The official final table has been set for the Season XVI WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event from bestbet Jacksonville. Leading the way with a commanding chip position is none other than WPT legend and three-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias (pictured).
Season XVI WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event Final Table
Seat 1: Sam Panzica – 1,051,000
Seat 2: Paul Petraglia – 1,698,000
Seat 3: Gaurav Raina – 831,000
Seat 4: John Esposito – 2,236,000
Seat 5: Shankar Pillai – 344,000
Seat 6: Darren Elias – 3,547,000
Elias entered Day 3 of the Season XVI WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event in fifth position amongst the final 23 players. He jumped out to a roaring start when he eliminated Dominique Mosley in 22nd place. Despite the boost to start, Elias began to slide after that, getting as low as 19 big blinds as play approached the final table.
Within the first few hands after the players combined to one table, Elias was able to double up through fellow WPT Champions Club member and defending WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble champion Sam Panzica. A few hands after that, he doubled again, this time through Alex Rocha.
With eight players left, Elias took out Charles Carlson in eighth place and moved into the lead with 2.6 million in chips.
Later on, with seven players still remaining, Panzica found a double through Elias to bring the three-time WPT winner back down to Earth a bit, but shortly thereafter Elias busted Kirk Corson to se the official final table of six.
By reaching the official final table, Elias moved into a tie with Phil Ivey for most official WPT Main Tour final tables in history with nine. Elias is also one of five players to win three World Poker Tour titles, and a win here in the Season XVI WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event would make him the first player to win a fourth. The others who share the record for most WPT titles with Elias are Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Anthony Zinno, and Chino Rheem.
“It’s definitely something,” Elias said the possibility of winning a record-setting fourth WPT title. “As I get later in my career, these kind of things definitely mean more to me. To distance myself from the other three-time champions would be cool. It’s definitely something I’m going to try my best to accomplish tomorrow.”
With two cashes already in Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, Elias has 100 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. He’s now guaranteed another 400 to be added to his total, but could win upwards of 1,000 points if he were to grab first place. Although he was yet to win Hublot WPT Player of the Year honors, Elias is one of the most consistent performers on the World Poker Tour every season. He finished sixth in Season XV, 12th in Season XIV, and second in Season XIII.
“I don’t really look at it yet,” Elias told WPT.com in regards to the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. “If I win one, then I start to look at it. This season, [Art Papazyan] already won two, so it might be tough this year, but I’m not thinking about that yet. I’m just gonna try to win the tournament tomorrow.”
The tomorrow Elias speaks of is Wednesday, October 25, when he takes to the felt at bestbet Jacksonville to go for his fourth WPT title. But just because he has a big chip lead, it doesn’t mean the victory is Elias’ yet. He has a lot of tough competition to battle with, including the event’s defending champion, Sam Panzica.
“I’ve played with Shankar [Pillai] and Sam Panzica a lot,” Elias said of his opponents. “They’re both tough players. I’ve been battling with Johnny Esposito the last couple days, and he’s been a tough opponent. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m gonna try to figure it out.”
If Panzica were to win, not only would he go back to back, but Panzica would become the first player in WPT history to win the same World Poker Tour event twice. He’d also join the ranks of Elias, Mortensen, Hansen, Zinno, and Rheem as three-time WPT champions. In addition to winning the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event last season, Panzica won the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event.
Panzica will enter Wednesday’s final table in fourth chip position with 1.051 million.
The Season XVI WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event final table will have the cards in the air at 4 p.m. ET. Coverage of the event can be found right here on WPT.com, and it will also be streamed on a 30-minute delay on the World Poker Tour Facebook page.
As it stands right now, the final six players are guaranteed at least $55,191, but all eyes are on the $315,732 first-place prize. Included in the winner’s prize is a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
While you wait for the final table to kick off, check out this Heart of a WPT Champion video featuring Darren Elias.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com