The Empire Casino in London's Leicester Square continued hosting many of the most famous faces in poker as Day 3 of the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe kicked off. Andy Bloch started the day with the chip lead, followed closely by Brian Townsend, Erik Seidel and John Juanda. Day 1 chip leaders Justin "BoostedJ" Smith and Daniel Negreanu were also near the top of the 67-player field as the money bubble loomed and the WSOP Europe Main Event bracelet became a closer goal.
Justin Smith came into the event better known for his online prowess than his live success, with little in the way of live cashes under his belt. The online phenom reclaimed the chip lead early in Day 3 at the expense of two opponents. Jean Thorel raised preflop from the cutoff, and Smith re-raised. Karl "Mantis" Mahrenholz called all in from the small blind, and Thorel called as well. Thorel wasted no time moving all in on the flop, and Smith called instantly with . Mahrenholz showed A-K, and Thorel showed a thoroughly dominated pair of pocket jacks. No help came on the turn or river, and Smith sent two opponents to the rail in the early going while taking over the top spot on the leader board.
With only 30 or so players before the payouts began, it didn't take long to reach the bubble on Day 3. Stephen Ladowsky earned the unfortunate title of bubble boy in this event when he moved all in with pocket queens from the button. Peter Turmezey called, and Toni Hiltunen thought for a moment before folding. Turmezey's wasted no time in winning the coin flip, as the came right on the flop. Ladowsky got no help from the rest of the board, and the bubble was burst.
James Keys busted on the very next hand, becoming the first player to collect £25,340 for his tournament work. He got all his chips in the middle against big stack Erik Seidel with to Seidel's . Seidel's better hand held up as Seidel added to his growing mountain of chips.
Josh Arieh made it into the money before running out of steam. He got all his chips in the middle with to Perttu Bergius' . The flop left Arieh drawing nearly dead, as it came down . The on the turn gave Arieh outs to a full house, but the on the river wasn't one of them, and Arieh finished in 33rd place (£25,340).
Daniel Negreanu had another good day at the WSOP-Europe, finishing with one of the top stacks. He took out Harri Pehkonen in 27th place (£25,340) when his outflopped Pehkonen's pocket kings on a board of . No king or running hearts appeared, and Pehkonen was done.
As play drew to a close, Johnny Lodden, another of the tournament's big stacks, padded his chip count a little at the expense of Panicos Panagi. Lodden raised preflop from early position, and Panagi moved all in over the top from the big blind. Lodden thought and chatted for a moment before making the call with . Panagi was in good shape with , but the flop hit Lodden hard, coming down . The turn and river were no help to Panagi, and he was eliminated in 26th (£28,960).
Big names crowded the top of the chip counts as John Juanda held the top spot, followed closely by Daniel Negreanu, Justin Smith, Philippe Rouas and Johnny Lodden. The top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of Day 3:
John Juanda - 657,500
Daniel Negreanu - 653,000
Justin Smith - 650,000
Philippe Rouas - 573,000
Johnny Lodden - 478,000
Brian Townsend - 424,500
Bengt Sonnert - 346,500
Toni Hiltunen - 321,500
Soren Kongsgaard - 316,500
Ivan Demidov - 316,000
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