WSOP Main Event on ESPN: Aussies, ElkY, Ivey, and More
The ninth and tenth hours of ESPN’s coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event took us through the highs and lows of Day 3, the first day of play in which the entire field was united in one room. A pair of Melbourne-dwelling Aussies took center stage this week, with 2005 Main Event champion Joe Hachem and triple bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro dueling on the featured table. These two were certainly familiar with one another’s tendencies at the table, as they’ve spent countless hours playing together in high-stakes cash games at the Crown Casino. Pairing the icy Lisandro with the tiltable Hachem was an interesting lesson in contrast, with only one of the boys from Down Under surviving to play the next day.
Cast of Characters: While Hachem and Lisandro ruled the main featured table, Kenny Tran captained the secondary along with Ville Wahlbeck, the only player remaining in the field that could wrest 2009 Player of the Year honors away from Lisandro. Tran was later joined by the always-entertaining David “Devilfish” Ulliott while out in the field Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, J.C. Tran, Peter Eastgate, Greg Raymer, Phil Hellmuth, Jean-Robert Bellande, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason Alexander, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Josh Arieh, Dennis Phillips, Jordan Farmar, Hevad "Rain" Khan, Joe Sebok, and Kent Senter worked on growing their chip stacks.
Interesting tidbits: Eight former world champions and 59 bracelet winners made it to Day 3 of this year’s Main Event, as did five of the 29 players that hold four or more bracelets.
That’s one way to introduce yourself to your opponent: “Phil Ivey, you know I’ve had a serious crush on you for years, I’m Melissa”.
Dissed!: Lauchlin McKinnon was the only player at his table (and perhaps at this year’s Main Event) to refuse to shake Phil Hellmuth's hand as he sat down at the table.
Worst Beat - Kenny Tran runner-runners a wheel: Holding the against David "Devilfish" Ulliott's , Kenny Tran checked the flop. Devilfish checked behind and the came on the turn. Tran led out for 9,000 with his gutshot straight draw, and Devilfish called with top pair. The river was gin for Tran, falling the to make his straight. He bet 27,000, prompting a speech from his opponent.
“If you outdrew me I’m gonna be so sick,” said Devilfish before making the call and seeing the bad news. Things only got worse for Devilfish later on. After getting the last of his chips in with K-J for top two pair, and earning a call from Prahlad Friedman with Q-Q, a third queen spiked on the river, making Friedman a set and sending Devilfish to the rail.
Fashion highlight: The immaculately pressed navy pinstriped suit WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack wore as he awarded Jeffrey Lisandro 2009 Player of the Year honors.
Fashion lowlight: Unfortunately, it appears that Jeffrey Lisandro's garish black and white striped silk shirt will be immortalized on the walls of the Amazon Room for years to come.
What happened to...? Though Bertrand Grospellier’s meteoric rise on Day 3 was carefully chronicled on last night’s broadcast, he wasn’t the only French player who leapt to the front of the pack that day. Ludovic Lacay, who ultimately finished in 16th place, remained in the top five throughout Day 3, but has yet to earn a frame of screen time.
"The Nuts": Phil Hellmuth and Norman Chad took turns in the dunk tank out by the Rio’s pool. Thankfully, neither appeared shirtless.
MVP - ”ElkY”: Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier not only managed to survive a day at Phil Ivey’s table, but was able to climb into the chip lead. Day 3 saw the former StarCraft whiz take his stack from 208,000 to 1.38 million by the end of the session, as he carefully picked his spots and fastidiously avoided getting involved in big pots with Ivey.
Hand of the week - Hellmuth’s River Call: With the board reading on the river, Columba Duffy moved all in for 104,900, leaving the action on Phil Hellmuth, who had 120,000 behind. Forced to a decision for nearly his entire stack, Hellmuth made the call, having turned the nut straight with . Duffy had not filled up but was instead on a bluff with , and Hellmuth raked in his chips feeling like quite the genius.
Notable eliminations: Ville Wahlbeck, Jean-Robert Bellande, Jennifer Harman, Greg Raymer, Devilfish, Jason Alexander, Jeffrey Lisandro, Humberto Brenes, and Jordan Farmar all saw their Main Event come to an end, as did Kent Senter, who was eliminated by Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier with pocket jacks against pocket tens.
Quote of the Week: "Did this really happen to me? This is Jean-Robert! This does not happen for me. You didn't get the memo, dealer?" – Jean-Robert Bellande, referring to himself in the third person after surviving an all-in.
ESPN's coverage of the 2009 WSOP Main Event airs every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST. Check your local listings for showtimes and make sure to follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.