Daniel Strelitz was unstoppable on the penultimate day of the L.A. Poker Classic and will carry a huge chip lead into tomorrow’s World Poker Tour final table.

Strelitz began the day leading the remaining 18 players with 2,020,000 chips. Focus was also on WPT commentator Mike Sexton, who began eighth in chips and was looking to make his second final table of the season.

A massive pot at the start of play resulted in a three-way all-in and the first elimination. Sexton raised and Visnja Luetic, the last remaining woman in the field, reraised all-in for 280,000. Rainer Kempe then re-shoved over the top for 750,000 and Sexton made the call. Luetic was far behind with Qd-Jh, Sexton held pocket kings, while Kempe was looking for an ace with Ad-Kc. Luetic made two pair on a board of Jd-7d-5h-Qs-6c to get the lucky triple-up, while Sexton took the side pot and sent Kempe home as the first knockout of the day.

Luetic’s luck would run out shortly thereafter, however, when her 10c-8c could not improve against Jared Griener’s pocket queens on an eight-high board, sending her home in 16th place. Allan Le, who began the day second in chips and whose brother and former WPT champ Nam Le finished in 27th in this event, fell in 13th when his pocket kings where cracked by the Ad-Kc of Richard Tuhrim.

Past WPT finalist and 77-year-old William Vo found himself on the wrong end of a cooler to knock him down to a shortstack. He flopped a set of nines on a board of Kc-Qc-9c, only to have Joe Serock flop a straight with Jd-10s and win a massive pot off the Los Angeles native. Vo could not recover and was eliminated soon afterwards in 12th after a three-way all-in which saw his pocket fives outrun by Matt Berkey’s As-Kh, who also doubled through Serock’s Ad-Qd. After Polish pro Dzmitry Urbanovich was knocked out in 11th after running tens into the aces of Simeon Naydenov, the remaining ten players combined into a single table to play down to the final six. Chip counts at the start of ten-handed play were:

  1. Daniel Strelitz- 3,450,000
  2. Simeon Naydenov- 2,110,000
  3. Jesse Martin- 2,020,000
  4. Richard Tuhrim- 1,935,000
  5. Jared Griener- 1,510,000
  6. Joe Serock- 1,480,000
  7. Mike Sexton- 1,000,000
  8. John Cynn- 855,000
  9. Matt Berkey- 700,000
  10. James Calderaro- 470,000

The field was quickly reduced to eight with the elimination of Cynn in 10th, who pushed all-in with Ks-Qs only to be dominated by the Ac-Kc of Strelitz, and Calderaro in 9th after losing with Ad-Qc to Martin’s pocket queens. Serock, looking to make his fourth WPT final table, lost two big pots to Strelitz and Naydenov to get knocked down to under 500,000, but found a lucky double-up through Strelitz after flopping trip fives with Ah-5s against the dominating Ad-Qc. Serock could not build on that momentum, however. After Strelitz raised from the cutoff with 5c-4d, Serock called from the button with As-8c. Serock hit top pair on the flop of 8h-4h-4s and called Strelitz’s three-bet shove, only to find that Strelitz had flopped trip fours. Serock could not improve and was eliminated in 8th place.

Strelitz continued his hot streak as the players settled in waiting for the final elimination of the day. After calling a pre-flop three-bet from the big blind by Tuhrim, the two saw a flop of 9s-7h-3d. Tuhrim continued with a bet of 200,000 which Strelitz called. Tuhrim slowed down on the 8h turn and Strelitz bet 340,000 which was called. On the 7s river Strelitz put Tuhrim to the test with an all-in shove. Tuhrim spent five minutes in the tank before another player called the clock and he eventually folded, leaving himself with 775,000 while Strelitz built his stack to a commanding 5,300,000. Fittingly, it was Strelitz who scored the final knockout. In a limped pot, Strelitz, Berkey and Naydenov saw a flop of Qs-10c-9s. The action quickly resulted in Berkey and Strelitz all-in, Berkey holding Kc-Jc for a flopped straight while Strelitz held a flush draw with As-2s. The Ad was safe for Berkey, but the 5s on the river gave Strelitz the winning flush and sent Berkey home just shy of the final table.

Chip counts at the start of the final table are:

  1. Strelitz- 6,485,000
  2. Naydenov- 2,860,000
  3. Martin- 2,540,000
  4. Griener- 1,895,000
  5. Sexton- 1,165,000
  6. Tuhrim- 680,000

The final table will begin at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday with blinds at 15,000-30,000 with a 5,000 ante. Strelitz has more than $1.6 million in live tournament earnings but will be making his first appearance at a WPT final table. Sexton, meanwhile, will try for his second WPT title after winning WPT Montreal last November.

Final Table Payouts:

  1. $1,001,110
  2. $672,190
  3. $431,340
  4. $300,690
  5. $230,380
  6. $191,490


  1. Matt Berkey- $161,320
  2. Joe Serock- $128,650
  3. James Calderaro- $96,640
  4. John Cynn- $80,280
  5. Dzmitry Urbanovich- $80,280
  6. William Vo- $80,280
  7. Allan Le- $64,130
  8. Matt Schultz- $64,130
  9. Donald Maloney- $64,130
  10. Visnja Luetic- $53,760
  11. Dean Baranowski- $53,760
  12. Rainer Kempe- $53,760
  13. Bart Hanson- $45,380
  14. Sameer Aljanedi- $45,380
  15. Richard Rice- $45,380
  16. Omar Zazay- $37,950
  17. Mike Eskandari- $37,950
  18. Danny Fuhs- $37,950
  19. John Conkright- $32,610
  20. Dien Nguyen- $32,610
  21. Nam Le- $32,610
  22. Garrett Greer- $27,780
  23. Evan Krentzman- $27,780
  24. Gavin Griffin- $27,780
  25. Dietrich Fast- $27,780
  26. Bryce Yockey- $27,780
  27. Igor Yaroshevskyy- $27,780
  28. Nick Maimone- $27,780
  29. Daniel Barriocanal- $27,780
  30. Jake Abdalla- $27,780
  31. Sam Phillips- $23,990
  32. Andrew Seidman- $23,990
  33. Osmin Dardon- $23,990
  34. Seth Berger- $23,990
  35. Mohsin Charania- $23,990
  36. Ke Kwon Lau- $23,990
  37. Jimmy Guerrero- $23,990
  38. Doron Bitton- $23,990
  39. Haoxin Tong- $23,990
  40. Suk Lee- $20,300
  41. Jon Borenstein- $20,300
  42. Ismael Bojang- $20,300
  43. Ted Gillis- $20,300
  44. Clint Keown- $20,300
  45. Behzad Teranie- $20,300
  46. Lucas Blanco Oliver- $20,300
  47. Ramzi Srour- $20,300
  48. Aaron Massey- $20,300
  49. Peter Nguyen- $17,150
  50. Tim Reilly- $17,150
  51. James Maxey- $17,150
  52. Richard Foster- $17,150
  53. Jon Cohen- $17,150
  54. Richard Sciato- $17,150
  55. Maria Ho- $17,150
  56. Michael Kamran- $17,150
  57. Anton Astapau- $17,150
  58. Jae Hwang- $14,160
  59. Nathan Bjerno- $14,160
  60. Brian Altman- $4,720
  61. Grayson Ramage- $4,720
  62. Derek Gregory- $4,720