A table draw controversy, a finalist hospitalised and a potentially historic back-to-back victory took place last night at the Venetian.
937 players embarked on the Venetian for the World Poker Tour for what was the biggest ever field for a $5,000 Main Event. Considering we are in the middle of a pandemic that is a story in itself.
But it was a memorable WPT Main Event for a lot of other reasons, there was also a controversy around the arrangements for the final table. It was an eight handed tournament throughout but WPT televised final tables are six handed. As a result the organisers split the final eight players into two tables of four to speed things up rather than just play two more eliminations before the official final table started. A decision none of the finalists agreed with:
Here’s the story from WPT Venetian main….I just hope everyone can understand exactly how awful this was on many levels and the people responsible take some accountability. These type of things should never happen again pic.twitter.com/aSwlrcHlvM
— jaredjaffee (@jaredjaffee21) March 9, 2021
The next plot twist looked like we would have a huge disruption to the finale, as Fedor Holz revealed 2nd in chips Roland Rokita was hospitalised and unable to attend.
This is not the first time this has happened at a final table and it sparked a debate about whether postponing or letting his stack blind out was fair (which would have created a huge ICM dynamic). It has shades of last year’s WSOP Main Event where this happened at both final tables and in each case the player was disqualified.
Roland Rokita is WPT final table 2/6 and just got to hospital with a severe emergency operation. Do you know who is in charge for the tournament? Can someone help? It’s supposed to start in two hours.
— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) March 9, 2021
Amazingly Rokita managed to check out of hospital and play the final table, eventually coming third for $363,235.
A potentially history victory
The event concluded when Qing Liu defeated WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen heads-up for the title and $752,880. This may prove a memorable victory in itself because Liu will next be seen at a WPT final table…..tonight.
He was one of the players who made the final table of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship in January 2020 which was then delayed because of the pandemic. It finally reconvenes tomorrow where he is 5th in chips and playing for $554,495.
So a win tonight could make him the fastest or slowest back-to-back champion in WPT history, depending on your point of view.
What should a tournament do when a finalist is unwell and cannot play? Let us know in the comments: