It was a busy day at the WSOP. Big name players like Gus Hansen and Scotty Nguyen got serious about getting to the final table and lesser known players like the aforementioned Khan and Dag Martin Mikkelsen tried to make a name for themselves.
Mikkelsen actually entered the day as the big stack with $3.7 million chips to his name. It marked the second time Mikkelsen had finished a day at the Main Event as the chip leader. The young Norwegian obviously nows how to use a big stack. Amazingly Mikkelsen was eliminated in the latter part of the day when, after a few losing hands, he shoved with A♠ K♦ only to run head-on into David Tran's pocket rockets. The rockets were good and Mikkelsen had to settle with $237,865 and the memories of an exceptional run at the Main Event.
Dario Minieri had been up and down in the chip counts more times than Phil Hellmuth has won bracelets. Today "Super Dario" bit off a bit more than he could chew, however. The aggressive Italian pushed all-in on a flush draw and was beaten by Reagan Silber's set of threes. Thanks for playing.
Former World Champion Huck Seed also joined the fallen today. Seed was short-stacked and pushed shoved with 8♣ 7♥ against Robin Bergren's A♦ K♦. The big slick held and the super-tall Seed made his exit from the 2007 Main Event.
Perhaps the most disappointing bust-out of the day was Gus Hansen. Hansen had been playing some suburb poker throughout the day and many people had him pegged for a final table appearance. The "Great Dane" pushed hard with A♠ K♦ and ended up losing to Ryan Elson's pocket jacks. Hansen was severely crippled by the hand and fifteen minutes later pushed all-in with K♣ 5♠ against Tom Peterson's Q♦ 4♦. Hansen was in decent shape until disaster struck and Peterson spiked a four.
One of the best players without a World Series of Poker bracelet, Hansen will not be getting one this year (I guess he does have a shot at WSOP-Europe though. Does that count?).
Humberto Brenes was one of the biggest names left today but he will not be returning tomorrow. Brenes made one of his classic over-the-top all-in plays but ran into Khan who had pocket aces. Brenes had A♥ K♥ and the Shark couldn't improve enough to beat Khan. Brenes is becoming a mainstay deep into the Main Event so we'll have to keep our eyes open for him next year.
Khan has had a fantastic run of cards at the Main Event and today was no exception. Kenneth Smith pushed all-in for $1.3 million and Khan made the call with pocket jacks. Smith flipped over pocket tens and the Khan rooting section, which was very large today, went crazy. To the delight of the railbirds Khan's hand held and "Rain" ran over and jumped into the crowd high-fiving people as he went.
Khan was busting people left and right. In a later hand Avi Cohen shoved with A♣ 8♣ for his entire stack, which was nearly $2 million. Khan called with a superior A♦ K♥ and ended up the winner again. After the hand he shouted, "I'm good at basketball!" We're still trying to understand why.
The apparent baller Khan finished the day with a very respectable $6.9 million in chips although he had $8 million during his peak today.
Former World Champion Scotty Nguyen was very much in the hunt. The Prince of Vegas started the day with $1.1 million and was building that stack most of the day. Nguyen finished with $1.7 million which makes him one of the short stacks but if anybody can move up it's probably this guy, baby.
Poker pro and all around nice guy Kirk Morrison was beaten today. "Captain Kirk" was short stacked and ended up pushing all-in for a total of $240,000 with A♥ Q♣. William Spadea made the call with pocket fives and the board went 10♥ 9♠ 3♥ 5♠ 4♦. Morrison was busted 56th so he did receive a decent paycheck of $154,194.
Poker fans everywhere died a little inside when the beautiful and talented Maria Ho busted 38th. There's no shame for Ho as she bested 2006 last female survivor Sabyl Cohen who came in 56th. Perhaps next year we will get to see a female player at the final table.
At the end of the day David Tran stood strong as chip leader with $10.3 million while Philip Hilm was right behind with $10 million. It wasn't until the last hour of play that either player moved to the top. Bill Edler was also a beast today finishing with $6 million and Kenny Tran continued to play like he wants it finishing right behind Edler with $5 million. Lee Watkinson holds $3.5 million, Daniel Alaei $2 million and Alexander Kravchenko has $1.7 million.
Get comfortable poker fans because tomorrow we decide a final table and there's no doubt that all the surviving players will be fighting tooth and nail to get there. There are 36 players remaining but by Tuesday one of them will be the 2007 World Champion.