In a highly-decorated field of elite players, it takes something special to stand out. Step forward Sam Greenwood, then, in the WPT Online Championship Main Event.
When the latest World Poker Tour Main Event was announced as an online partnership with partypoker, many might have though there would be a new name etched int the famous trophy. That may still be the case, but the reputations of many of the players in the final 35 precede them and could well see one of the biggest names in poker walk away with the $1,048,088 top prize.
With a massive 2,130 entries coughing up the $3,000 buy-in, there was an eventual prize-pool totaling $6,390,000, outreaching the already ambitious guarantee of $5 million. Only 398 of those players made it to Day 2 across four Day 1 flights, with last year’s WSOP Main Event champion Hossein Ensan amongst them. He was one of 86 players who would miss out on the money places, however, with just 312 players making money.
Ensan was in illustrious company in exiting the tournament without profit, as WPT Champions Club member Anthony Zinno, Spanish tournament phenom Adrian Mateos and Brazilian high roller regular Joao Vieira all busting before the bubble burst.
It was the unlucky Fabio Sperling who bubbled the event, but before you feel too sorry for him, remember that he won the inaugural online WPT-500 event on partypoker just the other day:
Once into the money, eliminations predictably came thick and fast, with Scottish poker pro Ludovic Geilich departing in 282nd place for $5,943, Spanish professional Sergio Aido leaving in 276th place for $6,134 and Liv Boeree exiting in 251st for the same amount.
Despite all three of them having a Day 1 to remember, the trio of Day 1a-1c chip leaders Abdelhakim Zoufri (Day 1a), Leo Fernandez (1b) and Dominik Nitsche (1c) all departing before the final day of the event. Zoufri lasted the longest of those three busting in 60th place for $14,186, while Fernandez cashed for $9,521 and Nitsche banked $10,160.
With other poker legends such as Dan Shak and Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson departing along the way, play soon reached a decisive stage, with players battling to tot up a Day 3 stack. GPA Female Player of the Year Kristen Bicknell saw her run come to an end in 43rd place as she won $16,742, while former WPT Main Event champion Matas Cimbolas got even closer, exiting in 37th place, winning $18,595.
Before long, however, the stacks were in virtual bags, and players were retiring for the night. As the World Poker Tour tweeted, two former champions are still in with a chance of making it a double.
Sam Greenwood 🇨🇦 leads #WPTOnline Day 2 with 35 players remaining on @partypoker!— World Poker Tour (@WPT) May 19, 2020
Vlad Darie 🇷🇴 and Ema Zajmović 🇨🇦 are the last two WPT Champions remaining.
Day 3 starts at 7:00 pm BST/11:00 am PT with $1.048 million for the 🏆#TheCupAwaits
Players have eulogised about the event, with former WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess, a.k.a. ‘Riess the Beast’ imploring the WPT to make it a monthly event.
So many heroes left! Y’all should run this tournament monthly— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) May 19, 2020
Current chip leader Sam Greenwood had more cause to poker fun at PokerStars on Tuesday as his witty take on throwable emojis left his fans laughing while the man himself was grinding to the WPT Online Championship chip lead.
Pokerstars introducing throwable emojis and forcing you to play cash game hands to "unlock" them is some real EA Sports career mode style bullshit.— Sam Greenwood (@SamGreenwoodRIO) May 19, 2020
Heading into the chipcounts in 3rd place was British poker professional Max Silver, who was not looking at getting much sleep ahead of one of the biggest days in his poker career to date
Solid day 3 sweats, 27/40 SCOOP 10k Main, 4/18 PLO 1k main, 2/35 WPT Main.— Max Silver (@max_silver) May 19, 2020
$2.3m up for grabs across the three and my kids are still waking up in 3.5 hours
Whoever wins the WPT Online Championship Main Event will have done it the hard way, because with just four tables left, there are no weak spots and precious little room for manouevre. Anyone could win, with no runaway chip leader.
Who’s your money on? Sam Greenwood or Max Silver could win their first WPT Main Event while Romanian Vlad Darie or Canadian Ema Zajmović could win their second World Poker Tour title. Whoever it is, we’ll fill you in on the final furlong action right here on Calvin Ayre.
WPT Online Championship Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts:
|3rd||Max Silver||United Kingdom||4,340,422|