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Day 4 of the Borgata Poker Classic

Final Table Set, David Tran and Gavin Griffin Share the Chip Lead

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While the 27 remaining players had all guaranteed themselves a profitable tournament, all had their eyes set on bigger things. For some, it was the hope that they could squeeze themselves up a few more spots, and for some, it was the goal of making it to the television final table. But for the 15 or so professionals in the room, it was to put themselves in position for the $1,401,109 first-place prize, even though playing to win could cost them their tournament life.

The action started with a blind increase, and we proceeded to lose five players in the first level. It wasn’t long until nine players were gone, and we were down to the final two tables. Here is the order of those initial eliminations.

26. John Cox
20. Gordon Wilcox

Once the players were settled in their new seats, Ervin Prifti went on a tear that saw him take out two players in one hand. First, his pocket kings outlasted Jared “TheWacoKidd” Hamby’s pocket queens to double him up and cripple the young online pro. Then he took out Hamby (18th) and Vadim Trincher (17th) on the very next hand when he flopped a set of nines.

Meanwhile, at the other table, Nam Le ran into some bad luck when Shane Labounty caught a three-outer on the river to cripple him. Nam was forced into a race with David Tran a few hands later and was eliminated in 16th when his A-Q failed to catch up.

Justin Bonomo on day 4Gavin Griffin on day 4Justin Bonomo took out Eric Siegel (15th), who was quickly followed to the rail by Onofrio Reina (14th). Gavin Griffin and Bonomo then went to work, and they both picked up over a million in chips during a few hands. They eliminated “Action” Bob Hwang (13th) and John McEwen (12th). Both were securely in second (Bonomo) and third (Griffin), but they still had a long way to go to catch the fortress of chips sitting in front of Tran.

After short stack John Roveto busted in 11th place, the final 10 players combined at the final table. Their seating assignments were as follows:

Seat 1 — Lee Watkinson — 854,000
Seat 2 — Noah "fourUhaters" Schwartz — 1,588,000
Seat 3 — Scott Blackman — 1,068,000
Seat 4 — Men "The Master" Nguyen — 149,000
Seat 5 — Ervin Prifti — 947,000
Seat 6 — Gavin Griffin — 2,203,000
Seat 7 — Thomas Hare — 1,120,000
Seat 8 — David "Big Dragon" Tran — 3,741,000
Seat 9 — Justin Bonomo — 2,940,000
Seat 10 — Shane LaBounty — 471,000

After a quick double up by Nguyen, play went from reckless to cautious almost instantly. The players were curiously silent, and it would take nearly an hour before another player would bust. During this period of inactivity, the only notable hand was Hare’s double up through Bonomo. Hare’s pair of nines held up against Bonomo’s open-end straight draw, and the nearly 2,500,000 pot went his way.

Finally, Nguyen’s run ended when he got it all in preflop with A-K against Schwartz’s pocket jacks. A jack on the flop sent Nguyen to the rail, but not before he recorded a rare back-to-back final table feat, having finished in third place at the WPTThomas Hare on day 4 World Poker Open last week. Nguyen earned $63,932 for his finish.

Hare continued to get his way in almost every pot he played, and the trend continued when he went up against Blackman. As he always did, Hare min-raised to open the pot, and Blackman came over the top for half of his stack. Hare thought a bit before pushing all in, and Blackman called showing pocket tens. Hare showed A-K and knocked out his opponent when the board brought two kings. Blackman busted in ninth, taking home $98,359.

Bonomo never fully recovered from his tangle with Hare, and got into a huge coin flip with Griffin. Bonomo got it all in with A-K against Griffin’s pocket queens, and the board bricked out to end his day in a disappointing eighth place. He left with a consolation prize of $135,423.

Play finally ended when short-stack LaBounty pushed all in with pocket tens, only to run into the pocket queens of Tran. LaBounty had hung on to finish on the TV bubble, taking home $184,421.

The players will return tomorrow at 5 p.m. Eastern time for the televised taping of the final table for the WPT. Here are the final six and their chip counts.

Seat 1 — Lee Watkinson — 397,000
Seat 2 — Noah Schwartz — 1,320,000
Seat 3 — Ervin Prifti — 289,000
Seat 4 — Gavin Griffin — 5,105,000
Seat 5 — Thomas Hare — 2,851,000
Seat 6 — David Tran — 5,271,000