Gege Gocaj leads 17 players to WPT bestbet Scramble Day 3

Paul Oresteen
Posted on: November 13, 2023 16:54 PST

Day 2 of the $5,000 World Poker Tour bestbet Scramble returned 125 players to action all looking to make the top 46 that make the money. Ten levels of action trimmed the field to 17 remaining players and far out in front of the field is Gege Gocaj with 3.15 million.

Local players standing tall

“My day was going up and down as usual,” Gocaj said. “I hit a huge hand to double up with ace-jack against jack-nine and hit a straight on the river. The other hands were chips here and there and tomorrow is just another day.”

“I’m going for the win, not just the final table,” he added. “I want the number one spot.”

Local standout player Heng Zhang finished third in chips, just behind Ian O’Hara. Zhang said, “There was nothing really special to me, just one hand at a time. There’s 17 players left, that’s a lot of play, and I just take it one hand at a time. I try not think about it too much.”

Zhang is no stranger to the spotlight – he just won a Mystery Bounty event in August at bestbet Jacksonville and has two deep runs in the WSOP Main Event. He finished 191st this year and 75th in 2021.

Faded Spade founder Tom Wheaton and former local Toby Boas finished in the top ten counts. 2023 WPT Thunder Valley champ Scott Eskenazi is still in the field and Farhad Jamasi is the shortest returning stack.


The 30-second WPT Action Clock came into play one table away from the money bubble. But they went to the dinner break two players off the money, shortly after play resumed it took nine rounds of hand-for-hand play before Andrew Neeme served up the elimination.

Jie Liu shoved from the button holding pocket queens, Neeme called from the big blind after waking up with pocket kings. The runout didn’t help Liu and he was the last player to leave without stopping at the payout desk.

Bing Weng mucking. Photo c/o WPT

Darren Elias, Alec Torelli, Joe McKeehen, Blake Bohn and James Carroll all returned for Day 2 but fell short of the money.  Stan Jablonski (39th), Neeme (36th), Carlos Villamrin (34th) and Bin Weng (22nd) finished in the money but fell short of Day 3.

Day 3 returns to action promptly at noon on Monday with the schedule calling for the field to play down to six players. The final table will be live streamed on Tuesday at 2:00pm ET.

Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Gege Gocaj – 3,150,000
  2. Ian O’Hara – 1,940,000
  3. Heng Zhang – 1,785,000
  4. Caleb Larsen – 1,615,000
  5. Frederic Normand – 1,290,000
  6. Brian Senie – 1,285,000
  7. Tom Wheaton – 1,150,000
  8. Qi You – 1,000,000
  9. Toby Boas – 830,000
  10. Michael Frierson – 720,000

Photos: WPT