JC Tran and Vanessa Selbst set to collide in $25k Mix-Max at 2014 WSOP

wsop 2014

WSOP Event #2, $25,000 Mixed-Max No Limit Hold’em is proving to be an event to watch. As you’d expect from the buy-in – the third highest of the series – the field has been star-studded and the action intense. A number of big names have fallen in the run-up to the money, with Phil Ivey, Justin Bonomo, Brian Rast and Phil Hellmuth all narrowly failing to make it.

Now the bubble has burst, and things stand to heat up even further as Day 3 gets underway with 16 players and 4-handed play. It’s also effectively a four-way tie for first, between relative unknowns Al Decarolis and Jason Mo, and poker legends JC Tran and Vanessa Selbst, all of whom have a little over 1.2 million in chips.

There’s no doubt which table will be the one to watch: as luck would have it, Tran and Selbst have been seated next to each other at Table 4 and hold over a quarter of the chips in play between the two of them. Often, deep stacks try to stay out of one another’s way when pay jumps are an issue, but there’s little chance of that happening with these two; Tran has a lot of gears in him, and Selbst is so aggressive that her style is often described – even by herself – as “insane.”

Day 3 will play down until the final four, who will then have a heads-up shootout on the final day tomorrow. Depending on how quickly their table breaks, it seems likely that whoever comes out the better between Selbst and Tran will be the dominant favourite to win. Although Tran has her just barely covered chip-wise, Selbst would appear to be at an advantage due to the seat draw, which has her on his immediate left and therefore acting after him in most hands. Given her propensity to 3-, 4- and even 5-bet light, much like today’s online professionals, it seems likely that Tran has a long day of difficult decisions ahead of him.

Rounding out their table are Robert Tepper and Noah Schwartz. Robert Tepper has made numerous appearances in the WSOP and WPT, but has yet to find much success – his cash here is already guaranteed to be his biggest to date. Noah Schwartz, on the other hand, is well-established, with WSOP and WPT titles to his name, plus a PokerStars Sunday Million win online; he is, however, the second shortest stack at the tournament, with under 200k chips, and this table draw bodes particularly poorly for him.

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at www.benefactum.ca and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames

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