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WPT: Legends of Poker Day 3 Recap

The Field Plays Through the Money Bubble Down to Three Final Tables


The remaining 79 players in the 2008 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker arrived at the Bicycle Casino at 2 p.m. today to play down to three final tables. The afternoon portion of play went according to plan, as a steady stream of players marched to the rail.

David ChiuLost during play on the way down to the money bubble were big-name professionals, including: November Nine finalist Kelly Kim, Kathy Liebert, Toto Leonidas, Gabe Kaplan, Mike Wattel, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Raymond Davis, Erik Seidel, David Chiu, and Mark Seif. One of the most intriguing eliminations of the day came early, as Matt Stout was dealt a big hand that fell to a monster. Stout was on his way out the door when he simply said, "What do you want me to do? I had top set against a Royal [Flush]!" Another two players fell when both Erick Lindgren and Tuan Le were eliminated on the same hand by Trong Nguyen. That hand shot Nguyen to the top of the leader board heading into the money bubble.

Play slowed down at the money bubble, particularly by Van Nguyen, who at one point took five minutes to fold her hand with just 30,000 left in her stack. The bubble boy eventually busted, but it came as a surprise to many that that player was Ali Eslami. Eslami held the chip lead at various points of the tournament, and he had to fall quite far on day 3 to just miss the money.

John PhanThere were also some interesting implication's in the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) race today as four players from the POY top 10 remained at the start of play. By the time the money bubble was reached, three of those players (Seidel, Chiu, and Lindgren) had hit the rail, leaving John Phan all by himself to try to close the 399-point gap that exists between him and Seidel for the POY lead. Phan had quite a challenge surviving day 3, as his chip stack flew up and down the leader board many times during the day. There were multiple breaks where his stack dwindled into no-man’s land, but he would come out of the gates each time and double up to survive. Phan ended the day strong, and he will need to make the final table tomorrow to start earning POY points.

NOTE: Phan will need to finish in seventh place or better in the tournament to catch Seidel for the POY lead.

When the money bubble burst, the business-like pace of eliminations continued, but slowly, and the end of day 3 came just before midnight. There was one hand that drastically changed the fortunes of two players with just one turn of a card near the end of play. Justin Scott was looking to score a huge pot and eliminate Paul Smith in a battle of pocket aces vs. pocket kings. The river had other ideas, though, and the K doubled up Smith to 950,000 and knocked Scott down to 150,000. Scott was out a short time later in 30th place, and Smith ended the night as the chip leader with 946,000. Smith was trailed on the leader board by Amit Makhija, who held 842,000, and Layne Flack, who held 807,000. Here is a list of the players that finished in the money:

36th Place: Van Nguyen
35th Place: Andrew Shack
34th Place: Kevin Zhu
33rd Place: James Sileo
32nd Place: Josh VanDuyn
31st Place: Max Pescatori
30th Place: Justin Scott
29th Place: Mark Wilds
28th Place: Matt Graham

The 27 players who remain will return tomorrow at 2 p.m. to play down to the WPT television table of six. Tune in to tomorrow to catch all of the action in live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos.