Day 3 saw 22 players return for their chance at poker fame, sadly only one of these players would finish the day with their dream still intact. Richard Teatum was the first person to fall, and after him the flood gates opened with players dropping and 18-handed play being reached fairly early on. Players barely had time to get used to their new seats after the two table redraw that takes place once 18 players are reached with Randolph Lanosga, Paul Vas Nunes, and Sam Holden all making their respective exits within two hours of play.
Players still seemed to keep falling to the way side with Christopher Odonnell, Bastian Fischer, Dmitrii Valouev, Michael Graydon, and Alexander Queen all finishing their day before the final table. With the elimination of Queen, the remaining player’s chips were bagged up and the competitors voyaged over to the Pavilion room main stage to finish things out. Keeping up with the pace of the day Gianluca Mattia took his leave during the first couple of hands of 10-handed play.
Things slowed down once the official final table was reached. Thomas Junek was the big man on campus possessing more chips than anyone at that point in time, and David Borg was at the bottom of the totem pole. Play seemed quite tame with plenty of small pots, but that could only last for so long. Eventually a three-way pot brewed up that saw Eliyahu Levy come out the other side with a monster stack. In order to get that stack Levy had to knock out Bassel Moussa in 9th place. Tomas Trampota was next to leave as he was basically crippled in the Moussa knock out hand.
It was around this time that Borg started to move up the counts, taking a big hand off Junek, solidifying his place at the final table. A Steven Goldber elimination in 7th and a Andrew Taylor knock-out in 6th kept the gears of this final table progressing. After the elimination of Taylor the cards refused to let anyone leave, a short stacked Junek managed to get all in against Donald Vogel with the worst of it, but came out the other side with the winner. A short stacked Eastgate then did the same thing to Eliyahu Levy giving Eastgate an essential double up . Next it was Donald Vogel’s turn to move his short stack all in and come back from being behind to double up.
This string of double ups couldn't last forever, as Levy was sent home in fifth after losing a huge pot to Junek. After the hand Junek possessed a stranglehold on the chip lead possessing half the chips in play.
Peter Eastgate was next to fall after his couldn't outrun Borg's , and the 2008 Main Event Champ was sent home in fourth. Eastgate had a strong showing today making good calls and finding good spots to acquire chips, but a tough beat late crippled the champ.
Donald Vogel then made his exit after his short stack never seemed to pick up any traction late in the game. Vogel settled for a nice $289,530 payday for his third place.
Heads up play got started right off the bat with Junek and Borg battling it out in one of the bigger pots of the night that saw Junek walk away the victor. Borg won the next battle though with a flush for a nice double up. In the end though Junek came out on top after Borg three-bet shoved with . Junek made the call with and came out on top.
This not only was Junek's first bracelet, but this is also his first World Series of Poker cash. Congratulations to Tomas Junek on winning Event 56: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.