The Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) is an annual stop on the World Poker Tour. The world’s best poker players have made the trip to the Commerce Casino for the last 19 years. The series has grown in epic proportions in that time.
The 2012 LAPC featured 51 events culminating in the $10,000 buy-in WPT No-Limit Hold’em Championship. 549 players entered the LAPC main event and over the course of five days they have played down to six.
Today started with the 18 remaining players set to play as many 90-minute levels as it took to reach a final table. The cards went into the air at noon PST with Noah Schwartz as the chip leader with just over 1.7 million.
The fireworks started early with Sorel Mizzi getting it all-in with pocket kings against Sean Jazayeri’s pocket nines. The flop came K-J-8 with two clubs, leaving Jazayeri nearly drawing dead. The Q♥ on the turn gave him some outs, but the 2♠ on the river sealed the deal for Mizzi and he doubled up to 1.4 million.
Shahen Martirosian would be the first elimination of the day when his 9♣ 8♣ was bested by Dan Kelly’s K-7 offsuit. Kelly chipped up to almost 2.4 million while Martirosian took home $39,530 for his 18th place finish. One by one over the next six hours, players were eliminated (most notably former WSOP and WPT champion Joe Hachem in 12th) until they were set to play at one table of ten.
Sorel Mizzi rode the momentum of that first big hand to as high as third on the leader board, but he would eventually bust in 10th place for $60,610. Notable WPT star David Pham busted eighth while former WPT champ Allen Carter busted on the TV bubble.
With the final table set and the chips bagged and tagged the remaining players retired for the night around 9:30 PM. They will reconvene at 4:00 PM PST. When play restarts there will be one hour remaining in Level 28 (there were 41 minutes left in Level 28 when play stopped, but tournament director Matt Savage will roll the clock back to a full 60 minutes), with the blinds at 30,000 and 60,000 with a 10,000 ante.
WPT.com will stream the final table live (with hole cards) on a 30 minute tape delay starting at 4:30 PM PST.
And now, introducing the six men who made the final table of the LAPC main event.
Jason Burt is the short stack in seat two. When play resumes Burt will only have 13 big blinds. He’ll be looking for any opportunity to get all of his chips in the middle.
Burt has been a tournament player since 2009 with one WPT final table at the 2009 Festa Al Lago main event. He has four career cashes totaling $273,567.
Burt hit the million-chip mark about two-and-half hours into day five after doubling through Sorel Mizzi. From there he gained little traction getting as high as 1.6 million after eliminating Stephen Chidwick in ninth before ending the day a mere 200,000 chips greater than when he started.
Burt will be looking to double early which means he will likely be pushing any pair, nearly any ace-high hands, and possibly hands such as king-queen or king-jack.
With the button starting in seat one, Burt will begin play in the small blind taking him down to 800,000 before he even makes a decision. If the action folds around to him, Burt may try to push any advantage perceived.
Burt is solid player on the short stack, having managed to survive until the TV final table after being relatively low on chips all day.
I believe that Burt will remain solid and push at his best opportunity, but with his deeper-stacked opponents able to wait for bigger hands it is possible that Burt may run into a monster when he does.
Projected finish: Sixth place
Fifth in chips and a mere 5,000 ahead of Jason Burt, Jason Somerville will also be looking for his best chance to get all of his chips in the middle.
Somerville has been playing tournament poker since 2005 with 21 career cashes and one major title, capturing a bracelet in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2011 World Series of Poker. His career live earnings total $1,717,953.
Somerville started day five with just over a million in chips. Somerville struggled for the first few hours of the day sinking to almost 600,000 before he doubled up to 1.2 million with pocket sevens against Jason Dewitt’s pocket fours.
Somerville continued his slow and steady climb until hitting another big hand where his pocket kings held up against David Sands’ pocket tens, vaulting Somerville to the chip lead with nearly 3.5 million.
Somerville’s roller-coaster day continued when he lost a 2.4 million chip pot against Dan Kelly before he would eventually slide back under a million chips. Somerville is a six-year pro who seen these kind of swings before, both live and online, and I don’t believe that he will let them affect his decision making.
I think Somerville will play tough on the short stack, pushing any hand where he has an advantage and potentially doubling and putting himself back in contention.
Projected finish: Fourth place
Sitting fourth in chips is Dan Kelly. Known and feared online as djk123, Kelly has been playing tournaments since 2007.
Kelly has 15 live tournament cashes to his record totaling $1,462,945. The majority of his winnings stem from his bracelet win in the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event at the 2010 World Series of Poker. Coincidentally, fifth place Jason Somerville was also at that final table, finishing fourth.
With 42 big blinds Kelly has some room to play. His first move doesn’t have to be all-in like his shorter stacked opponents, but he does have to be careful splashing around in too many pots where he could potentially lose a lot of chips and make himself short stacked in a hurry.He also can’t sit to tight while the blinds circle and the antes take a chunk of his stack every hand.
Kelly started the day second in chips behind Noah Schwartz with 1.75 million. He went to work quickly busting Shahen Martirosian in 18th and assuming the chip lead. Kelly ran his stack up over three million before doubling up David Sands and settling into the middle of the pack.
Kelly is a strong player and he knows what he has to do in order to climb back to the chip lead. It’s a matter of whether the cards cooperate and if the opportunities present themselves.
If they do, Kelly has a decent shot at taking this down.
Projected finish: Second place
Noah Schwartz sits third in chips, just under the four million mark. With over 60 big blinds remaining in his stack, Schwartz has the chips at his disposal to speculate in more hands than his shorter stacked opponents.
Schwartz has been playing tournament poker since 2008, amassing lifetime winnings of $1,894,844 over 36 cashes with two major victories.
Schwartz started day five as the chip leader, just ahead of Dan Kelly. Schwartz probably had the smoothest day of all the remaining players, growing his stack steadily throughout the day with only a couple of missteps.
He ascended to third near the end of the day taking a 2.6 million chip pot off chip leader Sean Jazayeri.
If Schwartz can keep his patience he could be a real threat to win. I look for him to stay steady and become more aggressive as the shorter stacks get eliminated.
With two tournament wins, he knows how to close the deal when play becomes short handed. If Schwartz gets down to heads-up he may be tough to deal with.
Projected finish: Third place
Second in chips is David “Doc” Sands, who is only six big blinds from assuming the lead. He has a chip stack capable of taking advantage of the shorter stacks.
He’ll have one of the better shots at busting some of the short stacks because he can call them down with a wider range.
Sands has been playing tournaments since 2007, cashing 31 times. His lifetime winnings total $1,976,315 with three wins. This gives him an experienced edge over the only man with a bigger stack than he has.
Sands had an up-and-down day five. He started to chip up mid-day, eliminating A.J. Jejelowo in 14th place before taking a big pot off Dan Kelly to steal away the chip lead. The good run couldn’t last forever, as Sands doubled up Allen Carter and Jason Somerville within 15 minutes.
But the tides would turn yet again as Sands doubled through Jason Burt and then tripled up through Carter and Kelly before the end of the day to get back to almost three million. Sands busted Allen Carter on the TV bubble to jump to four million.
Sands has been on a bit of a heater recently taking down a $5,000 event at Five Diamond World Poker Classic and following it up with a runner-up finish in the $100,000 High Roller event last December.
With a big chip stack and his aggressive style of play, Sands has an excellent chance of winning the LAPC.
Projected finish: First place
The chip leader is WPT Boot Camp alum Sean Jazayeri. Jazayeri has been playing tournament poker since 2009.
He has cashed 12 times in tournaments under $2,000 taking home a win at the 2010 Caesar’s Classic. His lifetime winnings are $123,771.
Though not technically deep stacked, Jazayeri still has the fire power to blow shorter stacks out of a hand or to call down shorter stack with a more marginal holding. Because of this fact, Jazayeri has the potential lose crippling portions of his stack on coin flips.
Jazayeri started the day amongst the leaders before being shuffled back and forth. His stack was crippled only 20 minutes into the day when his nines lost to Sorel Mizzi’s kings.
Later in the day he got his chips back from Mizzi, catching a 10 on the flop against Mizzi’s pocket sixes.
Jazayeri was dealt a cooler mid-day when his pocket kings were upended by Joe Hachem’s pocket aces. Jazayeri righted the ship from there on as he doubled through Stephen Chidwick, then he took a two million chip pot from Allen Carter before finally eliminating David Pham in eighth place to assume the chip lead.
Jazayeri did give a few back before the TV bubble burst, but he managed to maintain his advantage.
Jazayeri is relatively inexperienced at these stakes compared to his opponents, and though it hasn’t yet, there is the possibility that television cameras and the lights might affect the way he plays.
If his nerves do get to him, Jazayeri may make an early exit. If they don’t, expect him to be patient and put his chips to good use.
Projected finish: Fifth place