People may say they play poker for the money and the bracelet, but when you break down the day to day of a poker tournament, really only one thing matters: chips. So, each day of this year's Main Event, we’re going to take a look at what’s going on strictly by the counts to see what history has taught us, what the future may hold, and how this year's event stacks up. Here are some of the big takeaways from the start of Day 3 chip list:
Ivey, Ivey, Ivey
Because it is never too early to start speculating about Phil Ivey, let’s look at what we can glean from his half-million chip count. First, note that he is the only player to finish in the top ten for two consecutive days this year, a feat in and of itself because, as we explained yesterday, nearly half of the Day 1 big stacks fail to even make the money and rarely stay near the top of the counts. Let’s also consider that he had what the end of Day 2AB chip leaders reached in Level 10 in Level 7. He hit 400,000 faster than anyone else in this tournament, then proceeded to chip up from there.
For those wondering how this stack compares to 2009, the year Ivey made a run to the final table, they actually aren’t as far off as you might guess. Ivey finished the second flight of Day 2 tenth in the counts with 346,200, which put him in 18th overall heading into Day 3. That year, it was actually a different November Niner leading the way into the day—last year’s third place finisher Amir Lehavot was the top stack that year with 610,500, which was over 150,000 more than his next closest competitor. He would go on to finish in 226th place, not making the final table until four years later.
Day 1 Leaders
As we mentioned, the Day 1 chip leaders don’t tend to fare too well in this tournament, but so far, two of the three of them seem to be hanging on. While Day 2 chip leader John “Trey” Luxemburger III is down to close to what he started with, 34,000, Day 1A leader Martin Jacobson and Day 1C leader Eric Tracy are both still well above average in chips. Jacobson spent most of Day 2AB near the top of the counts, ultimately finishing in 21st position with 342,700. Tracy didn’t do too badly either, bagging up 294,900.
Can Moneymkaer Make the Money?
We’re down to just five past winners of this event after having almost 20 take part in the festivities. Of those, only Chris Moneymaker is in particularly good shape, bagging up 222,000. The rest of the crew is in five-figure territory. Here’s where they stand:
Huck Seed – 96,500
Ryan Riess – 84,900
Johnny Chan – 46,600
Robert Varkonyi – 33,800
The top ten chip counts were a bit more diverse after opening day play, but going into to Day 3, it is an almost exclusively American affair. There is just a single non-American in the bunch, Raul Mestre of Spain, who begins play third in the counts with 477,900. This is the least diverse start of Day 3 top ten since 2005, the first year the event played at the Rio. Mestre, meanwhile, is exceeding expectations for Spanish players, as just 28 of them entered this year’s Main Event, comprising less than half a percent of the total field.
Luck Be a Lady
Two years ago, the chip leader going into Day 3 was none other than Gaelle Baumann, who would go on to finish 10th in the event. This year, Baumann was off destroying the field in the WSOP Media tournament while Day 2 played, and it appears none of the ladies really stepped up to fill her shoes. The top ranking female appears to be Mikiyo Aoki, who finished runner-up in this year’s Ladies Event just a couple of weeks ago. She bagged up 260,000, which is good enough to put her 68th in the counts.
Two Days, Little Progress
There is certainly something to be said for surviving to the third day of play in the Main Event, but for 159 players, it hasn’t exactly been forward progress. That many people will returning to 800/1,600 ante 200 blinds with less than the 30,000 chip starting stack. The player in the worst shape appears to be Andrew Le, who bagged up 9,700 chips.
What Does It Mean to Be an Average Joe?
At the start of Day 3, the average stack is 110,363, which equates to 69 big blinds. In other words, being below average is not necessarily a big deal at all. In fact, the majority of the field is, as only 730 players are above that threshold.