2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Down to the Final Three

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There is always an incredible amount of excitement surrounding the World Series of Poker Main Event, but it is never bigger than early November when the Final Table is set to kick off.  There were nine players who started the day on Sunday, and they played down to three.  Those three will now play until there is only one champion on Tuesday.  The action kicked off at 3:30pm EST, with a fifteen minute delay for the broadcast on ESPN.

The final nine players featured some names that were well-known, and a few that fans had to learn about.  The final nine players looked like this (in order of chip stack to start the day)- Martin Staszko, Eoghan O’Dea, Matt Giannetti, Phil Collins, Ben Lamb, Badih Bounahra, Pius Heinz, Anton Makiievskyi, and Sam Holden.  Each player who finished higher than 8th place was awarded a $1 million payday at least, but the real push was for the $8.7 million first place prize.

The first elimination took quite a while, as all of the players were a bit tight with their chips and wanted to feel out their opponents.  Eventually, it was Sam Holden (who started as the short stack), who ran his A-J into the A-K of Ben Lamb sending him home in 9th.  After that, the eliminations came steadily in around 30-45 minute increments, with Makiievskyi going home as his K-Q couldn’t hold off the pocket 9’s of Pius Heinz.  Heinz began running hot at this point, and was looking good in terms of his chip stack.  It wasn’t long after that elimination though Bounahra’s A-5 pre-flop shove was way behind the A-9 of Staszko.

We were then down to six players before O’Dea made a huge call against Ben Lamb, and had A-9, against the Q-8 of Lamb.  Unfortunately for O’Dea; it just didn’t hold, and Lamb hit an 8 on the river to leave O’Dea with just over 2 big blinds.  He was indeed the next player gone, as he shoved his final chips in to no avail.

Just before we got to the dinner break, we saw one more elimination in the well-known Phil Collins.  Collins pushed his A-7 suited against the 9’s of Heinz, and had both a straight and flush draw after the turn, but was not able to hit anything in the end.  Collins was the 5th place finisher, and we only had one more elimination before they called the day.

One last thing to note before the final elimination, was how much of a turn around that Heinz had.  After the dinner break, he actually won another big pot and had over 100 million chips at this point.  The final knockout came when Matt Giannetti pushed his last 12 million, and showed A-3, but was up against the pocket Kings of Lamb.  The flop gave Lamb quad Kings, and sent Giannetti to the rail.

The three players are set to roll on Tuesday, with Heinz leading the way with over 107 million, Lamb in second with 55 million, and Staszko still very much alive with 42 million.