WSOP Main Event: Phil Galfond Cruising, Tony Dunst Leads

Galfond's stack continued to grow on Day 4.

On Tuesday, players returned for action to try and accomplish the first of many hopeful goals here at the WSOP Main Event – reach the money. With 1,205 players making their way to the Amazon room, we were treated to quite the spectacle, as tension grew with each player knocked out just before the money bubble.

To start play, Jack Effel brought Dwyte Pilgrim in to announce the daily “Shuffle up and deal,” but Pilgrim first unveiled plans for the World Series of Poker Circuit, which has been stealing headlines over the past two days with its added television coverage and $1,000,000 Championship event.

The first level was highlighted by big name players frantically searching for a double up, and more often than not finding it. Jean-Robert Bellande, Allan Cunningham, Jon Aguiar, and Gavin Smith all found ways to collect huge pots and stay alive.

It only took one hour, but the Pavilion room broke for the last time here at the World Series of Poker by the middle of Level 14. Only 15 tables started in the cavernous confines, but floor supervisors did their absolute best to get everyone over in the Amazon room as quickly as possible.

It was Level 14 that also saw the rise of Duy Le, who became the first player in this year’s Main Event to reach the 1,000,000 mark in chips. Le might be a relative unknown to the poker world, but thanks to a huge hand where he collected 700,000 chips with quads, people have began taking notice.

Over in the Orange section, we said goodbye to The Dutchess of Poker, who had been struggling all day with her new-found table. Not only was Duke being relatively testy during each hand, but she wasn’t a big fan of the ESPN cameras swarming after her each and every bet. Duke’s last stand came pre-flop with pocket sevens, but she had bet right into pocket jacks, and only moments later was sent to the rail.

As the field condensed closer and closer to the money bubble, a few more relative unknowns moved to the top of the leaderboard. Martijn Schirp was an absolute wrecking ball over in the Orange section, taking down the blinds and winning big pots at every turn of the head. At one ponit, Schirp’s stack was edging near the 1,500,000 mark, which would’ve put him a solid 300,000 ahead of the nearest competitor.

Matt Affleck also ascended to the top, but his name might be more known in the poker world. Affleck is just one year removed from one of the more brutal collapses we’ve seen at the Main Event, with a similar chip lead only to finish 81st overall in 2009.

Our bubble boy came after seven hands in hand-for-hand after Tim McDonald hit the rail. McDonald had gotten it in with pocket queens on a flop of [Ax] [Ax] [2x], only to see his opponent snap call with [Ax] [2x]. Drawing dead, McDonald called his family to tell them of his unfortunate fate, but it wasn’t all for naughty – McDonald will be free-rolling in the 2011 WSOP Main Event as his consolation prize, and we wish the best of luck to him.

At the end of the night, however, it was Tony Dunst stealing the show. Dunst was in cruise control through the entire last level, and won a few huge coin flips that moved him from middle-of-the-road to chip leader heading into Day 5. Dunst ended the night with 1,546,000, and was absolutely exuberant about his performance.

Our most notable player inside of the top ten is Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, who went on quite the heater during the last few hours. Galfond’s already won a WSOP bracelet in the 2008 Pot-Limit Omaha Event 38, and his quest for the ever-elusive second is right on track with 1,392,000 chips.

“I ran really well all around. Luckily 100 people from the bubble I was able to double up. I had 260,000 and needed a gift against a lower straight. I got to be the chip leader at the table which was really key. I kind of beat up on the shorter stacks and the only other big stack was on my right. I made the day hell for him. By the bubble everybody was folding every single hand and I was able to pick up like 150,000 just stealing blinds and antes. I had one all in where I had jacks verse ace eight and it held,” remarked Galfond about his day.

The most notable player just outside our top ten includes Johnny Chan, the two-time WSOP Main Event champion who has been rock steady on each day. Chan ended the day with 1,159,000, and it looks like little is getting in the way of the Orient Express.

Frank Kassela busted , but because he cashed in 674th place, he has wrapped up WSOP Player of the Year honors. If Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi can pull off the improbable and win the Main Event, there is a chance that the two could split honors, but Mizrachi will have to do some serious moving and shaking to be in this position.

BLUFF President Eric Morris has also made it through four grueling days of play, and will be returning on Day 5 with 190,000 to play with.

Worth noting: Our average chip stack is 381,198.

  1. Tony Dunst – 1,546,000
  2. Duy Le – 1,460,000
  3. Garrett Adelstein – 1,440,000
  4. Matt Affleck – 1,395,000
  5. Phil Galfond – 1,392,000
  6. Matt Jarvis – 1,373,000
  7. Theo Jorgensen – 1,343,000
  8. Ben Statz – 1,283,000
  9. Bryan Pellegrino – 1,240,000
  10. Josh Brikis – 1,194,000
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