Monday, July 18, 2011 : Top players fall like ninepins in Day 3
 
Just 900 players were left bagging up their chips at the Level 14 close of Day 3 in the World Series of Poker main event Thursday night. They were all that remained of a field of 6,865 that started the tournament seven days ago, having ponied up $10 000 for the privilege of playing in poker's biggest event.
 
After a one day break, 1,864 players returned to the tables at noon Thursday for Day 3, for the first time this year combining the survivors of the preliminary heats. Despite the attrition of the preceding days, there was still a very strong contingent of professional players in contention, promising an exciting day of poker.
 
The action began almost immediately and was to continue at pace for most of the day, eliminating both aces and amateurs in quick succession.
 
Among the more recognisable names busted out during a tough day were Jason Mercier, Dan Shak, Matt Matros, Greg Mueller, former WSOP Main Event champs Tom McEvoy and Joe Cada, 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event champion Annette Obrestad, 1996 WSOP Main Event champion Huck Seed, Billy Kopp, internet high stakes aces Ryan D’Angelo and Patrik Antonius, and respected poker tournament director Matt Savage.
 
Celebrities who did not survive the day included actor-comedians Jason Alexander and Brad Garrett, both of whom put in a good performance.
 
Late Thursday night tournament officials called it a wrap at level 14 with Patrick Poirier the chip leader on 1,328,000, ahead of Daryl Jace (1,282,500). The duo are comfortably ahead of nearest rival Chris Kwon (944,500), but the top ten chip counts include Sebastian Ruthenberg (889,000) and Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (813,000).
 
Respected names surviving the day included Guillaume Darcourt, Peter Jetten, Sami Kelopuro, Sorel Mizzi, Daniel Negreanu, Kristy Gazes, Adam Junglen, Erick Lindgren, Allen Cunningham, JP Kelly, and the only surviving 2010 November Nine finalist Joseph Cheong. There are more respected players than you can shake a stick at still in contention, with plenty more action in prospect.
 
The chip leaders at the start of Day 3, Ben Lamb and Kevin Saul, did not fare well during the day, although they are still in the field with chip counts respectively at 450,000 and 392,500.
 
Phil Hellmuth is still in the running, although he is among the lower chip stacks on 77,000 and will have his work cut out to prosper on Day 4, which starts Friday.