2012 WSOP MAIN EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP:  DAY FOUR (DINNER BREAK REPORT)

Photo Caption:  Actor Kevin Pollak called playing in the WSOP Main Event, "the most intense thing I've ever done."  Pretty amazing words given the body of work Pollak has given movie fans for nearly two decades.  He's still alive in the championship and shared a few thoughts during a break in the action. -- photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum


DAY FOUR:  DINNER BREAK HEADLINES

They’re in the Money!  Money Bubble Breaks at 2 pm
 
Four Players Split 666th Place – Four Amazing Bust Outs
 
Friday the 13th Turns into a Very Lucky Day for the Top 666
 
Happy Meal:  Ben Greenberg Goes to Dinner as the Chip Leader
 
Notable Day Four Eliminations Include Huck Seed and Antonio Esfandia
 
Johnny Chan Last for Former Champions Still Alive 
 
Actor Kevin Pollak Makes the Money for First Time (Interview)

There are 447 players currently on dinner break in the 2012 WSOP Main Event.  The unofficial chip counts are available on WSOP.com.  The current chip leader appears to be Ben Greenberg with just over 2 million. Start of day chip leader, Dave D'Alesandro, is still going strong and is sitting second in the counts.

HAPPY MEAL:  BEN GREENBERG GOES TO DINNER AS THE CURRENT CHIP LEADER


The top of the poker mountain is a perilous place.  Few past champions -- aside from Joe Cada in 2009 and Jamie Gold in 2006 -- enjoyed an early- or mid-tournament chip lead and then went on to win the Main Event.  That said, no one would dare turn down a chance to be in the spotlight.  Right now, as of the Day Four dinner break, Ben Greenberg is both in the spotlight and on top of the poker world as the Main Event chip leader.  MORE ABOUT BEN GREENBERG:  Lives in Boulder, CO -- Married three-years -- Graduate of Duke University with degree in English and Psychology -- Professional Poker Player.  


“OH, GIVE ME MONEY! – YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I WANT!”

It was one of the most incredible bubble moments in WSOP history.  Around 2 pm, 669 players were on the crest of collecting what amounted to a guaranteed $19,227 payout.  The hand-for-hand stage of the tournament is always one of the summer’s most exciting moments, since several hundred people can finally exhale and lay claim to cashing in the World Championship. 
 
With 669 players remaining, and only 666 places to be paid, it took only one hand for five different tables to come up with all-in confrontations.  The hands on these tables were doozies too.  The four bubble victims were dealt the following hands -- A-A, A-A, K-K, and Q-Q and they all lost.  Steve Rosen, David Kelley, Desmond Portano, and Dane Lomas ended up tying for 666th place.  They not only divided $19,227 in prize money, but also share the notoriety of cashing in the most unusual series of hands that have ever been recorded during the bubble moment of the tournament's colorful 43-year history.
 
2013 WSOP MAIN EVENT REGISTRANT NUMBER ONE

If there's a silver cloud to the storm that blazed over the WSOP, it's that the four bubble players were scheduled to square off in a four-handed single-table satellite in order to play for a $10,000 seat in next year’s Main Event provided by Rocco's Old School.  However, one of the four -- David Kelley -- came to the rescue at the last minute and agreed to take the seat in exchange for making a $2,500 consolation payment to each of the other three players.  Accordingly, Kelley becomes the first official entrant into the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

THEY’RE BUSTED!

Notable names that went out during the first three levels of play on Day Four included – Huck Seed (1996 World Champion), Antonio Esfandiari (two-time gold bracelet winner and Big One for One Drop Champion), Ronnie Bardah (2012 gold bracelet winner), Brock Parker (two-time gold bracelet winner), Tuan Le , J.C. Tran (gold bracelet winner), John Shipley, Liv Boeree, David Tuchman (ESPN broadcaster), Jason Mercier (two-time gold bracelet winner), David Diaz (gold bracelet winner), and others.

AN WARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE:  ACTOR KEVIN POLLAK CASHES FOR FIRST TIME IN MAIN EVENT – AND REMAINS ALIVE

Actor Kevin Pollak is used to being involved in high-pressure situations.  As one of Hollywood’s leading character actors, he’s co-starred in Casino, For a Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects, and several other popular films.  Pollak became enthralled with poker 15 years ago during the filming of Martin Scorsese’s classic, “Casino.”  During the three-month shooting schedule, during down time, Pollak spent much of his time playing Seven-Card Stud at the Riviera, the film’s on-site location.  Now, Pollak finds himself playing a new, first-time role – playing the part of a poker player who has just cashed in the 2012 World Championship.  Pollak answered a few questions during a break in the action on Friday:

Question:   Let’s talk about making decisions under pressure.  You’ve been on the movie sets of major movies.  You’ve worked with Martin Scorsese, Rob Reiner, and so many great directors.  When they say, ‘Lights…Camera….Action!’ is there more pressure in that setting or this setting?

Pollak:  Well, I’m mostly home onstage -- for my whole life.  So, it’s never pressure to me to be on when they say, ‘Lights, Camera, Action.’  This (poker) is where I’m technically out-played, out-manned, in every hand.  This is by far the most intense thing I’ve ever done.  

Question:  I remember interviewing Lou Diamond Phillips, with similar thespian background when he finished in the top 100 of the Main Event three years ago.  He was convinced that the skills that he acquired as an actor and performer actually helped him at the poker table.  Do you agree?

Pollak:  Yeah, they definitely help at the table.  But everyone expects me to be acting -- so I try to make sure I’m not, to be honest with you.  I steal a few hands here and there, but not many.   I’ve learned that everyone assumes I’m acting, and therefore bluffing.  So, I play a much tighter game than your average player.

Question: Is cashing enough for you in terms of gaining satisfaction from playing in the WSOP Main Event?

Pollak:  To be honest with you, making Day Two was enough.  Making Day Three was crazy.  Now, making Day Four?  I’ve already won.  I’ve literally already won.  I mean, not just for bragging rights but in terms of the experience.  Everything in my career, I’ve gone way beyond my hopes and dreams and expectations and this is another fine example.

Question:  You have not quite made the money yet.  Up to this point, your greatest, most exhilarating moment so far in the three days you’ve played would be?

Pollak:  Easy.  I had A-J.  I was in the small blind.  I, crying, called a min-raise of 6,000 with A-J.  The flop came – A-A-J.  Two guys were betting into me.  I go into tank for ten minutes.  Hollywood-ed my ass off before I smooth called.  Check, check, on the turn.  All the way around, I’m upset I’ve got to push a little--26,000 into first act on the river.  Brick, brick.  And I got one call.  Being able to literally turn over my cards after he called me to say the words that everyone dreams of in poker, let alone hear – ‘I’ve got the nuts.’  Because there was no hand that could beat me, because a [card] higher than a jack didn’t come up.  By the way, the poker player convinces themselves how they’re going to lose, the moment they’re ahead.  Even I did that.

Postscript:  Congratulations to Kevin Pollak on his first-ever WSOP in-the-money finish.


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NEXT UPDATE:  SATURDAY – 1 AM (END OF DAY FOUR)

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by Nolan Dalla (with special thanks to Chris Douglass)