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Monday, July 16, 2012
Five eliminated during action-filled Level 31


There's a tension in the Amazon Room that can't really be described. While the players look comfortable, the anxiety of the friends and family in the crowd is visible as fingernails are being chewed off and legs are shaking non-stop while their rooting interest is involved in a pot. Three more sets of friends and family are no longer in the Amazon Room as the main event field is down to the final 21 players.

During early Level 31 action, double-ups became the trend. With the blinds at 80,000/160,000 and a 20,000 ante, the sub-three million-chip stacks were in perfect reshove range. Wilfried Harig nearly became the third German in a row to head out the door on Day 7, going all-in with 6-6 but was crushed to see Greg Merson's Q-Q. Merson was one card away from knocking out his opponent and gaining a third-place stack in the event, but a six hit the river and gave Harig the pot.

Moments later, Danny Wong moved all-in with 10-10 and was called by Yuval Bronshtein's 9-9. The board ran clean and Wong doubled up to more than eight million in chips. Two hands after that, it was Gaelle Baumann's turn to have 10-10 all-in against 9-9. Jeremy Ausmus failed to hit a nine and Baumann was up over more than six million in chips.

That trend ended there.

Roland Israelashvili was the first casualty of the level. The 54-year-old veteran was eliminated by Russell Thomas as his A-5 couldn't catch against Thomas' J-J. Daniel Strelitz began the day in second, but ran 4-4 into the K-K of Scott Abrams to go out in 24th. After he doubled up Wong, Bronshtein needed to make a move and couldn't find a double, losing a race with A-Q to the jacks of Jeremy Ausmus. He was eliminated in 23rd.

At the feature table, Greg Merson won a big race that appeared to get him back in final table contention. Holding 10-10, Merson five bet all-in and was called by Cylus Watson's A-K. A clean board gave Merson more than 14 million in chips and left Watson with less than one million.

Merson wasn't finished getting his chips in the middle. After a flop of Jc-8c-3s, Jesse Sylvia called Merson's raise all-in with Ah-Ad. Merson showed Qc-10c for a huge draw. The turn was the 3c, giving Merson the flush. His fans cheered and Sylvia looked devastated. That devastation turned into elation seconds later as the 3h hit the river, giving Sylvia a full house and the eight-million chip pot. Merson dropped down to 10 million in chips after that hand, then lost a critical pot to Ladouceur's A-K to fall back to nearly where he started the level, then finished the job, knocking out Cylus Watson with J-10 against A-5.

Abrams knocked out his second opponent during the level on the final hand before the break. Robert Corcione four-bet all-in with 10-10 from the button and was called by Abrams' A-Q. Abrams flopped a queen and eliminated the Massachusetts native in 21st place.

All eliminated players on Day 7 have earned $294,601.

Here are the remaining chip counts:

Russell Thomas (21.60 million in chips)
Marc-Andre Ladoucer (19.44 million)
Scott Abrams (19.20 million)
Robert Salamaru (16.05 million)
Jacob Balsiger (14.00 million)
Jeremy Ausmus (12.05 million)
Michael Esposito (11.30 million)
Greg Merson (9.65 million)
Elisabeth Hille (9.34 million)
David Balkin (7.60 million)
Jesse Sylvia (6.88 million)
Wilfried Harig (6.01 million)
Danny Wong (6.00 million)
Percy Mahatan (5.48 million)
Jamie Robbins (5.30 million)
Gaelle Baumann (5.05 million)
Steven Gee (4.75 million)
Paul Volpe (3.65 million)
Robert Buckenmayer (3.60 million)
Andras Koroknai (3.25 million)