Just like the last time we were here at Borgata the final three tables were moved from the ballroom to the very back of the poker room. Three tables surrounded by audience seating on one side and the elevated media area on the other.
As play got under way at 11 a.m. today it was David Tran leading the pack with over $2 million. Tran would end up going wire to wire, finishing the evening where he began at the top of the counts.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were the short stacks who showed up in hopes of making something happen. When the announcement of shuffle up and deal was made we had just one minute left in Level 21 before the blinds were raised. A handful of players were sent packing during Level 22 and the action continued unabated until we reached the final 10.
At this point we had seen John Racener, Danny Shiff, Jared Hamby and Nam Le all go broke which left David Tran, Men Nguyen, Justin Bonomo, Freddy Deeb and John Spadavecchia.
Unfortunately appearing in consecutive episodes of the show was not in the cards for Nguyen who was only able to double up once before getting busted. The Master got it in racing big slick against the pocket jacks of Noah Schwartz. A jack hit the flop and it was all over, the veteran Nguyen gunned down by the up-and-coming Schwartz.
Meanwhile, in the press area, another pot was being contested as there remained just two picks alive in our media-wide last longer bet. I picked up Gavin Griffin in the re-buy period of the bet and only Justin Bonomo stood in the way of clinching the wager.
Luckily for me, not so much for Justin, he would be one of the three players unable to earn a seat in front of the television cameras. It turned out to be a direct confrontation between Griffin and Bonomo as the latter got all-in with A♦ K♥ to Gavin's Q♠ Q♥. A queen on the flop spelled disaster for ZeeJustin and after the board bricked out we were down to seven.
On the final hand of the evening David Tran broke the TV table bubble, sending Shane LaBounty to the exit and eking out the chip lead in the process. LaBounty opened the pot and Gavin Griffin flat-called. Tran then came over the top with a re-raise, forcing LaBounty to call all-in. Griffin quickly got out of the way and we saw LaBounty was in bad shape with pocket tens to the wired queens of Tran. The board changed nothing and the players shook hands.
Going into the final table it's David Tran with a slight edge over Gavin Griffin. Separated by just a narrow margin, these two are well out in front of their nearest competition, Thomas Hare and Noah Schwartz. For full chip counts as well as a rundown of all the action, head to the Live Updates page. For a full accounting of the players who cashed check out the results.
As is customary on the World Poker Tour the final table will begin taping in the evening, 5 p.m. (EST) to be exact. Gavin Griffin already has a WSOP bracelet and is the reigning EPT Grand Final champion, two achievements that would be complemented nicely by a WPT title. Tomorrow night we will have a champion. Check back with us at the agreed-upon time to find out who it will be.