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WPT: North American Poker Championship Day 3

Rajkumar Guns For Back-to-Back WPT Titles

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Gavin SmithAs the conclusion of the 2008 WPT North American Poker Championship draws near, Vivek “psyduck” Rajkumar has put himself in a great position to be the first player ever to win back-to-back World Poker Tour main events. A little less than a month ago, Rajkumar stormed through the field at Borgata, beating a field of 515 other entrants and earning more than $1.4 million. Sitting on the chip lead with 27 players remaining, Rajkumar has his eyes set on a second title, and $1.2 million more.

The day began with 99 players and very quickly played down to the money bubble at 46 players. Steve Sung was the unfortunate bubble boy and joined a number of notables to have just missed out on cashing, including Barry Greenstein, Mike “Timex” McDonald, Christian “charder30” Harder, J.C. Tran, Jason Gray, Lee Markholt, and November Nine member Darus Suharto.

Play continued at a rapid pace, and along the way Robert Cheung (39th), Tom Dobrilovic (38th), Joe Sebok (34th), Sorel Mizzi (33rd), Steve Paul-Ambrose (32nd), and Sebastian Ruthenberg (31st) were eliminated in the money.

Vivek RajkumarHand of the Day:

Anthony Moran raised to 8,400 and Jeremy Joseph reraised to 23,000. Vivek Rajkumar reraised to 55,800, and Moran folded. Joseph then reraised to 160,000, and Rajkumar put him all in for an additional 165,000. Joseph called showing A Q, but was in a lot of trouble against Rajkumar’s K K.

The board runs out K 10 5 Q Q, and Rajkumar’s full house sends Joseph home.

Five notables, in particular, separated themselves from the pack and coincidentally ended the day with the five largest stacks in the room. Rajkumar leads the way, followed by WPT Champion Gavin Smith. Card Player columnist Matt Matros sits in third, with the leading female tournament winner, Kathy Liebert, in fourth. Fifth place belongs to Card Player Player of the Year candidate Erik Seidel, who is looking to close the gap between John Phan and himself.

   1. Vivek Rajkumar — 1,080,000
   2. Gavin Smith — 979,000
   3. Matt Matros — 943,000
   4. Kathy Liebert — 879,000
   5. Erik Seidel — 851,000

The players will return on Wednesday at noon to battle down to the final TV table of six.