Day 3 of Event #49, $50,000 World Championship HORSE, saw more big pots, bad beats and big eliminations as 53 players returned to the Rio trying to move one step closer to the final table and the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, along with the custom WSOP bracelet and the $1.2 million first prize. By the end of Day 3 only 19 players were still in the hunt, with Event #2 winner Vitaly Lunkin leading the pack.
Along the way we saw some big names fall by the wayside, including Alex Kravchenko, Barry Greenstein, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey. Ivey’s quest for a third bracelet in 2009 came to an end early on Day 3, when he was all in on third street in a razz hand against Hasan Habib and Huck Seed. Habib bet out on fourth street with 7-A showing, and Seed got out of the way. Habib tabled [2-3]-7-A to Ivey’s [A-10]-3-8, and when the boards were done Habib made 7-4-3-2-A as Ivey bricked out on the last three streets to finish with an eight low.
Another big name who made an untimely exit on Day 3 was Erick Lindgren. "E-Dog" busted in a huge stud hand where he and Freddy Deeb both rivered full houses, but Lindgren’s nines full was no good against Deeb’s jacks full. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was knocked out in a three-way stud hi/lo hand against Frank Cremen and Jon Turner. Ferguson tossed the last of his chips into the middle on third street. Cremen and Turner both called his all-in and the two live players continued betting through to the river, where Cremen took the low half of the pot with a 7-5 low, Turner took the high half with aces up, and Ferguson took his leave. Turner followed in Jesus’ footsteps soon afterwards when he lost another big stud hi/lo hand against Scott Clements after Clements made a wheel and six-high straight to scoop.
Scotty Nguyen’s shot at becoming the first repeat champion in the event ended late on Day 3 when he was felted in the Omaha hi/lo round by Frank Kassela. The last of Nguyen’s chips went in preflop with , and Kassela called with . Kassela’s queens were good on the high-only board of , and Nguyen’s tournament was done. Other late eliminations included Thor Hansen, Bill Chen, and Matt Glantz.
Vitaly Lunkin, no stranger to big buy-in events after winning the $40,000 No Limit Hold’em event earlier this WSOP, flirted with the chip lead for much of the evening before taking control on one of the last hands of the night. In an action-packed razz hand, Brett Richey completed on third street with the in the door. Todd Brunson raised with the showing, and Lunkin three-bet with the in the door. Richey got out of the way, and Brunson called. Lunkin and Brunson both checked fourth and fifth streets, and then Lunkin bet out on sixth. Brunson called, and both players checked seventh. Lunkin tabled an 8-6-4-3-2 low, and Brunson couldn’t show anything better as he slipped down to 145,000, ending the day as the shortest surviving stack.
That hand propelled Lunkin into the top spot with 1,527,000 in chips, enough to eclipse Erik Sagstrom, who held the chip lead for much of Day 3. Sagstrom ended in second chip position on a stack of 1,315,000, with Freddy Deeb (1,300,000), and David Back (1,265,000) as the only other players to finish over the million-mark. Other notable survivors include Ville Wahlbeck (842,000), whose performance so far this year in championship mixed-game events is without parallel, Gus Hansen (801,000), Tony G (642,000), and Erik Seidel, who finished the day as one of the shorter stacks with 454,000 but is looking to add to his eight WSOP bracelets.
Out of the 19 players remaining, 16 will make the money, which begins at $72,914 and ends at $1,276,606 for the eventual champion. Tune in to PokerNews at 2PM local time as the survivors blow through the money bubble and play down to the final table.