After a day off on Wednesday, 1,866 players returned to the Rio on Thursday to battle in Day 3 of the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event. Ben Lamb began as the chip leader, but at the end of the day, a new name found its way to the top of the leaderboard — Patrick Poirier. Not only were the players attempting to write history by positioning themselves for deep runs, but ESPN began its unprecedented live-streaming coverage of the WSOP Main Event.
A story almost as big as the WSOP Main Event itself was ESPN's live coverage of the Main Event. Starting with Day 3, action will be shown across ESPN3.com, ESPN2, and ESPN. Any action on ESPN3.com will be shown without hole cards and on a five-minute delay. Action on ESPN2 and ESPN will have hole cards for players involved in a hand after the flop is dealt, and action will be on a 30-minute delay. Daniel Negreanu was on the main featured table during coverage Thursday night, while start-of-day chip leader Ben Lamb was on the secondary featured table.
Ben Lamb may have began the day as the chip leader, but he couldn't really get anything going and slid down in the chip count. Patrick Poirier had an epic day on Thursday, becoming the first player of the 2011 WSOP Main Event to move over the 1 million chip mark. Poirier moved over the million chip mark when he and another player got into a preflop raising war that saw his opponent six-bet shove for around 135,000. Poirier insta-called with and found himself flipping against . The flop and turn missed both players, but the river spiked the to eliminate the six-bettor and send Poirier up to 1.1 million in chips. He tacked on a bit more to finish out the day with 1.32 million and the chip lead.
When the day began, Lamb was sitting at the secondary feature table on a 551,600-chip stack. His day at the table was a rocky on and was unable to get any real traction going and his chips took a hit. He finished the day with 354,500, which is still solidly above average. Kevin Saul, who started the day in second place with 542,200 didn't fare much better than Lamb. Early on, he managed to move up over 790,000 but toward the end of the day, he lost over half of his stack to finish the day with 392,500.
Daryl Jace started Day 3 play with 333,000 in chips and steadily built his stack throughout the day. He started to contend for the chip lead after getting very lucky with pocket deuces. A three-way pot started to develop preflop between Jace, Don Nguyen, and Billy Paradiso. After a raise to 2,700 by Jace and a reraise to 22,000 by Paradiso, Nguyen three-bet to 52,300. Jace then four-bet to 130,000, and Paradiso moved all-in. Nguyen decided that he had enough and finally laid it down, but Jace made the call. It was the aforementioned deuces for Jace facing pocket kings for Paradiso. The flop fell to give Jace a set of deuces and Paradiso was left with just two outs. The turn changed nothing and the river eliminated Paradiso and sent Jace up to 975,000. Jace later moved over 1.1 million when his pocket jacks held up against the of another player. From there, Jace moved up to 1.28 million and finished the day second in chips.
Shaun Deeb was one of the big Day 2 stories and started Day 3 with 294,700 in chips. He had slipped a bit but still had about 211,000 when he was moved to the televised featured table with Daniel Negreanu. His stay at the featured table lasted less than an hour because of a huge bad beat suffered at the hands of Max Heinzelmann. After a player made it 4,600 to go, Deeb three-bet to 15,600 preflop. Heinzelmann then made it 31,300 and the original raiser got out of the way. Deeb then five-bet to 68,600 and Heinzelmann wasted little time going all-in. Deeb insta-called and to Heinzelmann's chagrin, turned over . Heinzelmann turned over and needed a lot of help. The flop fell to give Heinzelmann a pair and Deeb needed to fade two outs. The turn fell the , and now a jack would give the two Broadway and a chopped pot. Antonio Esfandiari was providing color commentary on ESPN2 and before the river was dealt, he said "I think a six will make Shaun cry." The river then brought the and the rail gasped as Deeb lost all but around 20,000 of his stack. Deeb was knocked out a couple of hands later when his failed to outrun the of Sami Kelopuro. As such, Deeb became another classic example of how quickly fortunes can change in the Main Event.
Phil Hellmuth decided to play Roller Coaster Tycoon on Day 3 of the Main Event. He started the day with 64,900 and quickly moved up to around 110,000. A failed bluff knocked Hellmuth down to 48,000, followed by a strong lay-down of pocket jacks vs. pocket queens to send him down to 25,000. From there Hellmuth moved up to 72,000 when he doubled-up after flopping a Broadway straight. He then moved back up to 134,000 after a sizable pot with pocket aces. From that point, Hellmuth stayed active at the table but was unable to win many pots. He finished the day with 77,000, which means his run toward a 12th bracelet will continue into Day 4 of the Main Event.
When play concluded at the end of four levels, 852 players remained. They will return on Friday and begin the slow march toward the largest money bubble of the year. Poirier and Jace lead the field, but many big names are still in contention. Lars Bonding will start Day 4 with 769,500, Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro will come back with 654,500, and Matt "AllInAt420" Stout will come back with 600,000 in chips. Other notables well above average in chips include Bryan Devonshire, Sam Simon of The Simpsons, JP Kelly, 2010 November Niner Joseph Cheong, and Joe Tehan.
A field of 852 players will return to the Rio on Friday to make their bid for the money. Players will make at least $19,359 for cashing in the Main Event, so expect this money bubble to be hotly contested. Once that bubble is finally burst and the initial flurry of bust-outs occur, the serious business of poker will begin as the remaining players start to finally set their sights on the November Nine final table.
As the 2011 WSOP Main Event winds down, the PokerNews Podcast is your one-stop source for all the news and highlights. This week the crew discussed the massive field, the notable players, and even told listeners about one player who missed out on Day 2 because of his behavior. They were also joined by Annie Duke over Skype and later in-studio to talk a little Epic Poker League.
If you missed any of this week's episodes, you can catch up by checking out our archives.
Video of the Day
Galen Hall has won over $3 Million this year, but still does not consider himself a big deal in poker. Sarah Grant caught up to him during Day 3 of the Main Event to find out how he is doing, and to see what he thinks about being touted by some to be the "classiest man in poker."