LAS VEGAS -- Only 1,005 players have returned from the dinner break to continue their main event journey. Level 14 begins at 1,500/3,000 and with four more hours to play in the night, Day 4 action may begin right at the money bubble.
Benjamin Alcober is the chip leader with 940,000, but the real story of the day may be Gregory Merson. The Event 57 champion began the day with 16,200 in chips, one of the lowest totals of all the Day 2 survivors. Now, he's sitting fifth overall with 715,000. For not being a true tournament player, Merson is definitely playing at a top level here in the main event..
Vivek Rajkumar has been seated directly in front of me all day and has dominated his table that currently includes John Juanda and previously included Alex Outhred. Rajkumar has a point that not many players in this tournament can rival. He always appears calm and is not very talkative, but he is observant and knows exactly when to pounce on weakness. Rajkumar doesn't like the spotlight, but by being among the chip leaders with 525,000, he's going to get a lot of attention.
Three players that I've watched since the start of the day, Vanessa Selbst, Ben Lamb and Daniel Negreanu, have all struggled through three levels. Since his beat on the feature table during Level 11, Negreanu has been in frustrated in his inability to pick apart his table. He enters the level with 130,000 in chips. Lamb's tenure at the feature table has also ended, but he'll continue to spend the rest of the day with Chris Moorman and David Randall. With those two online veterans at his table, we can expect that his 165,000 will either turn into half a million in chips or disappear altogether. As for Selbst, she's back to approximately the average stack with 200,000. Her last two levels during the first two days resulted in huge gains and the cameras will be focused on her to see if she can do it again.
Jerry Yang and Robert Varkonyi were the latest main event champions to fall while Johnny Chan picked up a nice double up on the final hand before the dinner break. Chan held 8-8 and avoided the five outs of his opponent on the river to chip up to just over 100,000. Huck Seed, Dan Harrington and Chan are the only main event champions that remain in contention.
There are fewer than 1,200 players remaining and the blinds are now 1,200/2,400 with a 300 ante.
The top 10:
1. Benjamin Alcober (940,000 in chips)
2. Armando Fernandez (850,000)
3. Sean Rice (815,000)
4. A.J. Jejelowo (752,500)
5. Dane Lomas (720,000)
6. Gregory Merson (715,000)
7. Daniel Rudd (685,000)
8. David Randall (672,400)
9. Jacob Balsiger (615,000)
10. Eric Legoff (600,000)
A few other counts from around the room:
• Phil Collins- 230,200
• Amnon Filippi - 400,000
• Maria Ho - 310,000
• Jake Cody - 262,000
• Erick Lindgren - 246,000
• Antonio Esfandiari - 460,000
• Eric Baldwin - 390,000
Small blinds: Recent eliminations include Nick Schulman, Eugene Katchalov, Brian Hastings and Soi Nguyen. Jason Mercier, Jason Somerville and Kevin Pollak are all seated at the feature tables around the room. 2010 WSOP main event bubble boy Brandon Steven is sitting on a short stack. He told me the other day that after losing his $1 million in One Drop, he's not too happy with poker at the moment. Roberto Luongo still remains like a statue at his table. I swear I don't think he's moved in hours. There are a number of players in the field who are looking for a second bracelet of the 2012 WSOP including David Baker, Merson, Dominik Nitsche, Brent Hanks and Brian Meinders.