After yesterday's marathon of over 14 hours we had cut the 143-person field down to the 27 who get paid in this event. All 27 returned this afternoon for a delayed start time of 1 p.m. and although they were all guaranteed at least $12,060, much bigger prizes awaited should they make it to the final table.
Among the Day 3 field were a startling number of big names, but only four would be able to go the distance. The most shocking demise among the pros who fell by the wayside, though, was that of T.J. Cloutier, Freddy Deeb, along with unknowns Brett Faustman and Gabe "Prince of Thieves" Costner. Deeb is the chip leader but if you'd like to see a full breakdown of the counts, as well as a detailed record of all the action in this event so far, simply click through to our Live Updates page.
It's unusual to see a WPT finale with so many established pros. Freddy Deeb is no stranger to final tables here on the tour, having made two already including a win at the Season 4 event in Aruba. He's the proud owner of two WSOP bracelets, including the illustrious $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event he took down just last year. To date Deeb has an impressive tournament cash total of $5,450,000.
Men "The Master" Nguyen is also a fixture on the tour and well-known to even the most mainstream of poker fans. Four WPT final tables, six WSOP bracelets, countless other major wins and close to $8 million in career earnings can't be wrong.
Hoyt Corkins, aka The Alabama Cowboy, has also tasted WPT glory, having made three final tables including a second-place finish at the 2004 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and a win at the 2003 World Poker Finals. Along with two WSOP bracelets he's already taken down more than $3.375 million from tournaments alone.
John Spadavecchia is a regular at WSOP final tables with one bracelet to his name and a third-place finish in the 1994 Main Event. He's taken down a WSOP Circuit event, cashed twice on the WPT and has a lifetime total of $2,300,000.
The other two seats at the table are occupied by relative unknowns. Brett Faustman and Gabe Costner both have some chips to work with and from what we saw of them today they know how to handle them. Regardless of tomorrow's outcome they will be unknown no longer and will have the money to enter a few more big buy-in events, should they choose to do so.
PL.com is going to be rooting for Men Nguyen to take us to victory. Not because we particularly love The Master but because when there were 21 players left and he was the dominant chip leader, we booked a 20-1 bet for him to take it down.
Action is set to go tomorrow at 4 p.m. (CST) when all six players will take to the stage, under the lights and in front of the cameras, to play down to a winner. Almost $900,000 plus a seat to the WPT championship hang in the balance so join us then to find out if it will be pro or joe who makes it happen.