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WSOP Main Event: It must be nice...

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It must be nice to be ElkY. On day four of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, the Frenchman -- Bertrand Grospellier, to the uninitiated -- arrived three minutes late to the Amazon Room, sat down in the big blind and found pocket threes. Already the dominant overnight chip leader, with 1,400,000, he flopped a set, busted a player and added another quarter million.

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But after that, ElkY didn't quite have it all his own way. At the mid-point of level three, he had about 1,200,000 -- at the very point that the tournament officials called a premature end to day four proceedings. The only passage of play that hasn't gone with the Team PokerStars Pro is called off early. It must be nice to be ElkY. The reason for the early finish was the grand hurry-up in eliminations in the post-bubble period.

As soon as a tortuous 90 minutes of hand-for-hand play ended with the elimination of Kia Hamadani, the collective sigh of relief was so forceful that chips flew into the pot as though gusted there by a whirlwind.

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Kia Hamadani, the bubble boy

We went from 789 to 416 and were sent home early. It must be nice to be us. The other emerging story of the day was the surge up the leaderboard of the PokerStars player Matt Affleck, perhaps better known as Mcmatto on PokerStars. The Seattle man spent the hand for hand spell playing textbook poker, playing most of the 13 hands and taking his stack from 670,000 to a million by the time the bubble burst. Since then it's been small pots, he says, his one huge hand coming when he hit an open-ender to make his Saturday night a happy one, bagging up nearly 1,800,000.

Main Event_Day 4_IJG_7615_IMPDI.jpgMatt Affleck

With so many massive stacks, and the media now banned from the tournament floor, it's a little difficult to be perfectly clear of precisely how much this folk are sitting behind. But it seems as though Affleck is near to the overall lead and ElkY still has 1,200,000. They are contenders. Also in that bracket are the Team PokerStars Pro duo of Noah Boeken (500,000) and Thierry van den Berg (226,000), who wound up late in the day on the same table and will return tomorrow still in the hunt.

Germany's Benjamin Kang (250,000) is also still in the field and Dennis Phillips continues his attempts to be a two-time November Niner. He remains with 460,000, and hats off too to Lou Diamond Phillips. The actor is also still going strong with 650,000. Two former World Champions, Joe Hachem (490,000) and Peter Eastgate (397,000), were drawn on the secondary feature table today and after entertaining the masses for as long as they were permitted, they are also still around with the chance to complete an extraordinary double.

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Peter Eastgate
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Joe Hachem

"It was a good day," said Hachem "I had my ups and downs, I finished with double with what I started with and I'm glad to have an early night."

We're caught between a rock and a hard place on PokerStars Blog regarding those two former champions: it's tempting to string the bunting across every blog post and declare the potential for what would amount to the most amazing achievement of the modern era. But we've jinxed too many players in our time, and 416 is still an awfully big number. It's not as big as a 1,800,000, though.

So let's leave you with Matt Affleck's chip count this evening, and ask you to join us again tomorrow.

All photos © Joe Giron/IMPDI Worldwide

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