Top Spots Tight as Bubble Looms for Day 4 of 2014 WSOP Main Event

Dan Smith finished Day 4 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event in the top 20. (Drew Amato photo)

Dan Smith finished Day 4 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event in the top 20. (Drew Amato photo)

The most famous bubble in all of poker is upon us at the 2014 World Series of Poker, with just hours separating almost 700 fortunate souls from a guaranteed Main Event payday.

Just hours after the final WSOP hands of the summer were played in the Pavilion Room, the final table in the Brasilia Room was broken and play came to a premature end on Day 3. Exactly 53 minutes remain in Level 15, which is what where we’ll kick off the action on Day 4 as players sweat whether they’ll be one of 693 who go home with at least $18,406 or the 53 who leave the Rio empty-handed.

The rush towards an overnight chipleader was intense and came down to a single big blind at the end of the night. Andrew Liporace edged into the top spot with 1,128,000 – one of two players with a stack of over 1 million at the end of Day 3. Mehrdad Yousefzadeh, who was the first to break 1 million while spending most of his day playing with one of the most dangerous players in the game who was holding a lot of chips, bagged 1,124,000.

“I had Phil Ivey at my table all day,” said Yousefzadeh. “We didn’t play any big pots, we stayed away from each other.”

As far as what this big a stack means at this stage of the tournament, Yousefzadeh understands that he’s still got a lot of work to do.

“For the last nine years, most of the guys I’ve seen as chipleader on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, they don’t make the final table,” said Yousefzadeh. “I’m just trying not to be that guy.”

Yousefzadeh doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet, but he has over $500,000 in career tournament earnings – most of which came in the $5,000 WSOP Circuit Main Event at Caesars Atlantic City in 2007, where he won a circuit ring. Despite being pipped for the chiplead at the end of the night, both he and Liporace enjoy a significant lead on the field as the bubble, one of the most potentially profitable times of this tournament as the bubble hangs over the heads of the short stacks.

Raul Mestre, who has a pair of EPT final tables to his credit, sits third at the end of Day 3 with 988,500. David Tuthill and Roman Valerstein have the same exact same stack (850,500), and each brings a different kind of experience along with a stack that ties them for 10th into Friday’s action. Tuthill also has a WSOPC title, which came at Caesars Las Vegas in 2013, while Valerstein has a deep Main Event cash from 2012, when he finished 82nd.

Dan Smith also bagged a considerable stack at the end of the night Thursday, and he’ll start Day 3 in 15th place. After drawing a table too deep into the rotation to be broken Thursday, Smith took advantage of an extended period of play to get a feel for his opponents. Smith started to move towards his peak with a turned straight that knocked out $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner John Hennigan after the dinner break.

“My day went fantastic,” said Smith. “I started the day with 60 some-odd thousand and finished the day with 817,000/ I was at the same table all day, I saw a little bit of everything. I’d like to think I played okay too.”

Griffin Benger, Ali Eslami, Kenny Tran, Martin Jacobson, Eddy Sabat, Isaac Baron and Ivey each managed to bag over 500,000 to end the night. It was a day of grinding for Ivey, who started the day as the chipleader with 505,000 and ended with a stack just shy of the top 10 percent at 522,500.

Other notables still living the Main Event dream include reigning WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja and his brother Vinny, who both have strong stacks after Day 3, Konstantin Puchkov, Mark Newhouse, Matt Waxman, Allen Cunningham, Daniel Alaei, Bryan Devonshire, Olivier Busquet and Maria Ho.

Huck Seed is the last Main Event champion standing, and hopes that last year’s results for former champs – where none of them cashed – are not repeated. Ronnie Bardah is looking for a piece of history on Day 4, as he looks for his record-setting fifth consecutive Main Event cash.

After building up sizable chips early in the day, Chris Moneymaker made his exit late on Day 2. This continues Moneymaker’s unbelievable strek of 11 straight Main Events without a cash, despite an abundance of Day 2 appearences. Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Koon, Marvin Rettenmaier, Erik Seidel, Ole Schemion, Tom Marchese, Haralabos Voulgaris, James McManus and Christina Lindley also saw their Main Events end on Thursday. 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, who more than held his own through three days in the Main Event, went out late in the night.

The final 746 players will return at 12 pm PST tomorrow and play the final 53 minutes of Level 15. The rest of the day’s schedule is currently unknown, but stay tuned to and @bluffmagazine for the latest information and updates from Day 4 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event.

2014 World Series of Poker Main Event – End of Day 3 Chip Counts

  1. Andrew Liporace – 1,128,000
  2. Mehrdad Yousefzadeh – 1,124,000
  3. Raul Mestre – 988,500
  4. Jesse Wilke – 975,500
  5. Scott Blackman – 935,000
  6. Andoni Larrabe Sancez – 923,000
  7. Stephen Graner – 911,000
  8. Per Karlsson – 891,500
  9. Rasmus Larsen – 883,000
  10. David Tuthill – 850,500
  11. Roman Valerstein – 850,500
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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