Tuesday was an important day at the Gardens Casino in Southern California as it saw the money bubble of the inaugural WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event burst to secure the top 73 finishers with a payout.
Besides that, the overall 584-strong field of the tournament was whittled down to just 46 hopefuls during Day 3 that was played Tuesday at the host venue. Local player Saya Ono is leading the pack of survivors with a hefty stack of 2.114 million.
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Ono was the only player to pass the 2 million mark yesterday. And she now stands well ahead of Anuj Agarwal who bagged and tagged the second largest stack last night, good for 1.25 million. Craig Varnell was the only other player at the tables of the host venue to bag over 1 million worth of chips last night.
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But the day belonged to Ono. The player had a hot streak of winning hands to grow her stack and cement her lead. She was actually responsible for the elimination that burst the money bubble. Ono busted Matt Salsberg in 74th place to make him the unfortunate bubble boy.
Later on Day 3, the player eliminated popular poker pro Ari Engel to further pull ahead. Toward the end of the night, Ono knocked out Brandon Zuidema to scoop a big pot and pass the 2 million chip mark.
Former WPT Champs Still in Contention
This will be Ono’s third cash from WPT’s Main Tour. And if the player maintains her momentum throughout Day 4 of the Gardens Main Event, she could make her first WPT Main Tour final table appearance.
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There are three players who have previously not only made it to the final table of a WPT Main Tour Main Event but also won the tournament, with those being Ryan Tosoc, who bagged 940,000 last night, Mike Del Vecchio (623,000), and Marvin Rettenmaier (575,000). Kitty Kuo with 590,000, Ralph Massey with 535,000, and his brother Aaron Massey with 192,000 were also among the notables who made it through the end of Day 3.
Day 4 is set to kick off today at noon local time with the 46 remaining participants. The survivors will play down to a six-handed final table. Each of the 46 hopefuls is guaranteed a minimum cash of $12,800, but they will all aim for the first-place prize of $565,055 and the accompanying brand-new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster, courtesy of the Gardens Casino. As for six the final tablists, they will all leave with a payout of no less than $115,885.
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The tournament’s finale will be played tomorrow at the host casino.
The first-ever WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event attracted a field of 584 entries. Including the $200,000 in cash the Gardens Casino contributed to the prize pool, it now amounts to $2,944,800. As mentioned above, the money was split into payouts for the top 73 finishers, min-cashes starting from $9,145.
The WPT Gardens is the first festival on WPT’s Season XVII schedule.