Day 3 of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event hit television airwaves on ESPN on Tuesday night, with two hours of coverage dedicated to the festivities. Seated at the feature table were two Aussies, Joe Hachem and Jeffrey Lisandro.
Lisandro became the fifth player in WSOP history to take home three bracelets in a year and has logged 29 cashes since 2004. Hachem took down the 2005 Main Event and ignited a poker boom of his own in Australia. Joining the duo from Down Under was George Hardie, the former owner of the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. On the first hand, Lisandro raised to 3,600 with pocket eights and, after peeking down at pocket queens, Hachem made it 9,600. Lisandro called to see a flop of 10-4-2. Lisandro checked, Hachem bet 16,000, and Lisandro quickly released his hand, igniting chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”
ESPN announcer Norman Chad commented that, while Phil Ivey remains his perennial pick to win the WSOP Main Event, Lisandro’s heroics in 2009 make him a close second: “Let’s assume that aliens come down and lure Phil Ivey away to a cash game mother ship, then I must turn to Jeffrey Lisandro.” Ville Wahlbeck was the only player remaining in the field that could catch Lisandro for WSOP Player of the Year honors. However, he’d need a seventh place finish or better in order to do so. Wahlbeck was seated at Table Two during the 8:00pm ET episode alongside Kenny Tran.
Also found in the field were Ivey and Phil Hellmuth. “The Poker Brat” found that one of his tablemates, Lauchlin McKinnon, did not want to shake his hand. Instead, his opponent told Hellmuth, “I don’t respect anything you do. I think you’re a complete prick.” Hellmuth joked, “I think this is going to be a good day.” Elsewhere in the Amazon Room, Bodog pro Jean-Robert Bellande pushed with A-10 of diamonds for 20 big blinds and rivered a flush to double up. Chad labeled him a “survivor,” a reference to his appearance on the China installment of the CBS reality franchise.
Kent Senter, who is undergoing stem cell treatment for an incurable form of cancer, was all-in with pocket tens against Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier’s pocket jacks. The board ran out K-5-3-3-5, giving Grospellier the win and sending Senter home. He was met with a herd of television cameras upon his departure. Grospellier is a PokerStars pro; his site began sponsoring chip count leaderboard graphics on Tuesday night on ESPN.
The “Straight from the Pros” segment featured Daniel Negreanu battling against Sammy Farha in a hand during the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Negreanu folded a straight after a third spade hit the river to give Farha a flush. Negreanu, the captain of the Team Americas squad that will compete in the Caesars Cup, told ESPN cameras, “He’s either bluffing here or I’m dead.”
Negreanu’s comrade on Team PokerStars Pro, Hachem, was featured in the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand, in which the cards of one player are not shown so the audience can play along at home. Hachem raised to 4,100 pre-flop with the Wild Card hand and Claus Nielsen called with pocket threes. The flop came 8-2-5 and Nielsen checked. Hachem fired out a bet of 6,200 and Nielsen made the call. The turn was a deuce and Nielsen put in a check-raise to 32,000, causing Hachem to relinquish K-Q.
Also in the field was former November Nine member Dennis Phillips, who relived tossing out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. However, he wound up throwing the ball directly at the ground. Wahlbeck then hit the skids after running pocket queens into pocket kings, leading to an announcement from WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack that Lisandro had claimed Player of the Year honors. Ivey then moved to Grospellier’s table, leaving Chad to remark, “Poker’s superpowers clash.”
The second episode of Tuesday night kicked off at 9:00pm ET and continued coverage of Day 3 of the 2009 WSOP Main Event. David “Devilfish” Ulliott joined the cast at Table Two, while Hellmuth found himself flanking Josh Arieh. Former Main Event winners Peter Eastgate (2008), Greg Raymer (2004), Dan Harrington (1995), Hachem (2005), and Hellmuth (1989) all remained alive to begin the episode, but Raymer quickly found himself on the sidelines after running pocket tens into pocket aces.
Lunkin doubled up after rivering a straight, causing Chad to lament, “I know Lunkin has played good, but I can’t tell you how ridiculously good he’s run. He should be halfway back to Moscow on an Aeroflot flight in coach.” Meanwhile, Nielsen bet out on an ace-high board after raising pre-flop with just 8-4. However, Hachem laid down pocket queens and Lisandro released pocket kings, giving the pot to Nielsen.
The Full Tilt Poker sponsored segment “Deal Me In” featured Howard Lederer taking on Hellmuth in a hand from the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions, which was ultimately won by Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Annie Duke.
Hevad Khan cheerily smiled at ESPN cameras, leading to the following comment from announcer Lon McEachern: “That’s the first real sign of life from him we’ve seen in two years.” Khan finished sixth in the 2007 WSOP Main Event. His lively antics resulted in the “Hevad Khan rule” against excessive player celebrations. Elsewhere in the dwindling field, J.C. Tran and Joe Sebok doubled up, while L.A. Lakers Guard Jordan Farmar was eliminated. Also hitting the exits was “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander, whose opponent made trips on the river.
Finally, “The Nuts” featured Chad and Hellmuth taking turns in a dunk tank. After Chad, a southpaw, finally sent Hellmuth to a watery demise, he commented, “I took more pleasure out of dunking you than anything in my whole life. That was two honeymoons rolled into one.”
New episodes of the 2009 WSOP Main Event on ESPN air on Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and are repeated throughout the week on ESPN’s family of networks. (Credit: Poker News Daily)
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