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Standing at the Top with a Mountain of Chips

Pollackday3Timphanday3_2Pardeyday3We're in the $21,070 payout level with 310 players remaining and certainly less by the time this post is done. At the top with a mountain of chips still is a set of relative youngsters. 28-year-old Rod Hardey, Jr. is now in the $700-800k range with California's Tim Phan ($675,000) and North Carolina's James Pollack ($572,000) close behind, both continuing their aggressive play.

Phan is 31-years-old and has been playing poker for over 10 years now, with his biggest win at the 2004 Grand Slam of Poker Championship. The San Gabriel, Ca. resident has also made final tables at the LA Poker Classic and Festa al Lago.

Pardey, Jr., as we reported earlier, is the son of 2-time 7CS world champion Rod Pardey, Sr. Only 28-years-old, Junior is playing exceptionally well, bullying with his stack and hitting the cards.

Little is known about James Pollack except that he's been carrying a large stack the past two days and he looks like he's not much more than 21 years in age. He was seated next to Phil Ivey for a bit yesterday, never intimidated as he came into today with the second largest count. Ivey is amazingly still in and strong ($310,000) after a rollercoaster run the past two days in which most had counted him out.

After the dinner break, it was the Minneapolis Meehan, Farha and Phan Comedy Show at the ESPN feature table until Farha got busted out at around 315th place by John Falconer. Yesterday, Farha and Phan traded words repeatedly while at the same table, and Meehan has been non-stop with his brash comments, even going over to Farha/Phan's table last night to razz the two.

Raymerday3With Farha, Williams and Moneymaker gone, only Raymer is left representing the final two over the past two years, and he's doing a good job with a glacier of chips in front of him measuring about $650,000.

Other top stacks include Denis Ethier, who already has a gold bracelet in the seven card stud/8's or better event this year and cashed in seven card stud. Last we saw he had close to half a million. Hung La is also hanging at the top. The Manhattan Beach pro finished 3rd in this year's LA Poker Classic (significantly better than Snake and the Addict did this year) and last reported had $444,000.

The Grinder is showing he is indeed a machine this year at big tournaments, and he's still doing well in the one that truly matters with around $500k in chips. Also standing firm and making it a strong possibility we'll have a table full of big name pros on the final day are Lee Watkinson, Mike Matusow, Layne Flack, Paul Darden and John Juanda. Darden and Juanda have been at the same table all day, battling it out with each throwing major punches and taking blows. The upper hand is now in Darden's corner after he took a pot from Juanda that looked to be more than a quarter of a million.

Cigarmc82-year-old Paul "Cigar' McKinney, the oldest player in the main event, is still in but down in count. We're guessing he'd attribute his presence this late in the event to his healthy diet of "moonshine whiskey, big cigars and young women."

An update on the few unknowns and relatively unknowns we've been following the past couple days: Our favorite Belize player and the only one we know, Bob "The Hotch" Hotchendani, is looking good with over $300k in chips and a few levels closer to making a nice size down payment on that casino he wants to open. Shannon Sharpe superfan Greg Amoils was still in after the dinner break while Andrew Prock went out in 520th place. The Russian Howard Stern lookalike was nowhere to be found early on today as was Robo-Pong pro "Blue."

Side note: you'll see less photos and anecdotes from the tables from here on out as the ESPN crew claims territory and has been butting heads with the media here.

We're down to 285 now and a payout of $24,365.

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