The slow road to 36 players

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
2:03
AM ET
There's a pretty substantial pay jump at 36 and for the first time in this tournament, the players seem to recognize it. After a flurry of eliminations during the first half hour after the dinner break, the play slowed dramatically and some quasi-excessive tanking was found at each and every table. Especially by Aaron Kaiser, who just became the talk of many in the Amazon Room.

Kaiser has been on the short stack for a while and with a $44,099 pay jump, waiting out one more spot was clearly on Kaiser's mind. On the hand that may have secured him a spot into a higher pay scale, Smith called the clock on Kaiser immediately as the cards were dealt. The floor allowed Kaiser two minutes to think about it before the countdown and once the countdown started, Kaiser put in nearly his entire stack in the center. Smith called and the two saw a flop of Ac-Qc-6s. Kaiser, with only a few hundred thousand in chips behind, tanked for his maximum time before checking. Smith placed a big enough bet that would force Kaiser all-in and Kaiser took about 20 seconds before committing his chips with ... top set.

The room roared as Smith, who held Jc-Jd, was in bad shape. The 10c on the turn gave him a royal flush draw, but no help came on the river, allowing Kaiser to double up.



Moments later at the feature table, nearly two hours after Shahen Matirosian's exit in 38th place, Gal Erlichmann committed all his chips postflop on a board of 9-8-3. He showed kings, Dan Sindelar showed aces and he was knocked out after turn and river blanks in 37th. All players are guaranteed at least $230,487. The next pay jump occurs at 18th place. Post-dinner eliminations include Clayton Maguire, David Tuthill, Michael Finstein, Adam Lamphere, Michael Kamran, Paul Senter, Martirosian and Erlichmann.

Small Blinds: Luis Velador took over the chip lead from Kyle Keranen early in Level 29. Velador is a two-time bracelet winner. … Bryan Devonshire got a little unlucky, losing K-K to A-J early in the new level, but rebounded quickly to get back to 5.8 million. … The Brazilian crowds are getting loud cheering on Bruno Politano. If he makes the final table, there is going to be a very large and excited contingent. … Humberto Brenes is here. Chewing gum as always. … Ryan Riess showed up earlier to catch some of the action. Phil Hellmuth too. … Someone in the stands is cheering every time Bryan Devonshire folds and telling the pro "Good fold! Good fold!" … Blinds are 50,000/100,000 with a 10,000 ante. … Listen to all the main event Poker Edge daily podcasts here. … The Daily DeepStack event is still being played in the Amazon Room. Brett Richey wasn't a fan of that. … Mike Matusow was on the rail for a bit and said he thinks Kyle Keranen is a great player. … Martin Jacobson is third in chips and has been consistently at the top of the chip counts for this entire tournament. Pretty impressive.
A flurry of eliminations in the Amazon Room late in Level 27 left only 44 players in contention for the $10 million first-place prize at the 2014 World Series of Poker. Day 6 is planned for a lengthy 11 hours of play, or until the field reaches 24 players, and Kyle Keranen continues to cruise along. Keranen became the first player to top 12 million during the level, most of which coming at one of the toughest pro-filled tables remaining. Upon changing tables, he gave a bit back and finished the level with 9.6 million in chips.

The Bellagio cash game regular is still firing without hesitation. His ability to casually put out million-chip bets is keeping the pressure on at such a pivotal time in the tournament to position himself for a run at the final table. Still, his 38th-place finish from two years ago must sit in the back of his head as he gets through the day.

Dan Sindelar has chipped up constantly today and holds a slight chip lead over Martin Jacobson to leave the Amazon Room for dinner as the top stack.

At the feature table, Mark Newhouse has played a few big pots and recently eliminated Clayton Hamm with 10-10 over A-10. With 6.9 million in chips, Newhouse is ahead of his Day 6 pace from 2013 when he bagged 5.7 million. The other player to make Day 6 last year was Vitaly Lunkin who, after surviving numerous all-ins, was finally knocked out in 57th. Lunkin finished 46th in 2013.

Other eliminations include:
  • Matthew Waxman: The WPT and WSOP champion had played the short stack well for the past two days but couldn't run it up on Day 6. On his final hand, he was involved in a three-way all-in with Keranen and Eddy Sabat. Sabat's aces topped both Keranen's 10-10 and Waxman's 9-9 to knock down the chip leader and knock out the Florida Pro in 45th.
  • Bill Cole: The 70-year-old was probably having more fun at the table than anyone else. He ran nines into the aces of Robert Park to finish 58th.
  • Issac Baron: An unlucky spot for "WestmenloAA" resulted in his queens losing to Chris Greaves in 52nd.
  • Ryan Fair: Fair has cashed in each of the past three years and nearly eclipsed his 31st-place finish in 2009. Fair ran eights ran into the kings of Andoni Larrabe to exit in 48th.
  • Jason Johnson: Ryan Riess' pick to win the main event had his kings cracked and paid off Martin Jacobson's flopped set in a big pot mid-way through the level. Johnson finished 51st for his third six-figure cash of the 2014 WSOP.
  • Brian Hastings: Right after he finished watching the World Cup on his WatchESPN app, Hastings failed to hit his A-J against Andrey Zaichenko's K-K. He finished 64th.

 

Bryan Devonshire doesn't have a top-10 stack, but played a few big pots to crack the five-million-chip mark. In 2011, he finished Day 6 with 5.9 million in chips. Matthew Haugen isn't in the top-10 either, but he must be pleased with his comeback. The Day 4 chip leader doubled up on the final hand of Day 5 and needed to get his chips in early on Sunday in order to make a run. He's done just that. Hauten doubled through Newhouse to start (Q-Q > 10-10), then gave a bit back, then doubled through Lunkin and Cole before leaving the feature table. He's again a threat in this tournament with 5 million in chips.

Players are now on a 90-minute dinner break.
The World Series of Poker main event began eight days ago with 6,683 hopefuls looking to earn $10 million. Only 68 players are left chasing that dream.

Day 6 began with everyone following a few key storylines. The first was Maria Ho, who became the last woman standing for the second time in six years. Ho began the day as the short stack and needed to find a spot to double with the blinds rising after the first hour. Seated at the feature table, she moved all-in from under the gun for eight big blinds and was in trouble when Zach Hirst called and showed Q-Q. The flop brought her an eight, but also gave Hirst a set. She picked up a turn flush draw sweat, but didn't get there and was eliminated in 77th.



Mark Newhouse is the also a primary focus of those in attendance as he looks to become the first player to make back-to-back final tables since Dan Harrington in 2003 and 2004. His day has not been productive thus far with him dropping more than two million in chips from his starting stack. While not the case anymore, when his table was moved to the feature table shortly after the break, he was seated with six other players who had less than half his stack.

The big chips remain at an outside feature table where Kyle Keranen is holding court. Keranen entered Day 6 with the chip lead in 2012, but couldn't hold it and went out in 38th place. He's determined not to that that happen again this year and has a two-million chip edge over Scott Palmer in second. Palmer's story is also intriguing as he was one of the world's top online cash game players prior to Black Friday. During the break, he explained that a lot of his money was locked up as a result of the indictments, and he has simply been "relaxing" in Maryland since. He estimates he has played maybe a few months worth of poker over the past few years as a result.

"I should've traveled overseas more," Palmer said. "But now the games are much tougher and less profitable. Everyone knows the math perfectly."

The Michigan poker dominance may also continue again this year.

"Ryan Riess used to deal to me at one of the charity rooms I played at," Jason Johnson said. "I saw him win last year and said if he can do it, why can't I?"

Johnson came out to the WSOP to play just a few events with a very limited bankroll. He quickly found success with a daily DeepStacks chop, a seventh in the millionaire-maker and third at another final table, and is now on his way to earning life changing money. He said he relies on really strict bankroll management and wants to bring the title back to his state for the third time in six years. The main event will be Johnson's third six-figure score over the past five weeks.

Another friend of Riess is Adam Lamphere, who doubled up early on the day to 1.2 million in chips.

Two players who have made deep runs in this event before, Anh Van Nguyen and Kyle Bowker, couldn't make magic happen once again. Van Nguyen secured his third top-106 finish over the past 10 years with his 73rd-place exit. Bowker finished 71st and cashed in the main event five times since 2006.

Small blinds: Bill Cole has the loudest rail at the moment. … Tournament director Jack Effel announced that play will continue for five and a half levels today or until only 24 players remain. My money is on hitting 24 before the time limit. … The Day 4 and Day 5 Poker Edge podcasts will be posted today. Sorry about the delay. … Players from 12 countries remain in the main event field. … Seven bracelet winners remain in the main event. … Only one player from the top 10 in each of the three starting days remains in the main event: Martin Jacobson. Kyle Keranen was 13th on his starting day. … All remaining players will earn at least $103,025.

The unthinkable is quickly becoming a little more realistic. Mark Newhouse, the ninth-place finisher in 2013, leads the final 79 players after Day 5 of the World Series of Poker main event and looks to become the first November Niner to make it back to the final table. Players have come close before, including Steve Gee and his 24th-place finish a year ago, but Gee never had the chips. Newhouse, who demonstrated incredible patience on the final day last year, has a huge stack and is looking to continue to build it on Day 6.

"I'm trying not to think about it," said Newhouse of his chance to go back-to-back. "Last year I was very excited. This year I feel super relaxed and I'm just playing poker and having fun. I'm trying not to think about anything that will make me feel pressured or anything. Just doing the best I can."

His play was relatively straightforward on the day: find the right spots and get enough chips to punish everyone else.

"I was lucky enough to win some big pots early on and I just got a monster chip lead to the point where I could just raise every hand and nobody could do anything about it," said Newhouse.

The day began with Matthew Hauten in the lead, but the Chicago native couldn't hold the top spot through the first level, and needed a double-up on the last hand of the day to make it through. Bruno Positano then emerged after a shocking pair of hands that eliminated one-time big stack Zach Jiganti, but couldn't keep the chips, either. Griffin Benger led too, but he struggled at the feature table and busted with jacks versus queens early in Level 25. Kyle Keranen also had a shot of becoming the chip leader after Day 5 for the second time in three years, but he fell just short and finished second. Keranen received some redemption when he eliminated Curtis Rystadt, a player who had badgered him all day. The two shared verbal blows and it should make for some interesting television this fall.

Scott "urnotindanger2" Palmer finished the day third in chips and was a big beneficiary of a few ill-timed bluffs by Mikiyo Aoki. The start of the day looked promising for Aoki, the runner-up in the 2014 WSOP Ladies Championship, but a 3 million chip stack dwindled after a few called or raised river bluffs, and she ultimately busted out in 83rd place. Shortly before her elimination, Marcia Kunitz was knocked out in 91st and that left Maria Ho to become the last woman standing for the second time in her career. Ho finished 38th in 2008 and will began Day 6 as the short stack.

"It's pretty cool," Ho said about being the final woman in the field. "I think that anything to help bring women into the game is awesome, so having that distinction gives women something to strive for, so that can watch and relate to the fact that women can really do well in the main event, but I've always said I have my eyes on a much, much bigger prize and that's not last woman standing."

A number of players remaining in the field have been past Day 5 before. Two players from the 2013 WSOP main event, Vitaly Lunkin and Newhouse, made it to Day 6 for the second consecutive year. Bryan Devonshire reached this point in 2011 and entered the day with a prime seat at the feature table. With a smile on his face, Devonshire played a relaxed game that made a few people smile along the way. It's his incredible attitude that makes him a player to watch every time he's at the felt, and the poker world is a place where he's spent much less time over the past few years. These days he's typically found guiding whitewater boats, living an outdoor life he really enjoys.

"I'm just very relaxed," Devonshire said about this experience. "[In 2011] it was my first time. Money meant a lot more and it was all new and fun and exciting with lights and cameras and all of that sort of stuff. Now, it's like, 'Eh, I've been here.' [Now] I'm having a great time, That's part of why it's extra fun. I get to focus on having fun and loosening the table up and creating smiles instead of creating spots."

Still, Devonshire understands that the game itself has changed.

"The game isn't what it used to be," said Devonshire. "It's not as profitable as it used to be, so my incentive to spend all seven weeks out here is greatly diminished."

Devonshire finished the night 16th with 3.83 million in chips.

Some late-night eliminations took away from the star power of this field. Mukul Pahuja was on the wrong end of a cooler and put his final chips in with A-6 on an A-Q-6 flop. Up against A-Q, the reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year couldn't hit a miracle and was eliminated in 101st. Bracelet winners Simon Charette, Jon Aguiar and Vladimir Shchemelev also barely missed advancing.



During the Day 4 recap, I offered some names of those who have run this deep before. Many of those players survived the day and that success is becoming a theme of this tournament. Those who have been there before understand what it takes to go through this grind. Just ask Newhouse, Lunkin Devonshire, Ho, Leif Force, Keranen, Ryan Fair and Anh Van Nguyen.

When play resumes Sunday at noon PT, the blinds will be 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante. Here are the Day 5 chip leaders:

1. Mark Newhouse (7.40 million)
2. Kyle Keranen (6.67 million)
3. Scott Palmer (6.59 million)
4. Bruno Politano (5.47 million)
5. Andoni Larrabe (5.47 million)
6. Dan Smith (5.3 million)
7. Dan Sindelar (5.24 million)
8. Tony Ruberto (5.23 million)
9. Iaron Lightbourne (4.97 million)
10. Leif Force (4.75 million)

Small blinds: David Tuthill had one incredible day, filled with six successful all-ins. He's still short, but at this point, must feel like he's freerolling. … Force lives in the mountains of North Carolina during the rest of the year. He doesn't like Vegas and can't wait to get home. Obviously he wants to best his 11th-place finish first. … The minimum payout for all remaining players is $85,812. … The final few hands of the night featured a frenzy of all-ins. Eddy Sabat doubled up and eliminated Aoki during a three-way all-in. … Play is expected to continue until 27 remain on Sunday, but to get further within the tournament structure, it wouldn't be that surprising if they played past that point. … Friends and family have started to arrive in town, and at this point, big hands are worth celebrating. Expect lots of excitement on the rail from here on out.
Remember the slow down that we've been talking about for days? It's here.

After four hours of rapid eliminations, the past level knocked off less than 30 players which has allowed for a good amount of positioning for those remaining in contention.

Bruno Politano continues to lead the way and his friends are starting to get excited about what could potentially come to fruition in a few days. The Brazilian chipped up to 6.2 million, assisted by a big coin flip victory at the mid-point of the level. Politano's A-K rivered a king against Adam Coats' 10-10 and with that river card came a vocal yell and some cheering from his rail. Seated at an outside feature table, he's been incredibly active, showing incessant aggression which has been working thus far.

Seated with Politano is a player who has maintained a good stack while flying very under the radar. Jason Johnson has had an amazing World Series of Poker. The Michigan native finished seventh in the Millionaire Maker, third in Event 44 and prior to that, third in a Daily DeepStack event at the Rio. His rail also includes former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Stocz who has played with Johnson in charity rooms back in Michigan. Johnson also received a ringing endorsement on Twitter.



Johnson has 2.4 million in chips. That same table most recently lost Tim Rielly who has battled as a short stack for a good amount of time since taking a big hit in the final moments on Day 2. Rielly had four cashes this WSOP.

Some familiar faces gained good ground during the past level. Mark Newhouse is edging closer to a back-to-back final table and gained nearly two million in chips since the dinner break. Maria Ho, typically content with a slow and steady approach, had a really swingy level to finish at 1.6 million. Ho picked up kings at a very opportune time to bust Michael Palo, but gave nearly all of it back after a lost race and some bad luck against Greg Himmelbrand (A-K < A-Q).

The blinds are now 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Bruno Politano (6.20 million in chips)
2. Mark Newhouse (4.90 million)
3. Tony Ruberto (4.56 million)
4. Scott Palmer (4.30 million)
5. Clayton Hamm (3.86 million)
6. Kyle Keranen (3.82 million)
7. Leif Force (3.56 million)
8. Griffin Benger (3.40 million)
9. Andoni Larrabe (3.37 million)
10. Vladimir Bozinovic (3.30 million)

Alex Outhred (140th, Q-Q < J-J), Huy Nguyen (142nd, A-10 < J-J) and Jason Deutsch (137th, A-K < 9-9 and 7-7) were among the recent eliminations. All earned $52,141.

Small blinds: Mikiyo Aoki loves to bluff, and pick off bluffs. Quietly built nearly a three million-chip stack today. … Bryan Devonshire started off the day as one of the shorter stacks and now, is among the leaders. He finished 12th in 2012. … Vitaly Lunkin, Byron Kaverman and Mark Newhouse all made Day 5 last year. … Click right now and learn about Garrett Greer. Incredible story of determination and a great attitude. … David Tuthill has been all-in a number of times today and continues to double up. But does he have the recently eliminated Nick Yunis to thank? Yunis touched the card that Tuthill said he wanted to hit while all in and sure enough, those cards came through. Unfortunately for Tuthill, Yunis was knocked out in 126th. … This will be the longest day for the players thus far. … Jonathan Aguiar has a fortune from a fortune cookie that reads "Don't stop now!" He's been another player fighting the short stack all day.
As part of the Amazon Room fills up with players from the $235 Daily Deepstacks (my opinion on that here), the main event field has been reduced to fewer than 175 players. Kyle Keranen entered the last level as the chip leader, but it's been a tumultuous level for him, with Curtis Rystadt getting under his skin and causing some interesting conversation and a recent discussion with the floor staff.

"I've never seen him before in my life," said Keranen during the break. "He's just relentlessly berating me. He won't let up."

Rystadt, in the five seat at the feature table, continues to be vocal against the chip leader. The two tangled in one key pot which added to the frustration. After a preflop five-bet raising war, the flop came K-K-4 and both players checked. The turn brought another 4 and again, both players checked. After a river 9, Keranen bet 380,000 and Rystadt quickly called and showed Q-4, which bested Keranen's aces.

Fireworks ensued to the point that Executive Director Ty Stewart, who was watching the feature table closely, said we haven't seen anything like it in years.

During the break, Keranen spoke furiously to the floor staff, trying to explain what was going on. The staff responded that they would address the situation. As the action resumed, the jabbering continued and accelerated after Keranen won a pot off of Rystadt. The two are poised to continue to tangle and this should make for an interesting storyline for a while given that both have more than 2 million in chips.

The other fireworks came in the span of two hands and resulted in the elimination of the player who was in third place during the previous level.

Zach Jiganti entered Level 21 with more than 3 million in chips and was poised for an incredibly deep run. It unraveled quickly, first with a set-over-set confrontation against Bruno Politano (9-9 < K-K) then a cooler with jacks against the queens of Clayton Maguire. Those two hands at the end of the level sent him home just after the field broke 200 players and placed Politano as the overwhelming chip leader with 4.9 million in chips.

Other Level 21 eliminations include Jeff Madsen, Kevin Eyster, Taylor Von Kriegenbergh, Mike Wattel, Raj Vohra and Jared Bleznick.

The average stack is 55 big blinds. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Bruno Politano (4.96 million in chips)
2. Leif Force (3.54 million)
3. Michael Schwartz (3.32 million)
4. Clayton Hamm (3.23 million)
5. Griffin Benger (2.99 million)
6. Kyle Keranen (2.8 million)
7. Michael Finstein (2.75 million)
8. Martin Jacobson (2.59 million)
9. Andoni Larrabe (2.57 million)
10. Matthew Haugen (2.50 million)

Small blinds: Jeff Platt ran into Ali Eslami's set of 5s during the past level at the same exact moment that his parents walked into the Amazon Room. … The Ivey eliminator and two-time bracelet winner John Kabbaj didn't make the dinner break. Still a strong summer for him and his elimination means that Brandon Shack-Harris will enter WSOP-APAC as the Player of the Year leader. … Bryan Devonshire was sent to a new table after the latest break, so he went to work looking up his competition. … There are four women left in the field, including the last woman standing from 2008, Maria Ho. … Blake Cahail wore the onesie all the way to a 172nd-place finish. … Draft Kings getting into patching as well at this time. Doesn't hurt to have one of its employees, Jon Aguiar, still in contention. … Check out this hand from Mikiyo Aoki from earlier in the WSOP. … The only member of the top 10 with a bracelet at this time is Leif Force. … David Einhorn was knocked out in this level. He'll donate $44,728 to Robin Hood NYC.

Day 5: Bring on the Red Bull

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
5:29
PM ET
Tournament Director Jack Effel announced prior to play on Saturday that the field would be in for a lengthy day. Five and a half levels are planned for Day 5 (11 hours) as Effel hoped to bring the field down to around 80 players by the end of the night. Play should conclude just before 2 a.m. PT.
[+] EnlargeKyle Keranen
Courtesy Andrew FeldmanKyle Keranen seized the chip lead during Level 20

Play is expected to slow down dramatically as the day progresses, but that was far from the case during the first level. John Monnette, 2014 bracelet winner Sam Jaddi, Mike Sowers, Kevin MacPhee, Farzad Bonyadi and Paul Tedeschi were among the 60 eliminations during the level. With the average stack more than 60 big blinds deep, short stacks aren't truly "short" at all. Extremely aggressive play is leading to these eliminations and, of course, a few coolers.

Kyle Keranen and Griffin Benger continue to top the leaderboard with Keranen having an incredibly successful level, building from 2.1 million in chips to 3.5 million. Mark Newhouse, whose style doesn't often call for gigantic pots, was involved in a huge one against Munir Shahin. The 2013 November Niner held As-Qs and had a huge flush draw after a flop of 9h-7s-2s. Shahin held K-K and with a 2 million-chip pot at hand, couldn't fade the spade on the river. Newhouse eliminated Shahin with the dramatic river and handed his opponent his largest career cash ($38,634) with the effort. Newhouse is now in the top 10 in chips.

When players return from break, the blinds will be 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Kyle Keranen (3.44 million in chips)
2. Griffin Benger (3.42 million)
3. Zach Jiganti 3.07 million)
4. Dan Smith (2.55 million)
5. Leif Force (2.49 million)
6. Trevor Martin (2.49 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (2.36 million)
8. Michael Finstein (2.34 million)
9. Matthew Haugen (2.27 million)
10. Pakinai Lisawad (2.21 million)

Small blinds: Anh Van Nguyen doesn't play much poker anymore, but decided to come to Vegas last week just for a little action. Van Nguyen spends most of his time now with his kids (including a 5-month-old) and doesn't pursue poker as actively as in the past. He has $1.2 million in career live earnings and finished 46th in 2004 and 106th in 2009. … We don't see a lot of new sponsors appear these days, but PartyPoker has placed a patch on Brian Hastings. … In extremely too early storylines, Alex Outhred's birthday is Nov. 9. … John Monnette decided to warm up this morning with some high-stakes cash games at the Bellagio. I wonder if he slept. … David Einhorn doubled up in the last level. That's good for charity. … Keranen has moved to the feature table, with Maria Ho's table soon to break. … There have been no eliminations at the feature table so far today. … A few players were late to show up today, including Yorane Kerignard, who was seated at an outside feature table.
The smiles turned back to stares throughout the course of Day 4 of the World Series of Poker main event. After a raucous celebration rocked the Amazon Room when the remaining players made the money, the field returned to seriousness as positioning for the final stretch became the utmost priority. Matthew Haugen emerged with the lead after Day 4, a familiar situation for the professional poker player from Chicago.

"I'm feeling great," said Haugen. "Being chip leader going into Day 5 of the main event, I can't complain about that."

Haugen began to take the game seriously after he graduated from college. Like many other of the game's rising stars, he started online.

"After I graduated from college, I had a little bit of money and put it online," he said. "I started playing, kept winning and never looked back."
[+] EnlargeDan Smith
Drew Amato/BLUFFDan Smith is sixth in chips after Day 4

In a post-Black Friday world Haugen travels often to play and has found some great success on both the WPT and EPT. He also has twin 18th-place finishes so far this WSOP.

"I'm just going to keep playing my game and see what opportunities present themselves," said Haugen. "$10 million would mean a lot. It would be pretty amazing."

Behind Haugen is a stacked crew of professionals who have been waiting for this opportunity. Griffin Benger, Dan Smith and Kyle Keranen are all part of a strong top 10 at this stage of the event. Keranen has been here before and was the chip leader after Day 5 in 2012. After fizzling out then, he's not ready to let this second opportunity go.

"I just feel so much more in control than I did two years ago," said Keranen. "I was still pretty new to high-stakes tournaments back then and I got a bit nervous on Day 6. ... This year I feel totally composed and ready for it."

Keranen enters Day 5 eighth in chips.

The remaining field includes many players who should feel at home during Day 5 action. Among that group Keranen (38, 2012), Leif Force (11th, 2006), Pat Madden (64, 2005), Maria Ho (38th, 2007), Alex Outhred (54, 2008), Roland Israelashvili (25, 2012), Isaac Baron (85th, 2012), Farzad Bonyadi (27th and 41st, 1998 and 2005), David Einhorn (18th, 2006), Ali Eslami (49th, 2004), Ryan Fair (31st, 2009), Mike Wattel (95th, 2005), Kyle Bowker (37th and 84th, 2007 and 2012), Bryan Devonshire (12th, 2011) and most recently Rep Porter (12, 2013) and Mark Newhouse (ninth, 2013) have all made it to the final stages before.

With 291 players remaining, here are the top 10 chip counts after Day 4:
1. Matthew Haugen (2.80 million in chips)
2. Zach Jiganti (2.36 million)
3. Griffin Benger (2.32 million)
4. Michael Finstein (2.31 million)
5. Bruno Politano (2.28 million)
6. Dan Smith (2.22 million)
7. Andoni Larrabe (2.19 million)
8. Kyle Keranen (2.15 million)
9. Farid Fattin (2.12 million)
10. Pakinai Lisawad (2.08 million)

The eliminations came at a rapid pace throughout the action on Friday, but the only one that was truly acknowledged by all players was the 430th-place finisher: Phil Ivey. The 10-time bracelet winner began the day in a strong position at the feature table, but started to run cold after he lost a quarter of his stack to Kyle Keranen. The bleeding continued until the dinner break, but still, with 340,000 in chips, Ivey was not in dire straights. Almost immediately after the dinner break, Ivey found himself in a hand against two-time WSOP champion John Kabbaj and made an ill-timed all-in on the turn of a 9-9-2-2 board. The shock and frustration came over Ivey's face immediately as his A-K trailed Kabbaj's J-J. Down to his final card, the cameras came over and Ivey's tournament ended with a blank on the river and a sprint to the back doors of the Amazon Room.

Hours before Ivey's departure, Ronnie Bardah's exit marked the end of a historic run. Bardah has cashed in each of the past five WSOP main events, a new record.



Other notable Day 4 eliminations include John Juanda (293rd), NASCAR's Jason White (348th), Michael Binger (353rd) and Jonathan Little (490th).

Action resumes at noon PT and will most likely continue for five levels or until the field is down to 72 players. The minimum cash for all those who remain is $33,734.

Small blinds: The pre-money elimination of Huck Seed marked the first year since 2002 that a former champion did not make the money. It has happened nine times in the total history of the event. … I've followed "Rainbow Hat Guy" around the WSOP for the past few years and today he had his chance at the feature table. Zach Hall sat directly across from Ivey, who looked at him and said "Are you serious?" Hall was eliminated on the final hand of the night. … Alex Outhred started Day 2 of the main event with 12,000. He bagged 714,000 on Day 4. … Blake Cahail played the last level in one of the $230 Zooop suits that is being sold at the Rio. He didn't buy it, but said if his friend bought it, he'd wear it. … In 2012, Keranen was the chip leader after Day 5. … Take a look at the bracelet. … Plenty of drinks were ordered toward the end of the day. Relatively surprising at this point. That usually ends on Day 2. … David Einhorn is donating his winnings to Robin Hood NYC. … Sam Jaddi and John Kabaaj are the two remaining 2014 bracelet winners in the field. … The highest chipped woman in the field is Mikiyo Aoki, who has 1.5 million in 21st place. She was the runner-up in the 2014 WSOP Ladies championship. … There are five multiple-bracelet winners remaining in the field: Jeff Madsen, Farzad Bonyadi, John Monnette, John Kabbaj and Rep Porter. … Including the main event, Roland Israelashvili now has 10 cashes this WSOP.
It's been a rough two days for the world's best player. After his incredible Day 2 effort, Phil Ivey faltered over the past two days and was eliminated during the past level in 430th place. Event 25 bracelet winner John Kabbaj led out for 80,000 and Ivey moved all-in for 225,000 more on the turn of a 9-9-2-2 board. Kabaaj called instantly and Ivey reacted stunned, looking on in disbelief. Before the cards were flipped, Ivey said to Kabbaj, "Jacks?" Sure enough, that's what his A-K was up against. The cameras set up as Ivey waited for the river card, then bolted down the back hallways of the Rio upon seeing the 5c. Ivey earned $25,756.
[+] EnlargePhil Ivey
Andrew Feldman/ESPNPhil Ivey (left) stares at the board in disbelief on his final hand.

Nearly 100 players fell during the past two-hour level. NASCAR's Jason White fought for the entire day as a short stack, but couldn't avoid some bad luck.

"I'll be back," said White after his elimination in 350th. He earned $33,374 for the finish that was cut short in a key hand against David Einhorn where his J-J lost to 6-6. David Paredes, Maria Mayrinck, Owen Crowe, Chris DeMaci, Michael Binger and Thayer Rasmussen were also among the casualties.

At 2.3 million, Dan Smith remains the biggest stack, but there are a number of players who are under 800,000 in chips that shouldn't be missed:

  • John Juanda - It's been a slow day for Juanda who has demonstrated great patience. He has 430,000 in chips and is looking to best his 31st-place finish in 2005. Juanda's last main event cash came in 2012 (234th).
  • Brian Hastings - The bracelet winner and high-stakes cash gamer has $1.1 million in live tournament earnings. The only thing that might hurt Hastings is his obsession with Open Face Chinese poker which is he playing on his iPad in between hands.
  • Mark Newhouse - The last member of last year's final table is still fighting. He chipped up early today and had a well above average stack, but has been short for the past few hours. He has 280,000 in chips. If there's anyone who knows how to grind in order to make it to the next level, it's Newhouse.
  • Maria Ho - Ho is seated at the feature table, but she's still under the radar in the reporting. She has 700,000 in chips and is seated with ...
  • Brian Townsend - During poker's zenith, Townsend was one of most prolific onliners in the game. Now he has a shot at a main event title with 800,000 in chips
  • Jon Turner - "PearlJammer" finished 299th in 2013 and 344th in 2011. His resume is strong and all he needs is to win that one flip that has evaded him numerous times over the past few years.
  • Ali Eslami - A high-stakes mixed-game player, Eslami doesn't often player tournaments, but won't miss the main. Oh, and he snuck into the Amazon Room last night.
  • Mukul Pahuja - Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year.
  • Taylor Von Kriegenbergh - WPT Champion has $1.4 million in lifetime tournament earnings
  • Matt Waxman - WSOP bracelet winner, WPT champ. Been short for two days now.
  • Mike Sowers - 14 WSOP cashes and five final tables (two runner-ups).
  • Bryan Devonshire - Devo isn't involved in the poker world much at all anymore, but the nature guide loves the main event. He finished 12th in 2011.

There a number of other players that with over 300 to go deserve some attention. From here on out I'll try to highlight the accomplishments of those remaining in contention to paint a better portrait about the field that remains.

Day 4: Finstein leads final 443

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
9:37
PM ET
The flood of players out the door continued during Level 17 and all remaining players have locked up a pay day of at least $25,756. After a period of constant all-ins, the pace has slowed of late as players are now taking this time to position themselves for a deeper run.

Michael Finstein is looking to make his first WSOP main event cash count. The Bright, Mass. native was the first player over two million in chips and has played the role of eliminator throughout the day. He seized the lead when he won a big pot against Rocky McNatt with his 10-10 connecting on a 10-9-3-9-9 board against McNatt's K-K. He added a bit more shortly after knocking out Lisa Tehan, Joe's wife, who just missed her largest career tournament cash by a few hundred dollars.

Dan Smith, now seated at a secondary feature table, has 1.9 million in chips which is good enough for a second-place stack. At the main feature table, Phil Ivey has struggled to gain any momentum since his latest table joined the feature set. His three-bets haven't been getting through and he's now playing with a sub-370,000 stack. Ivey's table broke for the second time today right before the dinner break and a new table, featuring Maria Ho and Jared Bleznick, will take their seats when action resumes

Kenny Tran's elimination represents many of the bustouts right now. With players so deep, it takes real coolers to get all the chips in the center and Tran was unlucky enough to run kings into the aces of Pete Kaemmerlen for all of his stack. Other notable eliminations include Jonathan Little, Abe Mosseri, JJ Liu, Bryan Yoon, Phil Galfond, Daniel Alaei and the five-time consecutive casher, Ronnie Bardah.



Here are the top 10 stacks at the break:

1. Michael Finstein (2.0 million)
2. Dan Smith (1.9 million)
3. Andoni Larrabe (1.7 million)
4. Danny Yousefzadeh (1.7 million)
5. Zach Jiganti (1.6 million)
6. Matthew Leecy (1.4 million)
7. John Gorsuch (1.3 million)
8. Jing Wang (1.3 million)
9. Griffin Benger (1.2 million)
10. Mark Herm (1.2 million)

When players return, blinds will be 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante.

Small blinds: NASCAR driver Jason White doubled towards the end of the level. He has 250,000 and was the recipient of a Phil Hellmuth pep talk in the Orange section. They met last night at Haze. … Leif Force is looking to make a second deep run in the main event to add to his 11th-place finish in 2006. … Two more levels (four more hours) are planned for Friday. … Players received bags of chips at their table this morning courtesy of Ruffles. Players utilized those far more than the stress relief pucks from another WSOP sponsor, Dough. … The WSOP staff did a great job today with the bubble and payouts. I've seen years where it hasn't been so smooth, but this operation was run perfectly.

Money bubble bursts on Day 4

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
6:49
PM ET
A champagne bottle popped inside a packed Amazon Room early on Level 16. Everyone cheered as the remaining players took off their glasses, hoodies and headphones to share a quick handshake or hug. The champagne was distributed to anyone who wanted it, glasses were provided, as others asked waiters for beers or shots of Patron or Jager. A player pulled out his iPad and got on FaceTime, bringing his relatives into the room with him. Cell phones were out, texts were sent and the moment these players had searched for since their starting flight last weekend had finally arrived.

Except for the three people standing with the tournament staff in the center of the room, this was the best moment of the main event for the entire place. Players had made the money in the biggest tournament of the year. They had every right to celebrate and show their excitement and now, it's back to business.
[+] EnlargeRonnie Bardah
Andrew Feldman/ESPNRonnie Bardah has cashed in the main event for five consecutive years.

Day 4 play began with 746 players looking to survive the bubble and earn a minimum of $18,406. As short stacks hoped to make it, the stalling became brutal. The floor staff -- which issues warnings and threatens to start 10-second countdowns for all those trying to make each hand last as long as possible -- was called repeatedly to tables. Players were, rightfully, getting frustrated.

With 695 players left, tournament director Jack Effel declared that hand-for-hand action would begin. Dealers would deal one hand, then stand up at its completion. If there was an all-in and a call, the hands would remain covered until ESPN cameras were in place to cover the action. On the first hand of this effort, there were five players at risk and with two players needing to go home, it seemed likely that we'd be one and done.

The first hand had reached the river by the time its action was picked up by Effel who walked from table to table calling the progress. A roar came over the Amazon Room as Mark Newhouse rolled over 5-5 for quads to eliminate John Dwyer who held queens full. One down.

At the next table Zhen Cai waited for the cameras, but he already knew he was trailing with Q-Q to the A-A of Darren Keyes. The aces held and players were in the money.

There were now three more hopes for Cai and Dwyer to not go away empty-handed. All they needed was one more elimination and they'd share the purse for 693rd, or multiple spots if more players were knocked out. They got their wish on the next hand as Harry Kaczka cracked Kori Hunter's aces with 8d-9d with a rivered two pair. The other two players, Stuart Rutter and Paul Tedeschi, doubled through and kept their dreams alive.

Cai, Dywer and Hunter each received $6,135 for their tie in 693rd place. Cai also won a seat into the 2015 WSOP main event by picking out a high card in a stunt presented by WSOP.com.

Ronnie Bardah was all smiles as the bubble broke, and it's that smile we've seen at this very moment in the tournament for each of the past five years. This was a record-setting finish for Bardah who has finished 24th, 453rd, 540th and 124th in this event since 2010. He's one of the shortest stacks in the field now, but nobody left can compete with his experience.

Well, maybe a few players. Specifically Phil Ivey and Mark Newhouse. Ivey lost a big pot to Kyle Keranen recently and dropped to 646,000 after a strong start. Dan Smith leads with 1.8 million with the blinds at 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante. Smith earned $2 million from his victory in the $100,000 event at the Bellagio just before the main and has 16 career WSOP cashes that include three WSOP final tables.

Small blinds: The line for payouts has expectedly been busy with 90 players already heading home in the first hour since the bubble burst. … Want to re-live the bubble? Go here. … tournament director Effel was wearing a GoPro camera today. Not sure how it will play into coverage, but definitely a new angle. … Brothers Mukul and Vinny Pahuja cashed in the main event. … Lots of foot traffic in Amazon today. Definitely one of the best days to come and watch. … Purple (500) chips are getting colored up during the break. … NASCAR's Jason White survived the bubble. … Players out, but in the money: Olivier Busquet, Randy Ohel and Ben Yu. … Rainbow Hat guy (Zach Hall) made it through. … Faraz Jaka seated on an outside feature. At the table next to him is Phil Galfond. … These new outside feature tables are RFID equipped.

Day 3 of the World Series of Poker main event was unexpectedly halted Thursday with 746 players remaining and 53 minutes remaining in Level 15. With the money bubble approaching rapidly, the tournament staff needed to have all hands on deck to handle payouts and the hectic nature of the moment. As the clock approached midnight, it wasn't feasible to organize and the decision was made to stop the action. The bubble also will serve as the start of ESPN's WSOP main event coverage this year, which begins Sept. 28.

On a day when many of the biggest stars and former champions faltered, Andrew Liporace seized the Day 3 chip lead. Liporace bagged 1.1 million in chips, just one big blind over the second-place stack of Danny Yousefzadeh.
[+] EnlargeMehrdad Yousefzadeh
Andrew Feldman/ESPNDanny Yousefzadeh was the first player over 1 million in chips on Day 3.

"I feel crazy lucky," Liporace said to ESPN.com over Twitter. The New Orleans native has had big chips in the main event before, owning a top-five stack on Day 2 in 2010. In that effort he failed to cash, but was victorious in a $5,000 event at the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in 2012. Yousefzadeh was the first player over 1 million in chips and managed to get there with Phil Ivey to his right. Being chip leader isn't anything new to the man with over $700,000 in tournament cashes and a WSOP Circuit main event title to his name.

"I feel wonderful. I was running good all day and was playing well today," Yousefzadeh said. "It's a good start. I got my trophies, I'm in it for the money. The deeper I go, the better I'm going to feel about it. All I'm going to care about is my daughter. That fame stuff is not for me. I have a 7-year-old daughter, Ariella, who means everything to me."

Ivey didn't fare well against Yousefzadeh, but still managed to bag 552,500 for the night thanks to a strong finish. He'll begin Day 4 with two other half-million stacks, held by 2012's 38th-place finisher Kyle Keranen and Jing Wang.

A total of 1,125 players were sent home short of the money Thursday and some of them were the most prolific stars of the game. Daniel Negrenau didn't make it out of the first level of the day and defending champion Ryan Riess couldn't reach the dinner break. Johnny Chan, Robert Varkonyi and Chris Moneymaker's eliminations left Huck Seed as the only former champion still alive in the event. Antonio Esfandiari, Erik Seidel, Marvin Rettenmaier, Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith, Dan Kelly and Layne Flack were just a few of the pros to fall and the celebrities didn't do any better.

One of the most dramatic eliminations came at the end of the night. For obvious reasons, Paul Pierce wasn't just another player in the main event, but the focus of much attention since he sat down at the felt a few days ago. The NBA star put up a real fight despite a number of tough table draws, and ultimately fell during the final level of play Thursday. On his last hand, Pierce called a three-bet from Christopher Smith in the cutoff. After a flop of As-Jh-3d, Pierce checked and Smith bet 15,000. Pierce called, leading to a turn 6s where he checked-called a bet of 35,000. A river 4s enticed an all-in from Pierce and sent Smith into the tank. After some time, Smith ultimately called and showed A-J for a better two pair than Pierce's A-4.

Pierce was eliminated in approximately 800th place out of the 6,683 players.

"It's a great atmosphere that has a lot of cool people," Pierce said. "This is the world of poker right here in the Rio. This is the whole world coming to one spot for the last two months and you get a chance to enjoy it. I get a chance to be amongst the best."



After Riess' exit, only one member of the 2014 WSOP main event final table remained: Mark Newhouse. The 2013 ninth-place finisher finished the day with 423,500, an amount he believed he didn't come close to having at this point a year ago.

"I feel just having been this far, I definitely have more experience than the rest of them," Newhouse said. "It should put me ahead of them."

Some other Day 3 survivors include Faraz Jaka, Allen Cunningham, Michael Binger, Ali Eslami, Kenny Tran, Martin Jacobson, Maria Ho, Brett Richey, Matt Waxman and three-time WSOP champion Jeff Madsen.

"My game has just come a long way. I've been playing well," Madsen said. "It goes without saying that nothing compares to the [main event bracelet]. It would be the sickest thing ever to be the world champion. It's becoming more of a thought, but there's a lot of work for it. That would be amazing."

Here are the top 10 chip counts from Day 3:
1. Andrew Liporace (1.12 million)
2. Danny Yousefzadeh (1.12 million)
3. Raul Mestre (988,500)
4. Jesse Wilke (975,500)
5. Scott Blackman (935,000)
6. Andoni Larrabesanchez (923,000)
7. Stephen Graner (911,000)
8. Rasmus Larsen (883,000)
9. David Tuthill (850,500)
10. Roman Valerstein (850,500)

Play resumes at noon PT with the blinds at 2,000/4,000 with a 500 ante. The final 693 players will earn at least $18,406 and the one who survives the rest will pocket $10 million.
Mehrdad Yousefzadeh was the first player to reach seven figures in chips during Level 14. Yousefzadeh has spent a few hours in Phil Ivey's big blind and the chips have headed in his direction steadily throughout the last level. Ivey, who has about 400,000, has a frustrated scowl on his face, much different (and more expected) than the casual, smiling Ivey who was in the Amazon Room on Day 2.
[+] EnlargeMehrdad Yousefzadeh
Andrew Feldman/ESPNDanny Yousefzadeh was the first player over 1 million in chips on Day 3.

Yousefzadeh is the only player over 1 million, but a number of players are cruising with monster stacks as well. With approximately 850 players remaining there are six players over 800,000 in chips, including Raul Mestre who finished Day 2 overall second in chips. Isaac Baron held the lead during early play, and remains a contender with a ninth-place stack of 725,000 in chips.

Huck Seed doesn't have a huge stack, but he is the last former main event champion playing after Chris Moneymaker went down in frustrating fashion. Even after running into quads, Moneymaker sat healthily with more than 50 big blinds. Late in the leve, he flopped a set of eights on a board of 8s-7h-3s and after the betting escalated to where over 320,000 was in the center of the table, Raymond Ezzie seized it all as his As-Ks hit the Js on the turn to give him the winning flush. A disappointed Moneymaker bolted out the door and down the hallway as quickly as possible, failing to make the money in this event once again.

Seed has approximately 200,000 at the final break of the night. He last cashed in the main event in 2012.

The biggest rail by far belongs to Paul Pierce who is putting up a fight on Day 2. Seated at a table filled with successful live and online pros, including Michael Binger and Harry "ugotabanana" Kaczka, Pierce has held his own and currently sits on a stack of 180,000 in chips. He desperately wants to cash in this event. For him, it's not about the money, but validation.

"It would be great," Pierce said of the potential of making money. "It's showing me how far I've come over the years as a poker player and learning the game. It's more than the cards. You have to endure the atmosphere. You have to endure a lot of things when you come to a big tournament like this."

The atmosphere for Pierce includes added pressure. With ESPN cameras ready to capture every hand and a number of members of the media ready to report on his every step, concentrating on what's in front of him is key. To keep him focused he's utilized a constant massage, sunglasses and headphones ... just like any other seasoned pro.

Other recent eliminations include John Hennigan, Christina Lindley, Marvin Rettenmaier, Haralabos Voulgaris, Steven Dannenmann and Kyle Cartwright. Players have one more two-hour level to play tonight, but it's possible that action will be stopped earlier if the tournament staff believes the money bubble is approaching too quickly.

Small blinds: Earl Barron busted out from the event, but is hanging around the Amazon Room keeping an eye on Paul Pierce. Derek Gregory, too. … Jeff Madsen has an autographed picture of Phil Hellmuth with him. … Blinds are now 2,000/4,000 with a 500 ante. … 2013 main event final table member Mark Newhouse has over 600,000. … Raj Vohra is among the leaders. He's been in this spot before. Let's see if he's learned to slow down. … The green 25,000 chip is being introduced during this level.

Day 3: Ryan Riess eliminated

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
9:14
PM ET
More than a third of the players that started Day 3 are now tasked with the challenge of forgetting the main event exits. One of those players is 2013 WSOP main event champion Ryan Riess. The defending champ put up a fight on Day 3, squeezing out small pots with a short stack for most of the day. Riess got his last chips in with 4-4 against Steve Brecher's 9-9 and couldn't get there.



It's always interesting to see how former champions approach the main event after their victory. Riess approached it with true class and offered such positivity throughout the process. Forever included with the game's victors, Riess wanted this. He wanted to have another deep run. In his eyes, it was his event and, really, you can't blame him for that. There's a difference between having pride and being cocky about your achievements. Constantly playing the modest card, Riess was a great representative over the past year and will continue to be moving forward.

There are only two former champions left in the field: Huck Seed and Chris Moneymaker.

The eliminations piled up over the past few hours with many familiar faces walking out the door. Johnny Chan is one of them. Robert Varkyoni too. Actor Kevin Pollak, Matthew Ashton, Erik Seidel, Greg Mueller, Earl Barron, Billy Baxter, Ole Schemion, Jake Cody and Blair Hinkle as well. They're burning through tables in Brasilia and there's a real strong possibility that everyone will reach their final stop in the Amazon Room later this evening.

The pace of play is picking up, but will slow down before the night is over as the money bubble approaches. The minimum payout of $18,406 isn't the world to everyone in the field, but to many still in contention, a min-cash would mean everything. The field is still scattered with a good amount of amateurs just having a good time. You can see it in their faces and the enjoyment they display of emotion when they're talking to their friends and family on the rail. You can hear it in their voices as they're talking at the table or asking for an autograph during a break. This is their dream and it is alive and well.

Then there are those who have been here before.

Since the November Nine concept was implemented in 2008, we've learned much about the competitors that make it to the biggest final table in the world. We learned about their backgrounds, their passions and their motivations. Here's a look at the players who have made post-boom final tables and are trying to get back in 2014:
  • 2013 - Mark Newhouse and Amir Lehavot are the only players left. Newhouse began the day with a 200,000 stack and has increased it to 325,000. Lehavot is hovering below average.
  • 2012 - If anyone is still in it, it's Andras Koroknai, but I haven't seen him in a few hours.
  • 2011 - Eighth-place finisher Anton Makiievskyi has 125,000. Runner-up Martin Staszko has 60,000. Pius Heinz did not play.
  • 2010 - None
  • 2009 - Some guy named Ivey made this one. He's hovering at about 400,000.
  • 2008 - None
  • 2007 - None
  • 2006 - Allen Cunningham and Michael Binger are the sole representatives from this year's final table. I still think it's harder to find anyone who has more patience in this event than Cunningham. He has 210,000 in chips. Binger is seated with Paul Pierce.
  • 2005 - Steven Dannenmann was seated with Riess and lost more than half his stack so far today. Dannenmann hasn't cashed in the main since his runner-up finish.
  • 2004 - None
  • 2003 - Chris Moneymaker is trying to make the money in the main event for the first time since his win.

Players will go on dinner break at 6:40 p.m. PT. After a 90-minute break, they'll return for two more levels.

Small Blinds: Paul Pierce was signing autographs for players at another table in between hands. ... A few notables with chips: Antonio Esfandiari, Joe Kuether, Martin Jacobson and Dan Smith. ... Mukul and Vinny Pahuja are sitting with their backs to each other. ... Nearly half of the Brasilia Room is empty. ... The filming of the "Side Action" segments concluded to the enjoyment of many in the Amazon Room that felt there was too much noise. ... There are no available masseuses in the Amazon Room. ... Bernard Lee ran J-J into 10-10. After seeing a 10 on the flop, Lee is on his way out of Vegas. ... There have been a few moments of audible celebration. That's more than OK at this point. ... Day 3 ended last year with 666 players. There were fewer players then, and that number isn't attainable this year since the money bubble comes at 693 and must be part of the television broadcast. ... There are lots of tired faces out there, and remember players don't have another day off until Tuesday. ... Haralabos Voulgaris has been trying to get the WSOP staff to get Paul Pierce a more comfortable chair. I honestly don't think a chair will make him more comfortable. Maybe another massage?.
 
For the first time in the 2014 WSOP main event, every remaining player was in attendance. The 1,871 players that returned to Day 3 action were spread out among the Amazon, Pavilion and Brasilia Rooms, but 300 of them were quickly sent packing, and with it, closed up the Pavilion Room for the rest of the tournament.

The biggest elimination of the level came in the form of Daniel Negreanu. The 2013 WSOP Player of the Year had a rough Day 2C, going from one of the chip leaders to one of the shortest stacks at the end of the day. Despite a plan for patient play on Thursday, Negreanu ran into a bit of a cooler and lost most of his chips in on a Q-high board holding A-Q. His opponent, Jeffrey Chang, held K-K to win that pot. He was eliminated shortly after.

Negreanu's WSOP featured some good runs and of course an $8 million score from the Big One For Drop. He said he wanted to be transparent about his efforts and posted his results on Twitter.



Also eliminated during this past level was 2013 WSOP main event runner-up Jay Farber, Gavin Smith, Theo Jorgensen, Humberto Brenes and Dan Kelly.

Phil Ivey continued to build his stack, but he lost the overall lead to Isaac Baron, who has cashed twice in this event in the past four years. He finished 85h in the 2012 main event and earlier this year finished third in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. Baron chipped up over 850,000 so far today and recently eliminated Andrew Lichtenberger.

On the celebrity front, Paul Pierce has struggled on Day 3 and is one of the shortest stacks in the field heading into Level 12. Kevin Pollak, seated with Olivier Busquet and Maria Mayrinck, has dropped nearly a third of his stack since the start of the day.

With the blinds at 1,000/2,000 with a 300 ante, the current chip leaders are:
1. Isaac Baron (875,000)
2. Munir Shahin (640,000)
3. Steve Tripp (615,000)
4. Phil Ivey (583,600)
5. Raul Mestre (528,000)
6. Michael Aron (512,000)
7. Barry Hutter (500,000)
8. Tim Stansifer (471,000)
9. Morgan Popham (458,000)
10. Chanracy Khun (450,000)


Small Blinds: Ivey's table broke early during the second level, and he's now in the Amazon Orange section where he should be for the rest of the day. … Defending champion Ryan Riess is seated with 2005 main event runner-up Steven Dannenmann and is down to about 40,000. … Chris Moneymaker has more than 200,000. … There was a joker dealt during a hand today. The WSOP tournament staff decided to deal another card to allow the hand to continue. … Our ESPN team is shooting our Side Action segments Thursday. Without giving too much away, it is going to be a rather entertaining crew of players doing a variety of entertaining poker-related activities.

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