Friday, December 2, 2022

WPT Choctaw Defending Champ Dapo Ajayi Cruises on Day 1B

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dapo ajayi wpt choctaw

Dapo Ajayi’s title defense in the $3,800 buy-in World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event is off to a strong start following an impressive Day 1b session Saturday.

The reigning champ dominated the 964-player field last year — a $3,700 buy-in in 2021 — for $558,610. He bagged 305,000 chips on Day 1, leaving him with over 120 big blinds heading into Sunday’s Day 2 session (1,500/2,500/2,500).

ClubWPT Qualifier Crushing It

clubwpt eric zbikowski
ClubWPT qualifier Eric Zbikowski.

Eric Zbikowski is another player who finished the Day 1b session with a big stack and is one of 254 out of the initial 787 players remaining. The Washington D.C. resident with minimal live tournament experience who won a seat into the event via ClubWPT will return to action at 2 p.m. CT with 379,000 chips.

No one finished the night with a larger stack than Steven Buckner (444,000). Ray Qartomy, who bagged 545,000 on Day 1a, still holds the overall tournament chip lead.

Some notable players who are moving on include 2021 Wynn Millions Main Event winner Andrew Moreno (401,500), three-time WSOP bracelet winner Chance Kornuth (393,000), three-time WPT champ Anthony Zinno (176,000), Houston poker pro DJ Alexander (130,500), poker vlogger Brad Owen (82,000), and PokerGO reporter Jeff Platt (70,000).

Top 10 Chip Counts End of Day 1b

Player Chips
Steven Buckner 444,000
Bin Weng 440,500
Andrae Bowen 406,500
Andrew Moreno 401,500
Mike Vanier 397,500
Chance Kornuth 393,000
Eric Zbikowski 379,000
Omar Zazay 375,500
Brian Green 315,000
Dapo Ajayi 305,000

The World Poker Tour guaranteed at least $2 million in the pot at Choctaw. As per usual, the guarantee was smashed as it ended up at $2,754,500.

Back-to-Back for Ajayi?

Ajayi is off to a fast start at Choctaw, and if he were to spin it up even further and win his second World Poker Tour title, he’d make history. No player has ever gone back-to-back in the same WPT event.

In fact, only one player ever has won the same WPT Main Tour tournament multiple times. And that individual is Brian Altman, who coincidentally bagged a big stack on Day 1a at Choctaw Friday night (354,500).

Altman won the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in 2015 for $723,008 and then again in 2020 for $482,636. His three World Poker Tour titles have all come in the state of Florida.

Should he come out victorious in the Choctaw Main Event, he would tie Darren Elias for the all-time WPT record with four wins. Zinno also has a shot this month to catch Elias.

Play will resume at 2 p.m. Sunday and then Day 3 on Monday at the same time. The final table will be held back until May 26 at the Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena.

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