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Darren Elias Goes For Fifth WPT Title At 2019 L.A. Poker Classic Final Table

David "ODB" Baker, Matas Cimbolas and John Smith Among The Final Six


A total of 546 entries turned out to the Commerce Casino for the 2019 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. Now, after five full days of action, only six players are left with a shot at the title. The remaining players are all guaranteed at least a $201,650 payday, but all surely have their eyes set on the trophy and the $1,015,000 first-place prize.

A champion won’t be decided in this event until Mar. 11, as the final table is set to resume on that date at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That means that the remaining players will have nearly a week from the time the final table was set to prepare to play down to a winner.

This is the third WPT event to utilize the new delayed final table approach. The other two events were the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, which set its final six players back on Jan. 17, and the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, which halted action on Feb. 1.

HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & CasinoThe three final tables are now set to play out on consecutive days from Mar. 11-13 in Las Vegas, with all three being filmed for television broadcast. The players that have made these delayed final tables will all have their travel accommodations and hotel stays covered by the WPT.

The chip leader heading into the final table is none other than all-time WPT title leader Darren Elias, who will look to extend his record by taking down his fifth main event on this tour. Elias (pictured above) will enter the final table with 9,070,000 in chips, or more than 180 big blinds when play resumes at 25,000-50,000 with a 50,000 big-blind ante. Elias has accumulated more than $6.6 million in live tournament earnings over his career, and could add to that in a big way if he is able to come away with the seven-figure top prize.

When the decision to delay the WPT’s televised final tables was announced in 2018, Elias told Card Player that, “I’m against delayed final tables. In any poker event, I think who you are at the start of the tournament should be the same as who you are to finish the tournament. But when you delay the final tables, players can get training and hire coaches to improve a lot during the time off. And I think you should have to play it out as is.”

Elias went on to say, “If I make another WPT final table, then I’ll deal with that when it happens. I can just see it being annoying depending on your stack or the tournament buy-in. But I also see why the WPT did this. I see how it could be a good thing in the long run. It’s an experiment, and we just have to wait and see how it turns out.”

David "ODB" Baker on day 5Second in chips is David “ODB” Baker with 4,760,000. Baker is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner with more than $4.5 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. This is his second WPT final table appearance, having finished fifth in the 2006 WPT Festa Al Lago main event.

Matas Cimbolas will enter the final table in third chip position with 4,675,000. The 2014 partypoker WPT UK main event winner from Lithuania will be looking to add to his $1.4 million in career earnings with a strong showing in this event.

JC Moussa is making his second WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table appearance, having previously finished fifth in 2010. Moussa will enter the final table with 1,250,000 this time around, good for fourth place on the leaderboard.

Steve Yea will start with the button and 1,205,000 when the final table kicks off. This will be his first WPT final table.

Rounding out the final six is John Smith, who made back-to-back runs to the finals in the WSOP $10,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship in 2016 and 2017. Smith has more than $1.1 million in live tournament earnings but had never made a WPT final table prior to this run. His 895,000 in chips will be good for just shy of 18 big blinds when play resumes on Mar. 11.

Here is a look at chip counts of the final six players:

Rank Player Chips
1 Darren Elias 9,070,000
2 David “ODB” Baker 4,760,000
3 Matas Cimbolas 4,675,000
4 JC Moussa 1,250,000
5 Steve Yea 1,205,000
6 John Smith 895,000

Player photo credits: Joe Giron / WPT.