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Friday, July 11, 2014
Day 3: The first chip-millionaire

By Andrew Feldman

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.
Mehrdad Yousefzadeh
Danny 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.