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WSOP 2009

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Event #57, $10,000 Main Event, End of Day 3 Report

World Championship
World Series of Poker Main Event
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $10,000
Number of Entries: 6,494
Players Remaining: 789
Total Net Prize Pool: $61,043,600
Number of Places Paid: 648
First Place Prize: $8,546,435
July 3--November 10, 2009

Day Three Headlines

  1. World Series of Poker Main Event Continues – Players Expected to Reach the Money during Day Four Tomorrow
  2. France’s Bertrand Grospellier (a.k.a. “Elky”) is the Current Chip Leader
  3. Many Poker Superstars Still Alive – Kenny Tran, Dennis Phillips, Mike Sexton, Justin Bonomo, Phil Hellmuth, David Benyamine, Blair Rodman, All in the Top 150

The Main Event Continues

The 2009 WSOP Main Event continued with the conclusion of Day 3. This day marked the first time that this year’s Main Event brought all the surviving players together at the Rio on the same day. Since there were two “Day Twos” and four “Day Ones,” no more than about half the total field has been at the Rio, until this time.

Day 3 began with 2,044 players. The day ended with 789 survivors. Players are expected to reach the prize money sometime on Day 4, which is played tomorrow (Saturday). Only the top 648 finishers will collect prize money. Note: Last year, players reached the money at the end of Day 3. However, due to larger starting stack sizes this year, eliminations have taken longer. The payout point is likely to be reached approximately two levels later than last year.

Players are currently 141 spots from the money.

The day began with WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack introducing “Captain” Tom Franklin to the capacity crowd of players and spectators. Franklin, a highly-respected poker pro and player-rights advocate thanked Harrah’s Entertainment and the entire WSOP staff for “working so hard to make this as smooth as possible.” Franklin then began play by announcing “Let’s get this party started!” and continued with the customary “Shuffle-Up and Deal” pronouncement.

This is the 44th day of the WSOP. Play continues for five more days, plus the finale to be played in November.

Tomorrow (Saturday) begins at noon and is expected to include five levels of play.

Any player dealt four jacks in this year’s Main Event receives a special prize from Jack Link’s Beef Jerky valued at $100. So far, 34 packages have been given away (through seven completed days).

Play on Day 3 began on July 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm.

Play on Day 3

Defending champion Peter Eastgate remains very much alive in the 2009 Main Event. Incredibly, he was down to just 8,000 in chips late on Day 2 but went on a fortuitous rush during the final hour and ended up with about an average-sized stack (110,000). On Day 3, he remained consistent and finished the day with an average-sized stack. It should be noted that Eastgate had an average stack at the completion of Day 3 last year, and went on to win the championship.

Former world champions who continued play on Day 3 included – Bobby "the Owl" Baldwin (1978), Phil Hellmuth (1989), Dan Harrington (1995), Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2000), Greg “Fossilman” Raymer (2004), Joe Hachem (2005), and Peter Eastgate (2008). Raymer was eliminated, while the other champions all survived.

The ESPN feature table included two of Australia’s most successful poker pros – 2005 world champion Joe Hachem and four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro.

With Ville Wahlbeck’s elimination on this day, Jeffrey Lisandro officially locked up the 2009 WSOP “Player of the Year” title. When the decision became known, Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack took the microphone and approached Lisandro, who was playing at the ESPN feature table. He announced Lisandro’s achievement, which received a nice round of applause. All of Lisandro’s opponents at the table also offered handshakes and congratulatory remarks. However, Lisandro was eliminated late in the day.

The first player to reach the million-chip mark was Owen Crowe, from Halifax, NS (Canada). He hit the milestone about mid-way through level 14, which occurred at about 9:15 pm. However, he slipped back below the figure during the final hour of play in Day 3.

Moments after Crowe reached a million in chips, Bertrand Grospellier, originally from Nancy, France hit the 1.2 million mark and seized the chip lead (Note: He currently resides in London, UK). He ended the day with a sizable advantage over the remainder of the field.

Players competed for five complete levels. Play ended after Level 14. When play resumes tomorrow at Level 15, blinds will be 2,000-4,000 with a 500 ante. The average stack size is 240,519.

Day 3 started with a field of 2,044 players and ended with 789 survivors. This means only about 12.2 percent of the original 6,494 starters survived past the third day.

At the end of the day, black 100-denomination chips were raced off. This means the lowest-denomination chip at the start of Day 4 will be 500.

Players who survived Day 3 will return to continue their quest for the 2009 world poker championship gold bracelet and $8.5 million in prize money on July 11h, starting at noon.

Play on Day 3 ended at 12:55 pm.

Day 3 Chip Leader (Bertrand Grospellier)

The current chip leader is Bertrand Grospellier, a.k.a. “ElkY,” who is originally from Nancy, France. Grospellier has also lived in Korea. He presently calls London, England his home. However, given his intense travel schedule playing in poker tournaments around the world, Grospellier’s real home is spent in luxury hotels and at poker tables.

Grospellier is a master gamesman. Prior to focusing full-time on poker, he was one of the world’s top computer game players. He lived in Korea for six years, where he mastered the video and computer game circuit, winning many top prizes.

Grospellier already has accrued nearly $6 million in worldwide poker tournament winnings, all within the past four years. His major titles include two wins at the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the 2008 Festa Al Lago Championship. He also finished fourth in the NBC Heads-Up World Championship held earlier this year.

Grospellier has yet to break through at the WSOP. He has eight cashes, all since 2006. Grospellier’s best showing was ninth place in a No-Limit Hold’em event two years ago.

Quotes (Bertrand Grospellier):


“It was a very good day. The beginning was pretty slow. Then, I began to get good hands and I picked my spots pretty well.”

“I got good hands and people tried to push me off hands when I would flop sets, so it was pretty good timing. Anyone that was weak and trying to stay alive, I tried to push around but that’s about it.”


“Ivey is probably the best player in the world. I respect his game very much. I’m gonna’ play my hands, if I have good hands but I was not going out of my way to get involved with Ivey. There were so many other weaker players left, so I went after them.”

“There are ten days in the Main Event. There is so much time to wait for opponents to make mistakes. That’s why I love the Main Event. In this event you have plenty of time to play your hands, and pick your spots well.”


“The early events have a faster structure than the Main Event, which did not give me enough time to pick my spots well. I cannot play the game that I want.”


“It seems like a very, very long way to go. I just hope that I keep playing well, and that cards keep coming my way, so that I can make a good showing.”

Special thanks for Alan Fowler, WSOP Assistant Media Director, for the Bertrand Grospellier interview.

The highest-ranked former WSOP gold bracelet winner after Day 3 is Kenny Tran, from Arcadia, CA. Tran is now ranked 20th, with 666,500 in chips.

Here is how the previous end-of-day chip leaders have fared:

Day 1-A: Redmond Lee (London, UK) – eliminated, did not cash
Day 1-B: Brandon Demes (Tempe, AZ) – eliminated, did not cash
Day 1-C: Joseph Cada (Shelby Township, MI) – currently in 100th place
Day 1-D: Troy Weber (West Terre Haute, IN) – currently in 648th place
Day 2-A: Andrew Gaw (Philippines) – eliminated, did not cash
Day 2-B: Amir Lehavot (Weston, FL) – currently in 128th place

An Interview with Actor Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips is perhaps the best-known celebrity still alive in the 2009 WSOP Main Event. The popular film, television, and stage actor first became known more than 20 years ago for his portrayal of rocker Ritchie Valens in La Bamba. Since then, Phillips has starred in several popular movies, and has won awards for his work on Broadway. He has also directed films. Phillips will return to Hollywood following this year’s WSOP to star in the television series, Stargate Universe. Phillips was interviewed moments after play ended on Day 3 of the Main Event. He ended the day in 171st place, with 359,500 in chips.

Question: When did you start playing poker?
LDP: I started playing back in college. I played with some friends in the Texas mafia. Then, when I moved to Los Angeles, I kept a home game going for about 20 years. It was mostly a bunch of my buddies from Texas. I got asked by one of them to play in the first Celebrity Invitational. I’ve been playing in it every year since then, except for one year when I was working on a film. So, I’m a big fan of Texas Hold’em and I have a little bit of experience.
Question: How many times have you played at the WSOP?
LDP: This is the first time I have played in the Main Event. I played in a $1,500 buy-in tournament two years ago when there were like 3,400 players. It was the biggest single day they had ever had at that point. I came in 710th. I have cashed in a few tournaments, at the Commerce (Casino) and the (Bicycle Club Casino).
Question: You are very close to the money – about 160 spots away from cashing in the Main Event.
LDP: Nice!
Question: That’s pretty impressive. But are you content to just make the money or do you have higher aspirations?
LDP: Obviously, I have grander ambitions. But to make the money in my first Main Event? I would be thrilled!
Question: How does working as a successful actor for so many years help you at the poker table?
LDP: Well, I don’t play with the sunglasses. It allows me to act if I have to. I can either give them the poker face and try not to show anything. Or, maybe I will give them something to nudge them one way or the other. The acting skills do take a part in it and what I do at the poker table.
Question: Any predictions for tomorrow?
LDP: I’ve got some chips. But so do a lot of other people. I’m just going to try and play solid. I’m going to play my game and not be silly.
Question: Right now, let’s say hypothetically that a genie appears and you can be guaranteed 10th place in this tournament and take home $896,730. But you miss making the final table and give up the chance to be the world champion. Would you take the deal?
LDP: I’d take it right now! Deal! Where is the genie? Get the genie over here.
Question: What’s your next project after the WSOP?
LDP: Right now, I’m in the midst of Stargate Universe. I’ve got a number of episodes in the can. I’m going back to finish up this season and it premiers in October.
Question: One last question, Lou. What’s more fun – going deep in the World Series of Poker or playing all those great movie roles?
LDP: Wow. You are talking about my passion which is my acting. But I have to say as far as hobbies go, this is a damn good one. I’m having a blast right now. This is really one of the top weeks of my life, I must say.

Players to Watch

Here is the current status of all former WSOP world champions who played in this year’s Main Event. Six former champions remain still alive:

  • 1972: “Amarillo Slim” Preston – eliminated on Day 2
  • 1975/1976: Doyle Brunson – eliminated on Day 1
  • 1978: Bobby Baldwin – STILL ALIVE (424th place, average stack)
  • 1983: Tom McEvoy – eliminated on Day 1
  • 1986: Berry Johnston – eliminated on Day 2
  • 1987/1988: Johnny Chan – eliminated on Day 2
  • 1989: Phil Hellmuth – STILL ALIVE (89th place, above-average stack)
  • 1993: Jim Bechtel – eliminated on Day 3
  • 1995: Dan Harrington – STILL ALIVE (449th place, average stack)
  • 1996: Huck Seed – eliminated on Day 1
  • 1998: Scotty Nguyen – eliminated on Day 2
  • 2000: Chris “Jesus” Ferguson – STILL ALIVE (366th place, average stack)
  • 2001: Carlos “the Matador” Mortensen – eliminated on Day 3
  • 2002: Robert Varkonyi – eliminated on Day 2
  • 2003: Chris Moneymaker – eliminated on Day 1
  • 2004: Greg “Fossilman” Raymer – eliminated on Day 3
  • 2005: Joe Hachem – STILL ALIVE (354th place, average stack)
  • 2006: Jamie Gold – eliminated in Day 1
  • 2007: Jerry Yang – eliminated on Day 1
  • 2008: Peter Eastgate – STILL ALIVE (263rd place, above average stack)

Here is the current status of all current and former WSOP “Player of the Year” champions who played in this year’s Main Event:

Here is the current status of those players with notable results from this year’s WSOP:

  • David Bach (HORSE World Championship winner) – eliminated on Day 2
  • Alex Bolotin (“Ante-Up for Africa” championship winner) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Darryll Fish (cashed 7 times at this year’s WSOP) – eliminated on Day 2
  • Jeffrey Lisandro (won three gold bracelets this year) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Ville Wahlbeck (finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th in four events) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Vitaly Lunkin (finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in three events) – STILL ALIVE (511th place, below average stack)
  • Greg Mueller (won two gold bracelets this year) – STILL ALIVE (below average stack)
  • Phil Ivey (won two gold bracelets this year) – STILL ALIVE (162nd place, above average stack)

Here is the current status of notable non-pro celebrities from this year’s Main Event:

  • Jason Alexander (actor) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Scott Ian (musician with band “Anthrax”) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Shane Warne (world famous cricket player) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Torrie Wilson (female wrestler) – eliminated on Day 1
  • John Salley (former NBA basketball player) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Patrick Bruel (French actor and singer) – STILL ALIVE (343rd place, average stack)
  • Lou Diamond Phillips (actor and singer) – STILL ALIVE (171st place, above average stack)
  • Marlon Wayans (actor) – eliminated on Day 2
  • Jordan Farmar (NBA basketball player) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Sam Simon (Hollywood writer and producer) – eliminated on Day 3
  • Joseph Kahn (music video producer) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Ray Romano (actor) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Sully Erna (musician) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Shannon Elizabeth (actor) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Brad Garrett (actor) -- eliminated on Day 1
  • Jennifer Tilly (actor) – eliminated on Day 1
  • Orel Hershiser (former major league baseball player – eliminated on Day 1

Historical Footnote: The highest Main Event finish for a (non-poker) celebrity was actor Telly Savalas, who finished 21st in the 1992 championship.

Here is the current status of last year’s “November Nine” (2009 Main Event Final Table participants):

The Top-10 chip leaders going into Day 4 are:

  1. Bertrand Grospellier France 1,380,500
  2. Lacay Ludovic France 896,000
  3. Jason Brice USA 858,500
  4. Benjamin Jensen Denmark 835,500
  5. Kasper Cordes Denmark 796,000
  6. James Akenhead UK 794,000
  7. Billy Kopp USA 792,000
  8. Tyler Patterson USA 784,000
  9. Adam Bilzerian St. Kitts 767,000
  10. Christian Heich Germany 735,000

Of the remaining players who are still alive going into Day 4, 270 are international (non-American) players. This represents 34 percent of the field. Nations still in contention include:

  • Argentina -- 2
  • Australia -- 15
  • Austria -- 1
  • Belgium -- 1
  • Bolivia -- 1
  • Brazil -- 6
  • Bulgaria -- 1
  • Canada -- 46
  • China -- 1
  • Chile -- 1
  • Costa Rica -- 2
  • Croatia -- 1
  • Czech Republic -- 3
  • Denmark -- 14
  • Estonia -- 1
  • Finland -- 4
  • France -- 17
  • Germany -- 17
  • Greece -- 1
  • Holland -- 11
  • Hong Kong -- 2
  • Hungary -- 4
  • Ireland -- 8
  • Israel -- 2
  • Italy -- 9
  • Japan -- 1
  • Macedonia -- 2
  • Malaysia -- 1
  • Mexico -- 1
  • Norway -- 4
  • Panama -- 1
  • Peru -- 1
  • Poland -- 1
  • Portugal -- 5
  • Russian Federation -- 9
  • Scotland -- 1
  • Slovakia -- 1
  • Slovenia -- 2
  • South Africa -- 4
  • Spain -- 6
  • St. Kitts -- 1
  • Sweden -- 11
  • Switzerland -- 5
  • Turkey -- 1
  • UK -- 39
  • USA --
  • Virgin Islands -- 1

Putting Day Three into Perspective

In 2008, at the conclusion of Day 3, the eventual champion Peter Eastgate was ranked in 386th place, which was in the middle of the pack.

In 2008, none of the top ten ranked players at the conclusion of Day 3 made it to the final table.

In 2007, at the conclusion of Day 3, the eventual champion Jerry Yang was ranked in 46th place.

In 2007, at the conclusion of Day 3, five of the nine players who made it to the final table were ranked in top 20 (Alex Kravchenko, Hevad Khan, Tuan Lam, Lee Watkinson, and Raymond Rahme).

In 2006, at the conclusion of Day 3, the eventual champion Jamie Gold was ranked in 35th place.

In 2006, none of the top ten ranked players at the conclusion of Day 3 made it to the final table.

Based on WSOP figures during the mega-era (2006 to present when the Main Event went to a 10+ day format), the previous results of Day 3 chip leaders ended up as follows:

  • 2008 – Brain Schaedlich (Cleveland, OH) finished in 456th place
  • 2007 – Dag Martin Mikkelsen (Stavanger, Norway) finished in 42nd place
  • 2005 – Jon Lane (Oshkosh, WI) finished in 200th place

Daily elimination percentages are as follows:

DAY ONE: 68 percent of the original starters in this tournament survived the first day / 32 percent were eliminated.
DAY TWO: 31 percent of the original starters survived the second day / 27 percent were eliminated from the start of day amount.
DAY THREE: 12 percent of the original starters survived the third day / 60 percent were eliminated from the start of day amount.

Female Participants in the 2009 Main Event

(Note: The WSOP recognizes that player characteristics such as gender, race, etc. do not warrant special mention. However, since many members of the media wish to know details about female participation and status, the staff is providing this information for media use.)

The number of female participants in this year's Main Event is estimated to be 187, which amounts to 2.8 percent of the field. There is no official record since entrants are not designated by their gender. However, it has been customary to count every player at the start of Day One and take an unofficial head-count of female players.

An estimated eight female players remain alive in the Main Event at the conclusion of Day 3 (precise number is not known, this is an estiamte). This list includes:

Here are the highest-female finishers (by year) in the WSOP Main Event (Note: Only players who finished in-the-money were recorded):

No female cashed in the Main Event between the years 1970-1985.

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