We began this seventh day with just 27 players left and what seemed like the hopes and dreams of at least half the poker industry on the shoulders of the last standing female in the group.
Partly because she's a woman and even more so because she is an attractive one, insiders felt Tiffany Michelle making the final table would be great for the game. And since she started the day third in chips it looked like everyone's dream was about to come true.
But right from the get-go today, the boys played hardball with everybody's favorite girl. If Hot Chips raised, someone came over the top, and when she bet bigger, they shoved. It wasn't long before she slipped down the leaderboard and was starting to look more than a little frustrated with it all.
In the end it looked like that frustration got the best of her when she shipped it bad, running ace-jack into Peter Eastgate's pocket aces after an ace flopped.
"It was tough day," Michelle said to the media following her exit. "I got beat down."
The 17th-place finish ensured her spot in WSOP history, making hers the deepest finish for a female contestant in the Main Event relative to the size of the field, but Tiffany and everyone around her must have left the Amazon Room today wondering what could have been.
Michele wasn't the only one to leave with a bit of a bad taste in her mouth in the first three levels today, though.
2006 WSOP bracelet winner and Season 6 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star champ Brandon Cantu came in as the marquee name with the best chance to cement the 2008 WSOP as the Year of the Pro. But this pro did not come through.
Cantu started the day on an average stack, but his Main Event came to an ugly close when he three-bet light and got priced into a call when Dean Hamrick shipped behind him. Hamrick had aces and Cantu was forced to ride with just T♠ 5♣.
Crippled after that blow, he shoved a little later with nines, running into Peter Eastgate's A♦ Q♠. Eastgate four-flushed, and Cantu's hopes went down the drain.
It would seem that David "Chino" Rheem is the pros' next best hope and he's in the top five at chow time. It looked for a while like Chino was done when he ran into Joe Bishop's quad sixes and dipped below $3 million in chips, but he doubled up, then doubled up again to get back into contention.
On the backs of some pretty darn good cards and solid situational poker, Eastgate didn't just take out Cantu and Michelle, he grabbed the chip lead by the time they broke for dinner.
Although stranger things have happened, with over $18 million at the break, Eastgate, who led the PokerStars EPT Copenhagen event for a while before busting 32nd, looks like a shoo-in to make the final table. He can only hope he's running this good three months from now when they play it out.
Outside of Eastgate and Rheem the remaining 14 include Darus Suharto, Dean Hamrick, Joe Bishop, Scott Montgomery, Ylon Schwartz, Craig Marquis, Dennis Phillips, Kelly Kim, Chris Klodnicki, Ivan Demidov, Nicholas Sliwinski and Gert Andersen - in that order on the board.
But bold predictions and player lists aside, it's still anybody's guess who will be back in November to finish this off - especially considering there's not much spread in stack sizes just yet. The only way to really tell is to keep it locked on those fresh and funky PL.com live updates. That way you know what we know, which often isn't much, but always enough.