The World Series of Poker Main Event has reached the money after Day 3 cut the field down to 800 players with some established pros at the top of the chip counts all searching for the $8m first prize.
Day 3 of this epic event began with Valentin Vornicu leading 2,167 players. It ended with a different chip leader, and only 800 players left in search of an $8m bounty, gold bracelet, and every poker player’s dream.
Level 11 is where we left off on Day 2, and it began on Day 3 with a splurge of top tier eliminations.
Two men bound in the history books of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event clashed with fatal consequences. Last year’s eighth-place finisher, Frederico Butteroni, eliminated Matt Affleck JJQQ to eliminated Carlos Welch, and the comedian Ray Romano wasn’t laughing then his A7 failed to find an ace to upset the 99 that eventually sent him tumbling out of the event.
Then the tournament lost a few Brits.
PokerStars Team Pro, Jake Cody, ran AJ into the AQ of Luke Brereton, and Stephen Chidwick exited stage left. Chidwick lost a sizeable portion of his stack in a blind on blind skirmish against Neil Channing. The former Irish Open winner moved all-in with 87o in the small blind; Chidwick called with the dominating A8 in the big, but a seven fell on the river. He was all-in, and out in the next hand, after being called in two spots and beaten by a straight.
Ola Brandborn eliminated David Benyamine. The money went in on the turn. The board showed [Th] [3d] [2s] [9d]; Benyamine bet, Brandborn raised, Benyamine moved all-in, and Brandborn called. Benyamine had [Tc] [7d] for a pair. Brandborn showed [Jc] [7s] for the gutshot and rivered the [Jh] to hit a higher pair.
David Einhorn followed the Frenchman out of the door, which is a shame, as he would have probably given his $8m win to charity. Einhorn lost out A8-JJ. Former Liverpool footballer John Arne Riise lost his place in the competition when his flush ran into the brick walls of a house, and then we had one of the pivotal moments of the day.
Kenny Hallaert opened to 5,500 from mid position and Michael Doyle called in the small blind. The flop was [6h] [5c] [4h]; Doyle checked, Hallaert bet 9,000, and Doyle called. The turn was the [Qh]; Doyle check-called 28,000. The river was the [3c]; Doyle led for 45,000, Hallaert moved all-in, and Doyle called for his last 135,000 chips. Hallaert showed [Ah] [Jh] for the nut flush, eviscerating the trip treys that Doyle showed down before leaving the competition. That hand gave Hallaert 735,000 in chips and moved him into contention for the first time in the event.
Soaring above Hallaert at the top of the charts was the former European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event winner, Tom Middleton. ‘Middy’ moved close to a million in chips after busting Michael Wallace. Wallace check-raised a flop of [Jc] [4d] [3h]; Middleton called. Both players checked [2h] on the turn. The river was the [2c] and Wallace called Middleton’s all-in for over 100k. Wallace showed AJ for two-pairs, and Middleton showed AA for a higher two pairs.
Middleton finished the level as the chip leader. Vornicu, Adam Krach, and Hallaert were not that far behind. Doug Polk, Andy Black, Sofia Lovgren, Adrian Mateos, Tobias Reinkemeier, and Sam Chartier were a few of more notable poker players to leave the event in the opening level.
Level 12 started with the elimination of Scott Seiver after moving all-in on the turn with top pair and flush outs, only to lose out to his opponent’s straight.
Then we lost one of the bigger stacks of Day 2.
John Dibella raised to 75k from late position and Daniel Steinberg defended the big blind. The flop was [Th] [Ts] [3d] Steinberg checked, Dibella bet 13k, Steinberg check-raised to 31k, Dibella called. At the sight of the [5d] turn, Steinberg bet 45k and Dibella called. The river was the [Ks] Steinberg moved all-in for 175k, and Dibella called.
Steinberg looked to the heavens after tabling [8d] [6d] for the missed draw. No angel came. Dibella showed [Ah] [Kd] for two-pairs, and Steinberg was out nursing a very sore head.
End of the Level Vornicu had returned to the chip lead; Middleton was second. Fabian Quoss, Todd Brunson, Keven Stammen, Dario Sammartino, Ted Forrest, Craig McCorkell and Jen Harman were all evicted.
JC Tran was the first big name to leave Level 12 when his pocket nines couldn’t beat the QT of his opponent, and then we lost the most famous and successful player in WSOP history when Sara Hall eliminated Phil Hellmuth AJ-JJ to end a very disappointing series for the 14-time WSOP champion.
Vornicu finished the level with 1,189,000 in chips; Mark Zullo and Middleton also had seven figure chip stacks. Jens Kyllonen, Dan Cates, Michael Binger, and Jonathan Dimmig had zero stacks.
Level 14 saw Thomas Saad eliminate Matt Jarvis in a 4b pot. The money finally went in the middle on a [6c] [3d] [2s] flop with Jarvis holding king high and Saad holding a set of treys. Eric Afriat was also eliminated by Asi Moshe AK-AQ when Moshe flopped Broadway, and we also lost Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, and Anthony Zinno.
Kenny Hallaert overtook Vornicu as the chip leader with 1.2m; Marc-Andre Ladouceur also moved into contention as did Melanie Weisner.
The penultimate level saw Survivor star Anna Khait bowing out 88-TT, and we learned we would have a new champion after Dave Farah eliminated Joe McKeehen AA-TT. It was also the level that we lost WPT & WSOP champ Tony Dunst 88-KK.
Kenny Hallaert remained the chip leader with 1,365,000. Shaun Deeb, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Valentin Vornicu, Kilian Kramer, Jon Turner and Chris Hunichen all booked over a million chips going into the final break of the night.
JC Alvarado, Jacob Bazeley, Anthony Spinella were out.
The final level of the day saw the exit of Michael Mizrachi. He had a few bad beat stories to tell.
KK vs AA. JJ Vs QQ. KQ vs 10J. Had nutz till river. Filled up with a 10. Had AQ nut flush draw missed. AQ10. Had AQ vs KJ. To end it
— Michael Mizrachi (@TheGrinder44) July 15, 2016
Killian Kramer eliminated the former Main Event runner-up Martin Staszko KK-AQ, and then the bubble burst after George Zisimopoulos removed Adam Furgatch A7-Q9 after Furgatch had made his final stand with just 6k to his name. Furgatch earned the consolation prize of a free 2017 WSOP Main Event entry, and this is the perfect place to bring the day to an end.
6,737 players started the competition, and we now have 800 remaining.
Kenny Hallaert, who finished fifth in last year’s Monster Stack, will lead the charge when Day 4 begins at noon.
Top 10 Chip Counts
1. Kenny Hallaert – 1,709,000
2. Jared Bleznick – 1,607,000
3. Duy Ho – 1,480,000
4. Kilian Kramer – 1,400,000
5. Mark Zullo – 1,390,000
6. Myung Mike Shin – 1,385,000
7. Antonio Esfandiari – 1,381,000
8. Nolan King – 1,355,000
9. Jasthi Kumar – 1,351,000
10. Farhad Jamasi – 1,302,000
Other supreme poker pros at the top end include Marc-Andre Ladouceur (1,302,000), Shaun Deeb (1,266,000), and Eugene Katchalov (1,235,000).