Day 3 of the World Series of Poker main event

LAS VEGAS (AP) — DAY: 3 (Officially known as Day 1C).

THE BIG NEWS: Canadian poker professional Jonathan Duhamel began his title defense at the World Series of Poker on Saturday, some eight months after winning the 2010 main event title for $8.94 million.

The 23-year-old native of Boucherville, Quebec, was one of 2,181 entrants to the no-limit Texas Hold ‘em main event on the third of four starting days, bringing the 58-tournament series tantalizingly close to its all-time record for entrants over the entire summer.

Series officials said it was certain the record of 72,966 would be broken on Sunday, given prior registrations for the final flight of the main event.

Players spilled into a second room for the first time this tournament because officials weren’t able to fit everyone into a single room.

Officials expected at least 2,000 more players the next day, pushing the tournament to at least 6,600 players. That would be down from the 7,319 who entered last year, but more than many expected given legal turmoil in the online poker industry, which in the past has fueled most major poker tournaments.

The Saturday entries brought the tournament’s three-day total to 4,056, after officials revised totals to reflect seven fewer entries on the tournament’s second starting day. The three day total was down 17.7 percent compared with the total entries during the first three starting days of the tournament last year.

Saturday’s field included several famous poker faces, including Daniel Negreanu, Humberto Brenes, 2009 champion Joe Cada, 2003 champion Chris Moneymaker, 1989 champ Phil Hellmuth Jr. and MGM Resorts International executive Bobby Baldwin, a 1978 main event champion nicknamed “The Owl.” Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce also played, along with comedians Ray Romano and Brad Garrett.

STUD OF THE DAY: Sorel Mizzi, who more than doubled his chip stack early in the day after picking up pocket aces and busting one opponent, then extracting more chips out of a different foe with pocket queens. Mizzi has 18 career cashes in the series for more than $826,000, but has never won a tournament here. His last cash in the main event came in 2009.

BUSTED OUT: Moneymaker, who has not cashed in the main event since his 2003 win; bracelet winners David Singer and Allen Bari; Romano.

UP NEXT: The fourth and final flight of players begin play on Sunday, when officials tally the total entries and determine the top prize of the main event.

POKER TALK:

Draw: A hand that is not yet complete but has the potential to be dangerous by making either a flush or straight on the turn or river. Poker professional Jason Somerville followed a flop with two diamonds to the river, beating an opponent who had two pair when a three of diamonds on the final community card gave him a flush.

HE SAID WHAT?: “I have a last longer bet with Brad Garrett, so whoever gets him out gets a free massage. Free massage from Annie Duke.” — Comedian Ray Romano as he greeted players along with Garrett and Duke at the start of play on Saturday. He was eliminated later in the day, while Garrett won chips.

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