The day began with 234 survivors from Days 1a through c congregating in the Grand Hall at noon on a cold day at Fallsview, their ranks led by none other than reality-TV superstar, poker player and reported Evybabee-hater Jonathan Little, Marc Karam and Jordan Morgan, as well as the likes of Nick Schulman, Scott Clements and Bill Edler, among others.
The carnage began right out of the gate, with Gavin Smith bustified within minutes of the day's beginning. Smith got all-in good with AK to Ted Lawson's AQ but saw the Cheeseburgler make trips by the river, sending the pride of Guelph, Ontario, to the rail.
Smith was soon followed by Shane "Shaniac" Schleger, who went out in a cooler hand when his pocket kings ran into Giuseppe Galuzzo's pocket aces. That hand marked the last of Schleger's $50,000 stack and within the first 15 minutes of play the tournament was less two pros.
The second level of the day saw the demise of Shipitholla Balla Alan "TheUsher" Sass, who could not replicate his final-table performance at the WPT Turks and Caicos Poker Classic when he busted at the hands of Adam Levy, who flopped a straight and waited for Sass to river trips before stealing the last of TheUsher's chips.
Level 9 marked the demise of Ted Lawson, who got all-in with aces against J.C. Tran's jacks on a J-6-3 board and could not improve, watching the board finish 7-7 to give the Tran man the boat. Lawson would be joined at the rail by the likes of Eugene Todd bro, who fell with big slick against an opponent's nines, as well as Tom West, who lost a race with queens against Player 2's big slick. Then it was time for dinner.
Dan Harrington, Steve Sung, Amnon Filippi and noted prepubescent Adam Junglen would get an early start on dinner, while the post-intermission rush would see Evelyn Ng, Nam Le, Tim West and David Chiu relegated to spectator status. Gus Hansen would find himself headed for the dead zone shortly thereafter, getting all-in for his last $30,000 on a king-high flop with K-Q and running into an opponent's pocket aces. The board would provide no help and the Great Dane was headed for a new home on the farm.
As this carnage was unfolding, former chip leader Bellande was finding it hard to keep his head above water, suffering a seating assignment that saw him share felt with Barry Greenstein, J.C. Tran, Lee Markholt and Borgata Poker Open champ Roy Winston. Bellande would make a few bad reads and miss a number of key draws on the way to seeing his stack drop to a low of $90,000 before rebounding to a decent $214,300 by day's end.
About halfway through the day's fourth level, tournament organizers finally saw fit to release a payout structure. The details are as follows: 504 players ponied up the $10,000 (all figures CAD) to play in the North American Poker Championship, creating a total prize pool of $4,863,300. Forty-five places will be paid, with the lowest echelon of earners taking home $19,453 and the top seven places guaranteed six figures. First place is a tidy $1,361,724, which compares nicely to 2006 champ Soren Turkewitsch's $1,352,224 payday, particularly when you factor in the change in the Canadian dollar's worth over the past 12 months.
One man who will not be partaking of the prize pool is honorary PokerListings.com reporter Allen "The Chainsaw" Kessler, who found himself eliminated after a nightmare series of hands. Things started smoothly enough, with the Kess waking up with pocket aces and promptly busting an opponent. The second hand saw Kessler dealt aces again and again finding himself with an opportunity to bust an opponent.
This time his all-in counterpart had pocket queens, and though Kessler's American Airlines were a huge favorite in the hand, suck-outs do happen and the turn brought a third queen, doubling Player 2 through The Chainsaw and dropping him down to about $20,000. On the very next hand, Kessler got all-in with A♥ J♥ and was called by a player who turned up... aces. Despite picking up an open-ended straight draw on the flop, the Kess could not complete it and thus was his day ruined, sending the Pennsylvanian from classy to ashy in the span of about 10 minutes.
Roy Winston would hit the bricks shortly before the end of the evening, getting all-in with a pair of nines against Lee Markholt, who'd flopped a set of fives and managed to hold his advantage through turn and river to send Winston packing.
Then the night was over and 79 players remained in the hunt for big money, led by 2004 USPC champ Joe Cassidy and his $330,500 stack. Also in the hunt are Aran Jamasi ($306,800), Dale Pinchot ($256,000), Lee Markholt ($239,100) and Scott Freeman ($215,000).
Action will resume tomorrow at noon EDT and continue through five 90-minute levels, which will bring us God knows where in terms of players remaining. One thing's for certain: with four days remaining and under 100 players, organizers will have plenty of time to spread out the action if they so desire. Another certainty is that PokerListings.com will be dealing out live update pwnage throughout the week, whether we play one more day or 11. Goodnight, hosers!