Las Vegas, NV (July 15th) -- Day Three of the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship was completed on Thursday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. 
 
The field size was whittled down further, as 1,875 participants who survived the first two days of tournament action was cut in half to 853 players.

Play is expected to reach the money during the next critical session of play, which will be Day Four.  That means, players who finish in 693rd place (or better) are each guaranteed to receive at least $19,359 in prize money.

Day Three marked a historic occasion for the WSOP, and for game of poker.  For the first time ever, the WSOP enjoyed semi-live coverage on ESPN (there’s a 30-minute delay).  Indeed, the WSOP and ESPN are conducting a bold new experiment this year.  Television coverage is more than doubling in size and scope, including comprehensive daily/nightly overage of the majority of tournament on a nationwide network.  Semi-live television coverage runs through July 19th, when the “November Nine” finalists have been determined. 

No poker tournament has ever been covered to the extent of this Main Event Championship.  In addition to the original 32 broadcast hours that will appear as scheduled every Tuesday night on ESPN, an additional 34 hours of semi-live coverage will air, which means players and fans will see more poker played than ever before. 

Day Three included quite a few interesting developments.  For the first time in this year’s Main Event, all players were in the same building at one time.  Due to multiple playing days, players had been segregated into various playing sessions prior to Day Three.  Then, shortly after the dinner break, all players were in the same room together for the first time.  At about 10 pm, an announcement was made that that the number of players remaining has declined to under 1,000 for the first time in the tournament.

Here’s how many of the top players performed on this critical day:
 
Chip Leader:  Patrick Poirier (Tupper Lake, NY) has 1,328,000 in chips.  His only previous two cashes at the WSOP total $6,707 in prize money, which means Poirier is playing on the biggest stage of his poker life.
 
Former Champions Eliminated:  Huck Seed, Joe Cada, Tom McEvoy
 
Former Champions Remaining:  Phil Hellmuth, Robert Varkonyi, Carlos Mortensen, Berry Johnston

Well-Known Players Eliminated:  Mike Caro, Noah Boeken, Victor Ramdin, Will “the Thrill” Failla, Patrik Antonius, Sam Stein, Shaun Deeb,  John Racener, Steve Dannenmann (by no means complete).
 
Well-Known Remaining Players:  Bryan Devonshire, J.P. Kelly, Ben Lamb, Joseph Cheong, Blair Hinkle, Shannon Shorr, Erick Lindgren, Tony Hachem, David Chiu, Darus Suharto, David Sands, Leif Force, Matt Stout, Allen Cunningham, Freddy Deeb, Steve Brecher, Sorel Mizzi, Jake Cody, John SHipley, Adam Junglen, Vanessa Rousso, Garry Gates, David Oppenheim, Daniel Negreanu, Todd Brunson, Chris Bjorin, Jeffrey Lisandro, David Diaz, David Bach, Bill Gazes, Jeff Madsen, Mickey Appleman, Humberto Brenes (by no means complete).
 
Entering Four, there are only four former world champions still remaining in the Main Event.

The start of Day Three chip leader was Ben Lamb (Tulsa, OK).  He began play with 551,600 in chips.  However, he slid back to the middle of the pack and ended the day just slightly above average in chips with about 350,000 in his stack.

The quest for the poker world championship continues on Friday, July 15th at 12 noon Las Vegas time.  A complete list of all remaining players and chip counts can be seen HERE.
 
The Main Event Championship is being televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.  Live coverage (30-minute delay) is also carried on ESPN2 through July 19th.
 
For comprehensive updates of Event #58 and a list of all remaining players with chips counts, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.