Jack Binion WSOP Circuit Main Event - Day 3
2006, Jason Kirk  

After a long first day of play and a relatively short second day, 27 player remained from an initial field of 241 at the main event of the Jack Binion WSOP Circuit at Grand Casino in Tunica. Among that field was one of the most familiar faces in the world of poker, Canadian professional and 2004 Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu. At the end of the second day of play Negreanu made a charge up the leaderboard to finish in 6th, putting him in a prime position to make the final table if he played well on Day Three. Todd Brunson also survived into the third day, albeit with a short stack in much need of help, much the same as the situation WSOP Circuit regular Don Mullis found himself in. With over $200,000 difference from first to last place, there was room for plenty of play coming into the next to last day of the event.

The action started off quickly, and mostly consisted of double-ups rather than bustouts. Wendell Barnes found himself on both the giving and receiving end of the double-up within the first hour. His A-K of clubs fell to Larry Satterwhite's A-Q of spades when Satterwhite hit the nut flush on the river, but his Q-9 hit two pair on the flop against the K-K of tournament newcomer Ernest Shepherd. Also doubling up over the course of the first level were local players Galen Kester and Robert Schulz, Roland Israelashvili, Mark Gregorich, and Don Mullis. Three players got their money in and couldn't replicate the success of their competitors - Todd Brunson, Bruce Sturgeon, and Khasrow Naraghian all took their leave before the first hour and a half of play had been completed.

When the first break was over, only 5 players remained who would miss out on a payday. Nearly half the level would pass before anyone was sent to the rail, but when the bustouts came they came quickly. Miguel Mateo made a desperation all-in move with K-8 that got everyone at the table to fold except for Chad Brown, who woke up with pocket aces and send Mateo out in 23rd place. Just a few hands later Roland Israelashvili got his money in the middle with the best hand against Robert Schulz, but Schulz turned two pair and closed the curtain on what had been a fine performance throughout the tournament. A short time later Don Mullis, whose chip stack had been doing its best see-saw impression all day, left when his A-2 was dominated by Daniel Alaei's A-T. The final player eliminated before the second break was local favorite Galen Kester, who ran his 7-7 into Don Barton's J-J and caught no help from the board.

Those bustouts before the second break left the players on the bubble - the next player out would leave with nothing and everyone else would get paid for their hard work. Just four hands into the third level of the day, George Bronstein got all-in with A-J but found himself dominated by Don Barton's A-K. Once the bubble had burst, players began making all-in moves at a furious pace. Nearly an hour would pass without a bustout, and in that time Bill Edler, Ernest Shepherd, Michael Tait, and Chad Brown would all double their stacks. The only players eliminated before the dinner break were amateur Phil Galfond, who finished 18th, and Larry Satterwhite, who finished 17th. Both men earned $22,895.

Michael Tait and Bill Edler were the only two players to go in the next level. Tait lost a coin flip to Daniel Negreanu when his A-Q of diamonds failed to improve against Negreanu's 9-9. Edler called all-in from the big blind when Don Barton moved all-in in late position, but his 9-9 was crushed by Barton's K-K. Tait took home $22,895 and Edler earned $27,745. Their departures left only 5 more players to be taken out before the final table. There was another flurry of double-ups at the start of the third level, with Wendell Barnes, Brandon Adams, and Lee Markholt being the beneficiaries.

Just after 11 PM, the bustouts came with a quickness. Hertzel Zalewski moved in with T-8 but ran into Ernest Shepherd's A-A, finishing 14th for $27,745. Don Barton got his money in with A-J but couldn't crack Brian Lamkin's K-K, and finished 13th for $27,745. The next to go was Daniel Alaei, who moved in with A-Q and ran into Robert Schulz's K-K. Alaei never improved and finished in 12th place with $32,055. Mark Gregorich finished 11th when he moved in with K-J and ran into Brandon Adams' A-T of hearts, which improved to a flush by the river. Gregorich took home $32,055.

Nearly an hour would pass before Ernest Shepherd left in 10th place, and the story of that hour was Daniel Negreanu's progress back toward the top of the leaderboard. Just as he did at the end of Day Two, the aggressive Negreanu made a charge by playing lots of hands and taking advantage of his opponents' desire to move up in the money. Negreanu went from $190,000 in chips to $410,000 between the 11th and 10th place knockouts, putting himself in prime position to take the title on the final day of play.

Play was set to resume on Friday at 2 PM CST, and the final table looked to be a tough one.

Seat Player Chips
1 Brian Lamkin $600,000
2 Daniel Negreanu $410,000
3 Robert Schulz $229,000
4 Lee Markholt $177,000
5 Wendell Barnes $237,000
6 Bryant King $200,000
7 Brandon Adams $103,000
8 Kia Mohajeri $331,000
9 Chad Brown $123,000


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