Monday, December 5, 2022

Chance Kornuth, Past Champs Big Stacked at WPT Choctaw

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chance kornuth wpt choctaw

Chance Kornuth and two past champions — Dapo Ajayi and James Mackey — are among the chip leaders with 36 players left in the $3,800 buy-in WPT Choctaw Main Event.

Durant, Oklahoma’s Choctaw Casino has been the site of some exciting poker action this past weekend that has seen the cream of the crop rise to the top. Kornuth, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, bagged the largest stack following Sunday’s Day 2 session, and he was far from the only big name pro to advance to Day 3, which kicks off at 2 p.m. CT on Monday.

The Couple that Plays Together, Stays Together

alex foxen kristen foxen

Seated at Kornuth’s table throughout the most recent session were poker power couple Alex Foxen and Kristen Foxen — recently married. Both members of that couple not only advanced to Day 3, but each bagged healthy stacks.

Top 10 Chip Counts End of Day 2

Player Chips
Chance Kornuth 2,845,000
James Mackey 2,810,000
Arthur Morris 2,685,000
Bin Weng 2,515,000
Dapo Ajayi 1,900,000
Alex Foxen 1,815,000
Andrew Moreno 1,770,000
Jeff Banghart 1,720,000
Ray Qartomy 1,680,000
James Hundt 1,455,000

Alex Foxen lost a massive pot late on Day 1a when he ran kings into Ray Qartomy’s aces. The setback was clearly temporary as the 2018 and 2019 GPI Player of the Year dominated on Day 2, finishing with a top 10 stack (1,815,000).

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Kristen Foxen (formerly Bicknell) also advanced with a middling stack at 1,370,000. The blinds will resume at 15,000/25,000 with a 25,000 big blind ante.

The Foxen’s will be joined on Day 3 by Andrew Moreno, who shipped the first ever Wynn Millions Main Event last summer for $1,460,106. He bagged 1,770,000, good for seventh best. Although he can’t win near as much as he did at Wynn in July, the $486,600 payout for first place is still quite nice.

Repeat Champion in the Works?

dapo ajayi
Defending WPT Choctaw champ Dapo Ajayi.

Brian Altman, who entered Day 2 with a big stack but failed to reach the money, is the only player to have ever won the same World Poker Tour event twice. There’s at least a small chance that accomplishment could be matched this month.

James Mackey, the WPT Choctaw champion in 2016, bagged 2,810,000 chips (112 big blinds), topped only by Kornuth (2,845,000). Last year’s winner, Dapo Ajayi, finished Day 2 with 1,900,000 and is also right in the thick of things.

Should Ajayi come out victorious, he would become the first player in WPT history to go back-to-back in the same event.

Each of the 36 remaining players is guaranteed at least $13,000. On Monday, the tournament will play down to the final six — all guaranteed a minimum payout of $101,000. When that occurs, play will conclude in Oklahoma and then resume May 26 in Las Vegas at the Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Hayley Hochstetler

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