With six days of World Series of Poker Main Event action completed, for the first time the entire field played on one day. 2,044 players returned to the Rio for Day 3 action, but over 60 percent of them didn’t last the night. By the end of Day 3 the money bubble was looming for some players, while the 789 survivors were looking all the way to the final table, as Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier closed out the day with a hefty chip lead.
The day kicked off with full tables spread throughout every available playing area of the Rio, as sports stars, movie stars, rock stars, TV stars, and poker players all tried to make their Main Event dreams last a little longer. In the field as the day kicked off were former Main Event champions Peter Eastgate, Joe Hachem, Phil Hellmuth, Dan Harrington, Greg Raymer, Chris Ferguson, Carlos Mortensen, Bobby Baldwin, and WSOPE winner John Juanda. Also taking a shot at Main Event glory were bracelet winners Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Ville Wahlbeck, Jeff Lisandro, Tom Schneider, and Brian Lemke.
There were still a few non-poker celebrities in the Main Event as Los Angeles Laker Jordan Farmar, actor Lou Diamond Phillips, and Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian all joined the field on Day 3. All of them advanced to Day 4. Jason Alexander and cricketer Shane Warne were less fortunate, as they both busted on Day 3.
The eliminations averaged a pace of two per minute, as nearly 1,200 players hit the rail on Day 3. Among the early bust-outs were Erik Seidel, Roland de Wolfe, Bryan Micon, Jesse Jones, and Eric “Rizen” Lynch. Jennifer Harman got all her chips in after the flop holding on the board, but her pair and flush draw was behind her opponent’s . Harman improved to two pair on the turn, but she still needed help against her opponent’s top and bottom pair. The river brought the , and Harman’s tournament was over.
Other notable eliminations on Day 3 included Humberto Brenes, Jean-Robert Bellande, Liz Lieu, Carlos Mortensen, and Greg Raymer. Raymer moved all in preflop with , but found himself in deep trouble when his opponent called and tabled . Raymer caught no piece of the board, and made his exit after autographing his card-capper for the opponent who busted him.
John Juanda, Eugene Todd, and Nam Le all headed to the rail shortly after dinner. Le got his chips into the middle with two pair on the board of . Le’s was in trouble against his opponent’s , and when the hit the river, Le was done. Jerry Wong’s day ended in dramatic fashion in a monster pot that rocketed Bertrand Grospellier up the leaderboard. All the fireworks went off on the river, with the board showing . Wong led out, and Grospellier put in a significant raise. Wong thought for a long moment before moving all in over the top. Grospellier considered his options carefully, but finally made the call. Grospellier had Wong slightly covered as the pot swelled to nearly one million in chips. Grospellier showed for middle set. Wong showed for one pair, and his failed bluff attempt cost him his Main Event. Grospellier headed for the top of the leaderboard as Wong headed for the door.
As the evening wore on, more and more players were sent packing. Jason Alexander got his chips in good against Christian Heich when Heich moved all in on the flop of . Alexander thought for a long moment before making the call with , and Heich showed for one pair and the gutshot. The on the turn missed both players, but the on the river was one of Heich’s outs, and Alexander was done.
Jeff Lisandro’s Day 3 was one of both highs and lows. Early in the day he was crowned WSOP Player of the Year for 2009 after Ville Wahlbeck busted. Lisandro came into the event with a slight points lead over Wahlbeck, and when he outlasted his final competitor, the title was his. Unfortunately Lisandro’s extraordinary run in the 2009 WSOP came to an end as he headed to the rail late in the day. All the chips went in on the flop, as Lisandro moved all in with pocket kings. John Myung made the call with , and Lisandro needed running cards to a boat to stay alive. The on the turn left Lisandro drawing dead, and the on the river was irrelevant as the dapper Aussie was busto.
As the clock ticked down to zero on Day 3, just 789 survivors remained. The money bubble loomed for some, as 648 of the remaining players will earn a profit on their $10,000 buy-ins, but many had their eyes on Bertrand Grospellier’s monster stack instead. ElkY closed out the day with 1,380,500 – the only player to finish over the million-mark and well in front of his nearest competitor, countryman Ludovic Lacay with 896,000. Some of the big names making it through Day 3 included Peter Eastgate, Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo, and Dennis Phillips. Also making it to Day 4 were Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Sebok, Chris Ferguson, Kara Scott, and Joe Hachem.
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