We've finally waded through the preliminary days needed to narrow the field down before merging on Day 3. Last year we saw an unknown, Dimitri Nobles, sitting atop the chip counts at this point but right now it's one of the most recognizable faces in the game. Gus Hansen had an amazing day, despite drawing a tough table, and ended up with the $622,300 and the title of chip leader.
Hansen spent much of the day sitting to the left of Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan but the two were joined by fellow monster-stack Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi a few hours before play was suspended for the night.
The three seemed to be steering clear of each other and contenting themselves with preying on the shortstacks at the table.
RaiNKhAN is the same speedy online multi-tabler that can be seen playing 26 simultaneous SNG's in a video-response to allegations from PokerStars that he was a bot. It seems like with only one table to worry about here Khan was able to make good use of his time, finishing the day in second place with $592,500.
Sorel Mizzi only spent part of his evening in the company of these two sharks but managed to make it work, finishing the day with $457,100.
Going into Day 3 second in chips is Jeff "Mr. Rain" Banghart, someone PokerListings.com first met almost six months ago when he placed fourth in the WSOP Circuit event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Banghart is going into Day 3 with $592,500.
Apart from the players, there was another character in the room that sucked up much of the spotlight. The Archbishop Don Magic Juan was in the house, sipping from a bejeweled goblet and blinding innocent bystanders with both his bling and his suit.
Railing a friend who is rumored to still be in the pimp-game, Magic Juan made only a brief appearance before retreating back to his lair.
Today also saw many big names being crossed off the list of potential final table participants. Former champion Chris Moneymaker got himself busted, to the surprise of no one, and will not be back for Day 3.
Elsewhere in the tournament room we saw Daniel Negreanu sitting in his favorite spot, at the feature table surrounded by stadium seating and rolling cameras. Unfortunately Kid Poker's time in the limelight was cut short, along with his tournament life - a short-stacked Negreanu bet out on a flop of 8♠ 7♥ 6♥ and was set all-in by the another player at the table.
After a lot of thought, Negreanu most likely came to the conclusion that conceding the pot would leave him too short to continue and so made the call with T♦ 8♣ for top pair and an inside straight draw. His opponent was way ahead with pocket eights for the set and after the turn and river failed to improve Negreanu's hand he was forced to get up and go, to the tune of the audience's applause of course.
And giving new meaning to the phrase "blind raise" we saw a legally blind player slinging chips with the assistance of a partner who describes the hands. Hal Lubarsky is still running strong and will hopefully become the first sightless man to cash in the WSOP Main Event.
So with a star-studded line-up dominating the chip counts, it's looking more and more likely that a pro could be the one to take it all down this year. $8.25 million and one year with the title of World Champion is up for grabs, something that is on the mind of each of the 997 players still alive. Be sure to hit us back on the regular for continuing coverage of this, the biggest and best poker tournament in the world.