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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Farha, Lee, Cantu sent home


Only 380 players remain in contention for the coveted WSOP main event title and with two more levels to be played, expect that number to be sliced in half when the chips are bagged at the end of the night. Sammy Farha headlined the eliminations during the last level, but he was far from the only recognizable player to be sent home. ESPN Inside Deal host Bernard Lee put up a valiant fight on the short stack for two days and he was eliminated in 410th place. Evelyn Ng, Issac Baron, Dean Hamrick, Brandon Cantu, Dwyte Pilgrim, Greg DeBora and Alex Jacob were also sent to the cashier earlier than expected.

It seems like I say it every year, but the 2010 WSOP main event is quickly becoming the playground for the online pros. Matt Affleck, Tony Dunst, James Carroll and Phil Galfond all come from an online-heavy background and each of them are among the leaders mid-way through Day 5. Although they have been able to build these chip stacks, the one thing I've noticed is that they play so fast and aggressive that their chip counts fluctuate all the time. Being so aggressive and three-, four- or even five-betting before the flop has been known to get that style of player in trouble, but while they have the chips, keeping the pressure on is basically the top strategy.

There is also a significant difference between the chip counts of the online pros and the live grinders. Players like Hoyt Corkins, Vitaly Lunkin, Juha Helppi, Hasan Habib and Michael Mizrachi are sitting around the average just waiting for their opportunities to chip up. They've been the more patient group and they as they continue to watch the top 10 change every few minutes, they simply wait for their spot to really pounce. Team UB Pros Eric Baldwin and Adam Levy are also around the average and have told me they are looking to spots to get involved, but won't force the action.

Scotty Nguyen doubled up a player during the last hand before the break which resulted in him now holding a below average stack of 380,000 chips. He's seated at the secondary feature table and continues to have a smile on his face despite the recent setback. The other main event champion still alive, Johnny Chan, is at 1.25 million in chips and just seems to be focused on the action. While other players are walking around between hands, Chan remains stoic and observant, watching every move of his tablemates.

The big movers in the last level included Alexander Kostritsyn, Robert Pisano and Richard Morgan.

Here's a look at the top 10:
Martijn Schirp (2.25 million in chips)
Duy Le (2.20 million)
Matt Affleck (2.10 million)
Alexander Kostritsyn (1.90 million)
James Carroll (1.82 million)
Fokke Beukers (1.75 million)
Cuong Nguyen (1.73 million)
Theo Jorgensen (1.70 million)
Jeff Banghart (1.70 million)
Tony Dunst (1.66 million)

Small blinds: Bernard Lee busted in a three-way all-in holding A-4 against J-J and A-K. The flop came A-A-J and Lee couldn't hit a four or running cards for a better full house and was eliminated. … The family and friends have started to arrive. Now that the money the players are earning is pretty substantial, the families are here to provide their support. … The minimum payout at this point in the tournament is $36,463. … There are three Mizrachis left: Michael, Rob and Danny. … Phil Ivey is one of 18 players remaining at the Bellagio right now. Talk about not getting the attention that WPT event deserves. … There seems to be only four women left in the field. … Jean-Robert Bellande had a great level and chipped up to 1.1 million. He is now listed as a PokerStars sponsored player on PokerNews.com. Not sure where that came from. … Phil Galfond has dropped to 1.4 million in chips since being the chip leader at the first break. … Tony Dunst wears a suit every time he plays in a tournament. I guess tries to live up to the "Bond18" (his screen name) persona as best the can. … Ted Forrest dropped 50 pounds in two months to win a sick prop bet with Mike Matusow. Rumors around the Amazon Room said that he didn't eat for nine days to make the weight.