The World Series of Poker $10,000 World Championship Main Event returned 3,300 players Wednesday for Day 2C with exclusive coverage on PokerGO. Five two-hour levels trimmed the field to 1,524, that will join the 1,023 Day 2AB advancing players for a Day 3 field of 2,547. Ryan Hughes finished among the top counts with 510,000 and is looking for his 16th cash this Series. Artan Dedusha topped the counts overall for the day with 680,000.

“I’ve been running really good in the early part of tournaments but haven’t been able to close anything out,” Ryan Hughes said. “For me it’s been pretty frustrating for me this summer.”

“I’m thinking about Player of the Year a little bit,” he said. “I could have played the Little One for One Drop yesterday and built up a stack, but I just wanted to focus on this so I bypassed that. If I make a really deep run in this, I should be able to win POY.”

“My play isn’t affected by POY, I play for the money,” he added. “I always play tournaments pretty good, it’s just a matter of running good.”

Poker’s favorite couple Jason and Natasha Mercier both advanced to Day 3, with Natasha bagging up a larger stack. “I started the day with 218,000 and bagging around 470,000,” Natasha said.

Natasha Mercier bagged over 400,000 on the day. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
“We’re very competitive so seeing each other here I want him to do well, but at the same time I want to beat him,” she added. “I’m hoping to get more chips than him.”

“I don’t want to beat Natasha,” Jason said. He finished with just over 100,000. “If I bust out hopefully she’ll go deep. It’s awesome we’re both still in and we’ve both never made Day 3 of this event.”

Jason Mercier was happy to bag six-figures after starting the day with 21,000. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
“I really hope we don’t end up at the same table because I don’t want to watch how Natasha’s playing,” Jason said. “I think she’ll play a little differently if I’m there and I don’t want her to think busting her or getting knocked out by her. It’s much easier to always stay a couple tables away.”

Nick Petrangelo, Joe Serock, Justin Liberto and Adam Levy finished in top part of the leader board. Brian Rast, Isaac Haxton, Tim West and Julie Anna Cornelius finished closer to the average stacks.

Seven former Main Event champs returned to play: Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Ferguson, Carlos Mortensen, Joe Cada, Ryan Riess and Joe McKeehen. Riess, Ferguson, Hellmuth and McKeehen hit the rail after being eliminated.

Phil Hellmuth will have to wait until WSOP Europe for his 15th bracelet. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
Hellmuth went to the dinner break with 130,000 chips and after returning he hit a run of hands that that would see him walking towards the door within one level. His final hand came holding ace ten to an opponent’s ace jack when they made a straight.

Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Matt Berkey, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Sexton, Gus Hansen and Paul Volpe all met their end on Wednesday.

The field will join as one for the first time on Thursday for Day 3 when cards hit the air at 11 am PT. Live coverage of the Main Event is exclusively on PokerGO from 11:30 am – 6:15 pm PT.

A full list of chip counts and seating assignments can be found on WSOP.com. Also, the three Feature Table lineups will be posted in before play resumes.

Jacob Zalewski has been a fixture around the Rio for several years now, One of poker’s largest fans, he formed the One Step Closer Foundation – a charity to help those less fortuante than him that also suffer from Cerebral Palsy. Zalewski finally got his turn in the spotlight on Wednesday with a seat at a feature table.

John Smith continued to wreck players’ days half his age on Day 2C of the Main Event. He’s finished runner-up in the Heads Up Championship the past two years by drawing on his 50 years of experience at the tables.

Though the November Nine era is over, the final tablists carry notoriety for their unique experience of waiting three months while the world plays catch up to their tournament. Cliff Josephy and Joseph Cheong spent time on PokerGO stream Wednesday and talked about their runs.

Jamie Kerstetter was just one of the 272 women that played the Main Event. Making up only 3.7 percent of the field, a trip the final table will be a long road ahead for female player. But Kerstetter embraced the underdog approach.

The boys from Barstool Sports sent Nate and Smitty to the Main Event. Nate made a huge run to land in the top of the counts and a chair on the Feature Table.