The legendary 14 times WSOP champion, Phil Hellmuth, has reached the final table of the 2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event, giving himself the best shot yet at the elusive WPT title. However, there are still many hurdles left before he can add the cherry on top of his exemplary poker resume in the form of 5 other competitors in the final lineup, including a brick wall of an obstacle that is none other than the two-time WPT champion J.C. Tran who has bagged a massive chip lead of 8,295,000, and Marvin Rettenmaier (1,225,000) who is also a two-time WPT champion himself.
Tran, who continues his pursuit of the slippery 3rd WPT title, took to twitter to provoke the Poker Hall of Famer, Helmuth, who is perceived by himself and many others to be his main roadblock in this mission.
— JC TRAN💯 (@jctran23) August 31, 2017
A big portion of Tran’s stack came from a epic win on the final hand of the day 4 on Wednesday, which came on the tail end of a strenuous 12-hour battle, when he went all in to put David ‘Doc’ Sands to the test in a classic race that ended in favor of Tran with his quads over Sands’ pocket Kings, knocking Sands out on the bubble.
The Poker Brat, for as much as he has already achieved in the world of poker, hasn’t even cashed in a WPT event since 2010, let alone win a WPT event. However, things look to be going his way this time around as he just holds on to the 3rd biggest stack of 2,940,000, and especially since he just came off from a fresh and very satisfying victory at Poker Night in America King of the Hill event.
Hellmuth has received his fair share of criticism from younger pros but continues strong, and proves that he is still very much relevant and a force to be reckoned with despite being a little “older”. The King of the Hill win made this blatantly clear as he defeated two extremely talented young pros who are known to be “the best heads-up players in the world”, Dan “Jungleman” Cates and Doug Polk, with the latter having taunted Hellmuth prior to their semi-final clash. In the end, Hellmuth was the one to have the last laugh.
Regardless how high Hellmuth’s confidence or how sharp his instincts are right now, his road to his first-career WPT title will be anything but easy. But, should he finally manage to accomplish this task, it couldn’t come at a better time and will greatly help to promote his new book, Poker Brat, as well as his new position as host of World Poker Tour show, “The Raw Deal”.
The second biggest stack belongs to Art Papzayan, who is sitting at a comfortable 6,005,00 chips that are worth 75 big blinds – fair to say, a decent wiggle room. Papzayan has already guaranteed at least $91,825, which is significantly higher than his previous highest career tournament cash of $16,130. With this in mind, he has everything to go for and nothing to lose.
Sitting 4th on the chips table is D.J. Alexander (2,730,000). Alexander, having just missed out on his first career bracelet in June in the WSOP $1,400 buy-in Millionaire Maker, will be looking to close it out this time round. As a little extra something to fight for, the Houston native will be donating five percent of his winnings to the relief efforts.
“That’s actually extra motivation. I mean I’m already motivated enough, but yeah, I’m just trying to win the max money for those back home,” said Alexander. He also added “It would mean everything. Since I missed out on winning a bracelet this summer, a WPT title, especially a televised one, would be great.”
Starting fifth in day 5 will be Adam Swan (1,655,000). Just like Alexander, this will be Swan’s biggest tournament cash by far, so he too will be looking to go as far as possible and win as much as possible.
Day 5’s final table will kick off at 4pm PT, and viewers at home can catch the livestream over at PokerGo.com on a 30-minute delay.