The clock has been paused with 53 minutes remaining on Day 3 as just 746 players remain in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.
At the start of the day, 1,864 players began with all eyes on potentially reaching the money late in the final level of play. With an average of 300 players heading to the rail each level, the call was made to pause the tournament as everyone was now located in just one room so that a ESPN could catch the magic of the bubble once it bursts early on Day 4.
Five previous Main Event champions started the day, with Ryan Riess, Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, Robert Varkonyi, and Huck Seed all in contention, but by the day's end only Seed would remain as he bagged 249,000.
NBA superstar and 10-time all star Paul Pierce would be one of the highlights as he attracted plenty of attention from fellow players, the rail, and the ESPN cameras. Unfortunately for Pierce — and potentially the game — he bit the dust when he rivered two pair and shoved holding the only to have WSOP.com qualifier Christopher Smith tank-call the river with top two pair.
Although plenty of players held the chip lead throughout the day, it would be Mehrdad Yousefzadeh becoming the first player to reach the million-chip mark, and he had his sights set on bagging the chip lead before finishing the day with 1,124,000. Unfortunately for Yousefzadeh, he would be pipped by a single big blind as Andrew Liporace bagged the top stack with 1,128,000. Raul Mestre (988,500), Jesse Wilke (975,500), Scott Blackman (935,000), and Andoni Larrabe (923,000) rounded out the top of the counts.
Plenty of WSOP bracelet winners and seasoned veterans still remain, but there is one player chasing history as Ronnie Bardah looks to become the first player to record five consecutive WSOP Main Event cashes. One more in-the-money finish would break the tie of four he currently shares with Robert Turner (1991-1994), Bo Sehlstedt (2004-2007), Theodore Park (2005-2008), Chris Overgard (2007-2010), Chris Bjorin (2008-2011), and Christian Harder (2010-2013). Thanks to a late-night double, Bardah ended up bagging 108,500 in his "Strive for Five."
PokerNews' Remko Rinkema spoke with Bardah about his quest during the final break of the night:
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be back at 12 p.m. PT Friday to provide extensive live updates of all the Day 4 action, so make sure to stay tuned to PokerNews.com as we write the path of the future 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event champion!