With the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event racing toward the money bubble last night, play was halted a little after halfway through the final scheduled level with 746 players left — 53 shy of the cash — with Andrew Liporace of New Orleans (pictured) leading all with 1,128,000 and New Yorker Mehrdad Yousefzadeh close behind with 1,124,000.
The Spaniard Raul Mestre began Day 3 in third position among the 1,864 returners, and that’s exactly where he’d end it as well after bagging 988,500. Meanwhile start-of-day-3 chip leader and 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey ended play with just a few more chips with which he began the day, with his finishing stack of 522,500 putting him just inside the top 75.
Here’s a look at the how the top of the leaderboard appeared when the tourney clock was paused with 53 minutes remaining in Level 15 (2,000/4,000/500):
2014 Main Event End of Day 3 Top 10 Chip Counts
Yousefzadeh would in fact be the first player to cross the 1 million-chip mark to claim the top spot late in the day. But after steadily climbing throughout Day 3, Liporace snuck past him to grab the lead by a single big blind at the end.
Others finishing Day 3 with top 50 stacks included David Tuthill (in 11th position with 850,000), Dan Smith (15th, 817,000), Griffin Benger (19th, 792,500), John Kabbaj (21st, 780,000), Ali Eslami (22nd, 770,000), Raj Vohra (25th, 745,000), Kenny Tran (28th, 728,500), Martin Jacobson (721,500), Ola Amundsgard (38th, 644,000), and Morgan Popham (49th, 603,500).
Eddy Sabat (597,000), Goran Mandic (593,500), Andrey Zaichenko (590,000), early-Day-3-chip-leader Isaac Baron (585,000), and Brian Townsend (543,500) are all currently sitting with about twice the current chip average, with Jeff Madsen (350,000), Abe Mosseri (333,500), Allen Cunningham (314,000), Maria Mayrinck (293,000), and 1996 Main Event champion Huck Seed (249,000) still in the hunt as well.
Speaking of former Main Event winners, Seed was one of five left in the field to start the day, but was the only one to finish as last year’s champion Ryan Riess, two-time winner Johnny Chan, Robert Varkonyi, and Chris Moneymaker all would hit the rail.
Riess’ title defence came to an end during Level 13 after his failed to catch up to Steve Brecher’s . Meanwhile Moneymaker lasted a bit longer, making it to Level 14 before finding himself all in with top set of eights versus Raymond Ezzie’s nut-flush draw, then watching the flush come to end his tournament.
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Looking further down the end-of-day counts, one name that sticks out is Ronnie Bardah, the WSOP bracelet holder who has become quite familiar at the WSOP Main Event after having cashed the last four years in a row. That streak currently ties Bardah with a half-dozen other players, though none has ever managed five straight WSOP Main Event cashes. On the short side for much of the day, Bardah managed to survive with 108,500 (about 27 big blinds) and now sits within reach of making some WSOP history early on Friday.
There were several notables who didn’t enjoy such good fortune on Thursday, however, among them Antonio Esfandiari, Erik Seidel, Layne Flack, Martin Staszko, Mickey Appleman, Amir Lehavot, Steve Dannenmann, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, Billy Baxter, and John Hennigan.
Hennigan had begun the day with a top 20 stack, but the Event #46: $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner would lose the last of his chips to Dan Smith during Level 14. By contrast Daniel Negreanu began Day 3 on the short side, and despite doubling up early would see his Main Event run end in a hand versus Danny Chang in which his top pair of queens with failed against Chang’s pocket kings.
NASCAR driver Jason White would survive the night with a stack of 134,500. But after battling hard NBA star Paul Pierce would get knocked out late on Day 3 in a hand in which he made a lesser two pair against Christopher Smith — although not before spending some time with PokerNews and the Global Poker Index in a fun Google Hangout during the day’s first break.
With the ESPN cameras all in place around the Amazon room, play will resume once more for Day 4 at 12 noon PDT with the continuation of Level 15. The original schedule calls for play to last through Level 20 tonight, although the WSOP could adjust the plan depending on how quickly players are eliminated. Last year with a similar-sized starting field and schedule they did play through Level 20 with 239 players surviving Day 4.
Video of the Day
As noted, Ronnie Bardah is on the verge of history as he attempts to cash a fifth straight year in the WSOP Main Event. During the last break of Day 3 he spoke with Remko Rinkema about the Main Event and how much establishing a new record would mean to him.