@import url(http://www.wsop.com:999/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css); @import url(http://www.wsop.com:999/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css); @import url(http://www.wsop.com:999/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css); @import url(http://www.wsop.com:999/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css); Day Three of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event played out on Thursday, as survivors inched closer to the prize money.  In fact, we're now within just a few tables of the promised land for the 648 poker players who will have made it past the first of many obstacles and will be guaranteed a cash payout.

There were 1,753 players who started this day.  The third playing session lasted five full levels, which took nearly 13 hours to complete.  By day's end at close to 1 am, only 666 survivors remained.

As was expected, there were several major shakeups on the leaderboard.

Arguably, the biggest headline of the day belonged to Max Steinberg (Oakland, CA).  He took a paltry stack of 39,000 at the start of the day (about a third of the stack average) and ran it up to nearly 1,000,000 in a session he later described as a “player's dream.”  We spoke with Steinberg about his big day, including busting out none other than Phil Ivey.

Mark Kroon (Madison, WI) went in a different direction.  He was the overall chip leader after the first two days of play, but finally hit a speed bump.  He plunged from a high around 700,000 in chips a few hours into Day Three to a tailspin that landed him somewhere slightly above the chip average.  Kroon, now sitting with 343,000 in chips, still remains very much alive, but will return for Day 4 in the middle of the pack instead of atop of it.

Two players hit the million chip mark, then slid below that watershed line.  Dick van Luijk (Brest, Holland) was the first to hit the high mark, which happened on the last hand before the dinner break (7 pm).  However, the Dutchman slid back a bit and ended the day with 940,000, good enough for fifth place overall.

A short time later, gold bracelet winner Max Steinberg crossed the seven-figure plateau, but then also tumbled back south of the seven-figure mark.  However, one player who crossed the threshold and then stuck in that lofty perch was another Max, but spelled with two “X's.”   Maxx Coleman (Wichita, KS) went on a late tear and on the night's final few hands catapulted himself into the chip lead, currently with 1,071,500.

If this year's WSOP has a story for the ages, it's 79-year-old legend Doyle Brunson (Las Vegas, NV) outperforming just about everyone, showing that he's still got enough heart and skill to play with (and be) the best.  Brunson spent most of the day hoovering slightly above the chip lead.  Yet in the final playing level of the night, The Godfather of Poker steamrolled over one of the feature tables and went from around 350,000 in chips up to 626,000 at day's end – good for 36th place.  This has got a potential crowd pleasing epic written all over should Brunson continue to work his magic.

Defending World Champion Greg Merson (Laurel, MD) appears to be destined for at least an in-the-money finish.  He's in very good shape right now, ranked in the top 100.  Merson hopes to make the best run for a reigning champion since Peter Eastgate won in 2008, and then finished in the top 100 the following year.

Carlos Mortensen (Madrid, Spain) is also in a comfortable position, ranked in the upper third of the field.  The 2001 World Champion played a steady session that didn't get too much attention, but makes him increasingly dangerous the deeper this tournament runs.

Annette Obrestad (Sandnes, Norway) appears to be the highest-ranked female at the moment.  The inaugural WSOP Europe champion sits in 58th place with 564,000 in chips.

Besides those already mentioned, gold bracelet winners still alive in the Main Event in the upper half of the field include Amir Lehavot, Rep Porter, Larry Wright, Grant Hinkle, Bertrand Grospellier, Greg Mueller, Ryan Hughes, and Steve Gee.    

A few more notables still in, but somewhat low on chips are Dutch Boyd, Vitaly Lunkin, Steve Zolotow, Barry Shulman, Ted Lawson, Farzad Bonyadi, and Erik Seidel.  Each of these fine players will need to make a move on Day Four to stay alive.

The day didn't go nearly as well for some of poker's biggest names.  The two most decorated heads to roll were Phil Ivey (Las Vegas, NV), who was eliminated by Max Steinberg, and Phil Hellmuth (Palo Alto, CA) who failed to generate any traction.

The 1983 World Champion Tom McEvoy (Las Vegas, NV) was also knocked out, as was two-time champ from 1987 and 1988, Johnny Chan (Cerritos, CA).

Notable others to hit the rail included – Freddy Deeb, Andy Frankenberger, “Miami" John Cernuto, Robert Mizrachi, Dario Alioto, David Benyamine, Scott Seiver, Jason DeWitt, and others.

Also hitting the rail short of the money was Tony Gregg, winner of the biggest cash prize at this year's series, other than the Main Event.  Gregg, who collected $4.8 million for winning the 2013 One Drop High Roller championship went out with about 1,000 players remaining.
The day wasn't too kind to celebrity poker players either.  Actor Kevin Pollak who enjoyed a deep run in last year's Main Event, hit the rail.  Australian cricketer Shane Warne didn't make it far, either.  Then, there was actor and comedian Ray Romano who busted but can at least claim he outlasted rival Brad Garrett, who went out on the first day.

Here's a closer look at the top ten ranked players at the moment:

1  Maxx Coleman  WICHITA, KS, US  - 1,071,500
2  Joshua Prager  YUBA CITY, CA, US  - 993,000
3  Max Steinberg  OAKLAND, CA, US  - 975,000
4  Jonathan Lane  MENASHA, WI, US  - 958,500
5  Dick van Luijk  SCHILDE, BELGIUM  -- 940,000
6  Vladimir Geshkenbein  MOSCOW, RUSSIA  - 900,000
7  Nick Schwarmann  ORLANDO, FL, US - 893,000
8  Matthew Huey  LAS VEGAS, NV, US  - 885,500
9  Chris Johnson  LAS VEGAS, NV, US  - 862,000
10  Guilherme Garcia  APUCARANA, BELIZE  - 853,500

And so, of the 1,753 started, only 666 players now remain.  Action resumes on Friday at noon. You can follow along with all of the play from the Rio floor with our live updates.
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