Patrick Poirier Leads WSOP 2011 $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em

Patrick PoirierNew Yorker Patrick Poirier ended Day 3 of the World Series of Poker (WSOP)’s $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship main event feeling “pretty damn good” as chip leader in what was yet another thrilling session in Las Vegas.

Patrick Poirier – who has not made much of an impact on the poker scene – will return for Day 4 this evening in the Amazon Room of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with 1,328,000 chips after the field was cut from 1,864 to 852 survivors.

Poirier, with two cash finishes at the WSOP – including a 123rd this year in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event #28 for just $3,780 – appeared cool, calm and collected as he welcomed and then saw off numerous table-mates throughout the day as he chases the big prize of a gold bracelet and $8,711,956.

The American is joined in the million chip club by just one other player, Darryl Jace, of Massachusetts, on 1,282,500, while New Jersey’s Chris Kwon (944,500), Canadian David Barter (917,500) and Scott Smith (896,500), of Hawaii, complete the top five.

Poirier is certainly enjoying his best run at this WSOP, and pointed out that he’s had “a pretty rough World Series so far, so it feels good to have some chips and hopefully I can keep it up”.

The chip leader added that he has “blanked a lot of events so far”, recording just “one cash in a WSOP event – (which) isn’t very good”, even though he has “played like 13-14 events”, so is now aiming to “keep chipping up and keep it going”.

Jace, meanwhile, won the majority of his healthy stack during one amazing hand against Florida’s Billy Paradiso just ahead of the dinner break.

Paradiso six-bet all-in when holding K-K to be surprisingly called by Jace, who showed a pair of deuces. Of course, a two came on the flop and Paradiso hit the rail to send Jace storming up the leaderboard.

Among the 852 players returning this evening in the Amazon Room is Phil Hellmuth, despite what he described as a “miserable day”.

The 11-time WSOP bracelet winner from Wisconsin, who is aiming to set a new record with 12 successes, found it hard work to gather any momentum last night to end the day on just 77,000 in chips.

However, it just wouldn’t be like The Poker Brat to go through a whole day without at least one rant – and it was Nevada’s Garry Cates who was on the receiving end this time, although Hellmuth could have chosen any number of opponents after he was given the needle countless times.

Gates, in early position, opened for Hellmuth to three-bet near the button. Gates called and the dealer fanned out 7♠ 4♣ 2, with both players checking.

The 10♠ came on the turn, and Gates checked once more. Hellmuth chucked in 17,000, only for Gates to move all-in. Hellmuth was not impressed by that play and threw his hands on to his head, exclaiming that “this guy raises 50 times!”

Hellmuth mumbled some more but eventually folded, with Gates asking: “Did you call me a monkey, Phil?”

An obviously annoyed Hellmuth shot back: “You don’t even speak the language”, to which Gates responded with a sarcastic: “You’re right, I don’t speak the language – I’m a monkey.”

Hellmuth was not done yet, however, and pointed out that Gates plays “so bad against me”, with his smiling opponent replying “that’s why I’m raking in the pot”.

The 46-year-old poker superstar continued by saying that he wished he “had today all over again” and that he was bemused by Gates’ decision to raise “50 million times”.

But he was unable to fluster Gates, who then pointed out that he marches “to the beat of a different drum, Phil”.

They continued their sparring for a short while after, but tournament director Jack Effel then intervened to have a quiet word with Hellmuth, who then retreated into his shell, even though it was obvious he had been rattled and left frustrated.

Still, if there is anyone left in this tournament than can battle back from holding about 19 big blinds, it’s Hellmuth. So it will be very interesting to see how he fares – and if he can keep his cool – this evening as he chases that record-setting WSOP bracelet record.

Florida’s Jason Mercier – who lifted event #35, the $5,000 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha crown for $619,575 – was among the first batch of players to hit the rail last night, although he was soon joined by the likes of Greg Mueller, Dan Shak and Matt Matros.

A pair of WSOP main event champs, Joe Cada and Tom McEvoy, crashed out not long after the dinner break to join Noah Boeken, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and Mike Caro at the rail.

Norwegian star Annette Obrestad – the 2007 WSOP Europe main event winner – exited not long after the dinner break, and was joined by 1996 WSOP main event champ Huck Seed and 2001 winner Carlos Mortensen.

Players such as well-known poker tournament director Matt Savage, Patrik Antonius, Ryan D’Angelo, Billy Kopp, Justin Bonomo, Olivier Busquet, Greg Mueller, Sam Trickett, Jennifer Harman, Steve Dannenmann, Dan Kelly, Sam Stein, Victor Ramdin, comedian Brad Garrett, Donny Mizrachi, Galen Hall and Jason Mercier also all exited earlier than they would have hoped.

However, Pennsylvania’s Daniel Retallick secured a massive double-up late in the day to bag up on 858,500 in eighth place, with London-based German Sebastian Ruthenberg (889,000) in sixth, Chris Bonita (859,000), of Massachusetts, in seventh, California’s Brian Park (820,000) in ninth and Russian Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (813,000) in 10th.

Other big-name players to make it to Day 4 include the only surviving 2010 November Niner in Joseph Cheong (410,500), Erick Lindgren (356,000), Kevin Saul (392,500), JP Kelly (492,000), Amanda Musumeci (528,500), Ben Tollerene (595,500), Bryan Devonshire (596,500), Peter Jetten (657,000) and Guillaume Darcourt (681,500).

Additionally, Anton Ionel (563,000), Jean-Robert Bellande (104,500), Sami Kelopuro (654,500), David Sands (347,000), Darus Suharto (428,000), Freddy Deeb (282,500), Sorel Mizzi (237,000), Adam Junglen (248,000), Vanessa Rousso (298,500) and Lee Childs (67,000), as well as The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon (509,000), survived the day.

With the top 693 players paid a minimum of $19,359, it is likely there will again be some very quick eliminations tonight, followed by some slower play as the cash bubble approaches.

Top 10 chip leaders after Day 3 of the WSOP 2011 $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship:

1. Patrick Poirier (USA) – 1,328,000

2. Darryl Jace (USA) – 1,282,500

3. Chris Kwon (USA) – 944,500

4. David Barter (Canada) – 917,500

5. Scott Smith (USA) – 896,500

6. Sebastian Ruthenberg (Germany) – 889,000

7. Chris Bonita (USA) – 859,000

8. Daniel Retallick (USA) – 858,500

9. Brian Park (USA) – 820,000

10. Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (Russia) – 813,000