We've played another 120 minutes of after-dinner poker, and it's time for a twenty-minute break. It's come at just the right time; everyone needs a chance to exhale, we think.
The final 15 players filed back into the room two hours ago, each of them just six eliminations from a date with November's final table and all of the pomp and publicity that goes along with it. That dream has since been crushed for four of them.
Anyone with half a heart has to feel for Matt Affleck. After rushing to the chip lead in the middle stages of last year's Main Event, Affleck managed to make a remarkable follow-up run, pushing deep into this final day. Once again, though, his tournament has come to an abrupt end, and this time it was pocket aces that cost him his whole stack. Jonathan Duhamel had an open-ended straight draw when he got his money in with pocket jacks, and he found his card on the river to knock Affleck out in 15th place and skyrocket himself into the chip lead with about 51 million at the time.
Hasan Habib exited just minutes later, his tournament coming to a close after a remarkable two-day-long short-stacked predicament. Habib was rarely over 15 big blinds since Day 5, but he managed to keep his head above water until finally running out of outs on what would be his final hand. Habib's out-flopped John Racener's , but the latter re-improved on the river to KO Habib in 14th place, sent off by a warm round of applause. Habib final tabled the Main Event ten years ago, but his second trip to the sacred felt will have to wait for now.
Duy Le fell next after John Dolan's out-flopped his ace-queen. And finally, after having been worked down under 4 million, Adam "Roothlus" Levy was extinguished in 12th place to close out the level. Levy moved in with king-queen, but he ran smack into the pocket aces of the aforementioned Duhamel.
Speaking of Duhamel, he's still our commanding chip leader, sitting pretty with about 58 million as the level ticks down to zero. You've got twenty minutes of down time, but don't wander too far; we'll be back shortly to continue the hunt for the November Nine.