NAPT Venetian: Day 3, levels 15 and 16 (2,500-5,000-500)


3:22pm: Break time
The 91 remaining players are taking a 15-minute break.

3:15pm: Double-ups keep hope alive
Despite being in the money, most poker players do not want to leave the tournament. The final table is two days away, and a few key double-ups could put them in contention for that run at the big money. You know, chip and a chair and all that.

Chris Bell doubled up and sits a little more comfortably now, though that may have something to do with his masseuse.

Danny Wong was also able to double-up with pocket kings on a 8-J-J-2-T board. Blair Hinkle was not happy to push those chips to Wong, but there is no time to dwell on it. On to the next hand.

3:06pm: Get in line
A short-stacked Arnold Rychner found himself all in just now with K♦J♣, but unfortunately for him Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger was there to compete with A♥A♣. Standard, as they say. Rychner isn't the first player to run into LuckyChewy's aces in this tourney (recall the huge pot with Lars Bonding from Day 2).

The board ran out 5♠K♠[10s]2♦8♠, and Lichtenberger moves back to about 625,000. A line has begun to form at the cashier, and Rychner smilingly joked about perhaps lingering a hand or two before getting in line. A tourney official were quick to escort him, however, assuring his proper spot in the pay schedule.

Those heading over there right now are all claiming $8,839 for their efforts in the first inaugural NAPT Venetian Main Event. There are currently 98 players remaining.

3:00pm: Tom McEvoy's royalty can't beat the knaves
With a little more than 50,000 in his stack, Tom McEvoy was in dire need of a double up or two. He came in for a raise with king-queen. "A guy in the blinds moved on me," McEvoy explained. "I could've held on to 30 or 40 thousand." But, he decided there wasn't much use for that small stack at this stage in the tournament. So, he went with it and found himself up against jacks. He missed the board entirely and is gone.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76401.jpg

Tom McEvoy

2:53pm: Raymer Removed
Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer had been looking for a place to make a move, and he found it with 7♠ 7♦. As Daniel Abromson considered the call, Raymer let him know that the entire all-in was 130K. Abromson called with 9♣ 9♠, and Raymer noted the obvious, "That's not really what I wanted to see there."

The board came J♦ 2♦ K♣ A♥ K♥, and the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event champion was eliminated from the NAPT Venetian in 102nd place.

2:48pm: Billirakis racks up some more
Steve Billirakis continues to sport a sizable stack down at the end of his table. Just now he again opened for a raise from the button, prompting Ben Stoesser to push all in from the big blind with his last 45,000. Billirakis called, showing A♠4♥. Stoesser showed A♦8♣.

Stoesser was okay through the turn -- 2♣6♥5♦J♣ -- but the 3♣ on the river completed the straight for Billirakis, and Stoesser is gone. Billirakis looks to have about 750,000 now.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76547.jpg

Steve Billirakis

2:45pm: Trapper trapped
Olivier Busquet opened with a minimum raise to 10,000 from under the gun, and Lauren Kling called from middle position. All folded, including the blinds, and the flop came 8♣9♣6♥. Busquet checked, and Kling bet 12,000. Busquet then check-raised to 40,000, and after thinking it over Kling pushed all in. Busquet called immediately, showing 9♦8♦ for two pair. Kling disappointedly tabled her A♣A♦.

The turn was the J♥ and the river the Q♥, and Kling is out. Busquet moves up to 340,000.

2:41pm: Chip counts updated
We have a complete chip count from the end of Level 15 posted on our NAPT chip count page.

2:38pm: McEvoy doubles
Team PokerStars Pro Tom McEvoy put his tournament life on the line from the small blind with A-8, and Bob Lauria made the call with A-6 from the button. The board came 2-6-T-T-8, and McEvoy was able to stay alive with that timely double-up.

2:36pm: Pearljammer gone
"Miami" John Cernuto told us the story of Jon "Pearljammer" Turner's exit from the tournament. And Cernuto did it himself.

Cernuto raised it up preflop to 12K with A-Q of spades, and Turner called. When the flop came jack-high with two spades, Turner put his 81K at risk with pocket sixes, and Cernuto was there for the ride with his draw. A queen hit on the river, which gave Cernuto the best pair and the pot. Turner was eliminated from the tournament.

2:25pm: Chop it up, Greg
Greg Raymer apparently got involved with A-K versus the kings of an opponent, and the other player's double-up attempt was thwarted by the club flush on the board. Chop it up!

2:23pm: River helps Rousso
James Mackey opened for 12,000 from middle position, and Vanessa Rousso called from the button. The flop came Q♣[10h]7♠. Mackey continued for 15,000, and Rousso made the call. The turn was the 8♠. This time Mackey bet 27,000, and Rousso thought a moment before calling once more.

The river brought the K♠. Mackey checked, and after a bit of study Rousso checked as well. Rousso showed K♦[10s] -- she'd made two pair on the end -- while Mackey exhalingly tabled his A♣Q♥. Rousso is back up to about 280,000, while Mackey slips to 140,000.

Shortly after, Mackey was seen heading away from the tournament area. He has been eliminated.

2:12pm: Level 16, 16 tables
With the new draw, we are looking at 16 eight-handed tables as play resumes.

No bustouts during the first several hands of action here in Level 16, where the blinds are now 2,500-5,000 and antes 500. Just had a short-stacked Dmitri Valouev all in and called by Christina Lindley. Both had pocket sevens, and ended up chopping. Valouev is hanging on with just 25,000, while Lindley sits with 275,000.

2:05pm: Back in action
With everyone now guaranteed $7,232, the remaining 128 players have new seats and a new mission: to make more money. Cards are back in the air.

1:47pm: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts
While new seats are being assigned and the players catch their breath, let us share one interesting hand that took place during hand-for-hand play.

In fact, Daniel Schreiber very nearly wasn't our bubble boy today. It could well have been Tom Sinistaj, who a couple of hands prior to Schreiber's bust was all in with his tourney life on the line against two opponents, one of whom had him beat. Lucky for Sinistaj, that was the one who folded.

There was three-way action, and with the turn the board showed K♣[10c]J♦5♦. Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso asked what Sinistaj had left -- 78,500 -- and Rousso bet 80,000. Sinistaj went all in, then the third player, Alex Cordova, went deep into the tank. As the crowd gathered around, Cordova finally announced "I'm folding the best hand" and tossed his cards.

Rousso showed K♥Q♣ for top pair and an open-ender, while Sinistaj showed [10d][10h] for a set. Cordova winced, then indicated he'd folded pocket jacks. The river was the 3♦, and Sinistaj survived... ultimately to make the money.

1:40pm: Daniel Schreiber bubbles--128 players in the money
Daniel Schreiber was short and play folded to him on the button. He shoved with queen-rag and ran right into Kyle Zartman's A♠A♣. Players are now on break for a color up and re-draw.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76538.jpg

Daniel Schreiber

1:21pm: No rabbit hunting, please
A big hand developed - on the bubble. We caught up to it when the flop showed 3♣ 2♠ 4♠. But it was after the K♣ came on the turn that Alexis Cordova made a bet large enough to prompt Vanessa Rousso to fold. But Ted Lawson agonized over the decision, which would have essentially put the remainder of his chips at risk. He talked his way through it before finally folding pocket fives face up.

But he was so curious about whether he would have made the straight that he attempted to peek at the dealer's next card. As the floor person warned him to stop, he continued to try to lift that card from the dealer's hand, which prompted a stern warning from the floor. "Don't do that again."

Of course, the seasoned pro knows this, but the tension of the moment may have gotten to him...on the bubble.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76510.jpg

Ted Lawson

1:15pm: Cutler doubles through Seth
Joseph Cutler got his chips all-in with pocket queens on a Q-3-7-9-8 flop and doubled through Andy Seth...on the bubble.

1:07pm: Alboukrek doubles through Fricke
It happened when Jimmy Fricke's pocket kings went to battle against the pocket aces of Jose Alboukrek, who was all-in for approximately 84,100, and the aces held up to give Alboukrek the double...on the bubble.

1:03pm: Bubble be burstin'
We are now down 129 players -- just one elimination away from the money. The tourney director has just announced for tables to complete the hands they are on. Just a moment and hand-for-hand play shall commence.

1:01pm: SCOOP schedule out
The NAPT Venetian event is about to go hand-for-hand. This could be a long bubble (or not). In any case, you might want to take a minute to check out the just-released 2010 Spring Championship of Online Poker schedule.

12:58pm: More for Lichtenberger
With the board showing J♣J♥K♥9♦ and the pot about 40,000, Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger checked and Jason Dewitt bet 24,000. Lichtenberger then tossed forward six blue chips -- a check-raise to 125,000 -- forcing a fold from Dewitt.

Lichtenberger has built on his start of day stack, moving past the 800,000-chip mark.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76397.jpg

Andrew Lichtenberger

12:53pm: Reynolds out
William Reynolds was just eliminated, with Justin Smith his vanquisher. Smith has 185,000 at the moment.

12:51pm: Chips flying
The first level of play today has been a whirlwind of activity. Marco Traniello has left the building. Christina Lindley doubled through an opponent with pocket aces that held up. And Blair Hinkle doubled through Christian Harder.

The money bubble looms, creating a wee bit of caution amongst some of the players, and it should only be moments before hand-for-hand play begins.

12:46pm: 134 remain
That means six more eliminations and we're in the money.

12:42pm: Cernuto exercising caution
Miami John Cernuto began the day with just under 300,000 and remains just a little under what he started with here in the first part of Level 15. Just now he put in a standard preflop raise from middle position and the table folded to John Bunch who reraised 25,000 more from the SB. Cernuto, head covered with his red hoodie, thought for five minutes before letting it go. He sits with 265,000.

12:35pm: A quickie on Fricke
The table folded to Daniel Sindelar who put in a raise to 10,500 from the cutoff, then Jimmy "Gobboboy" Fricke quickly announced he was all in from the button. The blinds each thought about it, but got out, as did Sindelar. Fricke has chipped up some here in the early going and now has 155,000.

12:29pm: Raymer rockin'
Greg "Fossilman" Raymer -- he of the familiar fossilized stone card protector -- just used a heart flush to eliminate a short-stacked Martins Adeniya. The 2004 WSOP champ is now up around 300,000.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76452.jpg

Greg Raymer

12:22pm: Seth surges
Joshua Fussner opened with a raise to 10,500 from the hijack seat, then Ludovic Schlama made it 26,500 from the cutoff. It folded to Andy Seth in the small blind who contemplated a moment, then slid out another reraise to 63,000. Fussner opted against fussing with it and folded. Schlama made the call.

The flop came [10s]K♦7♠ and both checked. The turn brought the 2♦. Seth bet 58,000, and after a deep think Schlama schlepped away. Seth is now up to 670,000.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76462.jpg

Andy Seth

12:16pm: Welcome, David Miscikowski, to the chip lead
He was fourth in chips coming into Day 3, and he just catapulted into the chip lead. We came to the table just as action was wrapping up and Miscikowski was raking quite a few chips. It seems Kevin Eyring pushed all-in preflop for 210,300 chips with J-2, and Miscikowski called with A-Q. The better hand held up, and Miscikowski soared into the lead.

NAPT Venetian S1_5KMainEvent_Day2_JoeGiron_IJ76436.jpg

David Miscikowski

12:14pm: Lawson elated
Ted Lawson came into action today with exactly 120,000 chips, but on the first hand of the day, he woke up with aces and eliminated another player at his table. For someone as calm as Lawson, the mini-celebration was an indication of what today means to the players in the field.

12:11pm: Toporowski gets Gift
On the first hand of the day, a short-stacked Gift Kusuwan (64,800) found himself all in versus Donald Toporowski. Kusuwan showed A♣K♠ while Toporowski tabled K♣K♦. The board went 7♠[10d]9♣Q♠9♦, and Toporowski had claimed Gift's chips as an early present.

"Are you allowed to kiss the dealer?" asked Toporowski. "My wife might divorce me," came the reply. Toporowski skips up to 180,000 with that one.

12:08pm: Day 3 about to get underway
We're just a few minutes from the start of the Day 3. We'll be hitting the money before long. And after that, the tournament directors will try to get down to three tables of eight before the sun comes up.

We'll be here for all of it.


NAPT Venetian reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Martin Harris, Jennifer Newell, Brad Willis and photographer Joe Giron.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in North American Poker Tour