The 2009 World Series of Poker-Europe Main Event reached the money Tuesday night, each of the 36 remaining players guaranteed at least £21,142 for their efforts. Though the original plan was to continue until 27 remained, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel made the decision to halt play once the bubble burst. Ending the evening as the chip leader was Matt Hawrilenko, with 701,500 in chips while six-time bracelet winner Men "The Master" Nguyen slipped into the money as the short stack with 63,000.
Day 3 was moving day and the road toward the final four tables was littered with some of the game's top pros. Todd Brunson, Joe Beevers, and £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha bracelet winner Jani Vilmunen exited early in the day, as did defending champion John Juanda, high-stakes cash gamer Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro, Freddy Deeb, and Antonio Esfandiari. 2007 WSOP-Europe Main Event champ Annette Obrestad couldn't survive the day, eliminating any chance of a repeat winner. Many of her online brethren found the rail along with her, including Andrew "Luckychewy" Lichtenberger and Justin "Boosted J" Smith.
Hand-for-hand play commenced with 37 players remaining and lasted for 14 hands before John Tabatabai earned the dubious title of bubble boy. After getting his stack in before the flop holding pocket aces against Peter Gould's pocket sevens, the board cruelly ran out , Gould flopping a set and rivering a boat to eliminate the 2007 WSOP-E Main Event runner-up.
The 36 remaining players are a star-studded and rather decorated lot, including David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Steve Zolotow, Jason Mercier, Christian Harder, Andre Akkari, Eric Liu, Chris Bjorin, Ram Vaswani, Arnaud Mattern, Daniel Negreanu and the hot-running Yevgeniy Timoshenko, who only eight days ago won the PokerStars WCOOP Main Event for over $1.7 million. Two members of the 2009 "November Nine" still have a shot at catching Ivan Demidov's record for being the only player to ever make two Main Event final tables in the same year. Both Antoine Saout and James Akenhead still have chips, though both players are on the short stack. Also still in the mix? Manchester United footballer Teddy Sheringham, "last woman standing" Liz Lieu, and Big Papa himself, Doyle Brunson, who is looking for his 11th WSOP bracelet and third Main Event title.
Two 2009 bracelet winners are still alive and kicking in this tournament, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha champion Jason Mercier and $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit hold’em winner Matt Hawrilenko, who will enter Day 4 as the chip leader. With his bracelet win this summer, Hawrilenko collected the third-largest first place prize of the series at $1,003,218, coming in behind only the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. and the $40,000 No-Limit Hold’em events. Should either of them win, they'd become the sixth multiple-bracelet winner of the 2009 WSOP.
Here’s a look at the top ten in chips as Day 3 came to a close:
Matt Hawrilenko 701,500
Steven Fung 648,000
Praz Bansi 471,300
Arnaud Mattern 469,500
Barry Shulman 452,500
John Kabbaj 448,500
Peter Gould 409,000
Eric Liu 367,500
Sandor Demjan 367,500
Keith Hawkins 330,500
The World Series of Poker-Europe Main Event continues tomorrow at 12 p.m. in London. Check out our Live Reporting page for up-to-the-minute coverage from the floor of the Empire Casino.