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WSOP: Main Event Day 3

The Money Bubble Dominates the Day as a Few Players Become Millionaires in the Tournament


Day 3 at the 2008 World Series of Poker main event brought about the albatross of the poker world -- the money bubble. When the clock read 10:30 p.m., 675 players went to hand-for-hand action in the $10,000 no-limit hold’em world championship, and just over an hour later, the ironically lucky number of 666 players remained. The roar that came from the depths of the field was deafening when the money bubble burst, for every player still in his seat was guaranteed to walk away with, at the very least, $21,230 in prize money.

The unfortunate bubble boy was Steve Chung, but it wasn’t all bad for him, as he was awarded a $10,000 buy-in for the 2009 main event by Milwaukee’s Best Light. The day had begun with 1,308 players, but the way the field melted down quickly to the money bubble, the 633 eliminations that took place on the way to hand-for-hand play seemed like the blink of an eye when compared with the nine that had to be forced out during the final march to the money. Here is a look at the notable players who fell on the way to the money bubble:

Scott Clements, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, John D’Agostino, Alex Kravchenko, Toto Leonidas, Noah Boeken, Chris Moneymaker, Barny Boatman, Steve Zolotow, Jason Strasser, and Nenad Medic.

Not too surprisingly, the pace of play picked up after the bubble burst, and the payout out desk was inundated with players cashing out for $21,230. Some notables that went out in the money during the final stretch of play included:Chau Giang

651: Men “The Master” Nguyen
645: Pat Pezzin
635: Jason Gray
625: Vanessa Rousso
618: Brandon Adams
616: Bill Gazes
600: Thor Hansen
536: Farzad Rouhani
526: Bob Slezak
518: Chau Giang (pictured at right)

Many of the big names in poker still remained at the end of the day, and two of them happened to be (arguably) the biggest names in the game -- Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth. Other big professionals who could make an intriguing and entertaining run deep into the tournament include Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, Allen Cunningham, Evelyn Ng, Jeff Madsen, Brandon Cantu, Hoyt Corkins, Adam Levy, Jon Friedberg, and Victor Ramdin.

Two players gathered the lion's share of the attention on day 3, although only one of them was a household name. Hellmuth obviously gathered attention with his antics and his claim as the most famous poker player on the planet, while Jeremiah Smith attracted attention with a chip stack that was so large that he needed a cocktail serving tray to move it when his table was broken after the money bubble burst.

Here are a few of the hands from each player featured today in's live coverage of the event:

Smith's monster stack gets even bigger Jeremiah Smith

Preflop, Ryan Daut raised to 6,300 from early position, and he was called by both Jeremiah Smith and the player in the big blind. The flop came J 9 5, and when it checked around to Smith, he bet 12,000. Daut called, and the turn was the J. Daut checked, and Smith quickly fired 20,000. Daut again called, and then checked after the 10 came on the river. Smith again bet quickly, this time for 25,000. Daut folded, and Smith took down the pot. After the hand, Smith was over 700,000.

Hellmuth moves all in, gets fold, "so sick"

Phil Hellmuth was on the button and was in a pot against the big blind. The flop was dealt A J 9, and Hellmuth bet 6,000 after his opponent checked. The blind called and then bet out 25,000 when the turn came J. Hellmuth thought for a minute and then moved all in. He had the blind, who said this situation was "so sick" a couple times, covered. Finally, he flashed 8 7 and folded. Hellmuth jumped out of his chair and told him he was drawing dead and was mad at himself for raising. After the hand, he was up to about 260,000 chips.

Phil HellmuthCrowds Form For Hellmuth's All In

RIght now, if there are crowds swarmed around a table, it means one of two things. It's either Phil Hellmuth's table and he's up to his usual "Poker Brat" ways, or it's the current chip leader, Jeremiah Smith, as he knocks out yet another opponent and approaches the one-million mark in chips.

The most recent crowd formed for Hellmuth. He made it 9,000 to go from under the gun and a player in late position reraised to 24,000. Action folded to Hellmuth, who made it a whopping 84,000 to go. His opponent called, and the the flop came Q 5 2. Hellmuth checked, and his opponent bet 60,000. Hellmuth check-raised all in, and the camera crews and surrounding crowd thickened. Hellmuth began to tell Mike Matusow at a distant table about how he was all in and Matusow came over to try to see the action. After several minutes, Hellmuth's opponent wiped his eyes, let out a sigh, and mucked his cards. A smiling Hellmuth sat back down and collected the big pot, chipping up to 470,000.

Big Bully

The player in seat 8 raised under the gun to 8,000. Action folded to Jeremiah Smith in the small blind, and he shipped it all in, putting seat 8 at risk. Unfortunately for Smith, seat 8 quickly called and turned over Q Q. Smith showed down 9 6. Time was taken as the table waited for the television crews to arrive. "Classic race situation," Smith joked as he admitted he was just trying to punish people on the bubble. The cameras arrived, and did they ever see a show. The flop dropped 10 8 7, giving Smith a straight along with a straight-flush draw. Media surrounding the table gasped as Smith felt a touch of destiny. The turn paired the board as the 10 dropped, but the river brought the A, and Smith pulled a miracle knockout. "I was just trying to be a bully," Smith said after the hand. The player who was eliminated stormed off, so Smith apologized to him through the ESPN cameras. Smith was at 1,150,000 after the hand.

Play ended late, thanks to the tournament-stalling effects of the money bubble, and play did not end until after 2 a.m. As a result, the tournament will not start until 1 p.m. tomorrow to give the players time to rest. Here is a look at the top 10 chip counts at the end of day 3:

Jeremy Joseph: 1,470,000
Jeremiah Smith: 1,300,000
Owen Crowe: 1,000,000
Alexander Kostritsyn: 970,000
Dag Martin Mikkelsen: 930,000
Mark Ketteringham: 912,000
Alan Jaffray: 865,000
Cristian Dragomir: 860,000
Sarkis Akopyan: 850,000
Robert Georato: 822,000