Lyle Berman took the chip lead into Day 3 of Event #45, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship, with 67 players returning to the Amazon Ballroom at the Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino. By the end of the day, Michael DeMichele had taken over the top spot, with Berman, Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu hot on his heels. Only 24 players survived Day 3 of the toughest tournament field in the world, including Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson and Erick Lindgren.
As the field narrowed to a final three tables, some big names hit the rail. Among the first to go were Jeff Lisandro and Max Pescatori. Pescatori got the last of his chips in a hold'em round with on a flop of and was called by Brandon Adams. Adams tabled a dominating , and Pescatori was in trouble. The turn was the , and the river sent the Italian Pirate to the rail.
In addition to the biggest live-game players in the world, several of the biggest stars of online poker also played in Event 45. One brutal level saw several of these internet stars head to the rail, as Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Dario Minieri and Joe "JoeTall" Bunevith all busted in quick succession. Dwan got the last of his chips in preflop in an Omaha hi/lo hand with Gene Fisher, while holding . Fisher opened for a raise with , and Dwan reraised. Fisher made it four bets to go, and Dwan called all in. The board came down , and Fisher made trip eights to send Dwan to the rail.
Other eliminations from Day 3 included Isabelle Mercier, Justin Bonomo, Rob Hollink, Robert Williamson III, Kenny Tran and Layne Flack, who got it all in on third street in stud hi/lo against Lyle Berman. Flack completed Phil Ivey's bring in, Patrick Bueno called, and Berman raised. Ivey then folded, and Flack three-bet. Bueno got out of the way and Berman raised one last time. Flack called all in and showed  for split tens, while Berman tabled  for buried jacks. Berman picked up another king on fourth street for two pair, and Flack never caught up.
Daniel Negreanu came to life late in the evening on Day 3, crushing a stud round to move past the million-chip mark and secure his place on Day 4. Negreanu started the tournament as one of three players in the field with the chance to pass Jamie Gold on the all-time money list with a win in this event, and was the last one standing at the start of Day 3. Phil Hellmuth and Allen Cunningham were the other two members of that elite club, but they busted early in the tourney. Negreanu's hot streak started at the expense of Marcel Luske, who was crippled after Negreanu's two pair crushed his aces in stud hi. A few hands later, Negreanu got into a big pot with Farzad Bonyadi after Marcel Luske completed and Chad Brown raised on third street. Bonyadi three-bet and Negreanu put in a fourth raise. Luske and Brown got out of the way, and Bonyadi called with [x-x] . Negreanu had the in the door, and picked up the on fourth street. Bonyadi caught the , and called Negreanu's bet. Bonyadi's fifth card was the and he check-folded to Negreanu's bet. Erick Lindgren remarked, "Stud machine!" as Negreanu dragged the pot.
Scotty Nguyen was also very active on Day 3. Nguyen busted Alexander Kostritsyn just before the end of the night to move into the top ten chip stacks. Nguyen raised from the button in hold'em, and Kostritsyn called from the big blind with . Kostritsyn led out for all his chips on the flop, and Nguyen called. The turn left Kostritsyn in the lead, but the on the river sent him home just before the end of Day 3. Soon after Kostritsyn headed to the rail, David Oppenheim busted in 24th, and the final three tables were set.
Michael DeMichele finished the day with the chip lead, but Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein and Lyle Berman were hot on his heels as the top ten chips stacks are as follows:
Michael DeMichele — 1,351,000
Barry Greenstein — 1,311,000
Daniel Negreanu — 1,226,000
Ralph Perry — 1,043,000
Scotty Nguyen — 1,033,000
Lyle Berman — 939,000
Patrick Bueno — 806,000
David Bach — 801,000
Doyle Brunson — 777,000
Michael Mizrachi — 701,000
Join PokerNews at 3PM PDT on Saturday for all the updates as the remaining 24 players work their way towards a final table.