The 'chip and a chair' story of Jonathan Diamond's improbable Day Three run came to an end shortly after 10:00, and again, the crucial matchup came against $2 qualifier Tyler Pendleton. At a table that also featured the return to Main Event success of legendary pro Hans 'Tuna' Lund, Diamond's demise arrived when he re-raised Pendleton to $25,000, over the Lubbock, TX player's $8,000 open, and when Pendleton came back over the top to set Diamond all-in, Diamond opted to make the call with his QQ, but found Pendleton had another pair of aces.
As with their earlier AA vs. AA showdown, however, the hand offered additional thrills. The flop brought the K of hearts, Q of diamonds and the 6 of clubs, giving Diamond a big lead and the chance at yet another double-through against Pendleton, whom he'd victimized twice already. But the 10 of clubs arrived on the turn and the diamond jack dropped on the river, filling Pendleton's ace-high straight and sending Diamond, and his Cinderella story, to the rail. The cameras swarmed as the two exchanged handshakes, and Diamond still had his wonder run to the cash as consolation for his day's work.
It took minutes for Pendleton to calm down after the hand. "You see what he flopped on me?" he asked this writer. "I took my time and made the bet, and inside my elbow my pulse was going ka-thump, ka-thump --- it was just bouncing." The suck-and-resuck victory put Pendleton at nearly $300,000 in chips, and a hand or two later, after another pot came his way, he was near $340,000 and high on the board. "No more of that for today," he vowed as he crashed back into his chair.
At the next table David Chiu put on a lesson in big-stack poker, temporarily grinding his way above $400,000 in chips until he folded a large pot to Mark Zadjner, dropping back to about $380,000. Chiu took minutes before making the fold, on a hand in which Zadjner made a healthy post-flop bet after a dangerous two-spade, J-10-8 flop hit the board. After the long minutes had elapsed, Zadjner mock-pleaded for help from the rest of the table. "No, no one's going to call a clock on Da-vid Chiu," he offered. "Next time he does that, somebody save me and call a clock, please!"
On the opposite side of the director's podium, Hoyt Corkins and Daniel Negreanu played on end-by-end tables. Negreanu's table also held L.A. Poker Classic pre-lim winner Ryan Kallberg, but it was Negreanu's sliding fortunes that consistently drew rushes from the cameras, writers and onlookers at the rail, only a few feet away. After a loss with A-10 against an even shorter stack's all-in pocket threes, Negreanu fell under $20,000 and was in push-and-pray mode, as he did on the next hand with a suited K-6. For at least a couple of hands it worked, and Negreanu continues to play on. As the last break of the night arrived, Negreanu was back over $90,000.