The final table of the WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event was reached last night. The six finalists are now set to return at the host venue Thunder Valley Casino Resort to play the final stage of the $3,500 buy-in tournament later today.
The event attracted 440 entries and generated a prize pool of $1.408 million. The money was split into payouts for the top 55 finishers. Each of the six finalists is guaranteed a payout of $56,417. The winner will receive $295,128 for their efforts. The first-place payout also includes a $15,000 seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions that is set to take place at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas this May.
Two of the six finalists have reached a WPT Main Tour Main Event final table for the second time. It will be a final table debut for all four other players. There are no former WPT champions among the six hopefuls.
However, there is a former WSOP Main Event champion who made it to the closing stage of this year’s WPT Rolling Thunder. Joe McKeehen, who won the world’s largest No-Limit Hold’em tournament in 2015, will now try to add a WPT title to his list of accomplishments.
McKeehen will enter the final table with the second largest stack. The player bagged and tagged 2.755 million last night, good for 69 big blinds.
Ping Liu Leads the Final Six
Ping Liu will start the final day of action as the chip leader with a stack of 3.33 million, good for 83 big blinds. The player was the only one to pass the 3-million mark yesterday and now has a significant advantage over his remaining opponents.
This will be a first WPT final table for Liu. His live tournament earnings currently total $585,709. The player has not won any major event over the course of his career, but has cashed in a number of prestigious tournaments in different parts of the world. He collected his largest live cash of $133,110 back in 2014, when he finished third in a WSOP Circuit Main Event in Las Vegas.
Ian Steinman (2.48 million), Rayo Kniep (2.435 million), D.J. Alexander (1.425 million), and David Larson (700,000) are the other four players to have made it to the final table of the WPT Rolling Thunder. Alexander and McKeheen are the only two players with previous experience at a WPT Main Event final table.
Several former WPT Main Event champions made it to the paid places in the tournament, but could not reach the final table. Pat Lyons (who finished 9th for $30,228), Sam Panzica (10th: $30,228), Olivier Busquet (32nd: $7,522) were some of them. Anthony Zinno, a three-time WPT champion, also secured a paid finish in the WPT Rolling Thunder. The player eyed a record fourth title, but was eventually eliminated in 53rd place for $5,990.