More than a third of the players that started Day 3 are now tasked with the challenge of forgetting the main event exits. One of those players is 2013 WSOP main event champion Ryan Riess. The defending champ put up a fight on Day 3, squeezing out small pots with a short stack for most of the day. Riess got his last chips in with 4-4 against Steve Brecher's 9-9 and couldn't get there.
Thank you everyone for all the support over the last year. It has been one hell of a ride
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) July 11, 2014
It's always interesting to see how former champions approach the main event after their victory. Riess approached it with true class and offered such positivity throughout the process. Forever included with the game's victors, Riess wanted this. He wanted to have another deep run. In his eyes, it was his event and, really, you can't blame him for that. There's a difference between having pride and being cocky about your achievements. Constantly playing the modest card, Riess was a great representative over the past year and will continue to be moving forward.
There are only two former champions left in the field: Huck Seed and Chris Moneymaker.
The eliminations piled up over the past few hours with many familiar faces walking out the door. Johnny Chan is one of them. Robert Varkyoni too. Actor Kevin Pollak, Matthew Ashton, Erik Seidel, Greg Mueller, Earl Barron, Billy Baxter, Ole Schemion, Jake Cody and Blair Hinkle as well. They're burning through tables in Brasilia and there's a real strong possibility that everyone will reach their final stop in the Amazon Room later this evening.
The pace of play is picking up, but will slow down before the night is over as the money bubble approaches. The minimum payout of $18,406 isn't the world to everyone in the field, but to many still in contention, a min-cash would mean everything. The field is still scattered with a good amount of amateurs just having a good time. You can see it in their faces and the enjoyment they display of emotion when they're talking to their friends and family on the rail. You can hear it in their voices as they're talking at the table or asking for an autograph during a break. This is their dream and it is alive and well.
Then there are those who have been here before.
Since the November Nine concept was implemented in 2008, we've learned much about the competitors that make it to the biggest final table in the world. We learned about their backgrounds, their passions and their motivations. Here's a look at the players who have made post-boom final tables and are trying to get back in 2014:
2013 - Mark Newhouse and Amir Lehavot are the only players left. Newhouse began the day with a 200,000 stack and has increased it to 325,000. Lehavot is hovering below average.
2012 - If anyone is still in it, it's Andras Koroknai, but I haven't seen him in a few hours.
2011 - Eighth-place finisher Anton Makiievskyi has 125,000. Runner-up Martin Staszko has 60,000. Pius Heinz did not play.
2010 - None
2009 - Some guy named Ivey made this one. He's hovering at about 400,000.
2008 - None
2007 - None
2006 - Allen Cunningham and Michael Binger are the sole representatives from this year's final table. I still think it's harder to find anyone who has more patience in this event than Cunningham. He has 210,000 in chips. Binger is seated with Paul Pierce.
2005 - Steven Dannenmann was seated with Riess and lost more than half his stack so far today. Dannenmann hasn't cashed in the main since his runner-up finish.
2004 - None
2003 - Chris Moneymaker is trying to make the money in the main event for the first time since his win.
Players will go on dinner break at 6:40 p.m. PT. After a 90-minute break, they'll return for two more levels.
Small Blinds: Paul Pierce was signing autographs for players at another table in between hands. ... A few notables with chips: Antonio Esfandiari, Joe Kuether, Martin Jacobson and Dan Smith. ... Mukul and Vinny Pahuja are sitting with their backs to each other. ... Nearly half of the Brasilia Room is empty. ... The filming of the "Side Action" segments concluded to the enjoyment of many in the Amazon Room that felt there was too much noise. ... There are no available masseuses in the Amazon Room. ... Bernard Lee ran J-J into 10-10. After seeing a 10 on the flop, Lee is on his way out of Vegas. ... There have been a few moments of audible celebration. That's more than OK at this point. ... Day 3 ended last year with 666 players. There were fewer players then, and that number isn't attainable this year since the money bubble comes at 693 and must be part of the television broadcast. ... There are lots of tired faces out there, and remember players don't have another day off until Tuesday. ... Haralabos Voulgaris has been trying to get the WSOP staff to get Paul Pierce a more comfortable chair. I honestly don't think a chair will make him more comfortable. Maybe another massage?.