Day 3 of the first Epic Poker League Main Event wrapped up on Thursday night after the elimination of Adam Levy in seventh place. Levy took a sick beat on the river after first sucking out on the flop with pocket queens versus Chino Rheem's pocket kings. Rheem rivered a better full house, however, eliminating Levy, ending the tournament for the day.
With Levy sent to the rail, Rheem and five others were left in contention for the title: Gavin Smith, Jason Mercier, Hasan Habib, Huck Seed and Erik Seidel. There's certainly no shortage of superstar power at the final table, so Friday is set to be a great day of poker.
When the day began, Sam Trickett led the final 18 as the only player over one million in chips. Trickett was able to ride his stack to an 11th-place finish after not being able to get much going during the day. On his final hand, Rheem busted Trickett with pocket nines. Trickett failed to get there holding two sevens after all of the money went in preflop. Eugene Katchalov (8th), Matt Glantz (14th), Hoyt Corkins (17th) and Justin Bonomo (18th) were a few of the other bust-outs on the day en route to this first EPL final table.
Two of the top three players in the world, according to the Global Poker Index, are still in contention at the final table. Seidel sits in second on that rankings list and Mercier in third. Both have had an amazing year already and snatching this title would only set them further apart from the rest of the poker world. Already in 2011, Seidel has earned $5,656,738 in live tournament earnings coming from 14 cashes, which includes nine top-10 finishes, four of which were wins. Mercier has won $1,183,770 this year and has 10 cashes, which includes seven top-10 finishes, three of which were wins. One of those wins for Mercier was a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, the second of his career.
The GPI's No. 1 spot is currently held by Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, but that is set to change when this event crowns a winner. Both Seidel and Mercier have already locked up enough points to move ahead of Grospellier, and the two are now fighting for the No. 1 spot overall, depending on how they finish on Friday.
Leading the way into the final table on Friday will be Hasan Habib with 1.655 million in chips. He's followed by Mercier in second and Rheem right behind him. Seed, with the shortest stack (396,000), rounds out the final six.
All six remaining players have locked up a minimum of $107,980 for their work so far. There's still plenty of poker to be played and tons of work to be done if one of these six want to become the very first EPL champion and take home that $1 million first-place prize.
When they return tomorrow, here's how they'll stack up around the table.
Final Table Lineup
Play will resume Friday at 1400 PDT (2200 BST) in Las Vegas at the Palms Resort Casino. PokerNews will be right back in the building providing all the live updates from the final table and it's one that you surely won't want to miss.
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