LA Poker Classic Main Event - Day 3
2006, Jason Kirk  

Day Three of the 2006 LA Poker Classic main event was the turning point in the evolution of the tournament, the day on which we all learned who would make the money, who would fall short, and who would carry momentum into the home stretch before the final table. After two long, grueling days of tournament action there were 97 players remaining. The early action would determine just how things shaped up. At the start of the day, tournament director Cheri Dokken announced that play would go for 6 levels or until the players hit the money, whichever was longer. That set the stage for the day as the cards got into the air.

One of the biggest stories of the day was Fabrice Soulier, who came into Day Three as the chip leader and played well throughout most of the day. Things were going well for him until he ran into a confrontation with Hollywood actor James Woods just before 10 PM. Soulier raised in early position and Woods re-raised. When the action came back to Soulier he moved all-in, putting Woods to a big test. The Hollywood superstar went deep into the tank, and as he thought longer and longer about the decision a crowd gathered around the table. Woods studied Soulier patiently, trying to figure out whether he was ahead, before finally making the decision to call after about five minutes. He turned over Q-Q, putting him far ahead of Soulier's Q-J of spades. The board brought no help for Soulier and he was taken down to about 140K in chips, whereas Woods finally found himself with over $600,000 in chips and a 3rd place position.

When Woods won his hand against Soulier, his excitement was impossible to ignore. "Yes!" he shouted. "That's poker! I'm going to win this thing, God damn it!" His ebullient enthusiasm infected the entire room, and when Woods stood on top of his chair and pumped his fists in victory, the entire ballroom exploded into a frenzy of applause and cheering for the local favorite. It was a remarkable display of spontaneity and excitement after a mostly quiet day of progressing toward the money.

On the very next hand, Soulier moved all-in before the flop - a huge overbet on his part - and was called by Daniel Quach. Soulier showed A-6 and Quach showed A-J. Without any improvement, Soulier exited the tournament on the money bubble. He had gone from solid chip position to out of the tournament in two hands and sent everyone else into the money. n a stretch of about 10 minutes, everything in the tournament had changed

Other noteworthy stories on the day included Alan Goehring holding on to a top-5 spot for the third consecutive day, despite a roller-coaster run throughout Day Three. There was also the matter of Juha Helppi's remarkable run after coming into Day Two with just a touch over $20,000 to his name. Jon Luu came storming out of nowhere at the end of the night to take the chip lead thanks to some good timing. Then there was Jon Kelley, a journalist who works for television's Extra, who found himself in 6th place at the end of the day after making some great plays - not a bad performance for someone who has been playing poker for 9 months. Between Kelley and Woods, the celebrity factor at the LA Poker Classic has definitely been hard to ignore.

Play is set to resume Sunday at 3 PM PST, with the final 27 players playing down to the final TV table a day ahead of schedule. With big money and glory on the line, it should be another fantastic day of poker.

End of Day Three Standings

1 Jon Luu $ 1,111,000
2 Per Ummer $ 1,022,000
3 Brian McCann $ 939,000
4 Alan Goehring $ 916,000
5 Juha Helppi $ 804,000
6 Jon Kelley $ 751,000
7 David Chiu $ 749,000
8 Daniel Quach $ 739,000
9 Michael McClain $ 737,000
10 Kevan Casey $ 685,000
11 Michael Woo $ 670,000
12 John Gale $ 549,000
13 Steven Simmons $ 494,000
14 Anahit Galajian $ 458,000
15 J.C. Tran $ 441,000
16 James Woods $ 438,000
17 Rodeen Talebi $ 414,000
18 Chris Bigler $ 413,000
19 Mark Weidmann $ 327,000
20 Bill Gazes $ 258,000
21 Danny Noam $ 253,000
22 Tom Macey $ 242,000
23 Kelly Kim $ 173,000
24 Damon Ahmadi $ 135,000
25 Bruce Parker $ 106,000
26 Genefredo Legaspi $ 68,000
27 Roy Winston $ 45,000

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