The Poker Reporter Blog
The Perfect Ten: Down to One Table at Mandalay BayCreated By: Owen Laukkanen
Day 3 is over from the Mandalay Bay Poker Championship, and going with it are the hopes and dreams of all but ten of the original 228-person field. Over four and a half levels of donkstrikery and double-ups, the field at the World Poker Tour's second event for Season Six has been narrowed to one final table.
We began the day with 33 hopefuls competing for one of 27 trips to the cashier's table, with WPT PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventurer Ryan Daut leading the charge to pay dirt, followed closely behind by upstarts Shawn Buchanon and Tim Hebert, with Chris Bell and "El Fuego" - J.C. Alvarado rounding out the chipleader top five.
With the first nine earners set to earn only $13,115 (or barely $3,000 profit for their time) and the field still consisting of plenty of pros, few of the survivors on Day 3 were really reluctant to put their chips in the middle in hopes of bettering their chances at the big score. Of course, this meant plenty of action - and plenty of eliminations - even on the bubble.
John Racener was first to go. Touted as one of poker's brightest new stars earlier in the year, Jacob the Jeweler's bff has cooled off a bit in recent years, and will go into the World Series of Poker without a cash in his most recent event. Racener hit the bricks in the foulest of ways, when his pocket aces were cracked by Alan Goehring's pocket nines with a nine on the flop.
Following Racener to the rail were two more bright young internet stars in Ari "BodogAri" Engel (crippled by Matt Graham, who rivered a set of tens to crack Engel's aces), and Thomas Wahlroos, who shoved with middle pair on a Q-J-9 board and received the dreaded insta-call from pocket-nines-wielding David Levi. Neither turn nor river could save the young Fin, who retreated to his hotel room and promptly scored a $30,000 windfall playing online poker with David Benyamine.
Wahlroos' elimination put us on the bubble, which would last barely into the second level of the day, when Eugene Todd fell victim to Chau Giang's pocket queens. Todd's pocket nines were no match, and the Man-Ram of Poker hit the bricks the loneliest man in the room as his compatriots celebrated around him.
The youth movement continued to slow down after the bursting of the bubble, with two more highly-skilled and largely unheralded young pros sent packing in the form of Steve Sung and Graham. Sung, at least, had the debatable pleasure of being sent to the rail courtesy of Chantel McNulty, while Graham fell to the much less flirtatious Ryan Daut.
Alan Goehring and Michael Mizrachi followed soon after, with the WPT Season 1 World Champion digging himself a hole into which Ben Sabrin gleefully piled dirt, and The Grinder finding himself in world of trouble when he tried to make a move with his last $65,000 from the big blind with A♥ 6♥ and ran into Shawn Buchanon slowplaying a wired pair of bullets. All of the above would receive the starting payout of $13,115.
A little later, the tournament suddenly became much less enticing to gossip-mongers and forum lurkers (and catty members of the media) when Chantel McNulty busted out in 17th place. Chantilt fell to David Haddad, who flopped the nut straight to best the former Mrs. Neverwin's top two pair. McNulty headed to the rail and the arms of personal railbird Zachary Hyman $17,490 richer.
Shortly after McNulty and with much less fanfare, Tim Hebert, the Louisianan who with Shawn Buchanon had monopolized the top of the chip leaderboards for days, hit the bricks himself, courtesy of Thayer Rasmussen's pocket kings. Hebert's pocket tens were no match and the man headed out with a $17,490 paycheck of his own.
After John "Commissioner" Gordon and Alex Kravchenko busticated, John Juanda found himself accepting his walking papers, again courtesy of Thayer Rasmussen, whose A♦ Q♥ had the FullTiltPoker pro's A♣ J♦ dominated. Juanda couldn't catch a break on the flop, turn, or river, and headed out in 12th place for $26,235.
Following quickly in Juanda's footsteps was Chris Bell, who ended the day in a worst-case scenario hand that saw him get all-in with Jared "TheWacoKid" Hamby, who showed pocket aces to The Ringer's A♣ 9♦. No help was forthcoming, and just like that the third day of play was over, midway through the fifteenth level of the tournament.
That final hand propelled Hamby to the top of the leaderboard as quick as it sent Bell to the cashier, as Kid Koresh has amassed $698,000 for a slight lead over Thayer "The Cold Killer" Rasmussen, who counts $685,000 in chips amongst his many virtues. Shawn Buchanon lingers in third place like a persistent rash, tabling $658,000 of his own, and El Fuego himself continues his strong play to log an end of day total of $541,000.
Rounding out the final table of ten are Danny Wong ($465,000), David Haddad ($444,000), Barry Greenstein ($375,000), Chau Giang ($318,000), Ryan Daut (who could probably be flirtatious if given half a chance - $217,000), and David Levi (158,000) bringing up the rear.
Action will resume for Day 4 at noon Pacific Time from Mandalay Bay and continue until we've reached the TV final table of six. That's right - we'll play four eliminations tomorrow, and PokerListings.com will be on scene to record every last out. Meanwhile, we'll also be kicking off coverage of the 2007 World Series of Poker from the Rio, and we can surely promise more than four eliminations in that department. Check in, stay tuned, and we'll see you tomorrow!
- The Poker Reporter Blog
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