NAPT Mohegan Sun: Day 3, level 15-16 updates (2,000-4,000-400)

2.24pm: It's not for everyone
It might seem as though the secret to tournament success is shoving hard pre-flop with filth, running into big pairs and cracking them. Just ask Vanessa Selbst. But like a government road safety video, I'm here to advise against such a reckless approach, and cite David Walen as my example.

Whalen raised to 12,000 from the button, but was met with resistance from Ara Melikian in the big blind. Melikian three bet to 30,000. Whalen announced that he was all in, covering Melikian, who shrugged as though he had no choice but to call. He had made the right decision.

Whalen tabled [10s]4♠, up against Melikian's Q♥Q♠. And the board ran 8♥A♦J♣J♠8♣, which was no good for the under-cards.

Melikian had 151,500, and doubled it. Whalen was chopped to about 150,000 of his own. -- HS

2:39pm: Now that we're in the money...
With the bubble now behind us, the remaining players have at least $7,500 to play around with tonight. So, we asked them if they were going to start splurging, what would they do?--BW

2:36pm: O'Dwyer: "I can't be stopped"
Steve O'Dwyer opened from under the gun with7♣7♦ to 12,500. Jesse Kremer wasted no time pushing all-in. O'Dwyer wasted no time in calling to see Kremer's A♥Q♥. The 7♠ flopped and Kremer headed for the rail. --BW

2.25pm: George straightened out
Taylor von Kriegenbergh, Olivier Busquets and Gil George were at a flop - 6♥9♦7♠ - but it was only Busquets who had a decision. The reason for that was that with about 120,000 already in the middle, George was all in for about 180,000 total and Von Kriegenbergh had already called. Busquets had to decide if he wanted to call too. He didn't, and he had made a wise choice.

George showed his 9♠[10s] for top pair, with a gutshot. But one of his outs was in the hand of Von Kriegenbergh, whose 5♠8♦ represented the made straight.

The turn and river bricked and George was gone. Von Kriegenbergh added another couple of hundred thousand to his stack, and he now has more than 400,000. -- HS

2:25pm: Wong follows DeBora out the door
The bust outs are happening faster than we can write them now. The two most recent are Jerry Wong who fell victim to Steve O'Dwyer. That happened just moments after Team PokerStars Pro's Greg DeBora lost a race with pocket sixes versus Christopher Kirkwood's ace-queen. --BW

2:15pm: Bad luck Bernard
Bernard Lee just departed the room, muttering to himself after his pocket tens fell to Thomas Hoglund's pocket sevens. All the chips went in before the flop, Hoglund flopping a set as the board ran out 7♦2♠5♣9♦6♥. And apparently, this underpair-beats-overpair scenario had played out before.

"Are you kidding me? Second time this hour!" Lee exclaimed as he departed the table. --KB

1:51pm: Junglen gets Binger again, Binger bubbles
It's not been too many minutes since Adam Junglen cracked Nick Binger's aces after hitting a flush. Now, he's just done it again, using A♣J♥ to crack Binger's Q♠Q♥. They were all-in pre-flop and Binger was good until the A♥ hit on the river.


Nick Binger, all character, no money

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Adam Junglen, silent assassin

With that, the money bubble broke. The final 56 players now cash for at least $7,500.

"I keep telling people, bubbling builds character. I have this reserve of character that just keeps growing and growing," Binger said. --BW

1.45pm: Kenney doubles, here comes the bubble
As hand-for-hand play approaches - the sign of the bubble - Tyler Kenney has just doubled up through Olivier Busquet. Kenney raised to 12,000 from mid-position and Busquet made it 27,500 from the small blind. The next bit happened in a flash: "I'm all in," said Kenney. "Call," said Busquet, but then: "Ouch."

Busquet had 9♦9♣, Kenney had [10d][10s] and the board brought another ten. Kenney lived to fight on with about 150,000. Busquet has something like that too. -- HS


1:22pm: Jeff Papola doubles through Corey Hochman
As most of the field departed for break, Jeff Papola check-raised all in on a T♦7♦5♠ flop for his last 98,700. After a long tank, Corey Hochman called with A♣T♥, his top pair, top kicker leading Papola's open-ended straight draw with 6♣8♣. The turn blanked with the 3♠, but Papola binked the 9♦ on the river to double up to 355,000. Hochman was left with 300,000. --KB

1:20pm: Markholt doubles through Selbst
Vanessa Selbst looked like she really didn't want to call. After she put in a preflop reraise to 23,200, Lee Markholt shoved for an additional 31,600. Selbst sighed and called, turning over A♦9♥ while Markholt tabled pocket queens. The board ran out J♦8♠3♦T♠2♠ and Markholt doubled to 110,000. Selbst is still quite healthily-stacked at 315,000. --KB

1:18pm: Ronnie Bardah eliminated
Most of Ronnie Bardah's remaining chips went "poof" in a preflop all-in, his A♦Q♠ falling to Greg Ostrander's pocket queens. Bardah was left with only 11,000 and although he was able to double up once, he made his last stand with king-queen only to run into Ruben Costa's ace-queen. Although Bardah flopped top pair on the K♦T♠3♠ flop, Costa picked up a flush draw on the turn with the 9♠ and filled his gutshot straight draw on the river with the J♦, sending Bardah to the rail. --KB

1:10pm: Ramdin rebounding
After a first level that saw Victor Ramdin lose most of his stack, the Team PokerStars Pro has pulled another of his patented rebounds. This time he four-bet shoved in his last 71,000 into the middle. Ciaran Begley-Cater struggled with whether to call.

"Seven more players until the money," Ramdin said.

"I'm not really concerned with that," Begley-Cater said. "I'm just looking for a better hand to go out on."


Victor Ramdin sweating his aces

He finally decided to call with A♣Q♣. This time Ramdin had A♠A♥ and the aces held. Ramdin had his man covered by half an ante. Begley-Cater is gone. Ramdin is now back close to 200,000.--BW

1:02pm: Broke-os
Andrew Brokos was the last player in the field flying the mighty red spade for Team Online, but has unfortunately played his final hand at the NAPT Mohegan Sun. Brokos opened from the hijack, Andrew Weisner three-bet to 32,500 from the cutoff and Brokos shoved for his remaining 110,000. Weisner made the call with A-K and hit top pair on the K♥7♦5♦T♦Q♣ board to outrun Brokos' pocket jacks.

Weisner is up to 270,000. --KB


Andrew Brokos

1pm: Lee peers to the heavens
While about 60 heads were fixed downwards, peering at cards and chips, Bernard Lee's face was staring skyward in obvious dismay. He had just taken pocket jacks against Ronald Eaton's pocket nines, all in pre-flop. Eaton spiked a nine on the turn to outdraw Lee and double up.

It's hardly terminal for Lee, who still has about 150,000. Eaton's double puts him narrowly into six figures too. -- HS


Bernard Lee

12:52pm: Junglen cracks Binger's aces
Adam Junglen opened for 10,000, Nick Binger reraised to 26,100 and Junglen four-bet shoved for his remaining 97,000. Binger snap-called with pocket aces, leaving Junglen in dire shape with A♠Q♦.

The all-spade flop, 8♠4♠2♠, however, gave Junglen the nut flush draw and to a few cries of "so sick," filled it on the turn with the J♠. The meaningless river card was the T♣ and Junglen doubled to 203,000. Binger was left with 137,000, but there were no hard feelings.

"I did the same thing yesterday to a guy in a huge pot," Binger said. "Only fair." --KB

12:49pm: Terry=toast
After shoving his heart out since the start of play today, overnight short stack Todd Terry has met his tournament end. Terry moved all-in for his last 30,000 or so from UTG+1 and Ludovic Lachance made an easy call from the big blind with A♥K♥.

"I have three outs," Terry said as he turned over A♠8♠.

Terry was drawing dead on the turn, the board running out K♥7♦3♣A♦K♦ to send him home. --KB

12:42pm: Fernandez rush continues
This is one of those "must be nice" days for Jacabo Fernandez. It's not been half an hour since he picked up aces versus Victor Ramdin's top pair and took the Team Pro for a third of his stack. Just now, Adam Junglen came in for a raise to 9,500 from the button. Ramdin three-bet from the small blind to 23,000. Fernandez sized up both his opponents' stacks. He covered them both. That decided, he moved all-in. Junglen snap-folded. Ramdin took his time, but did the same. Fernandez flashed K♠K♦ and pocketed another 33,000. Ramdin looks less than pleased. --BW

12.40pm: (Un)Happy Eyster, Greg DeBora
Greg DeBora has been slowly moving through the gears in this tournament, and he is now a force having eliminated Kevin Eyster. Eyster was an overnight short-stack and moved it all in in late position, a total of something like 55,000.

DeBora found pocket sixes and called, racing against Eyster's J♣9♣. The board only helped DeBora when it came 4♥7♠6♠4♠9♠. That put the Team PokerStars Pro Canada beyond 200,000. -- HS


Greg DeBora

12:33pm: Brindise rides roller-coaster, crashes
William Brindise's day didn't start out too badly. He almost immediately doubled up with pocket aces against Jonathan Schroer's pocket queens to take his stack past the 130,000 mark. Only a few hands later, the two got involved again, Schroer making a raise from middle position and Brindise three-betting to 21,500 only to have Schroer move all-in for 68,500. Schroer rested his head on the table while Brindise tanked (a move that worked quite well for him yesterday, and was finally roused when Brindise declared "You win, wake up!"

Brindise, however, did not fare as well against Joseph Gibbons. The two got their stacks in preflop, Brindise with A♥Q♥ against Gibbons' Q♦Q♣. The board brought no help for Brindise, and he shipped all but 9,500 of his chips across the table. Those chips went in the middle on the very next hand, his 6♠7♥ up against Joe Ebanks' A♦9♠. Although Brindise picked up a flush draw on the A♥8♥5♥ flop, he couldn't fill it, the turn and river falling the J♠ and the 2♣ to send him to the rail. --KB

12:32pm: Treys still don't beat kings
Michael Clark started the day with a mere 46,600 and needed an early double up if he was going to make the money. He went for it with pocket threes. Too bad for him that Matt Matros was sitting on pocket kings. Nothing silly happened, and Clark is gone short of the money. --BW

12.30pm: Even Overton can't crack aces
Aaron Overton's day has already been eventful, and we're not even 30 minutes into it. The overnight chip leader arrived slightly late, munched down a granola bar, was mistaken for a 22-year-old by Joe Tehan, pushed Ben Nakhoul off a pot and then doubled up Steve O'Dwyer.

The first few parts of that story perhaps aren't that fascinating, but the last part is more interesting - particularly for Mr O'Dwyer and his fans.

O'Dwyer opened from middle position to 9,000 and Overton, on the button, took a while before re-raising to 35,000, for the second pot in a row. Everyone folded back to O'Dwyer, who went into the tank before moving all in for close to his starting stack of 108,000. Overton snap-called.

Overton: A♥K♣
O'Dwywer: A♦A♣

The board blanked and the aces held, putting O'Dwyer up beyong 200,000. Overton slipped to about 500,000, which is still enough to keep him comfortably in the chip lead. He is, however, mortal. -- HS


Steve O'Dwyer, proving Overton's mortality

12:23pm: Bad start for Ramdin
The day is not starting as Victor Ramdin intended. He just lost more than a third of his stack after getting it in three ways with Q♦J♦ on a J♥3♣2♣ flop. The bulk of that money went to Jacobo Fernandez who held A♠A♦. The much smaller main pot slid to Ciaran Begley-Cater, who was sitting with Q♣J♣. Begley-Cater started the day with only 35,000. He tripled up on that hand when the 9♣ came on the turn. Fernandez still pulled 101,000 from Ramdin in the side pot. Ramdin is now back down to around the average stack. --BW


Victor Ramdin's day not starting well

12.20pm: Double down
Greg Dyer and Alan Sternberg, both short stacks at the start of play, are out. Details to follow. Or not, depending on whether any of my colleagues saw the action. (Get your money on "not".) -- HS

12.15pm: Early skirmishes
Play is under way almost right on cue, and action is already brisk. On table nine, Dan O'Brien has been the early aggressor, taking down two small pots.

In the first one, Jerry Wong opened for 9,000 in early position, which Philippe Plouffe called a couple of seats to his left. O'Brien, on the button, made it 25,100 and squeezed them both out.

Next hand, O'Brien raised to 8,000 in the cut off and Michael Quibble called in the big blind. The flop came Q♦9♥[10h] and after Quibble checked, O'Brien bet 6,800.

Quibble raised, asking an 18,000 chip question. But O'Brien responded by sliding in 31,200 - and that was enough.

On a neighbouring table, Todd Terry, the overnight short-stack, doubled up very early. Ludovic Lachance made it 8,500, Terry moved in for his 26,000 total and after a small dwell, and everyone else getting out the way, Lachance called.

"If you took that long, I feel good," said Terry, showing A♠9♠. That started ahead of Lachance's A♥2♥ and stayed there all the way on a 4♦K♠K♥5♠8♣ board. Terry remains. -- HS

11.30am: The race to 50
In PokerStars Blog land, the race to 50 was won at a canter by our photographer Joe Giron. Some time ago, the erstwhile hellraiser hung up his cans of hairspray and calf-hugging stonewashes to enter his dotage amid the snarks of the poker fraternity. This time last year Giron celebrated his half-century with a night in a Connecticut motel, a bag of Atomic Fireballs and a bump on the head.

Today at Mohegan Sun, we start another race to 50. From a starting field of 387 at the $5,000 Main Event, only 74 remain. The target by close of play tonight is 24 players, which means we need to shed 50. That's what this long-winded introduction is basically labouring its way towards saying: day three of this tournament requires us to lose 50 players until it is done.

The first hurdle will be the money bubble. Only 56 players will be paid, which means 14 players returning this afternoon will not receive any remuneration for their week's efforts. Play tends to slow as that landmark approaches, but once its done we could race to a conclusion. However it plays out, it should be a thriller.

The two Aarons - Overton and Mermelstein - lead the way, but there's a defending champion not far behind. Vanessa Selbst, the five-bet-shoving-with-8-4 Team PokerStars Pro can do no wrong on this reservation, and all eyes will surely be on her.

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Vanessa Selbst, lurking in the top five at Mohegan Sun

Play is due to start at noon.

Reporting team: Kristin Bihr, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography: Joe Giron.