Players finished after three levels

July, 11, 2009
7/11/09
11:33
PM ET

11:45 p.m. ET: Tournament directors believed that the field had taken enough. The rapid pace of eliminations throughout Day 4 (with the exception of the bubble) has left 407 players who still have hopes to be the 2009 WSOP main event champion. Out of all those eliminated, it was Phil Hellmuth who stole the show with 50 minutes to go in the day. Hellmuth was knocked out with pocket aces against a turned straight and was sent to the rail shaking his head. He gave a speech, left the Amazon Room and collected the $25,027 for his 436th-place result.

Antonio Esfandiari
Denise Truscello/WireImage/Getty ImagesAntonio Esfandiari and his brother Amir have both advanced to Day 5 of the main event.
With the elimination of Hellmuth, all eyes turned to the feature table to see Phil Ivey chip up and break the $1 million mark. Ivey finished the day with $1.27 million and is in the top 10 heading into a planned five-level Day 5. There are some other big names keeping company with Ivey. Bertrand Grospellier, Jordan Morgan, Blair Hinkle and Theo Tran all have more than $1 million, but they trail chip leader Matt Affleck ($1.8 million). Tom Lutz is in second place with $1.608 million, and Ludovic Lacay is in third with $1.6 million. After watching Lacay for most of the day, I know a couple of things. First, he'll play rags. He has no problem with floating flops and making strong continuation bets. Second, I think his table adjusted to him late in the day, which resulted in him losing a couple of pots during the last level.

The bubble played the most significant part of the day as Kia Hamadani made 468 players here in the Amazon Room very happy. After his elimination, the line to collect winnings was the popular place to be. 2006 runner-up Paul Wasicka, Chris Ferguson, Kelly Kim, Jesper Hougaard, Mike Sexton, Tom West, Surinder Sunar and John Myung were some notable eliminations.

There are still some big names moving on who have work to do during Day 5. Defending champion Peter Eastgate, 2005 champion Joseph Hachem, Dan Harrington, Dennis Phillips, Joe Sebok, Nick Schulman, Kyle Wilson, J.C. Tran and Antonio Esfandiari will need to quickly figure out their tables tomorrow. The blinds will begin on Sunday at $5,000/$10,000 with a $1,000 ante. While many of these players are still relatively deep-stacked, the play here has been overly aggressive and keeping pots small hasn't been a viable option ... which is typically a strategy of many pros.

For now, it's Saturday night and players are going to be able to enjoy the night in Las Vegas. A couple of extra hours of sleep will serve them well before action resumes Sunday at 3 p.m. E.T.

Small blinds: After Paul Wasicka's elimination, he said, "It will be a long time before I want to play poker again." ... Hellmuth said that if he knew there were only 50 minutes remaining in the day, he would've played differently. ... Hachem came out with a book called, "Pass The Sugar." He has made it to Day 5 and his entire family is here with him. ... Kelly Kim put up another great battle, but was eliminated on one of the final hands of the night. ... The staff here at Harrah's has already begun removing chairs and tables. Action will be spread out tomorrow instead of consolidated in one spot of the room. ... The majority of media row here is watching the MMA fight. ... Lou Diamond Phillips is winning the "Phillips Battle," out-chipping Dennis Phillips by $120,000. ... For all those who are wondering, yes, Kara Scott is still alive in the main event. ... Both Esfandiari brothers, Antonio and Amir, are still in contention.

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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