At the end of Day 3 it looked like we might have had another Jamie Gold in the making as Dario Minieri amassed a huge lead over the rest of the field. Notoriously aggressive, the young Italian was unable to keep it in check and saw his stack dwindle before being partially rebuilt towards the end of the night.
112 made the cut and it's Norway's Dag Martin Mikkelsen leading the pack going into Day 5. Mikkelsen led the field after his Day 1 heat and is currently tipping the scales at almost $4 million. The first and only player to break the $3 million mark, Mikkelsen is known online as "dmmikkel" where he regularly crushes the higher stakes SNG's on PokerStars.
In addition to the young guns, five former world champions came into the day; but only two were able to stand the heat.
The Matador, Carlos Mortensen, was the first of his kind to go. With few chips to work with at the time he found himself all-in with pocket jacks way behind an opponent's pocket queens. The dealer failed to come through for the Spaniard and he was sent on his way with a paltry $51,398 packaged to go.
Robert Varkonyi was the next casualty, also a victim of the shortstack-motivated all-in. He got what little money he had in almost as bad as Mortensen with A-5 to the villain's A-Q. Once again the dealer was not on the side of the former champions as the board came and went with no change to Varkonyi's predicament.
Mr. 1986, Berry Johnston, was able to make it a little farther than his busticated peers and was the last elimination of the night, out in 113th for $58,570. And so Huck Seed and Scotty Nguyen are the only members of this club still with a chance to do it all over again.
Big time poker pros weren't the only ones sitting down and then getting back up from the felt today though. A few familiar faces from the entertainment industry also managed to make it to the money before being sent back to Hollywood.
Toby Maguire made it all the way to 292nd, not bad considering that means he outlasted over six thousand of his competitors, before being politely asked to leave. Maguire is always a mystery at the World Series, doing his very best to avoid any sort of photo-interaction with readers of online coverage like PokerListings.com.
Despite his constant surveillance and cat-like reflexes, he was no match for our paparazzi-sized lenses. We managed to get a few clean shots of him, as well as many with his hand obscuring his face, and all we can do is hope that he isn't too put off by our advances. After all, at the felt he's just another player whose progress in this tournament we have sworn a blood-oath to cover to the best of our abilities.
Sam Simon, a man to whom I owe what little sense of humor I have, wasn't able to keep stride with Spidey and hit the exit in 329th, taking the $39,445 pittance that went with it. By all accounts Simon enjoyed his run here at the Main Event and although the cash prize may be just a drop in the bucket, the memories will flow over the brim. (That was bad, I know.)
Lead singer of the Alice in Chains cover-band Godsmack (Sorry.) Sully Erna finished his day in better shape than both of his show-biz compatriots. Hitting the rail in 237th Erna was shortstacked and got his money in with K♠ Q♠ which was in rough shape against the A-K of Charis Anastasiou. Big slick did the trick and Erna made his way to the other side.
The Godsmack-er, Anastasiou, finished the day in second place, albeit more than a million chips behind the overall leader. Charis expained to me during play today that his first name was pronounced like Harris, "It's Greek," he added. You're kidding!
And so it was another relatively short day, finishing up just a bit past midnight. The plan is to play down to the final three tables, or 27 players depending on how you look at it, tomorrow and estimates of how long this may take vary. Chances are it will be a bit longer of a day so make sure to keep it locked tight on PokerListings.com for the duration. We'll be there and it'll sure be lonely without you.