- Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com
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LAS VEGAS -- It was no surprise that with the blinds at 100,000/200,000 with a 30,000 ante, the short stacks would be shoving early on Day 8 of the World Series of Poker main event. That said, there's no way anyone could've predicted that seven eliminations would take place in the first two hours Tuesday.
Hopes of double-ups and a picture-perfect Day 8 didn't become a reality for five of the shortest stacks entering the day. Lars Bonding, Chris Moore, Gionni Demers, Aleksandr Mozhnyakov and Kenny Shih were eliminated during Level 32 and left the Rio with at least a $302,005 payday.
The first five eliminations took place outside of the feature table. Bonding was outflopped with A-A against the 4-4 of Konstantinos Mamaliadis and was knocked out in 22nd place. Moments later, Chris Moore's pocket kings were cracked by the A-10 of Anton Makiievskyi, the current chip leader.
New Jersey's last hope for a November Niner went down with Gionni Demers, who moved all-in with Ac-5d and was up against the K-K of Konstantinos Mamaliadis. The board ran out Qh-10c-8d-6s-7h and quickly, there were only 19 players remaining.
After losing a kings-versus-aces battle earlier, Aleksandr Mozhnyakov found himself short. The Day 1D chip leader had been among the top stacks for seven days straight and for the first time, needed to make a move. He picked a good hand, Kh-Qh, and moved in his last eight big blinds to face off against the A-10 of WSOP Circuit National Champion Sam Barnhart. Mozhnyakov failed to catch and was eliminated in 19th.
The standard two-table redraw occurred and the feature table offered a glimpse of Ben Lamb, Makiievskyi, Ryan Lenaghan, Pius Heinz, Sam Holden, Andrey Pateychuk, Badih Dounahra and Sam Barnhart. After early eliminations outside, the chips would begin to fly at the feature table.
Prior to two consecutive feature-table eliminations, Kenny Shih made a questionable four-bet all-in after a flop of Ac-6s-7c with 8s-8c. He was instantly called by John Hewitt, who held the nut-flush draw and two overcards with K-J. Shih's tournament life ended when a 2c hit the turn, giving him 18th place and $378,796.
One of the two remaining bracelet winners was the next to go. Barnhart three-bet all-in with 9-9 and was called by Heinz's K-K. With a shrug of his shoulders and a dejected look on his face, Barnhart was eliminated in 17th. He took off his hat, waved to the crowd and left Lamb as the only surviving bracelet-holder in the field. Moments later, Lenaghan, the Day 6 chip leader, picked a poor spot to three-bet all-in with A-8 and was called instantly by Sam Holden's A-Q. Holden turned a flush and the cash-game pro from the South would be sent home in 16th.
Makiievskyi gained more than 10 million in chips during the first two hours. The 21-year-old could become the youngest WSOP main event champion in history if he's able to take down the event.
Here's a look at the current chip counts:
Anton Makiievskyi (31.7 million in chips)
Eoghan O'Dea (24.7 million)
John Hewitt (15.9 million)
Ben Lamb (15.7 million)
Konstantinos Mamaliadis (14.2 million)
Pius Heinz (13.6 million)
Scott Schwalich (12,9 million)
Samuel Holden (12.7 million)
Phil Collins (11.8 million)
Andrey Pateychuk(10.0 million)
Badih Bounahra (9.6 million)
Khoa Nguyen (9.3 million)
Matt Giannetti (8.6 million)
Martin Staszko (8.2 million)
Bryan Devonshire (7.5 million)
The blinds are now 120,000/240,000 with a 30,000 ante.
Sam Barnhart, Lars Bonding and Chris Moore among first Day 8 casualties