Brandon Meyers has been the star among stars thus far at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas, finishing both Day One and Day Two with the chip lead.
As impressive as his performance has been through two days of play, having the chip lead entering Day Three guarantees exactly nothing. Out of 812 entries in this $10,400 no-limit hold’em event, there are still 320 remaining players, and only the top 81 will go home with prize money in their pockets.
Meyers, a Las Vegas local who finished 47th in the 2017 WSOP Main Event, was the only player to crack the 400,000-chip mark on Day Two. He finished the session at 388,100. Daniel Strelitz, the $1 million winner at last season’s WPT LA Poker Classic, is in 2nd place with 310,900.
When tournament action resumes on Thursday (cards in the air at noon PT) blinds will be at 600/1200/200, with players trying to position themselves for a run at an in-the-money finish, where the top prize pays nearly $2 million.
Elias and the Superstars
Three of the top five chip stacks own World Poker Tour trophies, including Darren Elias (214,700), who always seems to be in contention in WPT events. He has three titles on tour, nine final table appearances, and more than $2.5 million in winnings.
Earlier this year, Elias appeared to be moments away from becoming the first four-time WPT winner. At the Bestbet Jacksonville event, he had a sizable chip lead with three players remaining, but couldn’t close the deal.
After two days at Bellagio, “Mr. WPT” (we just gave him that name) is in a comfortable position to make a deep run. But there are still four days of poker remaining before a champion is crowned.
Rainer Kempe is also sitting in a good spot heading into to Day Three. One of the many young German poker superstars, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl champion has 200,000 chips.
And, of course, what major poker tournament would be complete without the Poker Brat and his good buddy DNegs? Both players registered late on Day Two and advanced to Day Three with plenty of chips. Phil Hellmuth walked away with 109,400, and Daniel Negreanu bagged 76,400, almost exactly an average stack.
2017 WPT Five Diamond
Notable Chip Counts
Brandon Meyers (388,100)
Daniel Strelitz (310,900)*
Anthony Gregg (225,600)*
Dan Colman (137,000)
Benjamin Zamani (120,000)+*
Gus Hansen (118,700)*
David “Doc” Sands (110,000)
Phil Hellmuth (109,400)
Dan Smith (95,000)*
Sorel Mizzi (90,000)
Daniel Negreanu (76,400)
Cate Hall (75,000)
Olivier Busquet (57,500)*
Brian Rast (54,500)
Chino Rheem (54,000)*
J.C. Tran (45,000)+*
Ryan Riess (35,000)*
Mike Sexton (35,000)*
* past WPT Main Tour winner
+ past WPT Player of the Year
Millions in Play
The WPT Five Diamond is the last major live poker event of 2017. With a total prize pool of $7,876,000, the top two finishers will see seven-figure paydays.
The champion will go home with $1,958,065 and the runner-up will earn $1,134,202. Last year’s WPT Five Diamond also made two players a millionaire (if they weren’t already): James Romero (1st) and Ryan Tosoc (2nd).
Will this year’s final table be filled with known names or no-names? Stay tuned to see who advances.
There is no live stream available until the final table, which begins Sunday at 4 pm PT, when the subscription-based PokerGO begins broadcasting the action.