Day 3: Make or Break
One thousand three hundred and seven players started play Thursday with visions of being a part of the November Nine – the marketing slogan for the final nine players who will return to the final table in mid-November to play down to a World Champion. But as the day progressed and the money bubble burst at 666 players, there were 641 players whose dreams had been crushed without anything to show for it but a story – maybe.

Play started, as always, at Noon PT and over the next 462 minutes of play 633 players were sent to the rail. That averages out to one player’s bracelet chase being snuffed out every 44 seconds. That’s the stage were hand-for-hand kicked in and the next nine hands took 1 hour 13 minutes. Seven players busted out over the first eight hands and on the ninth hand Steve Chung put his name down as the last player to bust without cashing.

Chung moved his short stack all-in with pocket eights but found himself in bad shape against the pocket kings of Jesse McEuen. The board ran out with no help and Chung was out as the bubble boy. While he certainly wasn’t all that happy with his elimination there were 666 players who were glad to see somebody other than themselves eliminated.

But it wasn’t all bad news for Chung. As the official bubble boy he received a buy-in to next year’s Main Event courtesy of Milwaukee’s Best Light. But while bustouts were the big story early in the day, they weren’t the biggest story of the day. Three players, Jeremiah SmithJeremy Joseph and Owen Crowe, cracked the 1 million mark when chips were bagged for the night.

Leading at the end of the night was Joseph, a 23-year-old from Buffalo, NY with 1.47 million chips. He was hovering around the top 20 for most of the night until a late double up put his name in lights.

“It definitely feels good, you can’t really ask for any more,” said Joseph. “I just kept chipping up and eventually I won a really big hand against a kid that had about 450,000 and that propelled me to chip leader.”

The leader for most of the day though was Smith, a former member of the poker media corps, who finds himself in comfortable surroundings despite the fact he’s never led a major tournament this late.

“Last year, along with (other media), I was here on the floor every day of the World Series. Bloodshot eyes from writing down hands and posting blogs, but the thing is if you don’t just write that down and you analyze and you maybe try and play it with them as you writing it down, you can sort of soak that up,”

“The thing is I’ve never been here before, but I feel like I’ve been here before. I’m totally comfortable in my skin right now. I’ve gotten tons of attention from the media, but it doesn’t feel like the media because they’re all my friends. Not only that, but I feel like everybody else is at a disadvantage, because this is all new to them. And it’s the Main Event of the World Series, whereas for me I feel like it’s another day at the Rio.”

Brian Schaedlich came into Day 3 with a chip lead, but ended the day as one of the shortest remaining stacks with only 25,000. Phil Hellmuth put himself into position for another deep Main Event run finishing the night with 475,000. For complete chip counts and live updates stay tuned to