Fifteen and Counting
Level 31 of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main event was a rapid fire round of eliminations. Five players made their way to the cash cage within the first hour of the level when the 20,000 antes, 80,000 small blinds and 160,000 big blinds got to be to much for their stacks.

Three more players saw their WSOP come to an end in the second half of the level.

The 2009 Main Event champion will not hail from Germany, South Africa or Canada due to the eliminations of Marco Mattes, Warren Zackey and George Caragiorgas.

The first player taken out during the level was Mattes finishing in 23rd. place and taking home $352,832. He was followed by Zackey in 22nd and Caragiorgas in 21st. Jonathan Tamayo hit the rail next and the unfortunate bubble of the next pay jump belonged to Tommy Vedes.

With the elimination of Vedes the remaining 18 players were condensed to two tables and guarunteed $500,557. The first player sent packing for over a half million dollars was Andrew Lichtenberger when his pocket jacks failed to hold up to the pocket kings held by Darvin Moon.

After Lichtenberger made his exit play slowed and there was not another elimination until just before the end of the level. Two eliminations came almost simotaneaously, Ian Tavelli in 17th followed immediatley by Ludovic Lacay in 16th.

Caragiorgas found himself on the losing end of a monster hand when he ran his     into Nick Maimone's pocket Kings. Caragiorgas moved his short stack of 2,340,000 into the middle. Maimoe flopped a King and then turned the final King in the deck leaving Caragiorgas drawing dead on the river.