Forty players began Day 4 with at least a prayer of remaining in contention for the $2 million first prize, their ranks led by chip leader Victor Ramdin, the latter of whom entered the day third from the bottom in chips with about 10% of his fire-breathing counterpart's stack.
The plan on Day 4 was to see the Top 40 reduced to a single table of eight, and to do so took over 10 hours of seesaw, back-and-forth play with a number of bad beats and painful eliminations spoiling the experience for 32 disappointed hopefuls. Starting the day off wrong was Jared Mahoney, who got all-in to the good with utter domination, K♦ Q♣ to Evan Tindell's K♠ J♠. The flop, however, brought not only a king but a jack, thus giving Tindell two pair, and after the turn and river bricked out Mahoney was the first casualty, out in 40th place for a $32,000 score.
It wouldn't take long for the next seven players to be eliminated, with Bryan Colin, Robert Lederer, Elton Tsang, Jesse Chinni, Christopher Klodnicki, Gregory Byard and Benjamin Reed rounding out the $32,000 winners. Throughout the early levels the leaderboard didn't see much of a change at the higher altitudes, with Pham holding on to top spot and Kuykendall maintaining his runner-up status. Victor Ramdin, however, managed to make a run, building his stack to $800,000 in his traditional roller-coaster fashion heading into the third level of the day.
Ramdin's luck wouldn't last another pay jump, however, as he hit the road in the midst of a veritable massacre of recognizable names, beginning with Rhett Butler's heartbreaker elimination with K-Q against K-Q that turned ugly when his rival flopped a flush. Then it was Thierry van den Berg's turn to go, getting all-in good with pocket aces against Glen Chorny's pocket kings. A king on the flop would do it for the Dutch pro, who went out in 27th place.
Next on the list was Eric "Rizen" Lynch, who lost a race for most of his chips with A♥ K♥ to Richard Fohrenbach's pocket queens and succumbed a few hands later when he shoved with K♠ 6♣ against James D'Ambrosio's K♣ J♣.
Rounding out the high-profile eliminations was the aforementioned Victor Ramdin, who watched his stack dwindle before getting all-in with A♠ T♠ against Joseph Elpayaa's pocket threes. No help came on the flop, turn or river and the popular David Pham's seat atop the leaderboard was being threatened not only by Kuykendall but by PokerStars.com pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and online player Joseph "Big Egypt" Elpayaa as well, both of whom took bites out of the field and augmented their stacks in the day's middle levels.
While Elpayaa and Grospellier were destructifying the field, some of their counterparts on the felt were starting to feel the pinch of rising blinds and antes. The elimination of Mikko Pirinen reduced the field to its final two tables and a few hands later Bertrand Grospellier did away with Canadian Connor Allisen when the French player flopped an ace with big slick to suck out on his opponent, who'd gone all-in wielding cowboys.
Next to be eliminated was Justin Philips, whose run through the tournament was notable mainly because of his choice in attire. The Oregonian played the event in a sleeveless undershirt and denim overalls, prompting no end of ridicule from the PokerStars TV commentators, many of whom seemed more interested in Philips' clothes (admittedly bad) than in the way he was playing (fairly decently). In the end, the tenacious tattooed American succumbed to William Thorson when the Swede flopped a four with Q♥ 4♥ to crack his own A♥ K♥.
Thorson, by the way, didn't have a great day himself. The high-stakes online pro had a roller-coaster of a day, despite his professed affinity for smaller pots, and by the end confirmed the PokerListings.com interview kiss of death when he was eliminated on the TV table bubble at the end of the proceedings.
Before Thorson's elimination, the field lost its final Canadian player when a short-stacked Glen Chorny went out at the hands of Elpayaa, who made trip nines to bust Chorny's pair of eights and thus force the PokerListings.com tournament team into conceding defeat in our last-longer bet with our British colleagues. Their fortunes were saved solely on the basis of one Chris Hopkins, a player who single-handedly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat repeatedly on this day and made it into the final table, finishing the day seventh in chips.
Thorson's defeat on the TV bubble after 10.5 hours of solid poker meant that eight survivors will get barely 11 hours of rest before the final table resumes at 10 a.m. (EST) on Thursday. Though that may seem like ample time for a breather, consider the fact that each player will be fighting for that $2 million prize pool and imagine how much time you'd want to prepare yourself. And then sit down and be quiet and let us tell you how it's going to be, kthx.
The tournament, then, will resume on Thursday morning and continue until we've crowned a champion. As usual, PokerListings.com will be there to provide comprehensive coverage and analysis throughout the day, so tune in or wish you'd had the good sense to.
Here are the chip counts at the end of Day 4: