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 our end of Day 3 chip counts:
Top of Day 3, Not a Good Place to Be
Not a lot of people can say they held a million chips in the WSOP Main Event, but that is often the only bragging right the Day 3 chip leader has once they leave the Rio. In the past five years, the chip leader from the end of Day 3 has never made the November Nine. The closest anyone got was last year when Maxx Coleman managed to play his way to 21st place. The worst run? Patrick Poirier, who led the field with 852 players left, but exited in 200th place. In fact, since 2009, only two players in the top ten end of Day 3 counts have earned a seat at the final table. James Akenhead squeaked in as the short stack in 2009, while Jake Balsiger came in near the top of the counts in 2012.
The Victor Will Likely Come From Behind
Over the past five years, the only Main Event Champ to finish Day 3 in the top 100 counts was Jonathan Duhamel, whose end of day count of 411,800 put him somewhere around 60th in the counts. Last year, Ryan Riess started this day especially low, as he was 446th out of 666 players with 147,000 chips.
Liporace Leaps Up the Counts, Graner Gains Ground Too
Our chip leader, Andrew Liporace, began Day 3 with just 184,000 chips. He ended with 1,148,000, which means, over the course of the day, he accumulated 964,000. That is the most of any player over the course of the day, but it is also worth noting that Stephen Graner had an impressive leap up the counts as well, beginning the day with 58,600, but eventually bagging 911,000.
There is good news and there is bad news for Phil Ivey. The good news? He has more chips than he both started the day with yesterday. He also has more chips than the 371,000 he ended Day 3 with during his November Nine run back in 2009. The bad news is he isn’t chip leader, but with 522,500 chips, he is still in the top 10% of the field with twice the average stack. Again, if 2009 is any indication, this is the point in the tournament where Ivey really started to climb the counts, bagging up almost 1.3 million after a relatively short day with only three levels of play.
We’re returning to blinds of 2,000/4,000 ante 500, which means if you have the starting stack of 30,000 chips, you are in serious danger of being one of the 53 players to leave today without a payday. There are seven such players in that situation, including the short stack in the field, Charles Freeman, who is coming back with just 5,000 chips.
After being the lone non-American in the top ten after Day 2, Raul Mestre is once again back near the top of the counts, and this time he has some company from home. Mestre ended the day exactly where he started—third in chips. Meanwhile, Andoni Larrabe Sanchez is sixth in the counts, making Spain the second-most represented country in the top ten. The USA still leads the way with six players, but now the group is decidedly more international than yesterday with two Spaniards, a Dane, and a Swede.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia
After a less than stellar showing on Day 2, the ladies in this year’s Main Event turned things around thanks to Marcia Kuntz of Tacoma, Washington, who bagged up 642,000, which is good enough for 39th in the chip counts. That standing is the best showing in five years for a woman on Day 3, save for 2012, the year we had two women in the final 11 players in the field.
Planting the Seed
Huck Seed is the last past winner of this event in the field. He’ll begin the day with 96,000, which is below average, but still amounts to over 20 big blinds. The last time Seed cashed in this event, 2012, he began this day of play with 136,000 chips, which he eventually rode to a 527th place finish.