World Poker Open Main Event - Day 3
2006, Jason Kirk  

When play was stopped at the end of Day Two of the World Poker Open at Gold Strike Hotel Casino in Tunica, MS, 52 players remained in the field. For those players, this was both good and bad news. The bad news was that 2 players would be unlucky enough to finish out of the money, after having stayed an extra day. The good news was that the bubble was soon to burst, allowing the remaining players to get down to business. Only a handful of players had to worry about the bad news, though, and it was a moot point early on in the day's play.

Within minutes of beginning the day's play, the first casualty came in the form of Pittsburgh, PA, resident Gary Haubelt. He entered the day as one of the shortest stacks remaining in the field, with only $24,700 to his credit. When he found A-K on the button he moved his chips into the middle, but his timing couldn't have been much worse - Raul Paez woke up with K-K and sent Haubelt home without a dime.

A second player should have gone home with no money, but the circumstances that evolved meant that two players would instead leave with money but no profit. On the first hand of hand-for-hand play, two players ended up all-in. On Table 74, Barry Shulman got his money in with A-6, and was called by An Tran with 4-3. "Why couldn't you have 6-3?" Shulman asked - and he surely had no idea how prescient his statement was. The flop held a 6, giving Shulman middle pair, but a 2 also gave Tran an inside straight draw. Tran filled that draw when the 5 of clubs hit the river. Meanwhile, on Table 38, Andy Miller moved in with 8-8 on a K-Q-J flop. 2004 WSOP Senior Event winner Gary Gibbs held T-T, and made the tough call. Miller caught no help, leaving him to split 50th place money with Barry Shulman.

Once the bubble had been burst, the action continued at a torrid pace. Only 20 minutes later, 45 players were left and seats were re-drawn. Then the pace slowed to a crawl - it was another hour and a half before the second re-draw of the day took place. In that time Mark Napolitano, Padraig Parkinson, Doug Carli, Vassilos Maniotis, Neil Hansarling, John Spadavecchia, Bob Stupak, and Chad Brown left the tournament - and Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken showed up to play after missing the first portion of the day's play. He managed to avoid the bubble by arriving late, but he was the first player gone after the re-draw at 36 players.

While all these players were leaving, three players were accumulating massive amounts of chips. Gavin Smith, despite having A-A and Q-Q cracked back-to-back, hovered between $300,000 and $400,000 all day long. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi was also wreaking havoc on his tables, staying in the high $300,000s most of the day. Then there was Gary Gibbs - he began slowly, but by the end of the day had a stack of blue $5,000 chips almost as tall as he is. Also playing a solid game were Zac Reynolds of Edmond, OK, who qualified for the tournament in a satellite at Full Tilt Poker, and Allie Prescott of Memphis, TN.

Possibly the most devastating beat of the day was dealt to Dwayne Moyers of Southlake, TX. He moved all-in with A-K and was called by Josh Arieh, who held 3-2 of hearts. Moyers hit top pair on the flop and turned two pair, but the river card put three hearts on the board to ship the pot Arieh's way. If that wasn't the worst, the honor had to go to Scotty Nguyen. He moved in with Q-Q and got a call from James Haley, who showed A-A. Two diamonds hit the flop, another hit the turn, and a final diamond hit the river to give Nguyen the flush and cripple Haley, who went out on the next hand.

The true story of the day, however, was Josh Tieman of Kilder, IL. He flopped trip sixes on a 6-6-5 board and got his money in the middle against Matt Keikoan, who held 8-7 for the open-ended draw. The river 4 completed Keikoan's straight and left Tieman with a single $5,000 chip. That covered his next ante and 80% of the small blind he posted. He managed to hit a flush with 8-6 of diamonds to triple up. Then he moved in with Q-Q and was called by Chris Bell with K-K. The turn brought a queen to double Tieman up. Finally, Tieman pushed with A-J and was called by Allie Prescott with A-K. The river brought a jack and put Tieman back into a playable position again. The only people in the room not rooting for Tieman were his fellow players.

The final 18 players will come back at noon on Sunday to play down to the TV table. In order of chip count, here they are.

Gary Gibbs $1,087,000
Scotty Nguyen $848,000
Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi $476,000
Matt Keikoan $412,000
Gavin Smith $408,000
Raul Paez $404,000
Chris Bell $381,000
Fred Ferrington $356,000
Karlo Lopez $316,000
Josh Arieh $300,000
Rodeen Talebi $285,000
Allie Prescott $267,000
Johnny Donaldson $246,000
An Tran $217,000
Bau Le $204,000
Eric Cloutier $190,000
Josh Tieman $150,000


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