Mukul Pahuja Ends Day 3 of Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Lead

Mukul Pahuja holds a 1.5 million chip lead going into Day 4. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

Mukul Pahuja holds a 1.5 million chip lead going into Day 4. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

Day 3 of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event returned 100 players to play five 90 minute levels. Several of the players in the field still needed to make a couple pay jumps to earn a profit from firing multiple bullets. When action completed just 21 players remained with Mukul Pahuja leading the field after bagging up 8.125 million.

“Having a chip lead with 21 left is very nice and it’s a great position to be in, but by no means a lock,” Pahuja said. “There’s 71 million chips in play, I have eight – I need a lot more.”

“There were a few showdowns that were definitely pivotal for me getting the chip lead,” Pahuja continued. “I won a big race with ace king against fours for like a million a piece. I rivered a straight against someone who flopped bottom set and tried to trap me slow playing all the way to the river.”

Following Pahuja in the counts are Blair Hinkle (6.55 million) and Ryan Olisar (5.74 million). Also moving on to Day 4 are Amir Lehavot, Griffin Benger, Justin Bonomo, Mark Radoja, David “Doc” Sands and Krystal Seiling.

Unable to survive the day’s action was Leo Wolpert (23rd), Bryn Kenney (30th), Adam Levy (31st), Philipp Gruissem (38th), Cherish Andrews (43rd), Matt Glantz (52nd), Ravi Raghavan (55), Mike Matusow (59th), Noah Schwartz (60th), Matt Giannetti (64th), Will Failla (68th), Joe Serock (80th) and Matt Stout (93rd).

Seiling doubled through Samuel Guilabert to push her stack up to 2.8 million. She shoved preflop holding pocket aces and Guilabert called holding ace king. The board ran Q 9 7 Q 2 and Seiling’s inspired run to the final table got a little stronger though she ended near the bottom of the counts with 1.3 million.

Pahuja cemented his chip lead late in play when took a key pot off Benger. Pahuja opened from the small blind and Benger called from the big. The flop fell T 3 2, Pahuja bet 165,000 and Benger called. Both players checked the 5 turn and the river came 8. Pahuja bet 390,000, Benger called and Pahuja tabled pocket nines. Benger mucked and Pahuja crossed the eight million chip mark.

Hinkle moved held the chip lead temporarily at the start of the last level when he relieved John Miller of good amount of chips. They went to a flop of 9 7 2, Hinkle checked, Miller bet 90,000 and Hinkey re-raised to 240,000 and Miller called. The turn came 4, Hinkle bet out 565,000, Miller made it 1.225 million and Hinkle called. The dealer peeled off the K on the river, both players checked and Hinkle tabled Q 8 for a flopped flush. Hinkle stacked over five million after he collected the pot.

Levy’s run was cut short by Bonomo when they went to a flop of T 4 3. Bonomo check-called 110,000, the turn came 6 and Bonomo checked a second time. Levy bet 235,000, Bonomo check-raised all in and Levy called holding A T for top pair. Bonomo tabled T 6 for two pair and filled up when the river came T. Levy was sent to the payout desk as Bonomo moved over three million.

Andrews met her end when she moved all in preflop with A Q and was called by Derrick Cutler’s pocket jacks. The board ran all rags, Andrews never improved, was eliminated and earned $40,723 for her efforts.

Day 4 of the Main Event will kick off at noon ET with a schedule to play down to the final six players, regardless of how many levels it will take.

Day 3 Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Mukul Pahuja – 8,125,000
  2. Blair Hinkle – 6,550,000
  3. Ryan Olisar – 5,745,000
  4. Derrick Cutler – 5,345,000
  5. Jeremy Kottler – 5,275,000
  6. Amir Lehavot – 4,895,000
  7. Griffin Benger – 4,670,000
  8. Justin Bonomo – 4,215,000
  9. Mark Radoja – 2,930,000
  10. David “Doc” Sands – 2,850,000

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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