Jared Jaffee leads WPT Best Bet Jacksonville as they come down the stretch
The last time the World Poker Tour hosted an event in Jacksonville, Florida it was professional poker player Jared Jaffee who emerged with the title. Fast forward to the next WPT event in Jacksonville and heading into the final days of play it is Jaffee once again leading the way with 776K in chips. He leads a field that includes Jordan Cristos, James Calderaro, Jason Mercier, John Racener, and Faraz Jaka. Let’s take a look at how they got there.
111 entrants took part in Day 1A and there were plenty of big names taking part in the poker action. Among those who could be seen stacking chips at some point in the day were Mike Sexton, Marvin Rettenmaeir, Jonathan Little, Scott Montgomery, Shannon Shorr, Anthony Zinno, Matt Waxman, Will Failla, and Dylan Wilkerson. The current WPT Player of the Year leader, Makul Pahuja, was also there trying to add to his lead. Pahuja along with Justin Zaki, Amanda Musumeci, Mohsin Charania, and Matt Waxman would all fail to make it through the day. Shannon Shorr scooped a huge pot with pocket Queens during the early evening to take his stack north of 150K. Jaffee would also not survive the day but fortunately for him there was always tomorrow, and he’d make good on that second chance. Lazaro Hernandez would finish as the day 1A chip leader with 212K. Jason Mercier was not too far behind with 168K and Florida resident Jonathan Little was also sitting pretty with 142K.
147 more entrants came out for Day 1B bringing the total size of the field to 258 entrants creating a prize pool of $825,600 with first place taking home $206,041. By the time play wrapped up there were 60 survivors joining the 41 who made the cut on Day 1A for a total of 101 players returning for Day 2 action. Notables who would participate in the poker festivities included several who had played on Day 1A. They included Makul Pahuja, Jared Jaffee, Amanda Musumeci, Justin Zaki, Harrison Gimbel, Mohsin Charania, Scotty Nguyen and Lily Kiletto. Queens would be no good for Matt Waxman as he would run into Aces to be eliminated shortly after registration closed for the tournament. Kiletto would join him on the rail when her As8s was unable to improve against pocket 4’s. Jared Jaffee would be sitting with 47K in chips midway through Level 8 with the blinds at 300/600 with a 75 ante. He would turn that into 134K by the end of Level 10 which wrapped up play for the day. Manuel Rafanan was the end of Day 1B chip leader with 272K in chips. Other notables included Amanda Musumeci (115K), Zo Karim (110K), and the defending champion of this event Mike Linster (99K). Makul Pahuja, Scotty Nguyen, Mohsin Charania, and Jordan Cristos also survived.
Things started off with a bang on Day 2 as it didn’t take long for the Day 1 chip leader, Manuel Rafanan, to go from hero to zero as he was eliminated less than two levels in. Mohsin Charania would be eliminated when he tried to slow play Aces and the big blind flopped top two pair. Shannon Shorr would follow when his Ace-Queen was unable to best the pocket Queens of Jordan Cristos. Amanda Musumeci would win a huge pot against Scotty Nguyen and would take to Twitter to talk about it…
Got ’emmmm! In the battle of me vs Scotty…. I cooler his face off :/ My KK vs his QQ for heaps. 290k ish now at 2400…
— Amanda Musumeci (@TheReaLMander) March 23, 2014
Makul Pahuja would lose a race with Ace-King against pocket Queens to come up short in his attempt to add to his Player of the Year lead. Jordan Cristos would make a move at the wrong time, four betting all in from the small blind with Qs-8c when Adam Shuman held pocket Aces. Apparently Cristos knew what was coming, however, as he hit two pair to crack the Aces and double up to 320K. 27 players would make the money and Jonathan Little would fall just short finishing in 30th place when he would run Kings into Aces. It would be a former winner of this event that would be the unlucky 28th place finisher when Shawn Cunix three bet all in with pocket 8’s and would lose a race to Kevin Choe’s K-J. Cunix was good natured as he left the tournament and even tweeted about it:
— Shawn Cunix (@CunixShawn) March 24, 2014
They would play just over one more level before play concluded for the evening. In the money finishers who were eliminated were as follows:
20th: Maurice Gottlieb, $8,507
21st: Thad McNulty, $8,507
22nd: Greg Baumhover, $7,616
23rd: Michael Martinez, $7,616
24th: Amanda Musumeci, $7,616
25th: Talesh Patel, $6,725
26th: Jeremiah Pierce, $6,725
27th: Jonathan Baldwin, $6,725
That meant that 19 players were left and there was no shortage of star power. The aforementioned Jaffee led the way with 776K. Seated at his table were none other than Jason Mercier (298K), John Racener (216K), Jordan Cristos (699K), and Dylan Wilkerson (165K). Also still alive were Faraz Jaka (494K), James Calderaro (510K), and Dan Heimiller (190K).