Defending Champ Out, But Big Names Remain After Day 2 at WPT Rolling Thunder

Home » Defending Champ Out, But Big Names Remain After Day 2 at WPT Rolling Thunder
Scott Eskenazi WPT

Scott Eskenazi, the defending champion, busted just short of the money, and the bubble burst on Day 2 in the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Championship.

Sunday’s action began at 11 a.m. PT from Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California with registration still open for one more level. When registration closed, the field hit 458 entrants, creating a prize pool of $1,465,600. At the session’s conclusion, 32 players were still standing, all hoping to win the $296,600 first place prize to be awarded on Tuesday.

At 9:30 p.m., 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion Ryan Riess was eliminated in 59th place, but only 58 are paid, meaning the former world champ went out on the stone bubble.

2013 World Champ Ryan Riess Bubbles WPT Rolling Thunder

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ClubWPT Qualifier Out; Song Leads the Way

Yunkyu Song
Yunkyu Song

After Riess busted, players began to loosen up, and the short stacks went into shove or fold mode. As such, players then started falling fast, and another 16 players were eliminated before the end of the night, including Ian Steinman in 58th place ($6,400) and Shannon Shorr in 51st place ($6,400).

Gail Levine, the 72-year-old California resident and one of two ClubWPT qualifiers in the field, made a deep run that ended in 34th place for a career-best $8,2000 payday.

Each of the remaining players has a guaranteed minimum payout of $8,200. Pay jumps will get big as Day 3, which begins at 11 a.m. Monday, progresses, especially as the final table approaches. Speaking of the final table, Day 3 is set to play down to the final six players before calling it a session.

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Yunkyu Song, with 2,010,000 chips, will enter Monday’s action with a slight chip lead over Casey Sandretto, who is sitting on 1,895,000. The blinds will begin in Level 19 at 10,000/15,000 with a 15,000 big blind ante. Three players will come back with over 100 big blinds.

Song has no previous World Poker Tour cashes, but he does have over $360,000 in live tournament cashes, according to The Hendon Mob. Another Song — Stephen Song — will also come back to Thunder Valley with a stack (730,000). The 2022 WPT Prime Championship $712,000 winner has become one of the top tournament crushers in the world the past couple years, and has over $6 million in lifetime earnings.

Another crusher, Dan Sepiol, who won the WPT World Championship in December for $5.3 million, also made Day 3, but with a small stack at 315,000. He ended the night on a downswing after being among the chip leaders for much of the day.

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Brock Wilson, one of the top high stakes pros in the world, is among the 32 finalists after having bagged an average stack at 660,000.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato.

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