A waveless ocean near the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa meant smooth sailing for jet skiers, parasailors and booze cruisers who flocked to the water early this afternoon, taking advantage of a beautiful Caribbean day. Inside the UltimateBet.com Aruba Poker Classic tournament room, however, the ride was a little rougher for the 50 players who failed to last the day, leaving 36 in the tournament heading into tomorrow’s Day 4 play.
For the second consecutive night, Robert Mizrachi was your overnight chip leader. He put on a deep-stack poker clinic on Day 3, having started the day with a field-leading 353,200 in chips and then somehow more than doubling that number to finish with a whopping 743,500, never once relinquishing his chip lead.
UB pro Phil Hellmuth hit the rail midway through the day after losing most of his chips in a hand that saw his pocket aces get dramatically cracked by Jonathan Lessin’s pocket kings. A three-handed preflop showdown pitted Hellmuth’s aces against Lessin’s kings and the of John Venturini. The flop came a safe for Hellmuth but when the peeled off on the turn he pleaded with the dealer, “Oh no! Don’t do it!”
He did it all right.
The crowd that had gathered around the table erupted - most of them shocked in disbelief – after the dealer laid down the river card – the , the only out left in the deck for Lessin. Hellmuth did take down the side pot but was eliminated from the tournament a few minutes later after running into Venturini’s pocket aces.
Last year’s defending champ, Matt Brady, started Day 3 short-stacked with just 34,500 in chips, but managed to find a way into the money despite the fact that he never climbed past 45,000 until the very end of the day, eventually bagging a clean 50,000 in chips.
Notable noncashing Day 3 casualties include UB pros Shawn Rice and Scott Ian along with Gavin Smith, James Honeybone, Tim West, Al Riccobono, Sol Bergren, Johan Storåkers and Casey Kastle.
PokerNews’ live coverage of the 2009 UltimateBet.com Aruba Poker Classic continues Friday at noon EST, when the remaining 36 runners return to play down to a final table.