The contenders were separated from the pretenders on day 3 in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. world championship at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Sixty-seven of the world’s best entered the ring at the start of day 3, and by the final bell only 24 remained. Things played fast on day 3 of the player’s championship, so fast in fact that things ended an hour and 20 minutes early. The clock was stopped just before 2 a.m. tonight in level 16, after Mickey Appleman and David Oppenheim were the last two players to bust after a 20-minute break had just finished.
The chips were really flying on day 3, and most of the top ten players on the leader board changed every single level, with a few exceptions. While many players flirted with the top before falling back down, three players were stewards of the chip lead for most of the day. Those three players included Michael DeMichele, Joseph Michael, and none other than Barry Greenstein. These three players traded the chip lead a few times during day 3, and at the end of the night a couple other big names settled in right next to them at the top. Daniel Negreanu ended the night with over a million in chips, and Doyle Brunson wasn’t too far behind with over 900,000. All of these players have set themselves up for a nice stretch run tomorrow to the final table, but anything can happen with the stakes and limits rising.
Greenstein will attempt to become only the second player in history to make back-to-back H.O.R.S.E. final-table appearances. This will match the feat that David Singer accomplished in the first two years of the event (he was eliminated on day 2). Brunson will be looking to make his second H.O.R.S.E. final-table appearance overall, after he made the inaugural H.O.R.S.E. final table two years ago (a table that is without a doubt the greatest final table in the history of open buy-in tournament poker). Andy Bloch can also make his second H.O.R.S.E. final-table appearance, after finishing runner up to Chip Reese in the longest heads-up match in WSOP history in the first championship, although he has his work cut out for him with less then 500,000. These are the contenders, but day 3 was also defined by those who didn’t make it into the group of 24 players that survived.
Many European stars made an exit on day 3, including three Italians -- Max Pescatori, Jeffrey Lisandro, and Dario Minieri. Other players from the opposite side of the Atlantic who hit the rail included Marcel Luske, Thor Hansen, Rob Hollink, Alexander Kostritsyn, and Katja Thater (the last woman standing). Young guns from the world of online poker also hit the rail on day 3, including Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, Phil “OMGclayaiken” Galfond, Steve Sung, and Justin Bonomo. Mark Gregorich just missed cashing in the H.O.R.S.E. event for the second year in a row. Two of the top five from last year’s event are also out, Kenny Tran (fifth in 2007) and John Hanson (third in 2007) both fell on day 3. Many of the best mixed game players in the world also busted, including, Steve Zolotow, “Miami” John Cernuto, Isabelle Mercier, Greg Mueller, Layne Flack, Minh Ly, and Lee Markholt.
Action will begin at 3 p.m. tomorrow and play will not end until the final table of eight has been decided. The final table will take place on Sunday, June 29, and begin at 3 p.m.
Here is the entire list of chip counts: