WSOP Main Event Day 3: Bubble bursts, Anand still leads the way

Amar Anand is chip leader of the Main Event for the second day in a row. Can he go all the way?

Just under 1,800 people came back for Day 3 of the 2015 WSOP Main Event and more than half of those would make the cash. Mike Matusow was going well until he got involved in a huge pot with Day 2 chip leader Amar Anand. Matusow got his money all-in with top pair and a flush draw on the turn, but the river bricked and he went home with nothing to show for his work.

With the field getting perilously close to the magic 1,000, players were stalling everywhere, conserving the smallest of stacks, desperately trying to notch a cash in the biggest poker tournament of their lives. One of them, Philip Stark, was one of the serial offenders, with too few chips to make the next set of blinds. He was tanking over every hand and after a while the table started auto-calling the clock on him. His clock length went down from a minute to 30 seconds and eventually straight to the count, but he wasn’t bothered. He made the cash and apologised to the table, who in turn congratulated him on making the cash.

The tournament had gone hand-for-hand with 1,002 players left and on the second cycle the bubble burst. Two players went out, Ray Daoud got unlucky when his pocket Fives were counterfeited by 7-5, the Seven kicker playing to send him to the rail. Meanwhile, Jonas Lauck decided that his opponent was taking advantage of him on the bubble, and called with top pair to see the bad news – his opponent had actually rivered a straight.

As is tradition, the nut bubble would get a free seat into next year’s Main Event, so the two had to draw high cards. Daoud won this flip which mean that Lauck effectively bubbled twice in one tournament. As he trudged off, the remaining players were oblivious to his plight, all cheering their achievement.

Bust outs were thick and fast after the bubble and by the end of the day just 661 players are left in contention. Amar Anand has completed the first part of what would be an incredible journey, holding onto the chip lead at the day’s end. He’ll now believe he can go all the way and take his seat at the final table in November.

Phil Hellmuth’s dream is still alive – he has 170,500 chips after getting low mid-way through the day. And four other previous Main Event champions remain in the hunt with him – Jim Bechtel, who won in 1993, has 575,000, Joe Hachem has 414,500, Ryan Riess has 143,500 and Jonathan Duhamel is nursing a stack of 53,000, less than double his starting stack.

Back up at the top, Brian Hastings is in third with just over a million and Fedor Holz is fourth with 994,000. Daniel Negreanu is also set for a deep run with an above average stack of 444,500. For the UK, Toby Lewis is stacked (502,500), along with Jake Cody (355,500).

Play resumes at noon today as the remaining players start to eye a once-in-a-lifetime run at the most famous final table in poker.

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