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WPT Championship Day 3: Eric Afriat Continues His Run

Latest World Poker Tour winner Eric Afriat is determined to make history in the Season XII final showdown. If Afriat wins the WPT World Championship, he will become the first player ever to win back-to-back events in the same season. Marvin Rettenmaier managed to do that, but it was across two seasons, according to WPT Blog.

And after winning $1,081,184 just last week, Afriat has his eyes set on yet another seven-figure prize that will be handed to the last man standing: $1,350,000.

The Canadian started Day 3 in command after a dominating Day 2. He eliminated Simon Lam early on after winning a #ks#qs vs. #ad#5d battle preflop. He also won a big pot later calling Blake Bohn’s all-in for about 53 big blinds. Bohn had a premium hand in #as#kc, but Afriat held the absolute nuts in #ac#ah.

Abe Korotki is the second biggest stack of the event. Korotki is also on a big run, winning the Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship 11 days ago for $256,508, according to the Hendon Mob Poker DB. WPT Champions Club member Anthony Gregg, WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Bubble Boy Ryan D’Angelo, and WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Final Table Bubble Boy Curt Kohlberg complete the board, each one holding at least 62 big blinds.

Day 3 also marked the Money Bubble Burst. Nick Shulman and Michael Lavoie were the unlucky ones who finished just outside the money in places 38 and 37, respectively. Schulman check-raised all-in with an open-ender and was called by Maurice Hawkins, who had the upper hand and also a big monster draw – flush draw to ace-high plus a gutshot. Nothing improved for Shulman and he left the World Championship empty-handed.

Lavoie four-bet all-in with #ad#qd only to get called by Kohlberg’s #kh#ks. The #jc#8d#8s#6c#7c board made it official that every player left gets a minimum of $30,085.

After the bubble burst, the 36 remaining played four more hours until there were only 18. Big names fell down in the process such as Athanasios Polychronopoulos, WPT Championship Day 1 chip leader Jason Koon, Matt Stout, Jordan Cristos, and Season IX WPT Champion Scott Siever.

Others like Phil Hellmuth didn’t even min-cash. The Poker Brat finished outside the money in 40th place after moving with his last 10 big blinds from the button with #as#6h. Byron Kaverman had him covered in both chips and odds holding #ah#qs.

“I had so many hands that were run by other hands, and I’ve always had the worst hands over and over and over. I put up one of the most spectacular bluffs that I’ve ever made just to stay alive and then, I tried to really hang on,” Hellmuth complained in a WPT interview. “If I had had average cards, I would have had 500,000 – 600,000 in chips, if I had had good cards, I would have had one million right now,” he added, finishing the dialog in style: “I’m playing great and now I know that. The World Series of Poker starts in a month and if I can keep playing like this, watch out baby!”

Day 4 will start today at noon ET and will set the stage for the big six-handed final table championship.

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Florian Gheorghe