We're in the money at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. Day 3 is over and done with and 32 players have survived to see tomorrow, while four of their colleagues will go home tonight with £27,150 in their pockets.
Day 3 marked the first day of competition with the entire field in the same building, although due to the rather cramped confines of the Casino at the Empire some of the 84 starters had to be housed on the mezzanine. Others drew assignments in the Poker Pantry, that peculiar prison cell with low ceilings and limited access, past a hidden bar and far removed from the gaming floor, that had previously been written off as unsuitable for play.
Still others found themselves at the Feature Table, an assignment that is supposedly random but that drew not only the two chip leaders at the start of play in Joe Beevers, Vicky Coren, Hoyt Corkins, Jan Sorensen, Johnny Chan and Tom "Durr" Dwan.
Meanwhile, it was a big day for quads as the early stages of the day saw two instances of the mythic doomsday device. First Jeffrey Lisandro got all-in with aces against Marco Traniello's pocket kings, only to see the board come K-4-2-K-x to send him packing.
Then Jamie Gold busticated Matthew Hankins after getting the Kerchief all-in on an A-J-10 flop. Hankins turned up K-Q for the flopped nut straight, but the board brought running aces to give Hollywood Jamie quads and send Hankins for the rail while Gold berated him for "playing stupid earlier."
Players took their dinner break after three levels having knocked nearly half of their compatriots out of contention, and after the surviving 45 returned from the buffet tables the carnage continued. "Admiral" Lee Nelson, David Colclough and Jonathan Turner would join Jennifer Harman at the rail before hand-for-hand play ensued, the latter the victim of Annette Obrestad after getting all-in with A-10 against Annette_15's pocket kings and getting no love from flop, turn or river.
Hand-for-hand play spanned an hour of intense action, during which time a number of short stacks doubled to prolong the agony. Finally Jeff Buffenberger found himself at a critically short stack and made a desperation shove, his A-9 falling to John Tabatabai's 5-4 when a four hit the turn. Buffenberger, ironically, was the bubble boy in the $3,000 Pot-Limit event at the 2007 WSOP, and is thus no stranger to the empty feeling that can only be garnered from seeing throngs of happy people delighting in (and profiting from) one's elimination.
Following hand-for-hand play, Bob Willis would bust in 36th place before Jamie Gold would take his final bows in 35th place. Gold doubled up Marcello Marigiliano, A-4 against pocket treys, and then shipped the last of his stack to Marco Traniello with K-10 against pocket queens. Both Gold and Willis, as well as Ian Frazer and Martin Johnson (34th and 33rd respectively) will take home £27,150 in consolation money.
Plans had been to play down to the final three tables, but as the night stretched on the decision was made to quit the action following the conclusion of the fifth level. Thus are we left with 32 survivors, of whom the leader is Aleksander Vathne ($470,500), and among whose ranks we can count Gus Hansen ($405,000), Annette Obrestad ($311,400), Annie Duke ($286,500), Patrik Antonius ($200,000), Marco Traniello ($101,500), Kenny Tran ($64,500) and Erick Lindgren ($54,500).
Action will resume tomorrow at 2 p.m. London time and continue until there are only nine survivors left standing. PokerListings.com will continue our groundbreaking coverage of the 2007 WSOPE by pwning all comers on Day 4 and at the end stand tall with the survivors. Tune in for hourly updates, thrilling photography and pop culture references even your geeky cousin won't understand. The game continues tomorrow and we strongly suggest you ride with us.