The 2011 World Series of Poker final table got underway in Las Vegas. Following eight hours of play, three players remain in the run for the title, headed by German Pius Heinz.
The biggest poker spectacle of the year got underway, as the first hands of the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event final table were dealt in Las Vegas.
Leading the November Nine into the first levels of play was Czech player Martin Stazko, but it would be another player, who would go on to create the headlines as the stacks started to tangle.
Ben Lamb, who has been the most talked-about player of the year following an outstanding run at the 2011 World Series, was the man behind the first elimination, as he sent a short stacked Sam Holden to the rail holding ace-king against the Brit's ace-jack.
Then, moments later, it was German Pius Heinz' turn to enter the main stage, as he called an all-in from the other short stack, Anton Makiievskyi, holding pocket nines.
Makiievskyi showed king-queen and took the lead on a K-J-J flop, but a nine on the turn turned the tables around and sent the Ukrainian to the rail.
Less than half an hour later, the field lost another player as Belize's Bob Bounahra shoved his remaining chips to the middle with ace-five, only to find a caller in Stazko, who had picked up ace-ten.
The flop provided no help, and "Belize Bob" ended his WSOP adventure in seventh place.
Following a quiet period, Irishman Eoghan O'Dea was next to say goodbye on the 99th hand of final table play, as he took a stand with queen-six. O'Dea picked the wrong time to do so, as Stazko made the call with pocket eights, and O'Dea was eliminated in sixth place.
Only four minutes after, Heinz once again picked up pocket nines at the right time, allowing him to make a comfortable call against Phil Collins, who put his faith in ace-seven of diamonds.
Once again, the board ran out without any surprises, Collins left the Penn and Teller Theater main stage, and the final table was down to just four players.
One more player would still need to go before play could go on a break, and not surprisingly, it would be Ben Lamb who took the honors of sending home Matt Gianetti in fourth place.
Gianetti had played a very solid final table throughout, but in the end he was unable to overcome a red-hot Lamb, as he shoved his into Lamb's pocket kings.
To add insult to injury, the dealer laid out a brutal flop, giving Lamb quad kings and leaving Gianetti drawing dead.
After sending the WPT Malta champion to the rail, Lamb shot to 55 million chips, but he will still be trailing German Pius Heinz, who picked up enough pots to take over a comfortable chip lead with 107 million in his stack.
Finally, the two will be joined by Martin Stazko with 42 million once play resumes again today.
Wit all players already sure to pick up at least $4,021,138 for finishing third, play will undoubtedly be tense as the chase for the main prize continues.
Apart from the WSOP Main Event bracelet and the biggest title in the poker world, the winner will also look to pick up the biggest single tournament cash of the year, worth $8,715,638.