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The plan for Monday at the 2014 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event was to play down to 27 runners, but if time allowed the option to slice off another nine players was an option. It was the latter situation that presented itself last night, so nearly 100 of the 114 players who began Day 3 had to go to sleep thinking about what could have been.

Sitting atop the leaderboard this morning is Jacob Bazeley with 8,065,000 chips. While no lead is truly comfortable in poker, he has got to love his chances of making the final table, as the next largest stack is just 6,885,000 chips, belonging to Chance Kornuth. After Kornuth, it’s a drop of another one and a half million to Eric Afriat. Justin Young, in fourth place, is the only other player with over 4,000,000 chips, holding 4,810,000.

Bazeley isn’t a household name, but he has had some real solid success on the live tournament circuit. Currently ranked 120th on the Global Poker Index, he has earned $1,289,917 in live tournaments, according to figures provided by TheHendonMob.com. His biggest cash came back in 2012 when he finished as the runner-up in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), good for $322,294. Interestingly, even with all the money he has won, Bazeley has just one other six-figure cash, earned for a 66th place finish in the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Overall, he has thirteen WSOP cashes and one WPT cash.

Bazeley made his run to the top during the last level of play. Early in the level, he won a huge pot to pull him just about even with Kornuth. According to the WPT.com play-by-play, there were 1,200,000 chips in the pot on the river with the board reading Q-8♠-6-2♣-4♠. Peter Striano bet 400,000, Bazeley raised to 1,200,000, and Striano called with T♠-T♣. Bazeley had 8-8, though, having out-flopped his opponent to win the pot and increase his stack to 5,700,000.

He later eliminated actress Sasha Barrese (among other roles, she played Doug’s wife, Tracy, in The Hangover movies) in 22nd place to grow his stack a bit more and then finished off Striano to knock him out in 21st place. In that hand, Bazeley raised pre-flop to 100,000 with A-J and called after Striano moved all-in for 460,000 with A-5♠. Striano was unable to hit his three-outer, obviously.

Day 4 is about to begin in Hollywood, Florida. It should be a relatively short day as just 18 players remain and play will stop once the six-handed final able is determined.

2014 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1.    Jacob Bazeley  –  8,065,000
2.    Chance Kornuth  –  6,885,000
3.    Eric Afriat  –  5,300,000
4.    Justin Young  –  4,810,000
5.    Mukul Pahuja  –  3,550,000
6.    Michael Garraway  –  3,415,000
7.    Matt Stout  –  3,250,000
8.    Barry Hutter  –  2,795,000
9.    Blake Purvis  –  2,590,000
10.    Jordan Scott  –  2,255,000
11.    Jeff Gross  –  1,905,000
12.    Frank Russo  –  1,810,000
13.    Matt Glantz  –  1,485,000
14.    Rajeev Nasta  –  1,230,000
15.    James Mackey  –  1,220,000
16.    Oron Unger  –  1,125,000
17.    Elliott Zaydman  –  970,000
18.    Chris O’Rourke  –  940,000

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