WPT Seminole Tampa Reaches Final Nine with Defending Player of the Year Out in Front

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Brian Altman, reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year, leads the nine players remaining in the $3,500 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa coming into Tuesday’s unofficial final table.

wpt seminole tampa poker
Brian Altman continues his dominance of the World Poker Tour. (Image: World Poker Tour)

On Monday, 40 players out of the original 1,165 returned to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, Florida for Day 3. With nearly $3.8 million up for grabs, far and away surpassing the $2 million guarantee, the pressure was on as the final table approached.

Only nine of those 40 players survived the session, which concluded after 1am ET. Three of those individuals — Altman, Jonathan Jaffe, and Zachary Smiley — are past WPT champions.

Altman, who won POY last year thanks to a Lucky Hearts Poker Open title and a pair of third-place finishes (Borgata Winter Poker Open and Maryland at Live! Casino), reached Day 2 in the middle of the pack. He slowly built his stack up throughout the session before finishing on a tear to bag a sizable chip lead.

Unofficial WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Brian Altman (10,800,000)
  2. Steven Queen (6,875,000)
  3. Gabriel Abusada (5,950,000)
  4. Jonathan Jaffe (5,875,000)
  5. Zachary Smiley (4,975,000)
  6. John Haas (4,050,000)
  7. Will Berry (3,600,000)
  8. Dave Berman (2,325,000)
  9. T.K. Miles (2,225,000)

Play resumes at 1 pm ET on Tuesday with the official final table beginning once six players remain. The final nine players are each guaranteed a minimum payout of $61,325, but the winner, who will be crowned on Day 4, will take home $613,225.

Altman continues where he left off

When the cards hit the air Tuesday afternoon, the blinds will be up to 75,000/150,000 (150,000 big blind ante). Altman is the chip leader at just over 10 million, but he wasn’t the first to reach that milestone. Jaffe had more than 10 million chips for a while on Day 3, but he dropped nearly half his stack late in the session.

On Day 3, 36 players hit the felt, including two past World Poker Tour champions — Viny Lima (28th for $18,420) and Sam Panzica (20th for $26,290).

Altman is in search of his third WPT title, putting him one behind Darren Elias for most all-time, and in a tie for second place with Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, Anthony Zinno, and Eric Afriat. He already ranks 60th all-time in World Poker Tour earnings, but would crack the top 40 with a victory.

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