LAS VEGAS -- The pace of eliminations remained steady over the past level and only 1,197 players have returned from their second break of the day with main event dreams still alive. The aggressive nature of the tournament continues to create massive swings for players all over the chip counts, but none was bigger than the impact on Day 1C and 2 chip leader Mark Kroon. After chipping up near 700,000 in chips, Kroon found himself sending nearly half his stack over to Somar Al-Darwich, who is the new chip leader.
Al-Darwich opened the pot and received calls from Matt Affleck and Kroon. After a Ah-6d-5h flop, Kroon checked, Al-Darwich bet and Affleck folded. Kroon called and after a turn 7c, the action was repeated with a check, bet and call. A 10s hit the river and Kroon checked for the third time. Al-Darwich bet, Kroon raised, Al-Darwich reraised, Kroon re-reraised and finally Al-Darwich went all-in for 339,500. Kroon called and mucked in shock as Al-Darwich showed the nuts (9-8).
Kroon has since settled back in, but still looks a little unnerved, even after the break. He'll have to get his mindset back together and hopefully for him, the break came at the right time for him to do so.
Michael Mizrachi had a similar swing last night, but he's been on top of his game on Thursday to continue to build in the right direction. Mizrachi holds a top-10 stack, along with Day 2A chip leader Nick Schwarmann. It was also a strong level for Greg Mueller, Melanie Weisner, Ludovic Lacay and Jake Cody, who have emerged as contenders midway through Day 3.
Not much went Phil Ivey's way during Level 12, but things are turning around in Level 13. The nine-time WSOP champion got rivered for a 450,000-chip pot after flopping two pair against his opponent's overpair, then lost a race, then got reraised postflop numerous times to lose nearly 120,000 during the past two hours. He appeared to be frustrated momentarily, but then he sat back and put on the patented Ivey stare and went back to work. In one of his first hands after returning from the break, Ivey had K-J on a jack-high board with two hearts. Bill Phillips held Kh-8h and called all-in, needing a heart or two running eights to top Ivey once again. The turn came an eight, keeping Ivey in the lead, and a queen on the river awarded the 100,000-chip pot to one of the game's best. He continued with his aggression after that and built to nearly 300,000 in chips after being down to only 120,000 less than two hours earlier.
Players will go on a 90-minute dinner break after this next level.
Small blinds: Phil Hellmuth has maintained a stack below 100,000 all day and seems to be comfortable playing small ball. He's been moved to the secondary feature table, taking the spot of Doyle Brunson, who currently has over 350,000 in chips. ... Greg Merson is wearing a Jose Bautista jersey today. He's had a tough day so far and is under 200,000 in chips. ... Michael Mizrachi has been moved to the feature table with Phil Ivey. ... Recent eliminations include Jeff Shulman, Scott Seiver, Tony Dunst, Johnny Chan, Ray Romano, Shane Warne, Jason Senti, Daniel Cates and Jeremy Ausmus.