Antonio Buonanno leads the final 79 players at the start of Day 3 of the party poker World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event. Sam Trickett, Toby Lewis and Sofia Lovgren are also in contention.
Antonio Buonanno is the only player remaining at the party poker World Poker Tour (WPT) Merit Classic North Cyprus who has over 400,000 chips.
So how did he do it?
“No showdown hands. I just won a lot of little pots,” Buonanno told me, as he bagged his chips up at the end of Day 2.
That’s a lot of little pots.
The big stack won’t phase Buonanno, after all he has made the final table of a World Series of Poker (WSOP) $5K event, and won the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monte Carlo for $1.7 million and change but it will be interesting to see how he wields it as we head into the money.
45-players are going to get paid, and the last time I looked at the clock there were 79-players remaining but you do have to remember that I might be a little off because the amount of smoke in the room renders me blind.
It’s the largest field since the WPT started holding Main Event’s in Cyprus, back in Season VII and you have the controversial re-entry clause to thank for the padded prize pool. Some professionals might not like it but damn do they use it.
The Hendon Mob will eventually show that there were 404 entrants, and 94 of them were re-entries. So whilst you can understand the complaints that this format of poker scares the bejesus out of the amateurs, it’s going to take a very brave poker operator to drop them.
It’s all about the money, honey.
Joining Buonanno in the Day 3 mix are some highly talented players, some big names, and a few unknowns with stacks that resemble a rich kids Lego set.
Sam Trickett has his eye on his first major title after finishing the day on 241,000 chips. The Everest Pro had a fairly easy table for most of the day, and won most of the critical pots that he was involved in.
Trickett is amongst a hoard of British players looking to make a deep run. Toby Lewis turned a bowl into close to 300,000 without barely breaking stride, Oliver Price coolered Aliaksei Boika in a hug he pot: AA v AKs to finish on 318,000, and Louis Salter, Danny Laming and Daniel Rudd will also be returning on Day 3.
The 888 Team Pro, Sofia Lovgren, had the misfortune of spending the early part of Day 2 seated to the direct right of her boyfriend, Luca Moschitta. The Italian seeing his kings cracked to end his tournament hopes, but the talented Swede remains in the mix with 126,000.
And what about the people who have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt with, “I am a WPT Champions Club member” written on it?
There are two former champions still in the running. Season X WPT Prague winner, Andrey Pateychuk, has 69,500 chips, and the Season IX WPT Vienna champion, Dmitry Gromov, has 59,000 chips.
Day 3 will begin at 13:00 (local time) and you can follow all the tournament highlights, written by yours truly, over at the WPT Live Updates Blog.