The day began with 214 survivors returning for what was officially Day 3, led by a murderer's row of top pros, including outright chipleader Greg Mueller, Sammy Farha, and David Daneshgar all getting a head-start on the buffet line with their winnings in tow.
While JVA and Co were busting out, Jared "TheWacoKid" Hamby was moving on up, stringing together a pair of incredible hands that had media and onlookers alike buzzing. In the first, Hamby got all-in for his last $90,000 and saw Tim Phan move all-in over the top for $157,000. A third opponent called the two all-ins with pocket aces, while Hamby showed jacks and Phan showed sixes. The flop came blanks, but the turn was a six, giving Phan the set. The river, incredibly, was a jack, and Hamby rivered a two-outer to triple up and stay alive.
A few hands later, TheWacoKid doubled up after moving all-in on a board of A-T-2-2 and getting a call from an opponent with A-T for two pair. Hamby, however, had the other two ducks, and his quads were good to double him to more than $400,000.
Hamby's hands soon faded into the background, however, as the sickness continued with another ridiculous beat. Thomas Wahlroos had been complaining about his dire luck all day, seeing miracle chopped pots and lost races and believing he was cursed. After an incredible hand with Ram Vaswani and Mark Gregorich, however, the Finn would have to drastically rethink his self-pitying stance.
After the Crazy Horse moved all-in, Wahlroos and Gregorich found themselves bidding for the rights to the remnants of his chip stack, and bickered so much that eventually both of their stacks went in the middle as well. Vaswani turned up sixes, while Wahlroos and Gregorich both showed pocket kings, K♦ K♣ for Wahlroos and K♥ K♠ for Gregorich.
The flop came T♥ 6♦ 2♦ and all of a sudden the Hendon Mobster was well ahead in the hand, looking primed for a sweet triple-up. But after the turn was the J♦, the river was the A♦, it was Wahlroos' turn to hit the backdoor flush, sending Vaswani packing and crippling Gregorich while putting an end to any credibility the Walrus might have in claiming he was cursed.
Shortly after the sickness, newsmaker Anna Wroblewski hit the bricks, herself the victim of a strange beat when she flopped the nut straight and got all-in on the turn against an opponent who called with third pair and four to a flush. Player 2 wound up hitting his fifth diamond, and the winner of the $3,000 preliminary event was out, taking home the standard $46,410 for her efforts. Once again, members of rival media outlets were seen to be whining on Internet forum sites that Wroblewski had failed to tip them, but their tears could not conjure cash from the 21-year-old semi-sensation.
A further series of eliminations in the final level, including Joseph Tehan, Humberto Brenes, Steve Wong, and both Ross and Barny Boatman, brought the total number of survivors to 54, and here tournament organizers were forced to step in and intervene, halting play with 10 minutes left in the final level so as to have some reason to return tomorrow.
We'll play down to a final three tables tomorrow, with the action beginning at noon, and Phil Hellmuth the chip leader with $1,827,00, and Raymond Davis, Loi Phan, Kirk Morrison, and Roland De Wolfe rounding out the top five. PokerListings.com will be on scene and badder than ever from midday to the final elimination, and though the classless Bellagio waitresses may have decided we're not worthy of beverage service (except you, Sara - we love you), we'll battle through the indignity and dehydration and continue to bring you the most ballingest coverage around. See you tomorrow!