What a year it's been so far for "The Magician" Antonio Esfandiari - not only did he win the biggest tournament the world has ever seen "All in for One Drop" for a staggering $18.3 million back at this years WSOP but he also won another bracelet just a couple of months ago at the WSOPE. Now he's back at one of his favourite haunting grounds, the DBFDC and ends day three as a big chip leader with 918k chips, almost 300k above his nearest rival, Freddy Deeb.
Esfandiari is looking to make his third straight final table in this particular WPT event, having scooped the title back in 2010 and made 6th spot last year. Of course there is still a way to go before he can boast a "three-peat" but it just seems to be Esfandiari's year and it would take a brave man to bet against him progressing to the final stages.
Although Esfandiari was riding pretty high in the chip stakes already, it was a huge 885k pot against another of the chip leaders which lead to Esfandiari's huge advantage going into day 4 as WPT Jacksonville champ Shawn Cunix flopped bottom set against Esfandiari's top set. Very rarely can a player in NLHE get away from a flopped set (unless, as Esfandiari pointed out you are Phil Hellmuth - a player famed for his great laydowns) and sadly for Cunix this was the case for him as his set of 2's couldn't pick up the miracle one outer to defeat Esfandiari's flopped set of Kings and he headed, dejectedly, to the rail.
Another 2012 success story who couldn't hold on to his Five Diamond Classic dream yesterday was the days early chip leader Michael Mizrachi as the two time WSSOP $50k Players Champ busted out of the tournament. Other early chip leaders to go busto on day 3 include Vanessa Selbst and Sorrel Mizzi as the chips flew thick and fast across the tables today. We also bade farewell to Randal Flowers, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen, Kyle Julius, Matt Gianetti, Barry Greenstein and JC Tran to name but a few.
The current top ten is littered with big names as behind Esfandiari and Deeb (in no particular order) we see the likes of Brian "tsarrast" Rast, Noah Schwartz, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Andrew "luckychewy" Lichtenberger and John Hennigan all sitting on healthy stacks. In fact, with Shawn Buchanan and Chino Rheem sitting just outside the top ten as it stands we have seven former WPT champs among the top 12 chip leaders.
Further down the line we still have lots of strong players all more than capable of making a run in this tournament as the likes of Phil "MrSweets28" Galfond, David "doc" Sands, Andrew "good2cu" Robl, Scott Clements, Dan Shak, Greg Mueller and Jason Sommerville still have some play left in them.
Top Ten Chip Counts Going into Day 4
Antonio Esfandiari 918.5k
Freddy Deeb 633k
Thomas Winters 586k
Eddie Sabat 519k
Brian Rast 508.5k
Noah Schwartz 478k
Yevgeniy Timoshenko 472.5k
Andrew Lichtenberger 470k
John Henningan 447.5k
Ty Reiman 434k
Play resumes at noon today local time and will play down to at least the final 27 players.