With the money bubble set to burst later tonight, schedule permitting, there are multiple ways to attack Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event. The short stacks will attempt to hold on and lock up a min-cash, while the players with chips will attempt to take advantage of the dynamic heading towards the money bubble. Kenny Hallaert is currently in the latter camp, as he’s sitting with over 400,000 chips at one of the PokerGO outer feature tables.
As a player that has navigated the Main Event before, the Belgian finished 6th last year for a career-best $1.4 million score, Hallaert knows that this is an important part of the tournament.
“Day 3 is interesting,” Hallaert said on a recent break. “It’s the day where we’re going to reach the money, the play will change a bit more towards the end of the day, when there are around 1,500 players left.”
With a couple hundred eliminations separating the field from that point of Day 3, there is still a lot of work to be done. There is also a lot of work to be done for Hallaert to get back to the final table but the WSOP veteran approaches the Main Event just like any other tournament, although he certainly realizes the advantages of his past Main Event experiences.
“There is definitely an advantage that I have towards a lot of other players.” Hallaert said, before adding, “Sitting on the feature table, I’ve had that experience before, where for a lot of other players it is kind of new. They may be a little more stressed, where I can play a little bit more relaxed.”
Part of that relaxation comes from having last year’s November Nine run in his back pocket but another part certainly comes from a tremendous record in WSOP bracelet events over the last few years. Hallaert final tabled the first Colossus event at the WSOP in 2015 and then made a deep run in the Millionaire Maker this year, before final tabling both the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed event and a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event prior to the start of the Main Event.
That momentum could lead to a third-straight Main Event cash for the Belgian tournament director and while Hallaert took an intensive coaching plan heading into this year’s WSOP, that work and effort began before last year’s final table. This year though, with or without Hallaert, the Main Event final table will have a very different look, feel and atmosphere.
“I think we might see more interesting plays at the final table because it’s all quite fresh compared to last year, when there were three months in between, everyone had preparation.” Hallaert said when talking about this year’s July Nine. “We might see more street poker, there might be more blow ups, more bluffing because players haven’t had a chance to prepare themselves.”
Hallaert has certainly prepared himself for another deep Main Event run and if he does make another final table, his entire journey will be live on PokerGO and ESPN.