WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The WSOP Circuit series at the Palm Beach Kennel Club is drawing to a close, with the series' last two rings set to be awarded on Monday.
The $1,675 Main Event began with its two starting flights on Friday and Saturday, drawing a combined total of 524 entries. Ninety of them advanced to Sunday's Day 2, with Salomon Ponte setting the pace atop the leaderboard. The final 54 players were slated to finish in the money.
Ponte rode his big stack to a deep run before bowing out in 39th place. His decline left room for a rotating cast of chip leaders throughout the course of the long day, and the field was trimmed to nine players by the time the clock ran out.
Four-time ring winner Sam Panzica leads now, ending Day 2 with 1,660,000 chips. The top three stacks are separated by less than 50,000 chips, though, with Steve Stout and Raminder Singh breathing down Panzica's neck.
Here's the remaining lineup:
Seat 1: Peter Vitantonio - 525,000 (17 bb)
Seat 2: Eric Bunch - 705,000 (23 bb)
Seat 3: Scot Masters - 815,000 (27 bb)
Seat 4: William Kopp - 1,180,000 (39 bb)
Seat 5: Steven Stout - 1,655,000 (55 bb)
Seat 6: David Berman - 615,000 (20 bb)
Seat 7: Daniel Letts - 1,000,000 (33 bb)
Seat 8: Raminder Singh - 1,635,000 (54 bb)
Seat 9: Jesus Cabrera - 660,000 (22 bb)
Seat 10: Sam Panzica - 1,680,000 (56 bb)
It's a fairly stacked group that includes the 2015 champion of this event, Peter Vitantonio. Vitantonio won his second ring in this building just a couple days ago, and he's put himself in position to try to add to his impressive list of results at the kennel club. Apart from Panzica and Vitantonio, William Kopp is the only other ring winner in the remaining field. Eric Bunch doesn't have one yet, but he came dangerously close in this very event last year, finishing in third place.
Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $12,647 on Monday, with the ring and a top prize of $168,995 reserved for the winner. Blinds will be 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante when play resumes, putting the average stack just under 40 big blinds. Cards go in the air at noon.
While the Main Event was getting serious, the final ring event of the series was getting under way on the top level of the tournament area. The $365 no-limit texas hold'em event was Event #12 on the calendar, and it drew 167 entries. The final 18 players shared the prizepool of more than $50,000.
The event was supposed to play from start to finish in one day, but that goal was ultimately unreachable. Play was suspended with six remaining at the end of Level 21.
Maurice Hawkins has already won eight Circuit rings, and a ninth would tie him with Alex Masek atop the all-time leaderboard. Carlos Loving has two rings of his own, with both of them won at the Palm Beach Kennel Club and one of them this week.
There was more at stake than the ring this time around, too. Loving needed to finish in eighth place or better in this event to secure the title of Casino Champion, and he did exactly that. He'll return for the unscheduled Day 2 at the bottom of the chip counts but the top of the points leaderboard.
Here are the final six:
Seat 1: Carlos Loving - 80,000 (7 bb)
Seat 2: Robert Williamson - 148,000 (12 bb)
Seat 3: Waller Everitt - 227,000 (19 bb)
Seat 4: Maurice Hawkins - 293,000 (24 bb)
Seat 5: Deano Maroulis - 803,000 (67 bb)
Seat 6: Joseph Tumminelli - 124,000 (10 bb)
Everyone left is guaranteed at least $2,496 on Monday, while the winner will collect the series' final gold ring and the top prize of $13,527. The players will return to 6,000/12,000 blinds with a 2,000 ante, putting the average stack at about 23 big blinds. Cards go in the air at 1 p.m.
Event #1: Pedro Aldave wins $365 Monster Stack Story | Results
Event #2: Loni Harwood wins $365 Re-Entry Story | Results
Event #3: Martin Ryan wins $580 NLHE Story | Results
Event #4: David Shane wins $365 PLO8 Story | Results
Event #5: Carlos Loving wins $365 Turbo NLHE Story | Results
Event #6: Max Young wins $365 Six-Max Story | Results
Event #7: Stephen Smith wins $365 Eight-Max Story | Results
Event #8: David Katz wins $365 Monster Stack Story | Results
Event #9: Peter Vitantonio wins $1,125 NLHE Story | Results
Event #10: Stepas Tindziulis wins $365 Turbo Story | Results
Max Young entered Sunday with 115 points and the overall lead in the series' points race. Loving and Martin Ryan were the nearest challengers, sitting with 97.5 and 87.5 points, respectively.
All three men entered Event #12 with the hopes of adding to their totals. Young was sent off shy of that goal, but Ryan snuck into the first payout spot to collect another 2.5 points. He finished the series with a total of 90 points.
The day belonged to Loving, though. He's among the final six players remaining in that event, guaranteed to add at least 22.5 points to his total. That gives him the lead, and it's a runaway victory one day early. Loving's position can not be challenged by any of the players in either of the two remaining events, and he will be crowned Casino Champion on Monday. His results for the series include four cashes, three final tables, and one win. One win so far, that is. His final totals are still to be determined pending the outcome of Monday's restart.
As is the case for all stops on the WSOP Circuit, there are two seats to the WSOP Global Casino Championship to be won at the Palm Beach Kennel Club — one apiece to the Main Event Champion and the Casino Champion. All players who cash in official ring events earn points that also apply toward the season-long race to claim one of the limited at-large bids.
Click here to see the leaderboard.