2012 Main Event: Prepping For Day 4-Friday The 13th

Negreanu is happy to be heading into Day 4.
Negreanu is happy to be heading into Day 4.

It’s the last stretch of the night, and players are starting to order cocktails. Beer seems to be the liquid of choice, and for some it is the perfect recipe to get rid of the game day jitters enough to get some sleep.

Fighting To Survive

It’s been a long grind today for Dan Harrington who was seemingly stuck on 70,000-80,000 chips for the entire day. He managed to chip up late on Day 3, and stacked about 175,000 chips. However, he wasn't able to keep ahold of them and ended up shipping them off to someone else by the day's end.

Daniel Negreanu also had a rough start, but he got a little of his mojo back and rebuilt some of the damage to get back up around 200,000 chips.

Actor Kevin Pollak made the most of his time on the ESPN feature table; he slowly but steadily chipped up and he sits close to 300,000 chips going into Day 4.

RIP Brasilia

Tournament officials said that they were going to make a special announcement, then they announced that all remaining players are now seated in the Amazon Room. Players didn’t seem to be too excited about that, as they were hoping the announcement meant they were in the money. It seems that making it to the Amazon room isn’t that exciting after all.

However, what is exciting is that somewhere, seated inside the Amazon room is our next Main Event Chamption. It also means that there are several newly made millionaires walking around the Rio.

Phil Galfond
Phil Galfond has a tough last level and exits the tournament just before the day was out.

Phil Galfond Can’t Get There

Phil Galfond spent much of the day yo-yoing between 200,000-300,000 chips, but he picked the wrong time to go on an anti-heater. This cold streak ended his Main Event.

Phil Galfond ‏@PhilGalfond: “Lost a big one. C/r turn with JT on 986Qdd. River 7d and I value bet, called by KJdd. Down to 60k. ‪#frownyface‬ ‪#WSOP‬”

Phil Galfond ‏@PhilGalfond: “Made what I'm almost sure was a correct river fold, but down to 140k because of it (now is when you count). ‪#WSOP‬”

Phil Galfond ‏@PhilGalfond: “Just dodged one bullet. Standard reshove spot w A9s but it felt weird. Just called and c/f 6 hi flop. He had AA. 55k”

Phil Galfond ‏@PhilGalfond:Oh well. Got in J9ss v AQo on Q84ss. Couldn't hit and I'm out. Thanks for all the support, guys. It was a fun ride!”

One of the genuinely nice poker superstars out there, Galfond thanked all his tablemates and wished them good luck before packing up and heading for the rail.

Six More Hands!

As the tournament clock ticked down, the tournament officials announced that there would be six more hands played until the end of the night.

With 768 players coming back for Day 4, only a little more than a hundred need to falter to get to the money. There will be 666 players paid on Friday the 13th.

Unfortunately, Michael Binger, Bret Richey, Phil Galfond, and Will Failla will not be among those getting paid. Each of them had a rough last level and weren’t able to survive the night.

Here is a preliminary look at the top 10 chip counts for the night:

David D’Alesandro                          1,100,000

Sean Rice                                      1,076,000

Leo Wolpert                                   1,003,000

Ben Greenberg                               963,000

A.J. Jejelowo                                   928,000

Daniel Rudd                                    834,000

Paul Volpe                                       820,000

Kyle Keranen                                   802,500

Benjamin Alcober                             789,000

Erik Hellman                                    770,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

WSOP Daily Video Show

Today on the WSOP Daily Show we bring you action from Day 3 of the 2012 Main Event with help from Vancouver Canuck Roberto Luongo and his brother Fabio.

We also check in with William Reynolds, Sam Holden and Joe Cheong about why Twitter's so big in the poker world, plus talk to video game legend Griffin Benger about making the move from Counter Strike to poker.

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2012 Main Event: End Of Day Jitters

Smith stumbles a bit, but still has about 425,000.
Smith stumbles a bit, but still has about 425,000.

The last break of the day is in the books, and now we get to look forward to some high intensity action in the last two hours of the day. There were 828 players left to play at 2,000/4,000 blinds with a 500 ante.

That number is dropping quickly, but it looks like it isn’t dropping quick enough to see the money bubble tonight. It will certainly be first thing on the agenda tomorrow when play resumes. This will certainly be on the minds of many short-stacked players who probably won’t have the most restful sleep tonight.

Gavin Smith Throws Around Chips

Gavin Smith has been steadily building chips throughout the day. However, since he moved from the Brasilia room to the Amazon room, he’s been having a rough time of it.

He has just lost two pots in one orbit when he raised from under the gun. The player in middle position reraised making it 26,000 to go. It folded back around to Smith who took little time deciding to make the call.

The flop came out 4 8 3. Smith checked out of position, and the middle position player made it 27,000. Smith called to see the turn.

The turn brought the T. Smith considered the best option and decided to check. The middle position player starred down at the board and slowly checked as well.

When the J came on the turn both players decided their best bet would be to check.

Smith turned up A Q, but it just wasn’t any good against the 5 5 that his opponent held.

Chris Moorman
Chris Moorman stacks more chips.

Moorman Clips Randall

Chris Moorman has had a swingy stack but he just took a nice pot off David Randall to push Moorman’s stack back up to the 500,000 mark.

There was about 70,000 already in the middle when the two traded jabs on a flop of 8 6 7. Moorman was first to act and lead out for 26,000. Randall bumped it up to 80,000.

Moorman had to think before calling. The two played it safe and checked it down on a 2 turn and T river.

Moorman tabled A T. Randall grimaced and mucked his cards, shipping the pot Moorman’s way.

Holden Blasting Away

Sam Holden is trying to play his way back to the final table for a second straight year, and he’s not doing it by waiting patiently for big cards.

Holden just tangled with a lone opponent on a 2 T J 5 7 board. Holden’s opponent check-called Holden’s 25,000 chip bet on the turn, and then called a bigger 80,000 barrel on the river.

Holden sheepishly turned over A K. To Holden’s surprise that was good enough for a chop, as his opponent held the same hand with A K.

Sam Holden Video Update

We caught up with 888poker's Sam Holden and talked about his poker deja vu here at the WSOP.

Top 10 Chip Counts

Daniel Rudd                        980,000

Benjamin Alcober                965,000

Ben Greenberg                    870,000

A.J. Jejelowo                       860,000

Paul Volpe                           859,000

Sean Rice                            835,000

Erik Hellman                        807,000

Cylus Watson                       780,000

Michael Ferrell                     735,000

Dane Lomas                        683,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: A Million In Chips- One More Level Before Calling It Quits

Benjamin Alcober is the first to cross the million chip mark.
Benjamin Alcober is the first to cross the million chip mark.

Players start their Main Event journey with 30,000 chips, which is a huge amount with the slow structure in the early levels but which can start to seem paltry just a few days later when some players start running up 1 million chip stacks.

A few moments ago, Nolan Dalla announced that Benjamin Alcober is the first player to bypass the million chip mark.

In the grand scheme of things, though, even a 1 million stack can be quickly out shown given the field size and what a long road it really is to win the Main Event.

With about 198 million chips in play, our current chip leaders with around 1 million chips still are just 1/198th of the way there towards stacking up all the chips. In just a few short days, 1 million chips will be a very short stack.

Into Triple Digits

We’re now under the 1,000 player remaining mark, with just 991 players left and that number ticking down even more with every glance at the tournament clock.

The sign of the beast, 666, is the magic number for now.  That is when the money starts, and as it get closer more and more players start craning their necks around to check the clock every so often to see where things stand.

Bubbling the WSOP Main Event is one of the rougher bubbles in poker due to the prize money involved and how many days of play it takes just to get to the bubble, but some poor soul has to walk away empty handed each year, watching the next player eliminated after them pick up $19,227 for their efforts.

Marcel Luske
Marcel Luske is keeping a steady stack growing on Day 3.

Marcel Luske Quietly Grinding

Marcel Luske is one of the elder statesmen of the poker tour, one of the few active players with Hendon Mob results that start with a 19-- as far as the date.

He’s taken down nearly $4 million in lifetime tournament earnings but has never scored a WSOP bracelet, with his only cash for the 2012 WSOP coming in the Seniors event for $11,851.

He’s quietly built up a stack of about 350,000 chips here on Day 3, avoiding big confrontations but picking timely spots to chip up here and there.

His previous best finish at the Main Event was just missing the tv final table in 2004, finishing 10th for $373,000.

One Last Level

Players are off on their last 20-minute break of the day, returning for just one more level before their long poker day is finally done.

Jason Mercier ‏@JasonMercier: “Shoulda just doubled. But the dealer exposed one of @stnewmancards on the button and saved his tournament. Sitting on 92.6k instead of 180”

Faraz Jaka ‏@FarazJaka: Busted the #Wsop Main event w/ about 950 players left and 666 pay. Got it In w/ AQ vs AK for 35 big blinds each.”

Sorel Mizzi ‏@sorelmizzi: 550k. I am a poker cyborg. Designed to take alllllll the chips.”

Jamie Kerstetter ‏@JamieKerstetter: Hugs to 424 please. And bandaids to stop the bleeding. Terrible table draw and card dead.”

Jake Cody ‏@JakeCody: “Had to bet fold top pair in a 3bet pot.. 185k at 2k/4k/500 still lots of room #WSOP”

David Baker ‏@audavidb: “Last break of the night I have 184k”

Daniel Negreanu ‏@RealKidPoker: “@DNChips 89,400 end level 14 played an EXCELLENT 2 hrs of poker avoiding brokedom several times. In danger zone now though 2k-4k blinds.”

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2012 Main Event: Lamb Gets Butchered

One less 2011 November Niner in the field.
One less 2011 November Niner in the field.

After dinner, the mood on the poker tables seem to me more subdued rather than energized. Spectators are quietly standing to the sides, there isn’t much cheering, and players seem to be in the zone rather than talking to each other.

If we are lucky enough to see the bubble tonight, we expect that will change the mood entirely.

From Crippled To Bust

Last year’s November Nine third place finisher, Ben Lamb, will not be repeating a Main Event final table this year.

He raised from early position to 6,500 when the blinds were 1,500/3,000. The player on the button reraised to 32,500. When it folded back around to Lamb, he shoved over the top. His opponent made the call putting his remaining 94,000 at risk.

Lamb turned up J J, but he needed some help against the Q Q of his opponent. The board didn’t lend any help to Lamb as it came out 7 3 8 2 6.

Lamb was left with only 35,400 in chips after he lost with the jacks. It was only a matter of time before he would be forced to move the rest of his stack all in. He found a hand when he open shoved from middle position. It folded around to Chris Moorman in the small blind who called. It was heads up to the flop.

 Moorman: A 7

Lamb 5 5

The flop came out 2 2 7 which was good enough for Moorman to take Lamb out. Lamb wasn’t able to catch up when the Q came on the turn and the J came on the river.

PL2012PollakInterview.mp4 VLC media player 772012 112505 PM
"I'm just a little nervous about the cameras at the feature table."

Hollywooding at the Feature Table

The feature table lineup was switched out after the dinner break with actor Kevin Pollak getting tapped to star on the big stage.

He’s playing his first real live poker event and currently has 165,000 chips, more than holding his own with the poker crowd here at the WSOP over the last few days.

So far he’s been playing very tight at the feature table, likely a little more nervous about making any poker missteps with the whole world watching on.

Farewell Pavilion, Brasilia Dwindling

It’s hard to describe the scene here at the Rio when the poker action is going full-bore to those who have never witnessed it first-hand, as any one of the three massive ballrooms used to house tables dwarf any other poker room in the entire world. Now, there are just empty tables where there was once nonstop action.

We were able to spend some time after the dinner break with a patron who has never seen the World Series of Poker. When we showed them around the Pavilion room--there wasn’t much enthusiasm--as there were only a few tables being used for cash games and the rest of the room was quiet.

However, upon entering the Amazon room for the first time, it was pretty exciting to see it through a new pair of eyes.

“What are all the television cameras for?” “The buy-in was how much?!” “The winner will get $8 million dollars?!”

Those were just some of the statements that came out of this WSOP virgin’s mouth. As this on lookers eyes lit up while starring at the ESPN feature table, it was a reminder of how exciting this event can really be.

Sometimes, it is easy to get desensitized by what it means to walk into the Amazon room for the first time and see the ESPN final table, or to remember that the average Joe doesn’t just plop down $10,000 at a chance to win a poker tournament. We’ve also seen some amazing prize pools this summer with $18 million from the Big One Drop and the Main Event winner getting $8.5 million.

The WSOP is a unique and exciting experience that can quickly be over shadowed by the long weeks of bad beats and brutal busts. However, we like to take a step back and appreciate this fine event for what it is-even if that means taking a half hour to see it through a new set of eyes.

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2012 Main Event: Back From Dinner, Who's On Top?

Can Sam Holden pull out back to back November Nines?
Can Sam Holden pull out back to back November Nines?

Cards are back in the air after the dinner break. In just two more levels, Day 3 will be a thing of the past, and who knows how many players will be back for Day 4?

Right now, there are 927 players remaining.

First to One Million?

As players return from dinner break we’ll be ready for one of the first milestones of the 2012 WSOP Main Event -- the first time a player builds their 30,000 starting stack all the way up to 1 million (or more) chips.

Here are the most likely candidates as far as the biggest stacks heading into the dinner break:

Ben Alcober: 940,000 chips

Armando Fernandez: 850,000 chips

AJ Jejelowo: 752,500 chips

Dane Lomas: 720,000 chips

Gregory Merson: 715,000 chips

But with stacks blossoming it could easily be a wild card player to be the first to one million, as all it would take would be for two big stacks to collide to mint our first chip millionare of the 2012 WSOP.

Where Are They Today?

For those keeping track of last year’s November Nine and how they’re faring this year, at the moment there are four of them still alive and chasing another final table.

Sam Holden leads the way with 400,000 chips.

Sam Holden: 400,000 chips

Phil Collins: 230,000 chips

Eoghan O’Dea: 200,000 chips

Ben Lamb: 165,000 chips

Pius Heinz: Busto

Anton Makiievskyi: Busto

Matt Giannetti: Busto    

Badih Bounahra: Busto

Martin Staszko: Busto

Making back-to-back final tables at the Main Event would be an amazing feat, so don’t hold your breath expecting to see a familiar face at this year’s final table when the dust finally settles.

Heater For Esfandiari?

Antonio Esfandiari has been living an especially charmed life the last few weeks at the WSOP, taking first in the $1 million Big One for One Drop for $18.1 million and he’s managed to run up his stack here on Day 3 to a very healthy 350,000 chips.

He had a very solid WSOP aside from the One Drop event, banking $151,613 for his third-place finish in Event #36 and a total of six overall cashes so far in the 2012 WSOP.

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2012 Main Event: Hanging On Until Dinner

Roberto Luongo is preparing for an all-in move.
Roberto Luongo is preparing for an all-in move.

Players are in the last hour before break. While walking through the tables, observing the action, we couldn’t help but notice the zombie-like look many players have on their face. Some are mentally exhausted from the long hours of play, and others are just trying to make it to dinner break.

Baumann Not Bashful

Gaelle Baumann doesn’t seemed to be getting fatigued. She came into the day as the chip leader but she hasn’t been content to just fold and preserve that stack, tangling frequently and often with her tablemates early on.

We caught up to the action on the river with a 2 J 6 10 3 board and there was about 90,000 chips in the middle. Baumann slid out a small bet of 36,000 and her opponent thought for a bit before cutting out chips and tossing them into the middle.

Baumann didn’t want to show and rightfully so, as her opponent just turned over pocket fives for fourth pair. Amazingly, that was good enough to send Baumann’s cards into the muck to give her opponent the pot.

Roberto Luongo Hangs On

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is hanging on for dear life here on Day 3, and he is down to about 90,000 chips.

He’s the last athlete standing, but he’s got some work ahead of him if he wants to make the money.

It’s dangerous to read too much into body posture and demeanor. However, he’s got his remaining chips stacked and squared away in one tower, which makes him look like a man who’s given up on playing many hands and is hoping and praying that he gets kings or aces soon.

Aces Not Kind to Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu is finding it tougher sledding here today than previous days, as he’s Tweeted that he’s had aces cracked twice now, once earlier on the feature table and then again just a few minutes ago:

Daniel Negreanu ‏@RealKidPoker: "@DNChips AA cracked again flop T62 turn K J folded to river bet vs obv set. Ugh."

Kid Poker followed that up with another cooler of a hand, which has knocked him all the way down to 94,000 chips:

Daniel Negreanu ‏@RealKidPoker: "@DNChips WTF. AQ vs J9 flop AQ5 rainbow I lose. Comes 8 T so gross down to 94k. Same guy who flopped set made the straight on me"

Champs are Struggling

So far it hasn’t been a good day to be a Main Event champ, as Jerry Yang has just hit the rails -- we didn’t catch the hand but we’re sure it took 45 minutes to play out -- and Johnny Chan (40,000 chips) and Dan Harrington (60,000 chips) are slipping into the danger zone.

Peter Eastgate fell in early action and we haven’t yet caught up to Robert Varkonyi and Huck Seed in the Brasilia Room to see how they’re faring on Day 3.

The jester is down for the count.

Umbrella Hat Guy 1, The Jester 0

Hat War 2012 is officially over at the Main Event, with Umbrella Hat Guy coming from behind for a resounding victory.

The Jester had slipped to about 60,000 chips during our last check and he’s now outside doing interviews in the designated area, with his empty seat meaning there can only be one victor: Umbrella Hat Guy (UHG).

UHG has had a few solid levels to push his stack up to about 250,000 chips. While his choice of head gear looks silly at first glance he does wear it quite low on his head, so it effectively works to not just disguise his face at times but also deflects the artic blasts from above of the air conditioning here in the frigid Amazon Room.

Well played, UHG, well played...

Seat Open

We’re grinding our way down here on Day 3, with 1,098 players left after about 6 hours of play so far.

We’ve been losing almost exactly 100 players/hour, which means the end of play tonight and the money bubble will be very, very close -- if not right on top of one another.

The elimination pace usually slows as the money bubble nears, so it’s almost certain that we’ll end play tonight without popping the bubble but stranger things have happened as it’s impossible to predict the bustout rate in many cases.

AJ Jejelowo
AJ Jejelowo is our dinner break chip leader.

Players usually prefer to burst the bubble even if it means playing extra time as no one wants to spend an extra night just to come back the next day to bubble, but we’ll just have to wait and see how this one plays out later.

Dinner Break

Players are heading out on a 90-minute dinner break. During the 90-minutes most players scramble to find a good spot to eat, and some head up to their rooms to take naps. Whatever players decided to do, they will need the much needed R&R if they hope to survive the night.

One player that will be going on break feeling pretty confident is AJ Jejelowo. He’s sitting pretty as the chip leader with 730,000 in chips. Sean Rice is in a distance second place with 670,000, so Jejelowo will have a tough time stacking off to someone.

Here is what the top 10 chip counts look like going into break:

AJ Jejelowo                                 730,000

Sean Rice                                   670,000

David Randall                             662,000

Jacob Balsiger                            650,000

Dane Lomas                               645,000

Erik Hellman                              606,000

Eric Legoff                                 600,000

John Leathart                            570,000

Armando Fernandez                   550,000

Jason Somerville                        540,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: Everyone's Waiting For Jerry Yang

For a super hero, "The Shadow" does not move very quickly.
For a super hero, "The Shadow" does not move very quickly.

Players came back from break to play 1,200/2,400 with a 300 ante. There are a few players that we won’t see come back from the break, and their demise marks their exit to the 2012 WSOP.

Marco Traniello, Nenad Medic, Nam Lee, and David Pham have been eliminated and won’t be part of the November Nine this year.

Yang Tilting Even the Dealer

Jerry Yang’s stack has dipped below the 100K mark, with his very slow, very deliberate play not only tilting the other players at the table, but he has been tilting the dealer as well.

Yang opened the action with a bet of 5,500 from early position, with just the small blind making the call.

His opponent quickly check-called a 9,000 continuation bet from Yang (which took Yang about 3 minutes to push out into the middle) on a flop of Q 7 4. The small blind lead out for 12,000 on the 9 turn.

Yang not only went into the tank, but he sank deep to the bottom. He had a good five minute dwell while players made conversation amongst themselves. The other players were likely used to the slow pace at this point , and the dealer seemed ready to call the clock on Yang herself. She kept sighing and fidgeting with break cards and other items in the dealer’s well while she waiting to Yang to make a move

Yang finally released his hand, asking his opponent to show one card. It was to no avail, as his opponent just scooped the chips while sending his cards to the dealer face down.

Warne Bowled Over

Cricket superstar Shane Warne will have to wait another year to notch his first WSOP cash, as he was sent to the showers during the last level when he flopped middle pair plus the nut flush draw but ran into top set, with his opponent turning a full house to knock Warne out.

NBA player Earl Barron was dunked as well, unable to get much going with his short stack today.

Joseph Cheong
Cheong is saving his chips for good spots.

No More Betting Light

A few years ago internet players introduced an unprecedented amount of aggression in tournament poker. The action was constant and unyielding as young pros would consistent three and four bet with marginal hands.  

Its not to say that the light three and four betting doesn’t happen, but players are being a lot more careful with what they throw chips into the pot with.

Ari Engel called a 5,000 raise from the player in middle position, and when it folded around to Joseph Cheong in the big blind he made the call.

The board came out Q J T. All three players checked their option.


The 8 came on the turn, and all three players checked again.

The A came on the river two which no one wanted to take a stab at.

“I have jack high,” Cheong announced.

Engel had A 5 and the middle position player held A 3 to chop it between them.

That’s a Tough Table

The feature table lineup has been switched up and we’ve currently got a pretty stacked table that features birthday boy Chris Moorman, Ben Lamb, and David Randall, who is currently among the top five chip stacks with a huge 660,000 stack.

Moorman is no slouch himself with 360,000 chips, while Lamb has some work to do to encourage his 155,000 chips to go forth and multiply.

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2012 Main Event: Moorman's Birthday Run Good

Chris Moorman is asking the poker gods for a few presents today.
Chris Moorman is asking the poker gods for a few presents today.

The second level of the day is winding down, and players are about to take their second 20-minute break of the day.

It is hard to believe that this tournament started with 6,598 players, and within just a few days there are only 1,242 players left. The blinds and antes are starting to get pretty high, so we should see an influx of bust outs after players come back from the break.   

Here are some of the short stacks going into the break and what their chips will mean after the break:

Alex Kravchenko                      43,000 (17 BB)

Hoyt Corkins                           50,000 (20 BB)

Juan Manuel Pastor                  60,000 (25 BB)

Will Failla                                63,000 (26 BB)

Shannon Shorr                        70,000 (29 BB)

Moorman Continues to Run Good

We reported earlier that Chris Moorman got a big double-up early with aces -- on his birthday, no less -- and the good times keep coming for Moorman. He’s now up over 400,000 chips and milking the #birthdayrungood hash tag on Twitter for all it’s worth:

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "Over 430k now. More importantly little budhas has been decided for dinner thx for suggestions. Also moved to feature table‪#birthdayrungood‬"

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "@BenbaLamb rocks upto table with 250k at least he is two to my right‪#birthdayrungood‬"

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "Any suggestions for somewhere to go on dinner break that will be quick for a large group but is still decent ‪#birthdayrungood‬"

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "Wow aa v qq in big 4 bet pot he flopped queen i rivered 4 flush 376k‪#birthdayrungood"‬

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "O hi aces got paiiiid 280k now ‪#birthdayrungood‬"

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "Gr8 start upto 175k 30 mins into the day :) ‪#birthdayrungood‬"

Top 10 Chip Counts

AJ Jejelowo                                   540,000 (225 BB)

Shaun Deeb                                   532,000 (221 BB)

Erik Hellman                                  526,000 (219 BB)

Gaelle Baumann                             525,000 (218 BB)

Jason Somerville                            510,000 (212 BB)

Eric Legoff                                     490,000 (204 BB)

Matt Woodward                              487,000 (292 BB)

Marco Bognanni                             475,000 (197 BB)

John Leathart                                465,000 (193 BB)

Michael Nasserazad                        461,000 (192 BB)

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: Everyone Wants To Be A Star

Gaelle Baumann keeps her cool at the feature table.
Gaelle Baumann keeps her cool at the feature table.

Players are well into the second level of the day which boasts 1,000/2,000 blinds with a 300 ante. The tournament clock says that there are 1,314 players remaining which means that 300 players have already fallen today.

At this rate, it is completely plausible that the money bubble could be reached at some point today.

Gaelle Baumann Still Booming

Winamax pro Gaelle Baumann came into today with over 500,000 in chips and she hasn’t wilted a bit despite sitting on one of the secondary featured tables and having a camera and boom mic hovering over her for much of the first level.

She’s up to about 575,000 chips after one level of play, avoiding tangling in any huge hands but staying active and putting all those chips to work.

She finished 15th in this year’s WSOP Ladies event for a $7,716 payday so she’s already had some WSOP success this year; prior to that her biggest live cash was finishing 75th in EPT Monte Carlo in April 2012 for a $19,804 score.

Hastings On The Rise

Brian Hastings has been tweeting that the first level of today has been quite successful for him. We checked to see how he was doing, and he seemed to be fairing well after the break.

Before we could see what the raise was, Hastings opponent was asking how much was behind him on a 5 T 9 board. After the two sized eachother up, the turn was dealt and it was the 4.

Hastings looked at his opponent’s stack again, and stuck out a stack of orange chips which was enough to put his opponent all in. After a few moments of contemplation, the opponent announced a call.

Hastings turned up A T for top pair top kicker.

“Your good,” said his opponent as he turned up T 7.

The 9 came on the river which gave Hastings the last nail he needed to seal his opponent’s fate.

Two Sport Stars

Plenty of professional athletes take a crack at the WSOP each year, and today we’ve got stars from the world of hockey, basketball, and cricket battling it out.

Brothers Roberto and Fabio Luongo both started the day with 150,000 or so in chips, trying to score a goal for hockey as the Canucks goalie and his brother (who played hockey as well) continue their runs here at the Main Event

Shane Warne is a regular at the Main Event and always perplexes American players and fans with the big crowds and autograph seekers that the cricket superstar attract; his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley was on hand earlier in the Main Event to cheer Warne on as he tries for his first WSOP cash, with about 140,000 chips at last count.

NBA player Earl Barron is on the shortest stack with just 40,000 chips but he’s already outpipped Paul Pierce just by making Day 3, with Pierce the last standing NBA player at the 2011 WSOP when he bowed out late on Day 2.

Hat guy
Remember this guy from Day 1A? Yes, he made it to Day 3.

Hat Battle

We’ve got a good old-fashioned hat battle looming, with the Jester and a guy who’s been wearing a rainbow-hued umbrella hat locking horns to see which player with the goofiest head-gear will last longer here in the Main Event.

(Okay, we admit, this is a last-longer bet of our own devising, as it’s doubtful that the two even know that they have competition still standing.)

The Jester is currently leading with about 220,000 chips but Rainbow Umbrella Hat still has a puncher’s chance, with around 140,000 chips to work with.

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2012 Main Event: Break It Up!

Liv Boeree has a good first level of the day.
Liv Boeree has a good first level of the day.

Players are just returning from their first 20-minute break of the day. After several days of over 13 hours of play, this break marks another milestone in the road to success.

As far as how various players are doing so far, we’ll let Twitter tell the break time tale:

Liv Boeree ‏@Liv_Boeree: "Gone on a rather lovely heater. 292k!!!!"

Michael Binger ‏@mwbinger: "Great first level! 223k! I won the first 10 pots I played today. Very fun rush :)"

Peter Feldman ‏@nordbergpoker: "97k first break. Got all the way down to 26k before hitting a miracle to double."

Tristan Clemencon ‏@superroger47: "Around 280K. Freddy deeb 2crans a ma gauche , avec 200K+ , sinon la table est très belle et pourvue de bcp de jetons #susuwsop"

Lee Childs ‏@leechilds:"162k at break. 1k/2k/300 coming up."

Paul Wasicka ‏@Kwickfish: "First break of the day. No big pots, 145k"

Karina Jett ‏@KarinaJett: "Down to 50k that the break. Need to double next level.#ladiesrungood"

Jamie Kerstetter ‏@JamieKerstetter: "122k at first break. Very pleasant table, chatting it up with@Chris_Day03 and a nice French guy who can play, both on my right. :)"

Philip Collins ‏@USCphildo: "107,300 on 1st break. #peaking #ballmer #widows"

Barry Greenstein
No stealing for Greenstein.

Greenstein Gets Cheonged

We reported during our last update that Barry Greenstein was getting short on chips and needed to find a spot to double. When it folded to him on the button, he decided it was his time to steal the blinds and antes. Only, Cheong wasn't going to give up his blind so easily and was willing to call with anything seeing that Greenstein only had 9 big blinds.

Greenstein opened his hand and had nine-eight offsuite while Cheong was on the upper end of a 60/40 with K 3.

Both players flopped a pair when it came out K-9-4. However, Greenstein wasn’t able to catch any help, so he was sent to the rail. 

Quick Early Pace

The tournament shows we now have 1,494 runners left, which means we lost 100+ players so far.

The pace will definitely slow as we near the money payouts, but at that rate we might come within spitting distance of the bubble by the end of play today when survivors bag and tag chips at around 1 AM local time.

As far as players among those early eliminations, 2011 Main Event champ Pius Heinz is among the recently departed, unable to spin up his short stack that he started the day with.

Happy Birthday Mr. Moorman

Online whiz kid Chris Moorman -- who has had plenty of good live results in the last year or two that he’s been focusing more on that aspect of his game -- is celebrating his birthday today and already received an early present from the poker gods:

Chris Moorman ‏@Moorman1: "O hi aces got paiiiid 280k now #birthdayrungood"

Top 10 Chip Counts

Gaelle Baumann                           563,000

Mark Demirdjian                           555,000

Jason Somerville                           527,000

Nghi Van Tran                               520,000

Jonathan Fountain                         466,000

Vanessa Selbst                              465,000

Shaun Deeb                                  465,000

Jeremy Allen                                  444,000

Michael Hack                                 438,000

Michael Nasserazad                        435,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: Lamb and Selbst Go Head To Head

Ben Lamb will have to go head to head with Vannessa Selbst.
Ben Lamb will have to go head to head with Vannessa Selbst.

As the first break of the day nears, there are about 1,557 hopefuls still in the running for a Main Event bracelet. The blinds for the day started out at 800/1,600 with a 200 ante, so anyone who is sitting with less than a starting stack is going to have to find a spot to double up or their Main Event will be over.

Some notable players that are sitting at short stack status include Barry Greenstein, Alex Kravchenko, and Hoyt Corkins. All have less than 50,000 in chips.

Selbst vs. Lamb

The feature table may have Daniel Negreanu (with Antonio Esfandiari on the secondary tv table), but the real fireworks may be in the corner of the room where three additional tables are sat up with fan seating overlooking them.

They’re not on the main sets, but today they could feature plenty of action. One table that is especially primed for fireworks has 2011 November Niner and Player of the Year Ben Lamb in the 2 seat and Vanessa Selbst (who had a great 2012 WSOP including winning her second bracelet) right next door in the 3 seat.

Both are very aggressive players and they have heaps of chips to put to full effect. Selbst is up to about 400,000 chips after already taking down a nice pot versus Lamb, who still has 200,000 chips in front of him.

Its Starting To Look Like A Ghost Town

Compared to a few days ago, the hallways at the Rio have become vastly unpopulated. Prior to the Main Event, there was a constant bustle of people lining the hallways outside the Brasilia and Pavilion rooms. Now, Pavilion has become almost a ghost town where if you listen close enough, you can hear a pin drop.

Where there was once a horde of players waiting to have their names called for the various cash games and satellites, there are just a few janitorial workers trying to erase the evidence of the summer madness. There are now only six lonely cash game  tables going, which will receive no fanfare for big pots since there isn’t anyone standing around to celebrate.

The Jester

Way in the back of the Pavilion room, there is one Main Event table remaining. With players dropping so rapidly, it is only a matter of time until that table is moved to Amazon or Brazilia.

All Hail the Jester

Its hard to miss the player who’s been dressed as a jester for last few days, as his huge hat (complete with aces affixed to it strategically at various points) is pretty easy to spot in the crowd.

We’ve taken to mentally calling him simply “the Jester” as we weave our way among the tables checking on players and grabbing hands, and his get-up plus his penchant for talking after every hand, playing big pots, and showing all sorts of bluffs led us to chalk him up in the “Likely Won’t be Around Long Category”.

Shows what we know, as the Jester is still going strong on Day 3, showing several more bluffs as we checked at the action at his table and building his stack up to about 225,000 chips early here on Day 3.

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2012 Main Event: Feature Tables & Feature Dealers

We’re off and running here on Day 3 of the 2012 Main Event, which will see our field of 1,698 players pared down significantly as the field barrels towards the money. Payouts start at 666th place.

Day 3 is a bit of an in-betweener, as things are obviously getting serious and players have already survived two very long days of poker, but it’s still all for naught if players bust today. Day 4 is when we’ll finally be in the money, with a hefty min-cash of $19,227 for places 595-666.

That doesn’t mean the action isn’t deadly serious here on Day 3, as for most players in the field a single hand could undo all the hard work to scratch and claw their way to this stage of things, with the turn of a single card shipping them a huge pot or crushing their WSOP dreams.

Shuffle up and deal was preceeded by awarding the Dealer of the Year award, which went to Timothy Louis, who has a pretty entertaining Twitter account here (https://twitter.com/EggRollSlimTim).

Feature Table

The ESPN feature table today is headlined by none other than Daniel Negreanu, who’s been pretty effervescent and chirpy and playing to the rail the last few days -- easy to do when he’s got plenty of chips and fans hanging on his every word.

Today is no different, he has been laughing and joking around with his table mates during the first level. Negreanu has stated that the Main Event is one of his favorite tournaments to play, so as long as he keeps his chips in front of him he will probably keep the smile on for much of the day.

One More Time in 2012?

Every year at the Main Event a lot of attention is paid to former Main Event winners and how they fare, with fans, players, and media alike curious to see if anyone can pull off the very difficult task of winning the Main Event twice in the modern era of very big fields.

We’ve got six Main Event winners still in the hunt on Day 3, with that pack headed by Johnny Chan (who won back to back Main Events, and missed a third straight win by a nose to Hellmuth in 1989) and Dan Harrington, who’s been able to pull off some very deep runs over the last decade at the Main Event on top of winning it all back in 1995.

Johnny Chan (1987-1988) - 194,400 chips

Dan Harrington (1995) - 138,500 chips

Robert Varkonyi (2002) - 104,800 chips

Jerry Yang (2007) - 149,600 chips

Peter Eastgate (2008) - 144,800 chips

Huck Seed (1996) - 70,600 chips

It’s interesting to note that two of the Main Event winners who tend to get little respect as far as their poker skills -- Varkonyi and Yang -- are still very much alive and well here at the 2012 WSOP. They are still in the mix long after the likes of Brunson, Nguyen, Raymer, Hellmuth, Mortensen, and Duhamel have long hit the rails.

Twitter Twatter

WSOP @WSOP: “There will be a new Main Event Champ this year as Pius @MastaP89 Heinz has been eliminated. Thank you for being a great Champion this year.”

Phil Galfond @PhilGalfond: “Barely any sleep last night. Running entirely on caffeine and a debilitating fear of failure. #WSOP”

Jason Somerville @JasonSomerville: “Well the tower of doom has turned into the #towerofboom as i win a 3 way all in w JJ vs AK and AQ. KJKT2 and i got 550k+”

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2012 Main Event: Off They Go!

Surprisingly in the top 10 chip counts.
Surprisingly in the top 10 chip counts.

We just heard the shuffle up and deal echo through the cavernous Rio so we are once again live from the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Gaelle Baumann, Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb, Sam Holden, Jason Somerville and Eugene Katchalov as the race to the first one million-chip stack is on.

Build a big stack today and you stand an excellent chance of making the money in the tournament although is poker and anything can happen.

Fun fact: The future 2012 WSOP Main Event champion is somewhere in the building right now, most likely hiding behind a stack of chips.

Once again here’s a look at the top 10 leaders heading into play today:

Gaelle Baumann – 505,800
Mark Demirdjian – 499,900
Shaun Deeb – 460,900
Michael Hack – 457,000
Marco Bognanni – 452,100
Jonathan Fountain – 435,400
Randy Haddox – 407,300
John Leathart – 404,900
Erik Hellman – 397,900
Kevin Davis – 394,800

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2012 Main Event: Day 3 Preview

All together now!
All together now!

It’s Day 3 of the 2012 Main Event and for the first time all the remaining players will be packed into the Rio together.

That means about all 1,698 remaining players will be heading to the Rio today with the goal of chipping up.

The good news is that they’ve already outlasted 4,900 players, the bad news is that the money doesn’t begin until 666 remain.

We’ll see what happens today but everyone who survives through Day 3 should have a very good shot at making the money.

At this point everyone is looking up to Winamax pro Gaelle Baumann who has 505,800 chips in front of her. Not too far behind is MTT grinder Shaun Deeb who has 460,900.

Some of the other notable pros in the top 50 include Burt Boutin, Sam Holden, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Somerville, Eugene Katchalov, Jake Cody, Joseph Cheong and Daniel Negreanu.

Action starts back up again at noon Las Vegas time so be sure to check back here for live updates.

Here’s a look at the top 10 leaders heading into play today:

Gaelle Baumann – 505,800
Mark Demirdjian – 499,900
Shaun Deeb – 460,900
Michael Hack – 457,000
Marco Bognanni – 452,100
Jonathan Fountain – 435,400
Randy Haddox – 407,300
John Leathart – 404,900
Erik Hellman – 397,900
Kevin Davis – 394,800

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