With just 34 players starting the day, the plan was to take the next two to play down to the final table of six. But by the time today was through, just 12 players had survived a blood bath that should ensure tomorrow's Day 5 will be quick and dirty.
The day began with the usual short stack shoves as players like J.J. Liu, Abraham Mosseri, one-time chip leader Blake Cahail and Euro-stud Chris Bjorin all made early exits.
Russ "Dutch" Boyd had a good run here at Festa but couldn't hold on running two unders into Joe Sebok's johnnies to finish 25th and before we knew it Brad Booth had gambled his way out the door calling a short stack shove from Adam Levy very light before shipping with a weak ace into Jimmy Tran's strong one.
There was some controversy as to who went first, but eventually online phenom Isaac Baron and Erica "The Benyamine Bride" Schoenberg both shared the difference between the 19th and 20th place pay jump when they lost the last of their short stacks.
Just then Scott Clements found himself on the sucker end of a straight and was soon joined by Bryan Devonshire on the rail taking us down to just 17 players and the final two tables.
Play tightened up considerably at that point, with Nam Le doubling his short stack to guarantee he would be his comfort zone, looming dangerously below the average stack. Meanwhile, Nenad Medic was riding a Festa al Lago roller coaster that saw him go from almost zero back to hero doubling with A♠ K♠ over Andrew Robl's A♥ Q♥, then grabbing a huge pot off Mietz with a river shove to get back into contention on the final hand of the night.
It wasn't until the final Stanza that, for the third straight day, the start-of-day chip leader fell to the strange forces of the Bellagio chip-lead curse hanging over this tournament. Ryan Fair was seemingly card dead all day, playing very few pots and getting stepped on every time he tried to make a move.
Finally, he shoved for ten times a William Mietz pre-flop raise and Mietz snapped him off when his sevens held against Fair's weak but suited ace.
Odie Dardon spent the day making hay with at least one sick lay down when he flopped bottom set and sniffed out Olav Prinz Von Sachsen's top set. He rode the wave to the top of the leader board after that and his $1.9 million end of day numbers were just short of the $2 million in chips belonging to Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand Grospellier, who seemed to be raising about four to five times an orbit all day daring anyone to play back at him. Needless to say, few did, and he'll be the boss coming into Day 5.
Right behind those two is a group including William Mietz ($1.8 million), Joe Sebok ($1.7 million), Michael DeMichele ($1.7 million), and Olav Prinz Von Sachsen ($1.6 million).
By the time the final level wrapped we were just six elimination from the TV final table and they'll come back tomorrow at noon to play down to it.
Everybody already knows Nenad Medic belongs here, but DeMichele will be looking, once again, to prove he does as well, following up his runner-up performance in the 2008 WSOP $50k H.O.R.S.E. event.
A 2008 WSOP final tablist, Dardon will be looking to cement his reputation as a rounder and the relatively unknown Mietz is looking to start at least a few rumors that he can play as well.
Nam Le's strategy of only playing big hands for big pots continued to work as he doubled late and will return with over $1 million when play resumes tomorrow.
Andrew Robl is right there and the short stacks coming back include Mike Wattel, Jimmy Tran and a man we're going to come right out and say is the best young Interweb short stack player in the game today, one Adam "Roothlus" Levy.
This kid can hang on to a stack like nobody's business. We've got a little bit of business to take care of ourselves tonight, involving copious amounts of alcohol and the Las Vegas Strip, but the PL.com crew should be back for the play down to the final six just raring to go.
Five out of six dentists recommend joining us; we still owe the other one $600 for some route canal work a couple years back.