so. For Schutten in particular, who outlasted over 4,300 opponents in the last two play-outs of this event, it was a case of so near and yet so far away.

Others to lose their tournament lives long before the close of play included Jonathan Jaffe (59th for $15,000), Shannon Shorr (37th for $24,000) and Jeff Madsen, who busted in 24th place for a result worth $34,000.

Two Titans Plough Through Talented Field

“I just want to share that I feel you. I have been there. Actually, I’ve not. I won.”

With three tables in action, it was then that the two eventual chip leaders after the day’s close started to pile the pressure on their opponents and make their ascent up the leaderboard. Benjamin McCoy was one victim of the pair, busting in 22nd place for $34,000 when his pocket sevens failed to overcome Darren Elias’ pocket nines with all the chips committed pre-flop.

The popular Solve For Why founder and owner Matt Berkey had no answer to James Calderaro in his final hand, Berkey effectively shoving pre-flop with pocket threes to be called by Calderaro with ace-five of clubs. The all-red flop of K-J-4 sw Berkey remain ahead, but after the ten of clubs landed on the turn, the queen of spades on the river gave Berkey’s opponent an unassailable Broadway straight after two running cards took out the unfortunate former Poker After Dark and ARIA High Roller winner for $34,000.

Mark Davis climbed highest in the latter levels to end the day with the chip lead, but Elias ran him mighty close, chiefly because of his elimination of the Day 2 chip leader and pacesetter at the start of play, high stakes pro Adam Hendrix. He busted in 17th after an interesting hand with Elias.

Hendrix limped and Elias, who recently reached the final table of the Wynn Millions High Roller event, checked to a flop of A-4-2, whereupon Hendrix check-called Elias’s 1.5 big blind bet. On the turn of a nine Elias bet five big blinds, then snap-called Hendrix’s check-shove with ace-ten. Elias turned over five-three for the flopped ‘wheel’ straight, with Hendrix crashing out in 17th and bemoaning his luck online in the aftermath.


Dietrich Fast, himself a WPT champion after taking down the L.A. Classic six years ago last month for just over a million dollars couldn’t help needling his friend online, replying: “I wanted to troll here. But somehow no one gets it. So I just want to share that I feel you. I have been there. Actually, I’ve not. I won. But I think if I would have these results, I would feel the same. Hope this helps. See you soon.”

Hendrix, clearly amused, shot back: “Thanks for your compassion. I hope your food comes warm next time we eat.”

Other Players Shooting for Glory

Mark Davis will come into the penultimate day with the chip lead, bagging up 14.4 million, but he’s not only being chased by the record-breaking Darren Elias. The four-time WPT Main Event winner is followed in the counts by some quality opposition, with James Calderaro third in chips on 9,675,000.

Of the other 13 players who remain in the hunt, Michael Laufer (9,300,000) and Andrew Barfield (8,775,000) round out the top five, while Viet Vo (5,500,000) and Andrew Davidson also scraped into the top ten. Outside that number, Benjamin Miner (4,800,000), James Kousouros (2,725,000), David Moore (2,500,000), Christian Harder (2,350,000), Vinny Pahuja (1,725,000), and Marcos Exterkotter (1,100,000) will all still feel they can make waves on the penultimate day of action.

Whoever makes the final table of six will have a decent break before getting the chance to get their name etched on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup. The Seminole Hard Rock Grand Ballroom may be the location for the action on Day 4 but whoever makes the final six will return to play down to a winner at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 25th.

Who’ll win their way through to the final of the $3,500 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida? It’s going to be quite a day of action later today.

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 3 Chipcounts:

Position Player Chips Big Blinds
1st Mark Davis 14,400,000 144
2nd Darren Elias 13,775,000 138
3rd James Calderaro 9,675,000 97
4th Michael Laufer 9,300,000 93
5th Andrew Barfield 8,775,000 88
6th Carlos Dorca 6,800,000 68
7th Robert Lofaso 6,450,000 65
8th Robert Georato 6,100,000 61
9th Viet Vo 5,500,000 55
10th Andrew Davidson 5,200,000 52


James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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