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|Bernard Lee is the short stack heading into Day 3 of Event 42.|
On Friday, the redemption list may add another player and it could be ESPN's own Bernard Lee. He'll have a long way to go if he wants to win his first bracelet, but let's take a look at Lee's close calls.
Finishing in 13th place in 2005 WSOP main event, Lee is still among the 25 players left standing in Event 42, $1,500 no-limit hold 'em. The ESPN Inside Deal co-host, who has become somewhat of a short-stack specialist, rode his depleted chip stack for the last five levels of the night to survive into the final day of play.
"It felt like the 2005 WSOP or the 2006 USPC all over again," Lee explained. "Overall, I am very pleased the way I played and to make it to Day 3. Let's just hope that I finish better this time than I did in those other two events [Lee finished 19th at 2006 USPC].
"A bracelet would mean everything," Lee continued. "This is what all poker players play for and I would be absolutely ecstatic. It would be the highlight of my poker career."
Exhausted after two days of play and talking through his day at 6 a.m. ET, Lee really had one more accomplishment in mind for this event.
"I want to be able to take my name off the list," he said. "No, not the 'Best player without a bracelet' list, but the 'ESPN columnist without a bracelet list.'"
Lee still trails ESPN Poker Edge Podcast host Phil Gordon in total earnings this WSOP, but if he secures at final table finish, he could overtake Gordon for those honors as well.
While it would be incredible to see Lee win this event, he will definitely have to utilize his expertise as he enters today's action as the short stack of the remaining 25 players. Not only is he the short stack, but he only has eight big blinds. Did I mention he'll start the day in the big blind too? I'll be optimistic though; if there is anyone who can do it, it's Lee.
Good Luck Bernard. ESPN poker nation will be rooting for you.
Besides Lee, there is another player with an opportunity to add his name to this redemption list in Event 42. While 2009 November Niner Kevin Schaffel was eliminated during the final few hands in the day, Dean Hamrick, 2008 WSOP main event final table bubble boy, is among the chip leaders heading into Day 3. Down to only one big blind at one point, Hamrick made an incredible comeback during Day 2.
"It was the most incredible thing," Hamrick said. "I was all-in blind and tripled up. I got lucky when I chopped a pot with pocket twos. Then, doubled up again and again and again and next thing you know, I was at about $200,000 by the end of the level."
Play resumes on Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET and heading into Day 3, Hamrick is in third. Is redemption on the radar once again?
"[Winning the bracelet] might not make up for being bubble boy, but it would definitely soothe the pain," he said. "Winning a bracelet would be awesome."
Unfortunately, it was not a record-setting night for Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth would come short on Thursday finished seventh in Event 41 and would be a spectator as Steve Jelinek won his first WSOP bracelet and continued the "Year of the Brit".
It'll be another crowded weekend at the Rio, here's a look at the tournaments in progress:
Event 42, $1,500 no-limit hold 'em: Lee and Hamrick are only two of the 25 players remaining in action. Also in contention is one well-known shark: Humberto Brenes. Brenes enters the day fifth in chips and will be searching for his third bracelet. This is his 56th career WSOP cash not bad.
Event 43, $10,000 HORSE: Cuong Do leads the final 23 players in the HORSE world championship, the largest HORSE event of the 2010 WSOP. There are a ton of great potential champions remaining in this event including former WSOP main event champion Carlos Mortensen, former bracelet winners Richard Ashby, Robert Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Scott Fischman, Todd Brunson, Michael Chow, Steve Billirakis, John Hennigan and Abe Mosseri. It's a pretty impressive collection of players remaining and Day 3 of this event will be one to remember.
Event 44, $2,500 mixed hold 'em: Eli Elezra is in control of the mixed hold 'em event with 70 players remaining. Besides Elezra, I'll be watching one other player in the top five: Dwyte Pilgrim. I've been praising Pilgrim now for months and this would be a true breakout event for him if he's able to pull off a win. He already has one deep run so far this Series (20th in Event 5). Other notables still in contention include Eric Froehlich, Matt Matros, Jeff Shulman, Gavin Smith, Shannon Shorr and Matt Stout. The winner of this event will earn $268,238.
Two events begin on Friday: Event 45, $1,500 no-limit hold 'em and Event 46, $5,000 pot-limit Omaha high-low split eight-or-better. Of course, another $1,000 event begins on Saturday and on Sunday, the Tournament of Champions starts.