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Best of Vin Narayanan

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Sense of urgency picks up at WSOP Main Event

15 July 2011

LAS VEGAS - Thursday was moving day at the World Series of Poker Main Event, with players jockeying to keep up with the rising chip stacks in the Amazon and Pavilion rooms in the Rio.

And even though the bulk of short stacks exited the field on Monday and Tuesday, chips were flying across the felt like it was an Angry Birds game. And by the end of the day only 853 of the 1,866 players who had started the day still had chips.

Patrick Poirier became the first player to cross the million-chip mark. Poirier moved up to 1.1 million in chips towards the end of the third level of play Thursday and finished the day with 1.328 million.

Patrick Poirier is the chip leader at the WSOP Main Event. He has 1.328 million in chips.

Patrick Poirier is the chip leader at the WSOP Main Event. He has 1.328 million in chips. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Daryl Jace, who began the day with 333,000, played big-pot poker to make up ground on the leaders and ended the day with a little more than 1.282 million.

Jace made his move up the leaderboard when he won one of the largest pots of the tournament. Just before the dinner break, Jayce entered a raising war with Billy Paradiso. Both players began the hand with well over 400,000 in chips, and eventually Paradiso went all-in with pocket kings. Jace called with pocket deuces, and hit a two on the flop to take the lead in the hand. Jace's three deuces held up, knocking Paradiso out of the tournament and giving Jayce a boatload of chips.

Ben Lamb, who started the day with 551,600, had 600,000 after five hours of play. But he lost chips late in the day and ended with 354,500.

While Poirier and Jace were chipping up, former Main Event champion Phil Hellmuth was trying to grind his way out of trouble. Hellmuth finished Day 2A with 64,900 -- after almost blinding out of the tournament because he forgot he was playing on Monday.

As remarkable as Hellmuth's recovery was Monday, he was still in 1,256th place in the field of 1,866 remaining players. Hellmuth stayed patient though as he more than doubled his chip stack during the first five hours of play.

Daryl Jace played big-pot poker to shoot up the leaderboard.

Daryl Jace played big-pot poker to shoot up the leaderboard. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Nowhere was his patience more evident than when he was holding Kx-Qx. A king-high flop hit the board, and Hellmuth bet and was called. Hellmuth checked the turn card (it missed both players), and his opponent bet out. Hellmuth open folded his K-Q.

"One of these days, buddy, one of these days, you're going to be the one holding king-queen and I'll have aces," Hellmuth said.

And sure enough, his opponent turned over aces.

"I knew it," Hellmuth said. "I just knew it."

"Nice hand," added Hellmuth a moment later. "I shouldn't whine. Sometimes you just have to say, 'Nice hand.'"

Later on, Hellmuth's words proved prophetic. With a board reading 2d-7c-10h-Jd, Hellmuth bet 15,500 into a pot of 25,000.

His opponent called and Hellmuth showed pocket aces. "Sometimes I have them, too," said Hellmuth as he raked in his chips.

Hellmuth's stack began to dwindle late in the day. And as his chips slipped away, he became more testy.

Hellmuth engaged in a verbal spat with Garry Gates towards the end of the night, with Hellmuth telling Gates he didn't "speak the language of poker." (This appears to be Hellmiuth's go-to insult for the tournament.)

Gates responded by telling Hellmuth how disappointed he was that the "humble Hellmuth" he had seen after the $50,000 Player's Championship had disappeared. He also said he was upset that despite having met and spoken to Hellmuth a number of times, Hellmuth still had no idea what his name was. Hellmuth apologized to Gates for not knowing his name. "I just don't remember names well," he explained. And then told the assembled media and cameras that he didn't mind the criticism.

"If it comes from the heart, I don't mind the criticism -- even if it sounds like an insult," said Hellmuth. "And he's speaking from the heart."

After play ended for the day, Hellmuth walked around the table, shook each players' hand and wished them good luck.

Hellmuth ended the day with 77,000 in chips.

2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada pushes in his remaining chips before busting out of the 2011 Main Event.

2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada pushes in his remaining chips before busting out of the 2011 Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

While TV cameras monitored Hellmuth's progress at one of the outer tables in the Amazon Room, Daniel Negreanu was entertaining Internet and television audiences at the featured table.

For the first time, ESPN offered almost live feature table coverage on both the Internet and television. For much of the day, ESPN3 broadcast the feature table over the Internet on a five-minute delay. No hole cards were shown on the ESPN3 broadcast. Towards the end of the day, the featured table action was broadcast almost live on ESPN2. The ESPN2 coverage was a on 30-minute delay, and hole cards were shown only for hands that reached the flop.

Negreanu ended the day with 207,500 in chips.

Notable players eliminated on Day 3 include: Huck Seed, Victor Ramdin, Mike Caro, Jason Alexander, Dan Fleyshman, Matt Savage, Patrik Antonius, Billy Kopp, Annette Obrestad, Shaun Deeb, John Racener, Tom McEvoy, Joe Cada, Steve Dannenmann, Dan Shak, Neil Channing and Olivier Busquet.

Notable players who survived Day 3 include: Bryan Devonshire (596,500), Blair Hinkle (365,000), Shannon Shorr (356,000), Erick Lindgren (355,000), Tony Hachem (355,000), David Chiu (330,000) Darus Suharto (428,000), Ronnie Bardah (296,000), Allen Cunningham (274,000), Freddy Deeb (265,000), Adam Junglen (247,800), Vanessa Rousso (225,000), John Cernuto (200,000), Bryan Micon (145,000), Dennis Phillips (105,000), Jean-Robert Bellande (104,500), Christian Harder (88,000), Isabelle Mercier (80,000) and Ted Forrest (40,000).
Sense of urgency picks up at WSOP Main Event is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.