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Monday, July 6, 2009
Updated: July 7, 8:45 AM ET
ESPN Poker Club's Mullen eliminated

1:50 a.m. ET: After getting to the dinner break with around $40,000, Eric Mullen felt like he would be the first ESPN Poker Club player to make it to Day 2. He was on cruise control, and for the first hour of Level 4, he was playing tight, but still picking his spots. Then came the hand. With his dad standing behind him on the rail, I watched the action preflop. Jesper Hougaard raised from early position and Mullen reraised. Judging both players' reactions, I knew we were in for fireworks. I walked over to Eric's dad and said, "This is going to be a big one."

Eric Mullen
Eric Mullen's A-A was outflopped by Jesper Hougaard's 10-10.

Hougaard took a second, asked for a count and then finally made the call. The flop came 10-8-5 and Hougaard checked. Mullen led out for $3,000, about a pot-sized bet. I walked over to his dad and said, "He's in trouble. I think he an over pair to Hougaard's set."

Hougaard reraised another $5,000 after taking a minute to deliberate, only to see an immediate re-reraise by Mullen to $15,000. Here's where the acting started. Hougaard checked his hand twice, was breathing rather heavily and did the "I can't believe you're reraising me" head movements. Joe Navarro would've had a field day. Then, the words were spoken.

"OK. I guess I'm all-in," said Hougaard. Mullen gave me a glance, knowing this was the end. He put his last $13,000 or so in the pot and flipped over his pocket aces. The rest of the table called for Hougaard's set and he obliged. The dealer peeled off two more cards, but no help and Mullen had been eliminated.

"It was great. I wasn't as intimidated as I thought I would be," said Mullen. "It was a lot of fun. I know I got beat by a double-bracelet winner, I guess. I'll have that story forever."

The rest of the interview with Mullen will be heard on Tuesday's Poker Edge podcast.

Plenty of players hit the rail during that last level and, unfortunately, one of them was Ivan Demidov. Last year's runner-up failed to make it out of level four when he ran into his opponent's flopped set. Another runner-up who didn't make it through was the 2004 runner-up, David Williams. Other notables who were eliminated include Jared Hamby, Grant Hinkle and David Benefield. Heading in the other direction was Troy Weber, who became our first player to eclipse the $200,000 mark. You'll also find Dutch Boyd, Blair Hinkle, Hougaard and J.C. Tran at the top of the leaderboard.

Small blinds: Bluff's Matthew Parvis doubled up during the last level, but at only $20,000, he still has a lot of work to do. … Almost the entire red section has been cleared out. I think we might need to lose a lot more players for the tournament staff to feel comfortable about Day 2CD. … This is the third-largest main event tournament in history -- despite the reduction in the field size from last year. … Bernard Lee ended the last level at $50,000. … Defending champion Peter Eastgate has chipped up over the last level to $47,000.… Adam "Roothlus" Levy didn't have a great start to the day, but is still alive with $11,000. … You can follow everything ESPN Poker on Twitter at @ESPN_Poker.