WPT press pause on Gardens Poker Championship; Stepuchin leads final six

TAGs: Frank Stepuchin, World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour has called ‘time’ on the Gardens Poker Championships in California, with Frank Stepuchin leading a final table that resumes live from the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in March.

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Championship is over, for now. The final six players now have an anxious wait until March 12 when they reconvene to find out who will win the $548,825 first prize when the bright lights of the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, attempt to puff up their faces like a blister.

WPT press pause on Gardens Poker Championship; Stepuchin leads final sixIt seemed like an odd choice to hold a $10,000 WPT Championship event with PokerStars dragging most of the high rolling oil rockers to the Bahamas for a blitz of high stakes action including the softest $25,000 in the history of the game.

There was no begging bowl.

The WPT brand managed to grab the attention of 253-entrants, including a plethora of players who hopped on a jet plane as soon as their Bahamian experience ended, including the Aussie Millions Main Event Champion, Toby Lewis (7th), and the WPT Champions Club members, Marvin Rettenmaier (11th) and Mohsin Charania (25th).

If there’s one man who won’t thank the WPT from pressing the pause button, it’s Frank Stepuchin. The man who beat 2,070 entrants in the summer to bank the $149,220 win in a $375 No-Limit Hold’em event at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, led Day 1A, Day 3, and will turn up in Las Vegas as the man to beat in March.

It won’t be easy.

Shannon Shorr makes his fourth visit to a WPT Main Event final table. The closest Shorr came was in 2014 finishing runner-up to James Calderaro in the Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship in Coconut Creek.

Ray Qartomy is also making his fourth WPT Main Event Final Table. In 2014, Qartomy finished sixth in the WPT Borgata Championship, a year later, he finished fifth in the WPT World Championships at the same venue, and last year he made the final table of the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble finishing fourth.

Rounding up a trio of players making their fourth appearance at a WPT Main Event table is Steve Sung. The two-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, came into this one in decent nick after winning the 594-entrant Wynn Fall Classic back in October for $170,550. Sung finished fourth in WPT Barcelona back in 2007, came runner-up to Brandon Cantu in the 2008 Bay 101 Shooting Stars Championship event, and fourth in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in the same year.

Nobody takes up the role of filler in this one.

Brent Roberts has had a couple of big wins in the past including beating 179-entrants to win the $290,040 first prize in a $5k World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Championship event in Atlantic City and taking down the 696-entrant WPTDeepStacks Main Event in Parx Casino for $205,944 back in 2016. Roberts has made one previous WPT Main Event Final Table finishing third in the 2015 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event.

Finally, Jonathan Abdellatif is the only European to make the final table, and although it’s a new experience for the Belgian, he did win the High Roller and a side event during the 2015 WPT Emperor’s Palace Poker Classic.

Here are the chip counts, and the payouts.

Final Table Chip Counts

Seat 1: Shannon Shorr – 1,710,000
Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin – 4,065,000
Seat 3: Brent Roberts – 1,385,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif – 555,000
Seat 5: Ray Qartomy – 820,000
Seat 6: Steve Sung- 1,580,000


1st: $548,825*
2nd: $355,885
3rd: $259,880
4th: $192,465
5th: $144,595
6th: $110,225
*Includes a $15,000 buy-in to the season ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.


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