Saturday was Day 3 at the WSOP-C Southern Regional Championship at Harrah's New Orleans. When play wrapped up on Day 2, Brian Senie was at the head of the class with 291,000 chips and 18 players remaining. But things can change rather quickly in an event of this caliber. After another short day, AJ Jejelowo now sits atop the counts and Senie is somewhere off at the bar after a disappointingly short day.
Early on, Senie tried to bluff Gary Friedlander in a pretty sizable pot, and he doubled up Kunal Patel a few minutes later. But we never got to see Senie's hand after he called Patel's shove on a board. Patel showed to knock Senie down to about half of his starting stack, and although he still had about 60 big blinds left by then, those chips were soon gone, as well. In the biggest pot of the day, Senie, Friedlander and two others took a flop. Senie got it all-in with , but Friedlander's had him drawing dead unless the board paired. It didn't. The turn brought the and the river the , and Senie was run out of the room before the first break.
That pot was in the middle of a big rush for Friedlander, one that saw him climb from 123,800 to over 600,000 within just a few hands. Before that Senie knockout, Friedlander was in the enviable spot of getting pocket aces against two all-in players. Adam Levy was far overmatched with , and Brian Roberts' were also no good. The two of them went out in 18th and 17th places, respectively, as the board ran out to vault Friedlander into a lead that he would cling to for a long while. At day's end, his count of 469,000 puts him second in the pack with 117 big blinds to take to the final table.
Kyle Bowker fell in 16th place a short while later, the victim of the Chainsaw that is Allen Kessler. Bowker doubled up Kessler early in the day, then got the rest of his chips in with his trailing Kessler's . The board was the last of Bowker's day, and that was about the time when Senie was also headed out in 15th place.
On a board, Prince Gaspard called off the rest of his short stack with , running into Jejelowo's to exit the room in 14th place. Steve Brecher was beginning his slide toward the double doors, too. First, his doubled up Lawrence Jacobs and his , then he lost nearly all of his chips when he shoved a flop with . Patel had an overpair with , though, and Brecher could not recover from that crippling pot. He was eliminated in 13th place.
It was a long while until the 12-player field was shortened again. After several hours away from the table, Brecher reappeared on the rail to see the same 12 still fighting. He made a comment about the stalemate, and finally the eliminations came in quick succession. Jeremiah Vinsant raced his short stack and against Matt Waxman's to no avail, and Jacobs shoved into Jejelowo's to pull the surviving ten players together at one table.
That turned out to be the second-to-last hand of the day as a nasty cooler ended Shannon Shorr's run on the very first hand back. It was the standard pocket kings into Allie Prescott's pocket aces, and just like that, the final table was set.
Play begins on Sunday at 1200 CDT (1700 GMT), and we'll be on the rail as the final WSOP-C Regional Champion is crowned. We're on Twitter, so follow us for up-to-the-minute news.