Level 18: 3,000-6,000, 1,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Note: Action begins today at 1:00 pm CT, due to the late finish last night.
Day 3 began with 66 players, and two former WPT Southern Poker Championship winners in the field -- Hoyt Corkins and Allen Carter. Day 3 ended with 19 players, including Corkins and Carter. No player has ever won the same WPT event twice. Could this be the tournament to end that streak?
With 19 players remaining, here are the top five in chips:
1. Ryan Hughes - 1,014,000 (169 bb)
2. Alexander Kuzmin - 780,500 (130 bb)
3. Shannon Shorr - 593,000 (98 bb)
4. Allen Carter - 530,000 (88 bb)
5. Otis Wright - 476,000 (79 bb)
And now, a photographic look back at Day 3 of the WPT Southern Poker Championship:
As soon as play got underway for Day 3, Gavin Smith (foreground, left) started drafting players with Kyle Bowker (not pictured). They drafted ten players each, with a side bet of $500 if either of them makes the final table themselves. When making one of his picks, Gavin Smith said, "I'm going with my heart. I'm going with Downtown Chad Brown." Brown, pictured on Gavin's left, said, "Wise decision." (So far, it has been, because Brown is still alive heading into Day 4.)
Jonathan Little (left) was eliminated in the first level of the day when he found himself the short stack in a three-way preflop all-in situation against Michael Benvenuti (center) and Lyle Vincent. Little's AQ never caught up to Benvenuti's KK or Vincent's 99.
Royal Flush Girls Melyssa Grace, Melanie Iglesias, and Sunisa Kim check out the early action as Lee Markholt plays a hand shortly after Markholt eliminated two players (including Jason Mercier) in a three-way pot. At this point, Markholt was neck-and-neck for the chip lead with about 260,000 in chips.
Lisa Yap (left) was the mid-day chipleader when she played this hand to the river against Michael Benvenuti (right). Yap check-called the flop and turn, and folded to Benvenuti's river bet on a board of Q63J9. Benvenuti asked, "Did you have spades?" Yap replied, "Yeah, ace high."
At 4:00 pm, when the field was down to the final five tables (45 players), Gavin Smith and Lee Markholt were discussing how long it would take for the field to burst the money bubble and reach 27 players. Tournament Director Johnny Grooms predicted sometime after 11:00 pm (accounting for the 75-minute dinner break), while Gavin and Markholt thought it would happen much earlier.
With the board showing J85A on the turn, Rusty Moorer (foreground right) check-raised all in against Chad Brown (foreground left). Brown asked if Moorer had ace-king, and then folded his own AK face up. Moorer said nothing as he pulled in the pot.
Kyle Bowker (right) was short-stacked and all in preflop with AQ against the QQ of Hoyt Corkins (center). The board came 983104, and since neither player had a diamond, Corkins took the pot with his pocket queens to eliminate Bowker from the tournament.
With the board showing 8873 on the turn and about 90,000 already in the pot, Leif Force (right) moved all in for 70,800 more, looking very confident. Vitor Coelho (left) tanked for about five minutes before he folded.
After winning the hand against Vitor Coelho, Leif Force jokes around with Gavin Smith, who was in a fun mood for most of the day. Unfortunately, Gavin's good times ran out when he was eliminated after the dinner break, a few spots away from the money.
The players took their dinner break with 33 players left, six spots away from the money. At that point, Alexander Kuzmin was the chip leader with 550,000.
During hand-for-hand play on the money bubble, Pat Mahoney (left) faces an all-in bet from defending champion Hoyt Corkins on a board of QJ66A. Mahoney tanked for a bit, saying, "I don't believe you have it," but he eventually folded.
Players gather around one of the tables for an all-in situation during hand-for-hand play. Alistair Melville (seated, bottom left) had the shortest stack for most of the money bubble, but whenever he got it all in for a couple of big blinds, he would find a way to double up. Melville would eventually survive into the money, finishing in 24th place for $18,868.
Hand-for-hand play had been going for more than an hour when WPT Producer Mandy Glogow (left) showed Ali Eslami (who busted earlier in the day) how to handle one of the cameras.
Makeshift player-turned-cameraman Ali Eslami puts his new skills to the test as he records action at one of the final four tables on the money bubble.
The money bubble had lasted for more than two hours when David Diaz (left, standing in the red hat) was all in preflop with AJ against the 109 of Ryan Hughes (center right, in the striped white shirt). The board came 994Q4, and Hughes won the pot with a full house, nines full of fours. Diaz busted in 28th place, while the other 27 players were guaranteed at least $18,868. Hughes definitely prospered on the money bubble, more than doubling his stack to take the chip lead with 920,000.
For the record, the bubble burst around 11:30 pm, in line with the predictions of TD Johnny Grooms.
Ryan Hughes finished Day 3 as the chipleader with 1,014,000 -- triple the average stack of 338,000. The next closest stack belongs to Alexander Kuzmin (780,500).
Day 4 begins tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1:00 pm CT. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for continuing live coverage, including hand updates, frequent chip counts, video interviews with Kimberly Lansing, and the daily recap show starring Jessica Welman and BJ Nemeth.
Level 17: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
On the first hand back from break, David Diaz raises to 10,000 on the button and Ryan Hughes moves all-in from the big blind, having Diaz's remaining 110,000 easily covered.
Diaz thinks a bit before calling. Hughes shows 910, while Diaz holds AJ. The 994 flop gives Hughes trip nines and the Q on the turn leaves Diaz drawing dead. The river is an inconsequential 4 and Diaz is the event's bubble boy.
The remaining 27 players are now redrawing for the final three tables and play will continue. They are also all guaranteed a minimum payday of $18,868.
Ryan Hughes - 920,000 (184 BBs)
David Diaz - eliminated in 28th place
Level 14: 1,200-2,400, 400 ante
After a flop of 9-8-3, Mark Rose checks under the gun, David Diaz bets 13,500 from the button, and Rose calls. The turn card is an A, Rose checks, Diaz bets 18,000, and Rose moves all in.
Diaz calls with A-K (pair of aces), and he dominates Rose's A-Q. The river card is a 10, and Diaz wins the pot with his king kicker to double up in chips.
David Diaz - 155,000 (64 BBs)
Mark Rose - 70,000 (29 BBs)
Level 13: 1,000-2,000, 300 ante
David Diaz min-raises from late position to 4,000, Kyle Bowker moves all in for 26,100, and Mark Rose tanks from the small blind for a while before he folds.
Diaz calls with JJ, and it's a race against Bowker's AQ. The board comes 1097AQ, and Bowker wins the pot with two pair, aces and queens, to double up in chips.
Kyle Bowker - 56,000 (28 BBs)
David Diaz - 37,000 (18 BBs)