Smith entered the day second in chips, $1,000 behind chip leader Joanne Dorin's $102,000. Ramdin arrived with a decent chip stack, unpacking $50,950 for about $11,000 more than the average. Both pros would see their stacks roller-coaster up and down throughout the day, but both would put on clinics in their own respective styles before the 10th level of play was over.
Ramdin and Smith joined 124 other Day 1 survivors for another round at the tables. Joining them would be the likes of Eric "E-Dub" Weiner, Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy, Matt Glantz, defending champ Victor Ramdin had seen his stack drop to about $5,800 and was on life support. He'd quickly double, however, and then double again when his $12,300 all-in on a J♣ 8♦ 5♦ flop was called by an opponent with K♠ Q♣. Ramdin had pocket fives for the set and after the board finished out 4♦ 6♣ was up to almost even for the day.
Steve Dannenmann would fall to the venomous vengeance of Allen Kessler shortly after the beginning of Level 8. Dannenmann shoved over the top of a Kessler raise with pocket deuces and saw the Larry David of Poker turn up A-Q. A queen on the flop would seal the fate of the 2005 WSOP Main Event runner-up, and the runner-up for the title of the Smilingest Man in Poker (Age Spets ftw) was thusly consigned to the rail.
Shortly after Dannenmann's debaucherous downfall, Ramdin would get his $42,900 stack into the middle on a Q♦ 8♣ 6♣ board and turn up Q-8 against Q-J when called. The board would finish out A♣ 5♦ and the Guggenheim of Guyana brought his stack up to almost $100,000.
Seventy-eight players would survive to the dinner break, but in the level immediately following the intermission the dreaded "After-Dinner Rush" took full effect, claiming the tournament lives of a number of big names.
Dean Schultz and Frank Vizza would form the undercard to the destruction, while a very short-stacked and very, shall we say, mellow Alex Jacob returned from the meal break seemingly determined to fold his way into the money.
Eventually, the reigning champ committed himself pre-flop and got all-in with A♦ Q♠ on a J♦ 6♣ 5♣ flop against WSOPE runner-runner-up Matt McCullough's 8♥ 8♠. The board could not save the Fro, who headed to the rail in a fit of giggles, looking altogether undisturbed by the disastrous turn of events.
Cyndy Violette would follow AJo shortly afterwards. Violette would get her last $8,500 into the middle in a race situation against Lou Esposito, eights v. AQ again, and this time chance favored the overcards as the board played out Q♠ J♥ T♣ 2♣ 3♦, sending Cyndy Lou Who to the Grinch near the end of the penultimate level.
At the end of the day's fourth level (Level 9), Gavin Smith took one giant step forward, winning the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point when he joined the cut-off in a pot playing K-5 from the button. The flop was a beauty for the Canadian, coming K-J-5, and between bets and raises each player committed $30,000 to the middle.
The turn was even nicer, bringing another five and resulting in another $45,000 going into the pot from each player's stack. The river card was a ten and thence did Birdguts move all-in for his last $41,500, getting a quick call from his rival, who tabled A-K and was no doubt shocked to see Smith turn up fives-full for a $200,000 pot and sole possession of the chip lead.
Tommy Wang would take his own shot at the biggest pot of the tournament in the middle of the day's final level, raising to $4,000 pre-flop and being re-raised to $12,000 by one Howard Appledorf. Wang made a loose call with pocket deuces and was rewarded as the flop came 7-6-2 rainbow. Appledorf bet out $35,000 and then called all-in for his last $110,000 or so, turning up pocket kings and finding himself far behind. Neither turn nor river could save the Dorfer, and he hit the rail with Wang now challenging Smith for the chip lead.
By the end of the day, 52 players were left to catch their collective breath and regroup for tomorrow. With $350,300, Smith laid sole claim to the chip lead, with his only competition being co-jester Jeff Madsen's $291,000 stack. The aforementioned Wang is third with $282,500 while Victor Ramdin, who brought his stack up to close to $180,000 during the day, is seventh with $146,600.
Among the other notable names still in contention are: Matt Glantz ($145,000), Eric Weiner ($129,000), Svetlana Gromenkova ($127,600), Cliff Josephy ($119,800), Bill Gazes ($105,000), Lou Esposito ($71,400), Joanne Dorin ($66,000), Will Failla ($58,700), Allen Kessler ($56,900), Matt McCullough ($48,900), Mike Sica ($43,800), Tony Cousineau ($29,000), Alex Bolotin ($27,800) and Tim West ($27,100).
Action will resume tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. EDT and will reportedly continue until 27 players remain. With another three days of play ahead of us it's not inconceivable that tomorrow will be a short day, but one hopes they'll at least play down to the money (18) before dismissing class once again. Either way, PokerListings.com will remain the authoritative source for all of your USPC needs, so tune in early and tune in often for more incredible live coverage from scenic (?) Atlantic City.