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Best of Ryan McLane
While poker legends are scarce going into Day Three of the $9,700 World Poker Tour (WPT) No-Limit Hold'em Legends of Poker Main Event, there is enough star power remaining in the field of 27 to make any poker fan happy.
Tuan Le, in second chip position with ($405,000 chips) is vying for his third WPT title after a strong showing in the first two days. His WPT victories include the 2004 World Poker Finals and the 2005 WPT Championship. He also won the invitation-only 2006 WPT Battle of Champions III and is the all-time WPT money leader with career earnings totaling $4,487,898. Given his perfect three-for-three record at WPT final tables, if he makes the final six on Tuesday, he will be considered the favorite.
Los Angeles poker veteran Javid Javani is the chip leader going into Day Three with a massive stack of $435,000 chips. His largest victory to date is a $27,600 win in a $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Legends of Poker event in 2006. First place in the 2006 WPT Legends of Poker Main event is worth $1,577,170.
Lurking just a few spots behind Javani and Le are some of the most accomplished tournament poker players in the world.
Card Player Magazine COO Barry Shulman is in 3rd place with $400,000 chips and tournament regulars Hoyt Corkins, Scotty Nguyen, Tim Phan and Erick Lindgren are within striking distance.
Corkins, Nguyen, and Lindgren are all WPT Champions (Lindgren has two titles) and each has more than one WPT final table appearance. Shulman and Phan also have WPT final table experience, which will make Day Three at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles the most exciting day in poker since the WSOP Main Event.
Other notables still in contention are PPT champion John Juanda and high-stakes poker professionals Huck Seed and Tony Ma. Seed leads the remaining notables with $150,000 chips. Juanda has a respectable $112,000 and Ma is still in the race, but short stacked with $88,000.
Unlike the first two days of play (Day One-A and Day One-B), professional players were busting out of the Legend's Main event at an alarming rate on Day Two. Freddy Deeb was the first to fall, but he wasn't the last. Mel Judah, John Phan, Amnon Filippi, Erik Seidel, Barry Greenstein, Liz Lieu, Nam Le, Victor Ramdin, Carlos Mortensen, Dan Harrington, Greg Mueller, and Phil Laak all met their tournament demise.
Celebrity players did well in the tournament, but none of them were able to overcome the wealth of professionals present in the field. Tobey McGuire (Spiderman), Jennifer Tilly (perhaps the most popular female player and current WPT Ladies' Night Champion) and Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter) all went deep, but failed to make Day Three.
Play will begin today at 2 p.m. PST and will continue until the final table of six is set. Stay tuned for more Casino City coverage of the WPT Legends of Poker Main event later in the week.
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