LAS VEGAS -- Phil Hellmuth has been eliminated from the main event, and for those that wished for an exciting blow up during his elimination, this was not your day. Seated at the secondary feature table, Hellmuth found his 10-10 to be no good against his opponent's J-J and failed to make the money in the main event for the fourth consecutive year. Already standing, Hellmuth dejectedly sighed and walked around to every one of his opponents to shake their hands. After the lap around the table, with fans applauding, he headed over to ESPN's Kara Scott for a quick interview in which he shared how tough a summer it's been for him. For the past two years, Hellmuth was the runner-up in the Player of the Year race -- he was due for a down year. Until he's able to get back on the felt at WSOP Europe, Hellmuth will remain at 99 career WSOP cashes.
Hellmuth's exit leaves only four main event champions left in the field: Greg Merson (who built his stack to 326,000 from 125,000 during the past level), Doyle Brunson (who continues to chip up with minimal major confrontations), Tom McEvoy (who has played a steady, quiet game today) and Carlos Mortensen (who is building massive towers with his 300,000 in chips). Merson, Russell Thomas, Rob Salaburu and Steven Gee are the remaining players from last year's final table and have about 200,000 in chips.
The feature table today is going to present some of the best televised poker we've seen in a while. Phil Ivey has been there all day, but due to the breaking of some tables recently, he's been joined by Michael Mizrachi, $111,111 High Roller champion Anthony Gregg and bracelet winner Max Seinberg, who has two runner-up finishes in bracelet events this year. Each of them have already tangled in huge pots, and the likelihood of all of them making it through to Day 4 is very slim. I'm expecting one of those players to emerge with a monster stack at the end of the night.
The players are now on their 90-minute dinner break. When they return, the blinds will be 1,500/3,000 with a 500 ante.
Small blinds: The 100 denominational chips have been removed from play. ... Melanie Weisner and Annette Obrestad are both at more than 400,000 in chips. ... The chip leader entering today, Mark Kroon is hovering around 300,000 in chips. The current chip leader Dick van Luijk has 1 million in chips. ... Matt Stout won his main event entry from the WSOP.com sign-up raffle. He started the day with 40,000 and now has 300,000. ... The new bar in the Amazon Room has been relatively quiet. Maybe it'll pick up late night or over the weekend. ... A number of the poker-themed booths at the Rio have started to close as the main event field begins to dwindle. ... With fewer than 1,000 players left, the field will be very close to the money at the start of play tomorrow. I think the earlier that bubble approaches, the longer it might take. When players are fresh, they likely to hold off as long as they can. ... Ronnie Bardah is trying to cash in his fourth consecutive WSOP main event. ... Recent eliminations include Jon Aguiar, Liv Boeree, Matt Berkey, Phil Collins and Chris Tryba.