Day 3 at the LAPC began with 136 players returning to the ballroom at the Commerce Casino for another five levels of poker magic. Leading the pack into the most bubblicious of days was Daniel Fuhs, who entered play on Monday with $397,400 in chips, good for almost $115,000 over second-place Joe Schulman.
Lurking in the Top 10 on the chip leaderboard were such poker luminaries as Jon Friedberg, who busted on the first hand of the day after he got his short stack all-in pre-flop with A♣ J♣ against Phil Ivey's A-10. Despite being dominated on the hand, Ivey would flop a ten and then fade Friedberg's turned flush draw to send "pokertrip" to the rail.
David Benyamine would quickly join the procession to the rail, moving all-in on a ragged flop with pocket nines and running into an opponent with pocket queens. The French pro would be followed by "Action" Dan Harrington, who got all-in with Q♦ 8♦ against an opponent with A♦ K♦ and couldn't engineer a suck-out.
A few minutes later, ShipitHolla Balla and prop-betting fiend Andrew "good2cu" Robl would take over the chip lead in a bizarre hand. Robl and another player saw a flop come 9-8-6 with two spades and after Robl checked, his opponent tanked for so long that the clock was eventually called. The player still did not announce a decision after his allotted minute and it was ruled that he'd checked.
Immediately after the check was announced, the player moved all-in and brought the proceedings to a grinding halt. As it turned out, Player 2 hadn't heard Robl's check and thought the Balla had called the clock on himself.
The play was ruled as checks for both players and after the turn was a queen Robl bet out and saw P2 raise all-in. Robl called with A-Q and was ahead of his opponent's pocket jacks, and after the river was a brick had amassed over $430,000 chips and taken sole ownership of the top of the chip leaderboard.
The eliminations continued as the bubble approached, with the likes of Anna Wroblewski, Padraig Parkinson, "Miami" John Cernuto, Kenna James, Raymond Davis, Thayer Rasmussen and Haralabos Voulgaris all succumbing to their respective chip deficits before the bubble could be burst.
With 74 players remaining, Mark Seif found himself in a hand with notoriously glum East Coaster Svetlana Gromenkova that saw the latter bet out $11,000 on a K♠ J♦ 2♣ 7♠ flop and the former execute the textbook gay raise to $22,000. Gromenkova didn't play around, putting Seif all-in.
The former attorney made the call but insta-mucked when he saw his rival's pocket pair of sevens (it would later be revealed that he'd mucked 7♦ 6♦), thus removing himself from the tournament and leaving the field 10 eliminations shy of a payday.
By the return from dinner break Phil Ivey had supplanted Robl as chip leader, and as the eliminations slowly trickled in the Full Tilt pro continued to augment his stack, building up a $700,000 fortress while taking advantage of a relatively soft table.
At other tables, however, action had become as slow as molasses in January, with Theo Tran's patch of felt being notable for a particularly egregious example of stalling. One short-stacked player seemed to want to take the remainder of the day to ruminate before every fold, thus drawing the ire of his tablemates, who included notoriously cantankerous Bob Stupak. Eventually, tournament officials wised up to the situation and so with 66 players remaining hand-for-hand play was introduced.
An entire level of poker constipation followed, with rounds playing out in stops and starts and players taking to roaming the floor as their brethren on slower tables played out their hands. Early in the final level of the night Antonio Esfandiari hit the bricks, busting in 66th place after getting all-in short-stacked with K♠ 6♠ and running into an opponent with A♣ K♥.
As the Magician watched, disgusted, from the sidelines, the slow march to the money continued, with Phil Hellmuth, Alan Goehring and Jennifer Tilly all staving off elimination with well-timed double-ups.
Finally, with 64 players remaining the man whose stalling had caused the premature hand-for-hand play found himself taking a stand with Q♥ 5♠ against Aaron Been's 5♥ 5♦. The board came K♠ T♠ 7♣ 4♣ 6♦ and with 17 minutes left in the night karma had played out and the bubble was burst.
The last few minutes of the day saw a characteristic post-bubble flurry of eliminations, with five players hitting the trail for a $20,020 payout. Among them was Humberto Brenes, who busted when his A♠ T♥ ran into pocket kings and big slick and couldn't conjure a miracle.
Then it was closing time and 58 players bagged and tagged, secure in the knowledge that WPT millions are still within their grasp. At the top of the chip leaderboard is Kyle Burnside with $781,000, followed by Phil Ivey with $656,000 and Jennifer Tilly with $569,000.
Also still in the hunt for that final-table money are Theo Tran, Lance Allred, Svetlana Gromenkova, Alan Goehring, Weikai Chang, Matt Brady, Andrew Robl, Shawn Buchanan, Nam Le, Toto Leonidas, Aaron Been, Noah Schwartz, Phil Hellmuth, Mike Wattel, Bob Stupak and 2007 LAPC champ Eric Hershler.
Action will resume tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. (PST) and PokerListings.com will be back on the scene to bring you live and comprehensive coverage of the proceedings in their entirety. Tune in on Day 4 and we promise to leave your milkshake alone.