The day began with a crazy rush of eliminations, with a number of the short-stacks who had just limped-in to the money taking note of the beautiful afternoon and realizing it probably wasn't worth sticking around all evening just to bust out before the next plateau.
Among the early bust-outs were Daniel Woodward and Nick Binger, both of whom hit the road within minutes of the day's commencement. Immediately following them to the rail were Steve Yoon and Stan Jablonski, while Shipitholla Balla Peter Jetten and Internet pro Alan "BodogAri" Engel also made early exits. All would take home $22,780 for their efforts.
The middle of the day's second level saw the first recognizable pro eliminated, as Greg Mueller fell to Kristy Gazes after pushing all-in with a big slick and running into Gazes' pocket aces. Mueller found himself on the right side of the pay jump with his 41st place finish and received $28,855 for the score.
The third level of the day saw last Shipitholla Balla standing Jonathan Little contribute the last of his chips to the J.C. Tran fund shortly before pro Joe Awada made his own last stand, pushing all-in from the small blind with A♦ 4♥ and running into Paul Wasicka's A♥ J♠ in the big blind. Awada logged a 33rd place finish in the event, good for a $35,690 payday.
On the last hand before dinner, Lee Markholt got the last of his stack into the middle with A♣ 4♣, but Steve Sung made the call with A♦ 7♥ and the seven played, busting Markholt in 29th place and sending the field to the sports bar with only 10 eliminations to go before the day was done.
As usual, tournament organizers had decided to call the intermission after about 4.5 hours of play, meaning the odds were good that an early night was in our future. Unfortunately, extended bouts of hand-for-hand play would negate the after-dinner rush and extend the tournament well into the night.
Following the dinner break and a quick redraw for seats, the middle table of the remaining triumvirate soon became noteworthy as the table to watch. After the recommencement of play, this viper's nest boasted Isaac Haxton, Paul Wasicka, Nam Le, Nick Schulman all at the same small patch of felt. With so many big names and so much at stake, it wasn't long before the confrontations began.
After yesterday's massive disaster against Bill Edler, you would have thought that Isaac Haxton would have been cautious when dealing with the gregarious pro. Instead, Haxton found himself betting big into Edler on all streets on a board that came Q♠ 9♦ 5♥ Q♦ 7♠, eventually moving all-in on the river and getting an auto-call from Edler, who showed pocket nines for a full house. Haxton mucked K♣ Q♣ for trip queens and was left crippled by the move. He would bust out soon afterwards.
Then it was Nick Schulman's turn to go, after "the Takeover" chose to test Paul Wasicka's mettle, re-raising all-in from the button with pocket treys after Wasicka had bet out from middle position. Wasicka made the call with big slick and flopped both an ace and a king. Fourth and fifth street bricked out and Schulman was out in 23rd place for a tidy $45,560.
Finally, a few hands after the Takeover's premature departure, Nam Le found himself re-raising all-in on David Bach's min-raise from the cut-off. Bach insta-called with pocket kings and Le, stunned, turned over pocket queens, and Bathing Ape's most loyal fan could not improve his hand on the flop, turn, or river, and so headed off with $45,560 of his own - enough for at least one more BAPE t-shirt at current prices.
Following a quick break, Steve Sung and Hans Lund both found themselves on the wrong side of the velvet rope, leaving only 19 survivors to duke it out at the tables. With play scheduled to end with one more elimination, it seemed a sure thing that the action would soon come to a cease. It would actually take over an hour's worth of play, and J.C. Alvarado enduring two suckouts to the likes of which no man should be subjected, before finally Can Kim Hua fell to David Bach to end the day at midnight.
Despite the action at Table 2, J.C. Tran emerged the massive chip leader after the fourth day of play. Sitting at Table 1, Tran personally eliminated Jonathan Little and Sung Yi to build his stack to around $2 million before hooking "Tuna" Lund to net his $900,000 stack. By the end of the day, Tran had a mind-boggling $3.461 million in chips, a huge advantage over second-place Jacobo Fernandez ($1.334 million) and third place Jason Strasser ($1.196 million).
Obviously, the big story on Day 5 will be Tran's quest to return to the WPT soundstage for his fourth World Poker Tour final table, but with pros like Gazes, Edler, Wasicka and Chau Giang still in the hunt, the penultimate day of competition should be a nail-biter from wire to wire. PokerListings.com will be in attendance from the 3:30 p.m. (PST) start time to whenever the final six players have been determined, so click early and click often on that refresh button to get straight on all the latest details.