It's not often that you can say a day of seven-card stud was an exciting day of poker, but today was one of those days. 85 players started the day eyeing a final table berth for this $10,000 championship event, the vast majority of them "known quantities". They started busting right from the word go, not stopping until there were 17 players left. Barry Greenstein, Tony G, Daniel Negreanu, Todd Brunson, and Phil Ivey were but a few of the names that didn't reach the money. Last year's champion, Freddie Ellis, made an inspired run to the final three tables but came up just a little short.
At 17 left, the money bubble, things came crashing to a halt. The last three tables played for 90 minutes without losing a player until finally Dario Alioto, short of chips, made a stand and got deep-sixed by Men "the Master" Nguyen.
Because of the extended bubble, play was shortened by one level for the night. When the chip bags finally came out just after 3:30am local time, 12 of the 150 players who put up "a dime" to play this tournament remained. Those 12 players are led by Vladimir Schmelev, who bagged 921,000 chips at night's end. Everyone will come back at 3pm tomorrow to play out the rest of the tournament, however long it takes. We'll be right there with them, reporting all of the action live from the tournament floor.
Until then, you can find us at the bar.