by Joseph Smith Sr.
Day 3 got under way at high noon with 1,864 players taking their seats as the cards flew through the air. Excitement usually begun to build on Day 3 in past WSOP Main Events. It's on this day that the smell of money slowly snakes its way into the cavernous poker rooms at the Rio Resort and levels its magic on the players. Knowing the money will be reached on Day 4 affects the play because you can't collect a dime if you lose chips before the money is reached.
The day ended with 53 minutes left in Level 15 and 746 players remaining with chips. Only 53 players separate the field from prize money so expect Day 4 to start off slowly with most players taking a protective attitude towards their chips and lots of marginal hands thrown into the muck. Once the money bubble breaks there will be an apparent rush to the rail as play once more opens up and players began gunning for a final table seat.
Day 3 saw the first million chip stack reached late in Level 13 when Mehrdad Yousefzadeh had 1,050,000 in play money piled in front of him. By the close of Day 3 there were two million plus stacks. Yousefzadeh's first million chip stack had been eclipsed by Day 3 chip leader, Andrew Liporace. Only 4,000 separated the two top chip stacks.
Day 3 saw the rack of previous WSOP Main Event Champions trimmed down to one, Huck Seed, 1996 Main Event winner. Also gone late in the day was NBA Superstar Paul Pierce, a ten time all-star selection kept the rail packed with fans during those days he played. Pierce also bought the same competitive drive and spirit to the poker table and made quite a showing for himself as he outlasted many well known poker pros.
Poker Superstar and ten WSOP bracelet man Phil Ivey began Day 3 as the chip leader. He maintained a close rein on his chips and played a solid game to finish the Day 3 with 522,500. Ivey is listed in 72nd place on the chip leader board. Considering this player's skills and the volatility of no-limit hold'em poker we can expect to see him move up through the ranks of the remaining players.
Day 4 is shaping up to be another fan favorite. If you're in the Las Vegas area stop by the Rio Resort and watch poker history in the making. We will get to meet the unluckiest player in all of poker, the WSOP Main Event money bubble player. Usually the bubbleboy (girl) is sent to the rail with empty pockets but with a buy-in for the next year's WSOP Main Event. Maybe they're not so unlucky afterall.