Deja vu For Babakhani As He Leads Going Into Day 4 of the WPT Championships

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Amir Babakhani leads the final 24-players of the $25k WPT World Championships at The Bellagio in Las Vegas; Negreanu, Cody and Shak still in contention.

Deja vu For Babakhani As He Leads Going Into Day 4 of the WPT Championships

Day Three of the World Poker Tour (WPT) $25k World Championships is done and dusted, and it’s Amir Babakhani who is on course to follow in Marvin Rettenmaier’s footsteps, and win back-to-back main event titles, as he takes the chip lead into Day Four with 1,220,000 ceramic discs.

The day started with a stacked field of 67-players and it ended with just 24 in contention for the first prize of $1,150,297. Nine of the remaining players are former champions: Jonathan Roy, Andy Frankenberger, Rocco Palumbo, Emil Olsson, Erick Lindgren, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu, Chino Rheem and the chip leader Babakhani all hoping to find the route to a place they have previously visited. Other players ominously hovering on the brink are Andrew Lichtenberger, Jason Mercier, Dan Shak and Steven Silverman.

Babakhani is still reeling after winning the last WPT Main Event that was held in Montreal just a few weeks ago. The $430,986 he won during that event was his first real score of any note, and making the final 24 of the WPT Championships now ranks as his second best score to date.

“It’s a case of deja-vu,” said Babakhani speaking to WPT sideline reporter Jeanine Deeb at the end of Day Three, “I went through some rough patches, but got through in the end. I was enjoying playing with Phil Hellmuth and got the best of him. It’s unreal to be playing against all these guys. I have seen them on TV and now here I am playing with them.”

Babakhani did cause Hellmuth some grief throughout the day and the great man was finally eliminated by Will Failla 88>AQ with The Thrill hitting an ace on the flop. The reigning champion Marvin Rettenmaier was another player eliminated on Day Three. The German moved his short stack, from the small blind, holding J2ss and was called by Justin Smith, in the big blind, holding AQhh and that’s all she wrote.

The WPT Player of the Year (POY) race is getting tight. The current leader Matt Salsberg was eliminated at the hands of our Venetian Champion, Rocco Palumbo, KQ

From the remaining crowd you have to fancy the chances of Steven Silverman, Dan Shak, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier and Jake Cody. All of them have more experience than Babakhani whilst also experiencing some recent run of form. Silverman, Mercier and Cody all scored big at the recent European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final, a place where Negreanu also had a good showing to add to his recent World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP-APAC) Main Event win; and Dan Shak has been cleaning up all over the world with big scores in the Bahamas, Australia and London.

Day Four will begin at noon (PT) and the $100,000 Super High Roller will begin a few hours later.


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