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Epic Poker League Series 3 M.E. Day 3
16 December 2011

The Epic Poker League

EpicPokerLeague Medallion
The invitational Epic Poker League is off to a roaring start. Each event in its inaugural year has featured incredibly tough fields, and amateur and non-invited pros can satellite in. The Series 3 Main Event's "mix-max" format adds a cool twist by decreasing the number of seats per table each day. Day one featured 8-max tables, day two 7-max, and day three 6-max. It's a fun concept, and it really keeps the chips moving.

And let's not forget the massive overlay. The Epic Poker League has added $400K to the total prize pool to bring it up to $2.36 million. Sweet. The relatively small starting field of 100 means that only a few spots are paid. 12th and better make the money, and the prize structure is very top heavy. Winner gets $801,680, runner-up $514,480, third place $306,800.

We'd like to thank Tara Moore of Rogers and Cowan for providing us with a media pass for the day. It's unlikely that we'll be able to take photos during day 4 and day 5 final table play, so we've posted plenty of pix of day 3.

And what a day it was!

Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger

Dan O'Brien

David Williams, Noah Schwartz, and Amit Makhija

The Vibe

This event looked a little like the WSOP $50K Players' Championship in many ways. The steep $20K buy-in and pro-heavy field gave it the look, but not the feel. Straight no-limit Hold'em, 6-max tables, and the Palms instead of the Rio all made it feel fresh and different.

Play was good-natured, but still serious considering the big buy-in and $2.3 million prize pool. The players all know each other well, they're the select few who were chosen to participate in EPL events, and many of them are good friends. Still, there were far fewer bro hugs on bustouts than in, say, the final 25 of the WSOP Main Event. Busting out of the money stings.

Day 3 play in the ballroom at The Palms

The Play

The day's action was played in a 6-max format, down from the first day's 8-max and the second day's 7-max. This made for plenty of action, and the short stacks had to chip up or die trying. We would be remiss if we didn't mention that pocket queens were the Death Hand du Jour. We saw three players bust out with pocket queens, two simultaneously. Sam Stein and Dan O'Brien both got their queens cracked within seconds.

But what else could you expect? The level of play in the EPL is so high that it sometimes takes a beat or two to knock someone out. And speaking of beats, the last play of the day featured one of the most incredible beats we've ever witnessed.

Eric Baldwin tank-shuffles his chips

Vanessa Rousso ices Andrew Lichtenberger

The always-intense Scott Clements

Joe Tehan just before "The Hand"

"The Hand"

It started out like countless other short-stack all-in hands. Faraz Jaka shoved with AA, Vanessa Rousso thought for a moment and min-raised with QQ. Joe Tehan moved in with 42o, covering Vanessa. Here's a photo sequence of the hand...

Preflop: Faraz Jaka shoves UTG, Vanessa Rousso min-raises.
Joe Tehan moves in, thinking - Vanessa's going to fold. I'll win the side pot. Freeroll.
Faraz Jaka is thinking - Yay! Aces! I'm going to triple up!

Vanessa Rousso tanked. And tanked. Her tournament life was at stake.

Hmmm. Joe could be bluffing. My queens are probably way ahead.

Faraz has something, but he's short-stacked. I could double up by winning a massive side pot.

Or I could bust out on the money bubble.
Vanessa said those fatal words "...I don't think I can fold this." Then she called all-in.

Flop: Joe hit his 4, but so what. My queens are still ahead for the side pot. I should double up here.

Turn: another 4. No way! Joe could bust both me *and* Faraz. With freakin' 4-2!
River: brick. Joe's trip 4's win the main and side pots.

Boom! Day 3 ends

"The Hand" ended Faraz Jaka's and Vanessa Rousso's tournaments, and poor Vanessa busted out on the money bubble. The goal for the day was to play down from 25 to 12 players, and "The Hand" helped get that done in barely 4 hours. Joe Tehan confessed on camera that yes, he did in fact get very lucky. And afterward, Lizzy Harrison and Epic Poker staff made a video showing that Joe, Faraz, and Vanessa still love each other. Because hey, it's poker. Beats have happened since time zero, and they'll keep on happening.

Faraz and Vanessa have no prize money to show for their 3 days of hard work. But they both know they did exactly the right thing. Faraz had a great shot at tripling up. Joe nearly won the side pot by pushing Vanessa off her hand (abusing the money bubble.) Vanessa correctly read Joe and made the call for all her chips. Blame the Poker Gods for what happened after the chips went in the middle.

Everybody loves Lizzy Harrison!   Here she is inteviewing Joe after "The Hand."
The Epic Poker video is an absolute must-see. Watch it at www.epicpoker.com. NOW!

Joe Tehan admits that he got more than just a little lucky. Faraz and Vanessa are cool with it.

For all Epic Poker League information and hand-by-hand details and event videos, please visit www.epicpoker.com.
And follow @EpicPoker on Twitter for up-to-the-minute live updates.

Next: Epic Poker League 2011 Series 3 Day 4...

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Images copyright FlopTech Engineering. All rights reserved.