LAS VEGAS -- Call it a cooler or a sick spot or whatever you want. Phil Ivey's elimination was one of the most shocking hands we've seen so far in the main event, and Max Steinberg is thrilled that in the biggest pot so far this WSOP, the cards ran in his favor.
Seated at the final table, Ivey opened and was called by Olaoluwa Okelola, Max Steinberg and Anthony Gregg. The flop came As-10h-3s, and Ivey bet 16,000. Okelola raised to 41,000 and Steinberg called. Gregg folded, and with the action back to Ivey, he moved all in for 416,000. He was called instantly by Steinberg, who showed middle set (10-10), completely dominating Ivey's bottom set (3-3). With one out and two cards to come, Ivey collected himself and watched as the turn and river couldn't save his main event hopes. He walked out of the Amazon Room quickly with his head down as Steinberg smiled in front of the biggest stack in the room.
There were only 783 players left in the main event as players left for their final break of the night. Doyle Brunson is one of them, but it's clear that the 79-year-old legend is fatigued at the moment. Sitting at one of the outside feature tables, Brunson is seated at a table that gives him an unbelievable amount of respect, not just in life, but at the table. He's been able to chip up without major confrontations essentially all day and has a strong stack of 400,000 entering the final two hours. Brunson told the WSOP's Nolan Dalla that he might leave a little bit early to get some extra sleep. Tom McEvoy was eliminated during the last level, leaving only three former champs in search of another championship bracelet (Brunson, Merson, Mortensen).
The money bubble bursts at 648 players, and as much as I'd like to say this would be the level at which play slows down, I just can't imagine it playing out like that. Just as I've probably said every year since I started covering poker, the aggression level is at an all-time high this year. Compared to a similar starting field on Day 3 in 2012 when 720 players advanced to Day 4, we're going to be well beneath that number. If the final two hours play out anywhere near what we've seen all day, the bubble will be ready to burst during the first level of tomorrow's action.
Small blinds: The main event bracelet is currently placed outside of the feature table area. Ridiculously shiny isn't the best description, but that's what I'll go with. It's valued at $500,000. ... 2010 WSOP main event bubble boy Brandon Steven lost more than half his stack in the last level, essentially in one key hand in which he folded aces face up on the turn. ... Michael Mizrachi said that the play at the feature table is too slow. He was getting up and walking around in between hands to keep himself occupied. He also stopped and looked at the bracelet, held out his wrist and said it would look good there. ... The Brasilia Room is almost empty. It's always special when all the players are in one room and someone makes the announcement that the main event champion is actually in Amazon. ... The rail is quite substantial tonight. Guess everyone just got into town. ... Recent eliminations include Andy Frankenberger, Sorel Mizzi, Jared Hamby, Anthony Gregg, Haralabos Voulgaris, Philipp Gruissem and Shannon Shorr.