WSOP Main Event Day 3: Carroll leads to the tune of 800,000
You could forgive a player for feeling a little fatigued tonight as they trudge back up the corridors of the Rio to the taxi ranks. After what must seem like an age each still has nothing to show for 12 and a half levels at the table and must endure more play if they are to avoid leaving here empty handed.
But all that ends tomorrow.
Tonight PokerStars player James Carroll is among those most likely to ease safely into the money when the bubble bursts tomorrow, the result of a series of hands that leave him with 803,000 in front of him and what appears to be the overall chip lead, trailed by former World Champion Johnny Chan.
Chip leader James Carroll
It looked to be a close run thing for top honours tonight, with PokerStars qualifier Nicolas Babel, from France, part of a pivotal hand that flung him up the chip charts, and will leave him seeing eights in his sleep.
Nicolas Babel with 600,000 reasons to be cheerful
It was hardly surprising that with quads eights on the flop against aces full on the turn the money would go in, leaving his opponent Billy Kopp to come to terms with the bad luck that his monster would run into Babel's bigger monster that had bigger claws, bigger teeth and was capable of purloining a 600,000 pot, but not the overall lead.
That was one of hundreds of eliminations today, a rate of attrition that leaves around 1,240 players tonight of whom only 747 will receive cash compensation for their efforts. The long corridors of the Rio hotel's convention end are gradually losing the crowds as more and more players admit that their World Series dream, at least for this year, has come to an end.
But returning on Tuesday (or day four as it's known in these parts) will be a selection of Team PokerStars Pros, some of which are better places for a run on the money that others.
Chief among them is Johnny Lodden. The volatile Norwegian proved all along proved that there was method in his madness, slumping at one point to 40,000 only to bag up more than 650,000 tonight.
He'll be joined by JP Kelly (390,000), Angel Guillen (310,000), Vanessa Selbst (310,000), Marcin Horecki (300,000), Humberto Brenes (215,000), Greg Debora (200,000), Jason Mercier (160,000), William Thorson (165,000), Gualter Salles (120,000), Pieter de Korver (85,000), Barry Greenstein (83,000) and Jorge Arias (60,000).
PokerStars players and qualifiers are also going strong. Imari "Doctor" Love (550,000) will be back in the morning, so too Gabe Walls (350,000), Max Gurovitch (392,000), Steven Tabb (470,000), Charles Silvestre (558,000), Nathan Meyvis (335,000), Yevgeniy Timoshenko (120,000) and today's first chip leader David Assouline (240,000).
From that list you'll be able to surmise which players busted today. From the PokerStars stable that included Daniel Negreanu, Bill Chen, Lex Veldhuis, Thierry van den Berg, Jan Heitmann, David Williams, Pat Pezzin, Florian Langmann, Matthias de Meulder, Sandra Naujoks, Vanessa Rousso, Anh Van Nguyen and Nuno Coelho. The romantics also kissed goodbye to any hope of a repeat winner with both Chris Moneymaker and reigning champion Joe Cada both falling to the rail.
No back-to-back for reigning World Champion Joe Cada
But the three days played so far have been just the under card for what comes tomorrow - Esthero to Snoop Dogg's main feature - extremely enjoyable but not really what everyone's here for.
Once we get to the money you can expect all the tension, drama and delay associated with such a tricky time, where anxious short stacked players will defy official demands to stay in their seat in order to share in the collective relief that some poor soul busted for nothing before them - a moment we'll report in full on the PokerStars Blog.
Until then check out all the action today, providing more detail to the short hand above, at the links below:
All of this is available on our various sister blogs in the different languages of German (goodbye Jan), Spanish (stay where you are Humberto), Dutch (thanks for the tweets Lex) and Swedish (they're still in?).
In terms of everybody else, if you or somebody you love, (or like just as a friend) is still in the WSOP shoot us an email at email@example.com and tell us all about them. We might use it for a story here on the PokerStars Blog.
That's it for day three. We're close to the business end of this World Series and the shop opens up tomorrow at noon. Join us then.
All photography from Las Vegas on PokerStars Blog is (c) Joe Giron/Joe Giron Photography.