In the end another European had a gold bracelet on his wrist. Not before an epic struggle with poker pro and media mogul Tony G, however.
Here's the PokerListings.com run-down of what went on during yet another great day of poker action at the WSOPE.
Scandinavian Jon Persson came into the day with the chip lead of $186,500 although Italian Dario Alioto was right behind him with $185,500.
Allen Cunningham was one of the early casualties of the day when he ran into Dario Alioto's massive chip stack and a pair of aces.
Paul Wasicka made an appearance on the rail early and had the European girls swooning. He's expected to play in the Main Event tomorrow.
Irishman Alan Smurfit also made an appearance on the rail and sweated Roland De Wolfe for a while. Although Smurfit is a billionaire he told De Wolfe that he will be playing in a satellite for the Main Event. Who says rich people aren't thrifty!
The day started with 44 players but before long the money bubble was looming at 18. Eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel didn't get to add one of the European variety when he busted out just before the money. If he hadn't, there would have been some debate as to whether the bracelets count as actual WSOP gold.
David Ulliott also busted close to the money but he didn't seem to mind as he was very busy trying to pick up ladies on the rail.
The unlucky bubble boy was Will Hayden. Hayden was ousted when his two pair was beaten by Andy Bloch's better two pair.
John Duthie, Ted Forrest and Rafi Amit were quickly eliminated after the bubble burst. For some reason Amit couldn't stop talking about how much he sucks at poker and - even stranger - he wanted all the media outlets to report on it.
The highlight had to be when Afghan banker Sherkhan Farnood was accused of collusion when he checked the nuts to the river. Farnood said he didn't know what he was doing and that seemed to be the case. Farnood ended up getting a five-hand penalty but Tony G wanted him to get more.
Jon Persson was hurt the worst after the Farnood debacle and was down to just one chip. Ironically he hit quad aces to quadruple up to four chips but ended up busting on the next hand. Persson placed 10th and just missed the final table.
The final table looked great, although perhaps not as great as the H.O.R.S.E. final table. Sherkhan came into the final table with a gigantic chip lead and was followed by Istvan Novak, Dario Alioto, Antoine Arnault, Andy Bloch, Tony G, David Callaghan, Sampo Lopponen and Mohamad Hossein Razaghi.
Razaghi was the first to go when he saw an unraised flop of K♣ 9♠ 8♣. Callaghan bet out $25,000 and Razaghi called while Bloch folded. The turn came 2♣ and Callaghan checked. Razaghi responded by shoving all-in for $74,000 and Callaghan called and flipped over A♣ J♣ 7♣ 5♦ while Razaghi showed J♥ J♦ 9♥ 8♣. Razaghi was left trying to draw for a full house but missed when the river came Q♦. Thanks for playing; good game.
Andy Bloch quickly followed Razaghi to the rail when his two pair fell to Farnood's set of kings.
Tony G's chip count fluctuated during the early portion of the final table and he had to survive a couple of close calls but eventually he managed to double up through Farnood to have a very decent stack of $500,000.
Finnish all-star poker player Sampo Lopponen reached the end of the line when he got involved in a pot with Alioto for all of his chips. Alioto had kings and they held up just fine meaning Lopponen was heading back to Finland.
The next bust-out was a bit of a surprise. Although he came into the event with a gigantic chip stack Farnood saw it dwindle away until he was eliminated by Alioto who had a pair of aces to knock out Farnood's weak pair of jacks.
Alioto was taking no prisoners at the final table and Antoine Arnault was his next victim. The French gentleman gambler was beaten by Alioto's A♦ T♠ 9♦ 3♠ which paired the 10 on the board.
At this point Tony G started dominating the table winning hand after hand. Despite this it was Alioto who knocked out David Callaghan. Callaghan got all-in pre-flop versus Alioto. Alioto had A♣ J♠ 6♣ 5♠ while Callaghan flipped over K♥ K♠ 8♦ 5♣. The board went A♦ T♥ T♠ 3♥ Q♣ and Callaghan was eliminated.
Three-handed play between Alioto, Tony G and Istvan Novak was an absolute marathon of play with more swings in chips than high-priced meals in London. Novak was the short stack and he was on the ropes countless times but managed to survive every time.
Eventually Novak dragged himself out of the gutter and pulled almost even with the two other players. Tony G and Alioto had numerous clashes although neither player could land the killing blow.
After hours and hours of three-handed play Tournament Directors started to worry that the casino would close before the game ended (the Empire Casino closes at 6 a.m.).
Finally at around 4:30 a.m. Alioto dispatched his adversary Tony G. Alioto rivered a straight and that was all she wrote for the G-ster.
With Alioto holding a massive chip lead of $2.8 million to Novak's $400,000 heads-up play was decidedly anti-climatic.
Alioto won hand after hand against his opponent and Novak was finally forced all-in with A♣ Q♣ 3♣ 9♦ against Alioto's A♦ K♠ 7♣ 5♣. The board went 10♣ 7♦ 6♠ 5♠ A♠ which was enough to give Alioto the win.
Alioto got a gold bracelet and £234,390 in cash for his efforts. That's the scoop and now this tournament reporter is going to get some much needed sleep.
Join us tomorrow as the biggest one of them all, the £10,000 WSOPE Main Event, kicks off.