Meet the 2014 November Nine

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
7:17
AM ET
LAS VEGAS -- After 10 days of competition, only nine remain out of the field of 6,683 players in the 2014 World Series of Poker main event. The November Nine includes a diverse collection of players and, come November, one of the largest and loudest crowds the game has ever seen. It also includes a member of the 2013 WSOP main event final table, Mark Newhouse, who battled through a roller coaster of a day to enter the final table third in chips. Newhouse finished ninth out of 6,352 players in 2013. He is the first player to make back-to-back final table appearances since Dan Harrington's run in 2003 and 2004.
[+] EnlargeWSOP November Nine
Joe Giron/WSOPThe 2014 November Nine: Billy Pappas, Felix Stephensen, Jorryt von Hoof, Mark Newhouse, Andoni Larrabe, Will Tonking, Dan Sindelar, Martin Jacobson and Bruno Politano

"I'm looking forward to not finishing ninth," Newhouse joked on the Poker Edge after making the final table. "Ninth is brutal, man. Coming back four months later and getting no money. I told myself I wouldn't be disappointed, and whatever happens happens, but it was very, very disappointing. ... Anything but ninth."

Newhouse's road back was extremely different from his journey a year ago. For most of Day 7 in 2013, Newhouse was the short stack and did everything possible to squeeze in. He entered the final 10 last year with just six big blinds and doubled up at the last possible second to keep his dreams alive. This year, he was active late and made a big call against Craig McCorkell with 13 players to go to keep him comfortable when the final 10 approached. On that bubble he remained active and ultimately knocked out two-time bracelet winner Luis Velador in 10th.

"Even though this year getting in is a bigger deal than it was last year, I was really just having fun the entire time," Newhouse said. "Playing poker with not too much pressure, not thinking about it, and I made it."

The day began with the eliminations of many of the familiar faces left in the field: 2014 WSOP bracelet winner Sean Dempsey went out in 27th followed by Brian Roberts (26th), Bryan Devonshire (25th), Kyle Keranen (24th), Leif Force (21st), Dan Smith (20th) and Scott Palmer (19th). Scott Mahin's exit in 18th place resulted in tears from the 47-year-old first-time WSOP participant, who said he was proud to represent his friends and family, both supporting him in Las Vegas and in Elk Point, South Dakota. He earned $347,521 for his first career cash.

Only 16 players were left for the 90-minute dinner break, and Jorryt van Hoof seized control at that point, knocking out his fellow countryman Oscar Kemps (14th) and Eddy Sabat (16th) after a very dramatic river. Felix Stephensen also emerged as a contender at this time after a surprising 24-million chip pot against Tom Serra (15th).

McCorkell, Chris Greaves, Max Senft and Velador went after that, and 27 minutes into Level 35, the November Nine was set.

Here are the players who will compete for the $10 million top prize in November:

[+] EnlargeJorryt van Hoof
Drew Amato/BLUFFJorryt van Hoof leads the 2014 WSOP main event final table.
Jorryt van Hoof (38.375 million in chips) -- For the second year in a row, a truly talented Dutchman has made the final table. Van Hoof is a cash-game professional who has a passion for online poker. He's been playing professionally for a decade, owns a highly popular poker training site, and will definitely be in contact with 2013 November Niner Michiel Brummelhuis throughout the process.

"It's been amazing," van Hoof said. "I ran hot and there were a few bubbles that I could make [use out of]. When we were down to 18, I wasn't happy with my table draw, but I won some good hands, got some chips and things went really well from there."

That's an understatement. Van Hoof had the lead for the final two levels and used his stack on the bubble to chip up even more. The best part about van Hoof's placement is that he wasn't planning on playing this summer at all.

"This year Vegas really pulled me," he said after making the final table. "I booked a last-minute flight. I came here a few days before [the main event]. I decided in the moment that I wanted to go to Vegas."

Felix Stephensen (32.775 million in chips) -- The 23-year-old Norwegian pro entered his second WSOP event with a mere $22,118 in live tournament earnings. He left the Rio with much, much more. Stephensen plays pot-limit Omaha cash games online and doesn't travel around the European poker scene because he doesn't like tournaments. That said, he couldn't miss the main.

"I'm feeling pretty good. This is pretty exciting. I don't think I've ever been part of something this major," he said. "When it's so much up top and it's life-changing money, you kind of get tempted to [play in a tournament]. If it works out, it's worth it."

Stephensen made Day 3 of the event in 2013 and said he ran incredibly well to get to this point.

"This is what every poker player dreams about," he said. "This is it."

Mark Newhouse (26.000 million in chips) -- If there's one player you don't need an introduction to, it's Newhouse. The 2013 ninth-place finisher has done the unthinkable and made back-to-back final tables in a post-boom poker world. Newhouse is a WPT champion with experience that no other player at this final table can rival.

"It's a great accomplishment, but I can't comment on greatest anything or stuff like that," he said to Bluff magazine. "I know it's amazing, but I'm never going to say anything like 'greatest' with my name in it. That's all I have to say about that."

Andoni Larrabe (22.550 million in chips) -- Larrabe, 22, now plays the live circuit after spending years grinding the online multitable tournament scene since he was 18 under the alias "pollopopeye." He is the owner of two Spring Championship of Online Poker titles and the winner of the $5,000 event from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2013. He has three WSOP cashes, and this will be his first final table.

"I feel pretty excited," he said. "It's a sensation between confusion, because I think I don't realize what I have just done, and excitement and happiness. It's a lot of sensation all at the same time."

The Spanish pro was extremely aggressive on the final table bubble, which was part of his game plan. He didn't want to go into the November Nine as the short stack and put himself back into it with one key double-up against Velador (A-A against Velador's A-K).

"I'm going to approach it as calm as I can," he said of the final table. "There's a lot of time. I'll think about it, but the most important thing will be to go relax."

Dan Sindelar (21.200 million in chips) -- Sindelar is the only Vegas regular at the final table and will be flanked by a number of pros throughout his journey to November. This is his 18th career WSOP cash and his fourth of the summer.

"It's nothing that I've ever felt before," he said. "I'm going to cherish this moment for a very long time. ... This is just going to be a lot of fun."

The Nebraska native moved to Vegas six years ago to pursue the game full time. After Black Friday, he pivoted to play more live cash games and a few tournaments here and there. This was his seventh WSOP main event and first cash.

William Pappaconstantinou (17.500 million in chips) -- "Billy Pappas" is already a world champion ... in foosball. The 29-year-old has loved the game since 2003 and had the opportunity to play in the WSOP for the first time this year. Things couldn't have turned out better, and he's looking to add a poker championship to his collection of numerous foosball titles.

"I'm in shock," he said after making the final table. "I never thought I'd play in this event. It's been my dream, and I've been saying 'this year' or 'next year' for like 10 years, just to play in an event, period. Now I get to play this, and I've never expected this at all."

Pappaconstantinou is the only amateur at the final table. He plans on spending the next few months traveling and relaxing with his friends.

Will Tonking (15.050 million in chips) -- It didn't look good for Tonking when he arrived at the final table bubble, but an early double-up against Martin Jacobson brought the New Jersey native back into contention. Tonking, 27, plays professionally in New Jersey both live and online. He recently hit a $50,000 score on WSOP.com, then came out to Vegas and made the money in the mixed-max event. This is his first main event cash.

"The whole time during it, I was trying to think about not being in this moment and playing poker," he said. "I kept on making myself refer back to the scene in 'Hoosiers' when Gene Hackman took them into the big stadium, the small-town team, put the tape measure up to the rim and down to the floor and said, 'Still 10 feet, gentlemen.'

"It's just poker. I was just playing the hand in front of me, not trying to think about anything else. The game is hard enough. The field is tough enough without letting that stuff bother me."

[+] EnlargeMartin Jacobson
Drew Amato/BLUFFIncluding the ninth-place payout, Martin Jacobson has $5.5 million in live tournament earnings.
Martin Jacobson (14.900 million in chips) -- The Swedish tournament pro is still looking for that one live victory that he can add to an already impressive résumé. He played this tournament with a consistent focus that allowed him to maintain a Day 1A chip lead and take him to the final table. He finished Day 6 as the chip leader and didn't play too many huge pots, besides one major one on the bubble, en route to an eighth-place stack for November.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. It feels surreal right now," Jacobson said. "It's a dream come true to make to the final nine. Once in your lifetime, it's a huge achievement. To still have the dream of becoming the world champion ... yeah."

Jacobson played 27 events during the 2014 WSOP and cashed three times. He's no stranger to high-pressure situations and can often be found in the super-high-roller tournaments around the world. Being involved in that scene will most definitely provide him with a little benefit when it comes to the final table.

"It means so much to everyone to actually make it," he said.

Bruno Politano (12.125 million in chips) -- The man who will have the most vocal crowd in November is a true character on the felt. Before this cash, Politano, 31, had $110,054 in career tournament earnings, including one WSOP cash. He's the first Brazilian to make the WSOP main event final table and, at 31, is going to be a major superstar in his country, which is experiencing a tremendous poker boom at this time.

"I'm very excited," he said. "My dream has come true."

For the entire night, his supporters were singing and dancing in the stands. He encouraged them after big hands and jumped into their arms after making the November Nine.

"My rail is very, very important to me," he said. "Without this, I wouldn't be there. For me, it's everything. It gives me support in that moment. I promise more than 200 people [in November]."

The final nine players return to action Nov. 10. The broadcast of the main event will begin on ESPN on Sept. 28.

Here are the rest of the final table payouts:

1. $10,000,000
2. $5,145,968
3. $3,806,402
4. $2,848,833
5. $2,143,174
6. $1,622,080
7. $1,235,862
8. $947,077
9. $730,725
Felix Stephensen just received a Christmas gift in July.

Stephensen moved into contention for the chip lead after knocking out Tom Sarra, Jr., in a huge pot at the feature table. Mark Newhouse opened to 500,000 and Sarra and Bruno Politano both called. Stephensen raised to 2.25 million and after Newhouse folded, Sarra made it 6.7 million. Once back to Stephensen, he moved all-in, and it took only a matter of seconds before Sarra called with K-Q offsuit. Stephensen held A-K, and won the 24 million-chip pot after a board of A-9-8-7-2. Many in the Amazon Room are contemplating Sarra's decision, but regardless, Sarra earned $441,940 for his incredible 15th-place run, the biggest live tournament score of his career.

Oscar Kemps (13th), Andrey Zaichenko (17th) and Eddy Sabat (16th) also fell short of their November Nine goal. Fellow Dutchman Jorryt van Hoof took care both Kemps and Sabat. Against Kemps the hand was relatively straight forward -- A-A versus K-J -- but against Sabat, he was on the right side of a cooler, something that's said time and time again from those that make the final table. Van Hoof opened the pot and Sabat called. Both checked the flop - Jc-9h-5s, and Sabat bet the 7h on the turn. Van Hoof called and bet 1.1 million in chips after the 4h hit the river. Sabat moved all-in and was called instantly. Van Hoof had Ah-8h for the nuts and eliminated a dejected Sabat who had Jh-10h for a weaker flush.

The rail in the Amazon Room for Politano and Luis Velador is pretty incredible and the feature table has the feeling of a true sporting event, something that we typically only see in November. Supporters of both players are singing and cheering, plus, every time 2013 November Niner Mark Newhouse wins a pot, which is happening often, there's a man with a guitar playing some songs and a man with a cowbell joining along. Both fans met Newhouse mid-way through the level and while his brother sits quietly on side of the feature table with a smile on his face, these two individuals are bringing some noise.

The pay jump between 12th and 13th is substantial ($441,940 to $565,193), so there is potential for a delay at this point. That said, Craig McCorkell and Max Senft have less than five million in chips and have been getting more active lately looking for a pivotal double.

Here are the chip stacks of the final 13 players in the 2014 WSOP main event:

1. Jorryt van Hoof (34.0 million)
2. Felix Stephensen (29.2 million)
3. Luis Velador (20.7 million)
4. Bruno Politano (19.8 million)
5. Martin Jacobson (18.7 million)
6. Dan Sindelar (17.6 million)
7. William Tonking (14.3 million)
8. William Pappaconstantinou (12.2 million)
9. Mark Newhouse (9.2 million)
10. Andoni Larrabe (7.9 million)
11. Chris Greaves (5.4 million)
12. Craig McCorkell (4.9 million)
13. Max Senft (4.0 million)

Small blinds: Before I could hit publish, Politano just looked up Newhouse after a 2.25 million bet, was right, and showed 7-2. This place went nuts and Politano sat at the feature table encouraging the cheers from his rail. The Penn and Teller theater will be noisier than ever if Politano makes the final table. Brazil is still booming in terms of poker and Politano making the final table would make it even bigger.

Day 7: 18 players left

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
6:43
PM ET
Bryan Devonshire: Gone.
Leif Force: Gone.
Kyle Keranen: Gone.
Dan Smith: Gone.
Scott Palmer: Gone

The familiar faces are quickly leaving the Amazon Room, and only 18 players remain in the 2014 World Series of Poker main event. Smith's shocking elimination on the final hand of the level in 20th placed the field on a significant money bubble, but even that couldn't slow down the fast pace of eliminations on Day 7.

The deck didn't treat Devonshire well over the past two days, and despite getting it in good once again, ahead in a race with 10-10 versus A-J, he headed home in 25th, just three years after his 12th-place run.

Moments later, Keranen picked a bad time to five-bet shove on Bruno Politano as his K-Q was crushed by the Brazilian's K-K. Similar to Devonshire, Keranen has had two strong runs over the past three years, 38th and now 24th.

Yorane Kerignard's contingent left everywhere, including media row, after his elimination in 23rd. He dropped a good portion of his stack in a lost race against Chris Greaves (K-Q < J-J) then lost the rest to the jacks of Andoni Larrabe holding J-7. This was Kerignard's fifth six-figure score of his career.

Dan Sindelar expanded his chip lead as he knocked out Iaron Lightbourne (A-Q over Q-Q), but it was a great run for the British player, who earned a career-best cash with his 22nd-place finish.

In 2006, Jamie Gold won the biggest prize in WSOP history. Force finished 11th in that event for $1.1 million and hoped to make the final table that eluded him eight years ago. He was one of the shorter stacks left and put his chips in a 40-60 situation with K-Q against Greaves' A-10. The entire Amazon Room knew what happened next. Force yelled out something that is sure to be beeped on television later this year as Greaves hit trips, leaving Force drawing to a gutshot miracle. It didn't come, and the North Carolina resident finished 21st.

Then came the most shocking elimination of the level. Smith is one of the game's best with a history of big win after big win. With more than $8 million in earnings, he said there was no pressure on that front. On his final hand, he opened and Jorryt van Hoof three-bet to 900,000. Smith made it 1.8 million, and van Hoof moved all in, forcing Smith to make a decision about the rest of his 6.4 million-chip stack. The decision didn't take that long, and the two would be flipping for 13 million with Smith holding As-Ks against van Hoof's 4-4. No help came for Smith, resulting in his elimination in 20th.

Players went on a quick 20-minute break, and it would have seemed that with a substantial pay jump approaching, the final 19 would have slowed down a bit. Maybe not. Palmer went out in 19th, shoving 2-2 into Greaves' A-A, and the final 18 players are only nine eliminations away from the biggest final table of the year.

If play stopped now, the November Nine would be:
1. Dan Sindelar (22.8 million)
2. Bruno Politano (19.6 million)
3. Martin Jacobson (17.9 million)
4. Luis Velador (14.4 million)
5. Tom Sarra (13.9 million)
6. Jorryt van Hoof (13.6 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (12.3 million)
8. Felix Stephensen (10.5 million)
9. William Pappaconstantinou (10.0 million)
Tensions are high in the Amazon Room as players at the final three tables battle it out for a chance to become a member of one of poker's most elite groups. The November Nine will be set at the end of what is expected to be a very long day, and it will be a constant battle of will to fight off fatigue and nerves with so much on the line.

2014 bracelet winner Sean Dempsey was the first player to fall Monday, calling all-in for his tournament life on the river against Mark Newhouse. Perhaps trying to use his tight image, Newhouse min-raised under the gun with 8h-9h, and Dempsey, in the big blind, just called. After a flop of Qh-6d-4h, Dempsey check-called a bet of 250,000. Both checked the turn 5, and Dempsey fired about half a million after the Jh hit the river. Newhouse pushed enough in the center to force Dempsey to make a tough decision, and when he ultimately called, the disappointment set in. After that hand, Newhouse had more than 10 million in chips. Dempsey earned $286,900 for his 27th-place finish.

Brian Roberts played the short stack well for days and doubled on the final hand of Day 6. Starting Day 7 with only 11 big blinds, he would need to try to double before the next level. Roberts moved all-in from under-the-gun with K-J and couldn't catch against Eddy Sabat's A-Q. This 26th-place finish was the second-largest live cash of Roberts' career.

Players took a 10-minute break before the beginning of Level 31 (80,000/160,000 with a 20,000 ante). Upon returning, Thomas Sarra doubled through Andoni Larrabe to move into the top half of the chip counts.

If play ended now, the November Nine would be:
1. Martin Jacobson (20.2 million)
2. Dan Sindelar (17.3 million)
3. Luis Velador (16.6 million)
4. William Pappaconstantinou (15.8 million)
5. Bruno Politano (12.6 million)
6. Andrey Zaichenko (11.6 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (9.2 million)
8. Felix Stephensen (8.5 million)
9. Dan Smith (7.7 million)

LAS VEGAS -- Martin Jacobson led the WSOP main event after Day 1A and nobody batted an eye. Success isn't automatic for the chip leaders of the early days, but Jacobson is looking to follow in the footsteps of Joe Cada and turn a Day 1 chip lead into a world championship. Day 6 concluded with the Swedish professional leading the final 27 players. Jacobson has already won millions over several years of live and online play at the highest stakes, but he understands the potential of surviving just one more day.
[+] EnlargeMartin Jacobson
Drew Amato/BLUFFMartin Jacobson leads the final 27 players in the 2014 WSOP main event

"It's amazing to have made it this far in the main event," said Jacobson. "It's such a big tournament and a lot of prestige. I'm very proud of myself right now. "

Players began Day 6 action Sunday at noon PT and wrapped up at nearly 2 a.m. Monday. Fatigue was setting in for a number of players during the final level, including Jacobson, who finished the night with 22.3 million in chips.

"I'm not that jacked up, but mostly tired to be honest," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to get a few hours of good sleep and be ready to go again tomorrow."

His ascension to first was impressive, a constant climb throughout nearly every level. He's played that style for a few days, never finding himself outside of the top 20 percent of chip stacks, and has demonstrated strong reading ability all along. Jacobson has $4.8 million in live tournament earnings, but is still missing that elusive major tournament victory.

In order to get that opportunity, he needs to get through the final day first. His starting table features a number of major obstacles, but it's the player in the No. 7 seat that will be the focus of attention: Mark Newhouse. For the second year in a row, a member of the previous year's final table is looking to make a repeat appearance (Steve Gee, who made the final table in 2012, finished 24th in 2013). Newhouse demonstrated a year ago that he could play a short stack to perfection on Day 7 and he's prepared to do so once again. He discussed those plans on the Day 5 Poker Edge podcast.



Newhouse enters Day 7 with more chips than he did a year ago, but will have a challenging seat to start the day with big stack Bruno Politano next to him. Additionally, Politano will have to figure out how to approach his button as Jacobson will be waiting, and should be very aggressive given his lead. Considering the November Nine bubble is one of the most important moments of the year, Jacobson should use this beneficial table draw to chip up early by keeping the pressure on.

Other big stacks belong to two-time bracelet winner Luis Velador, tournament regular Dan Sindelar, Spanish online poker phenom Andoni Larrabe and William Pappaconstantinou, who goes by the name "Billy Pappas" in the world of foosball, and now poker. Pappaconstantinou simply considers himself a poker dealer on a heater.

"I still don't think I'm on these guys' level," he said. "I'm going to try to stick with the same game plan [on Day 7]. Hopefully nobody picks up cards and I keep raising."

Pappaconstantinou surged into the top 10 after a big hand with 30 players to go in which he picked up aces against the kings of Dong Guo and eights of Robert Campbell. The 6.2 million he added to his stack after that hand gave him 14 million and a free pass to coast for the rest of the night.

The day concluded with the elimination of the Day 4 chip leader Matthew Haugen, who ran 10s into the queens of Bryan Devonshire. Haugen began the day as one of the short stacks and turned it into eight figures. His plan unraveled after the first level after dinner, and he ultimately pushed his pocket 10s at the wrong time. Devonshire finished Day 6 with 5.7 million and looks to improve on his 12th-place finish in 2012.

"I'm thrilled to be here, but I'm exhausted," he said. "These 14-hour days are brutal. It's so mentally exhausting. I haven't thought that hard about poker for a long time, and I'm already tired. I think [fatigue] plays in a lot and I think it's playing in extra in this tournament."

Sound familiar? It's been a grueling battle for everyone, and unfortunately for Devonshire and the rest of the field, Monday's schedule won't be any easier as the event must play down to the final nine-handed table. Tournament director Jack Effel estimated that will happen during Level 36, which would mean another 11-13 hours at the felt.

All remaining players have earned at least $286,900. When play resumes the blinds will be 60,000/120,000 with a 15,000 ante. Here are the top 10 chip counts heading into Day 7:

1. Martin Jacobson (22.3 million)
2. Luis Velador (16.6 million)
3. Dan Sindelar (16.3 million)
4. Andoni Larrabe (15.2 million)
5. Billy Pappaconstantinou (14.6 million)
6. Bruno Politano (11.6 million)
7. Dan Smith (10.3 million)
8. Craig McCorkell (8.7 million)
9. Felix Stephensen (7.7 million)
10. Andrey Zaichenko (7.3 million)

Small blinds: There are two bracelet winners in the top 10: Velador and Craig McCorkell. Sean Dempsey and Leif Force are the other two bracelet winners left in the field. … Scott Palmer began the day in third and finished in 27th. Anton Morgenstern led after Day 6 last year and did not make the November Nine. &133; Kyle Keranen was chip leader for a good portion of the day but lost a big pot to Velador, who briefly took the lead during the final few levels of the night. … Andoni Larribe, now in fourth, has two SCOOP titles. … Ten countries are represented in the final 27. … Andrey Zaichenko, now in 10th, has made a WSOP final table in three of the past four years. He has $1.3 million in live tournament earnings. … The fourth feature table in the outside section has already been broken down. … Dan Smith and Aaron Kaiser got into it after dinner in what should make for some very interesting television. Read about that here. … Monday will be the final day of play until the field returns to action on November 10. … Ryan Riess, Phil Hellmuth, Brett Richey, Dani Stern and Mike Matusow all stopped by on Sunday to check out the remaining field.

The slow road to 36 players

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
2:03
AM ET
There's a pretty substantial pay jump at 36 and for the first time in this tournament, the players seem to recognize it. After a flurry of eliminations during the first half hour after the dinner break, the play slowed dramatically and some quasi-excessive tanking was found at each and every table. Especially by Aaron Kaiser, who just became the talk of many in the Amazon Room.

Kaiser has been on the short stack for a while and with a $44,099 pay jump, waiting out one more spot was clearly on Kaiser's mind. On the hand that may have secured him a spot into a higher pay scale, Dan Smith called the clock on Kaiser immediately as the cards were dealt. The floor allowed Kaiser two minutes to think about it before the countdown and once the countdown started, Kaiser put nearly his entire stack in the center. Smith called and the two saw a flop of Ac-Qc-6s. Kaiser, with only a few hundred thousand in chips behind, tanked for his maximum time before checking. Smith placed a big enough bet that would force Kaiser all-in and Kaiser took about 20 seconds before committing his chips with ... top set.

The room roared as Smith, who held Jc-Jd, was in bad shape. The 10c on the turn gave him a royal flush draw, but no help came on the river, allowing Kaiser to double up.



Moments later at the feature table, nearly two hours after Shahen Matirosian's exit in 38th place, Gal Erlichmann committed all his chips postflop on a board of 9-8-3. He showed kings, Dan Sindelar showed aces and he was knocked out after turn and river blanks in 37th. All players are guaranteed at least $230,487. The next pay jump occurs at 18th place. Post-dinner eliminations included Clayton Maguire, David Tuthill, Michael Finstein, Adam Lamphere, Michael Kamran, Paul Senter, Martirosian and Erlichmann.

Small Blinds: Luis Velador took over the chip lead from Kyle Keranen early in Level 29. Velador is a two-time bracelet winner. … Bryan Devonshire got a little unlucky, losing K-K to A-J early in the new level, but rebounded quickly to get back to 5.8 million. … The Brazilian crowds are getting loud cheering on Bruno Politano. If he makes the final table, there is going to be a very large and excited contingent. … Humberto Brenes is here. Chewing gum as always. … Ryan Riess showed up earlier to catch some of the action. Phil Hellmuth too. … Someone in the stands is cheering every time Bryan Devonshire folds and telling the pro "Good fold! Good fold!" … Blinds are 50,000/100,000 with a 10,000 ante. … Listen to all the main event Poker Edge daily podcasts here. … The Daily DeepStack event is still being played in the Amazon Room. Brett Richey wasn't a fan of that. … Mike Matusow was on the rail for a bit and said he thinks Keranen is a great player. … Martin Jacobson is third in chips and has been consistently at the top of the chip counts for this entire tournament. Pretty impressive.
A flurry of eliminations in the Amazon Room late in Level 27 left only 44 players in contention for the $10 million first-place prize at the 2014 World Series of Poker. Day 6 is planned for a lengthy 11 hours of play, or until the field reaches 24 players, and Kyle Keranen continues to cruise along. Keranen became the first player to top 12 million during the level, most of which coming at one of the toughest pro-filled tables remaining. Upon changing tables, he gave a bit back and finished the level with 9.6 million in chips.

The Bellagio cash game regular is still firing without hesitation. His ability to casually put out million-chip bets is keeping the pressure on at such a pivotal time in the tournament to position himself for a run at the final table. Still, his 38th-place finish from two years ago must sit in the back of his head as he gets through the day.

Dan Sindelar has chipped up constantly today and holds a slight chip lead over Martin Jacobson to leave the Amazon Room for dinner as the top stack.

At the feature table, Mark Newhouse has played a few big pots and recently eliminated Clayton Hamm with 10-10 over A-10. With 6.9 million in chips, Newhouse is ahead of his Day 6 pace from 2013 when he bagged 5.7 million. The other player to make Day 6 last year was Vitaly Lunkin who, after surviving numerous all-ins, was finally knocked out in 57th. Lunkin finished 46th in 2013.

Other eliminations include:
  • Matthew Waxman: The WPT and WSOP champion had played the short stack well for the past two days but couldn't run it up on Day 6. On his final hand, he was involved in a three-way all-in with Keranen and Eddy Sabat. Sabat's aces topped both Keranen's 10-10 and Waxman's 9-9 to knock down the chip leader and knock out the Florida Pro in 45th.
  • Bill Cole: The 70-year-old was probably having more fun at the table than anyone else. He ran nines into the aces of Robert Park to finish 58th.
  • Issac Baron: An unlucky spot for "WestmenloAA" resulted in his queens losing to Chris Greaves in 52nd.
  • Ryan Fair: Fair has cashed in each of the past three years and nearly eclipsed his 31st-place finish in 2009. Fair ran eights ran into the kings of Andoni Larrabe to exit in 48th.
  • Jason Johnson: Ryan Riess' pick to win the main event had his kings cracked and paid off Martin Jacobson's flopped set in a big pot mid-way through the level. Johnson finished 51st for his third six-figure cash of the 2014 WSOP.
  • Brian Hastings: Right after he finished watching the World Cup on his WatchESPN app, Hastings failed to hit his A-J against Andrey Zaichenko's K-K. He finished 64th.

 

Bryan Devonshire doesn't have a top-10 stack, but played a few big pots to crack the five-million-chip mark. In 2011, he finished Day 6 with 5.9 million in chips. Matthew Haugen isn't in the top-10 either, but he must be pleased with his comeback. The Day 4 chip leader doubled up on the final hand of Day 5 and needed to get his chips in early on Sunday in order to make a run. He's done just that. Hauten doubled through Newhouse to start (Q-Q > 10-10), then gave a bit back, then doubled through Lunkin and Cole before leaving the feature table. He's again a threat in this tournament with 5 million in chips.

Players are now on a 90-minute dinner break.
The World Series of Poker main event began eight days ago with 6,683 hopefuls looking to earn $10 million. Only 68 players are left chasing that dream.

Day 6 began with everyone following a few key storylines. The first was Maria Ho, who became the last woman standing for the second time in six years. Ho began the day as the short stack and needed to find a spot to double with the blinds rising after the first hour. Seated at the feature table, she moved all-in from under the gun for eight big blinds and was in trouble when Zach Hirst called and showed Q-Q. The flop brought her an eight, but also gave Hirst a set. She picked up a turn flush draw sweat, but didn't get there and was eliminated in 77th.



Mark Newhouse is the also a primary focus of those in attendance as he looks to become the first player to make back-to-back final tables since Dan Harrington in 2003 and 2004. His day has not been productive thus far with him dropping more than two million in chips from his starting stack. While not the case anymore, when his table was moved to the feature table shortly after the break, he was seated with six other players who had less than half his stack.

The big chips remain at an outside feature table where Kyle Keranen is holding court. Keranen entered Day 6 with the chip lead in 2012, but couldn't hold it and went out in 38th place. He's determined not to that that happen again this year and has a two-million chip edge over Scott Palmer in second. Palmer's story is also intriguing as he was one of the world's top online cash game players prior to Black Friday. During the break, he explained that a lot of his money was locked up as a result of the indictments, and he has simply been "relaxing" in Maryland since. He estimates he has played maybe a few months worth of poker over the past few years as a result.

"I should've traveled overseas more," Palmer said. "But now the games are much tougher and less profitable. Everyone knows the math perfectly."

The Michigan poker dominance may also continue again this year.

"Ryan Riess used to deal to me at one of the charity rooms I played at," Jason Johnson said. "I saw him win last year and said if he can do it, why can't I?"

Johnson came out to the WSOP to play just a few events with a very limited bankroll. He quickly found success with a daily DeepStacks chop, a seventh in the millionaire-maker and third at another final table, and is now on his way to earning life changing money. He said he relies on really strict bankroll management and wants to bring the title back to his state for the third time in six years. The main event will be Johnson's third six-figure score over the past five weeks.

Another friend of Riess is Adam Lamphere, who doubled up early on the day to 1.2 million in chips.

Two players who have made deep runs in this event before, Anh Van Nguyen and Kyle Bowker, couldn't make magic happen once again. Van Nguyen secured his third top-106 finish over the past 10 years with his 73rd-place exit. Bowker finished 71st and cashed in the main event five times since 2006.

Small blinds: Bill Cole has the loudest rail at the moment. … Tournament director Jack Effel announced that play will continue for five and a half levels today or until only 24 players remain. My money is on hitting 24 before the time limit. … The Day 4 and Day 5 Poker Edge podcasts will be posted today. Sorry about the delay. … Players from 12 countries remain in the main event field. … Seven bracelet winners remain in the main event. … Only one player from the top 10 in each of the three starting days remains in the main event: Martin Jacobson. Kyle Keranen was 13th on his starting day. … All remaining players will earn at least $103,025.

The unthinkable is quickly becoming a little more realistic. Mark Newhouse, the ninth-place finisher in 2013, leads the final 79 players after Day 5 of the World Series of Poker main event and looks to become the first November Niner to make it back to the final table. Players have come close before, including Steve Gee and his 24th-place finish a year ago, but Gee never had the chips. Newhouse, who demonstrated incredible patience on the final day last year, has a huge stack and is looking to continue to build it on Day 6.

"I'm trying not to think about it," said Newhouse of his chance to go back-to-back. "Last year I was very excited. This year I feel super relaxed and I'm just playing poker and having fun. I'm trying not to think about anything that will make me feel pressured or anything. Just doing the best I can."

His play was relatively straightforward on the day: find the right spots and get enough chips to punish everyone else.

"I was lucky enough to win some big pots early on and I just got a monster chip lead to the point where I could just raise every hand and nobody could do anything about it," said Newhouse.

The day began with Matthew Hauten in the lead, but the Chicago native couldn't hold the top spot through the first level, and needed a double-up on the last hand of the day to make it through. Bruno Positano then emerged after a shocking pair of hands that eliminated one-time big stack Zach Jiganti, but couldn't keep the chips, either. Griffin Benger led too, but he struggled at the feature table and busted with jacks versus queens early in Level 25. Kyle Keranen also had a shot of becoming the chip leader after Day 5 for the second time in three years, but he fell just short and finished second. Keranen received some redemption when he eliminated Curtis Rystadt, a player who had badgered him all day. The two shared verbal blows and it should make for some interesting television this fall.

Scott "urnotindanger2" Palmer finished the day third in chips and was a big beneficiary of a few ill-timed bluffs by Mikiyo Aoki. The start of the day looked promising for Aoki, the runner-up in the 2014 WSOP Ladies Championship, but a 3 million chip stack dwindled after a few called or raised river bluffs, and she ultimately busted out in 83rd place. Shortly before her elimination, Marcia Kunitz was knocked out in 91st and that left Maria Ho to become the last woman standing for the second time in her career. Ho finished 38th in 2008 and will began Day 6 as the short stack.

"It's pretty cool," Ho said about being the final woman in the field. "I think that anything to help bring women into the game is awesome, so having that distinction gives women something to strive for, so that can watch and relate to the fact that women can really do well in the main event, but I've always said I have my eyes on a much, much bigger prize and that's not last woman standing."

A number of players remaining in the field have been past Day 5 before. Two players from the 2013 WSOP main event, Vitaly Lunkin and Newhouse, made it to Day 6 for the second consecutive year. Bryan Devonshire reached this point in 2011 and entered the day with a prime seat at the feature table. With a smile on his face, Devonshire played a relaxed game that made a few people smile along the way. It's his incredible attitude that makes him a player to watch every time he's at the felt, and the poker world is a place where he's spent much less time over the past few years. These days he's typically found guiding whitewater boats, living an outdoor life he really enjoys.

"I'm just very relaxed," Devonshire said about this experience. "[In 2011] it was my first time. Money meant a lot more and it was all new and fun and exciting with lights and cameras and all of that sort of stuff. Now, it's like, 'Eh, I've been here.' [Now] I'm having a great time, That's part of why it's extra fun. I get to focus on having fun and loosening the table up and creating smiles instead of creating spots."

Still, Devonshire understands that the game itself has changed.

"The game isn't what it used to be," said Devonshire. "It's not as profitable as it used to be, so my incentive to spend all seven weeks out here is greatly diminished."

Devonshire finished the night 16th with 3.83 million in chips.

Some late-night eliminations took away from the star power of this field. Mukul Pahuja was on the wrong end of a cooler and put his final chips in with A-6 on an A-Q-6 flop. Up against A-Q, the reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year couldn't hit a miracle and was eliminated in 101st. Bracelet winners Simon Charette, Jon Aguiar and Vladimir Shchemelev also barely missed advancing.



During the Day 4 recap, I offered some names of those who have run this deep before. Many of those players survived the day and that success is becoming a theme of this tournament. Those who have been there before understand what it takes to go through this grind. Just ask Newhouse, Lunkin Devonshire, Ho, Leif Force, Keranen, Ryan Fair and Anh Van Nguyen.

When play resumes Sunday at noon PT, the blinds will be 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante. Here are the Day 5 chip leaders:

1. Mark Newhouse (7.40 million)
2. Kyle Keranen (6.67 million)
3. Scott Palmer (6.59 million)
4. Bruno Politano (5.47 million)
5. Andoni Larrabe (5.47 million)
6. Dan Smith (5.3 million)
7. Dan Sindelar (5.24 million)
8. Tony Ruberto (5.23 million)
9. Iaron Lightbourne (4.97 million)
10. Leif Force (4.75 million)

Small blinds: David Tuthill had one incredible day, filled with six successful all-ins. He's still short, but at this point, must feel like he's freerolling. … Force lives in the mountains of North Carolina during the rest of the year. He doesn't like Vegas and can't wait to get home. Obviously he wants to best his 11th-place finish first. … The minimum payout for all remaining players is $85,812. … The final few hands of the night featured a frenzy of all-ins. Eddy Sabat doubled up and eliminated Aoki during a three-way all-in. … Play is expected to continue until 27 remain on Sunday, but to get further within the tournament structure, it wouldn't be that surprising if they played past that point. … Friends and family have started to arrive in town, and at this point, big hands are worth celebrating. Expect lots of excitement on the rail from here on out.
Remember the slow down that we've been talking about for days? It's here.

After four hours of rapid eliminations, the past level knocked off less than 30 players which has allowed for a good amount of positioning for those remaining in contention.

Bruno Politano continues to lead the way and his friends are starting to get excited about what could potentially come to fruition in a few days. The Brazilian chipped up to 6.2 million, assisted by a big coin flip victory at the mid-point of the level. Politano's A-K rivered a king against Adam Coats' 10-10 and with that river card came a vocal yell and some cheering from his rail. Seated at an outside feature table, he's been incredibly active, showing incessant aggression which has been working thus far.

Seated with Politano is a player who has maintained a good stack while flying very under the radar. Jason Johnson has had an amazing World Series of Poker. The Michigan native finished seventh in the Millionaire Maker, third in Event 44 and prior to that, third in a Daily DeepStack event at the Rio. His rail also includes former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Stocz who has played with Johnson in charity rooms back in Michigan. Johnson also received a ringing endorsement on Twitter.



Johnson has 2.4 million in chips. That same table most recently lost Tim Rielly who has battled as a short stack for a good amount of time since taking a big hit in the final moments on Day 2. Rielly had four cashes this WSOP.

Some familiar faces gained good ground during the past level. Mark Newhouse is edging closer to a back-to-back final table and gained nearly two million in chips since the dinner break. Maria Ho, typically content with a slow and steady approach, had a really swingy level to finish at 1.6 million. Ho picked up kings at a very opportune time to bust Michael Palo, but gave nearly all of it back after a lost race and some bad luck against Greg Himmelbrand (A-K < A-Q).

The blinds are now 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Bruno Politano (6.20 million in chips)
2. Mark Newhouse (4.90 million)
3. Tony Ruberto (4.56 million)
4. Scott Palmer (4.30 million)
5. Clayton Hamm (3.86 million)
6. Kyle Keranen (3.82 million)
7. Leif Force (3.56 million)
8. Griffin Benger (3.40 million)
9. Andoni Larrabe (3.37 million)
10. Vladimir Bozinovic (3.30 million)

Alex Outhred (140th, Q-Q < J-J), Huy Nguyen (142nd, A-10 < J-J) and Jason Deutsch (137th, A-K < 9-9 and 7-7) were among the recent eliminations. All earned $52,141.

Small blinds: Mikiyo Aoki loves to bluff, and pick off bluffs. Quietly built nearly a three million-chip stack today. … Bryan Devonshire started off the day as one of the shorter stacks and now, is among the leaders. He finished 12th in 2012. … Vitaly Lunkin, Byron Kaverman and Mark Newhouse all made Day 5 last year. … Click right now and learn about Garrett Greer. Incredible story of determination and a great attitude. … David Tuthill has been all-in a number of times today and continues to double up. But does he have the recently eliminated Nick Yunis to thank? Yunis touched the card that Tuthill said he wanted to hit while all in and sure enough, those cards came through. Unfortunately for Tuthill, Yunis was knocked out in 126th. … This will be the longest day for the players thus far. … Jonathan Aguiar has a fortune from a fortune cookie that reads "Don't stop now!" He's been another player fighting the short stack all day.
As part of the Amazon Room fills up with players from the $235 Daily Deepstacks (my opinion on that here), the main event field has been reduced to fewer than 175 players. Kyle Keranen entered the last level as the chip leader, but it's been a tumultuous level for him, with Curtis Rystadt getting under his skin and causing some interesting conversation and a recent discussion with the floor staff.

"I've never seen him before in my life," said Keranen during the break. "He's just relentlessly berating me. He won't let up."

Rystadt, in the five seat at the feature table, continues to be vocal against the chip leader. The two tangled in one key pot which added to the frustration. After a preflop five-bet raising war, the flop came K-K-4 and both players checked. The turn brought another 4 and again, both players checked. After a river 9, Keranen bet 380,000 and Rystadt quickly called and showed Q-4, which bested Keranen's aces.

Fireworks ensued to the point that Executive Director Ty Stewart, who was watching the feature table closely, said we haven't seen anything like it in years.

During the break, Keranen spoke furiously to the floor staff, trying to explain what was going on. The staff responded that they would address the situation. As the action resumed, the jabbering continued and accelerated after Keranen won a pot off of Rystadt. The two are poised to continue to tangle and this should make for an interesting storyline for a while given that both have more than 2 million in chips.

The other fireworks came in the span of two hands and resulted in the elimination of the player who was in third place during the previous level.

Zach Jiganti entered Level 21 with more than 3 million in chips and was poised for an incredibly deep run. It unraveled quickly, first with a set-over-set confrontation against Bruno Politano (9-9 < K-K) then a cooler with jacks against the queens of Clayton Maguire. Those two hands at the end of the level sent him home just after the field broke 200 players and placed Politano as the overwhelming chip leader with 4.9 million in chips.

Other Level 21 eliminations include Jeff Madsen, Kevin Eyster, Taylor Von Kriegenbergh, Mike Wattel, Raj Vohra and Jared Bleznick.

The average stack is 55 big blinds. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Bruno Politano (4.96 million in chips)
2. Leif Force (3.54 million)
3. Michael Schwartz (3.32 million)
4. Clayton Hamm (3.23 million)
5. Griffin Benger (2.99 million)
6. Kyle Keranen (2.8 million)
7. Michael Finstein (2.75 million)
8. Martin Jacobson (2.59 million)
9. Andoni Larrabe (2.57 million)
10. Matthew Haugen (2.50 million)

Small blinds: Jeff Platt ran into Ali Eslami's set of 5s during the past level at the same exact moment that his parents walked into the Amazon Room. … The Ivey eliminator and two-time bracelet winner John Kabbaj didn't make the dinner break. Still a strong summer for him and his elimination means that Brandon Shack-Harris will enter WSOP-APAC as the Player of the Year leader. … Bryan Devonshire was sent to a new table after the latest break, so he went to work looking up his competition. … There are four women left in the field, including the last woman standing from 2008, Maria Ho. … Blake Cahail wore the onesie all the way to a 172nd-place finish. … Draft Kings getting into patching as well at this time. Doesn't hurt to have one of its employees, Jon Aguiar, still in contention. … Check out this hand from Mikiyo Aoki from earlier in the WSOP. … The only member of the top 10 with a bracelet at this time is Leif Force. … David Einhorn was knocked out in this level. He'll donate $44,728 to Robin Hood NYC.

Day 5: Bring on the Red Bull

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
5:29
PM ET
Tournament Director Jack Effel announced prior to play on Saturday that the field would be in for a lengthy day. Five and a half levels are planned for Day 5 (11 hours) as Effel hoped to bring the field down to around 80 players by the end of the night. Play should conclude just before 2 a.m. PT.
[+] EnlargeKyle Keranen
Courtesy Andrew FeldmanKyle Keranen seized the chip lead during Level 20

Play is expected to slow down dramatically as the day progresses, but that was far from the case during the first level. John Monnette, 2014 bracelet winner Sam Jaddi, Mike Sowers, Kevin MacPhee, Farzad Bonyadi and Paul Tedeschi were among the 60 eliminations during the level. With the average stack more than 60 big blinds deep, short stacks aren't truly "short" at all. Extremely aggressive play is leading to these eliminations and, of course, a few coolers.

Kyle Keranen and Griffin Benger continue to top the leaderboard with Keranen having an incredibly successful level, building from 2.1 million in chips to 3.5 million. Mark Newhouse, whose style doesn't often call for gigantic pots, was involved in a huge one against Munir Shahin. The 2013 November Niner held As-Qs and had a huge flush draw after a flop of 9h-7s-2s. Shahin held K-K and with a 2 million-chip pot at hand, couldn't fade the spade on the river. Newhouse eliminated Shahin with the dramatic river and handed his opponent his largest career cash ($38,634) with the effort. Newhouse is now in the top 10 in chips.

When players return from break, the blinds will be 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante. Here are the current chip leaders:

1. Kyle Keranen (3.44 million in chips)
2. Griffin Benger (3.42 million)
3. Zach Jiganti 3.07 million)
4. Dan Smith (2.55 million)
5. Leif Force (2.49 million)
6. Trevor Martin (2.49 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (2.36 million)
8. Michael Finstein (2.34 million)
9. Matthew Haugen (2.27 million)
10. Pakinai Lisawad (2.21 million)

Small blinds: Anh Van Nguyen doesn't play much poker anymore, but decided to come to Vegas last week just for a little action. Van Nguyen spends most of his time now with his kids (including a 5-month-old) and doesn't pursue poker as actively as in the past. He has $1.2 million in career live earnings and finished 46th in 2004 and 106th in 2009. … We don't see a lot of new sponsors appear these days, but PartyPoker has placed a patch on Brian Hastings. … In extremely too early storylines, Alex Outhred's birthday is Nov. 9. … John Monnette decided to warm up this morning with some high-stakes cash games at the Bellagio. I wonder if he slept. … David Einhorn doubled up in the last level. That's good for charity. … Keranen has moved to the feature table, with Maria Ho's table soon to break. … There have been no eliminations at the feature table so far today. … A few players were late to show up today, including Yorane Kerignard, who was seated at an outside feature table.
The smiles turned back to stares throughout the course of Day 4 of the World Series of Poker main event. After a raucous celebration rocked the Amazon Room when the remaining players made the money, the field returned to seriousness as positioning for the final stretch became the utmost priority. Matthew Haugen emerged with the lead after Day 4, a familiar situation for the professional poker player from Chicago.

"I'm feeling great," said Haugen. "Being chip leader going into Day 5 of the main event, I can't complain about that."

Haugen began to take the game seriously after he graduated from college. Like many other of the game's rising stars, he started online.

"After I graduated from college, I had a little bit of money and put it online," he said. "I started playing, kept winning and never looked back."
[+] EnlargeDan Smith
Drew Amato/BLUFFDan Smith is sixth in chips after Day 4

In a post-Black Friday world Haugen travels often to play and has found some great success on both the WPT and EPT. He also has twin 18th-place finishes so far this WSOP.

"I'm just going to keep playing my game and see what opportunities present themselves," said Haugen. "$10 million would mean a lot. It would be pretty amazing."

Behind Haugen is a stacked crew of professionals who have been waiting for this opportunity. Griffin Benger, Dan Smith and Kyle Keranen are all part of a strong top 10 at this stage of the event. Keranen has been here before and was the chip leader after Day 5 in 2012. After fizzling out then, he's not ready to let this second opportunity go.

"I just feel so much more in control than I did two years ago," said Keranen. "I was still pretty new to high-stakes tournaments back then and I got a bit nervous on Day 6. ... This year I feel totally composed and ready for it."

Keranen enters Day 5 eighth in chips.

The remaining field includes many players who should feel at home during Day 5 action. Among that group Keranen (38, 2012), Leif Force (11th, 2006), Pat Madden (64, 2005), Maria Ho (38th, 2007), Alex Outhred (54, 2008), Roland Israelashvili (25, 2012), Isaac Baron (85th, 2012), Farzad Bonyadi (27th and 41st, 1998 and 2005), David Einhorn (18th, 2006), Ali Eslami (49th, 2004), Ryan Fair (31st, 2009), Mike Wattel (95th, 2005), Kyle Bowker (37th and 84th, 2007 and 2012), Bryan Devonshire (12th, 2011) and most recently Rep Porter (12, 2013) and Mark Newhouse (ninth, 2013) have all made it to the final stages before.

With 291 players remaining, here are the top 10 chip counts after Day 4:
1. Matthew Haugen (2.80 million in chips)
2. Zach Jiganti (2.36 million)
3. Griffin Benger (2.32 million)
4. Michael Finstein (2.31 million)
5. Bruno Politano (2.28 million)
6. Dan Smith (2.22 million)
7. Andoni Larrabe (2.19 million)
8. Kyle Keranen (2.15 million)
9. Farid Fattin (2.12 million)
10. Pakinai Lisawad (2.08 million)

The eliminations came at a rapid pace throughout the action on Friday, but the only one that was truly acknowledged by all players was the 430th-place finisher: Phil Ivey. The 10-time bracelet winner began the day in a strong position at the feature table, but started to run cold after he lost a quarter of his stack to Kyle Keranen. The bleeding continued until the dinner break, but still, with 340,000 in chips, Ivey was not in dire straights. Almost immediately after the dinner break, Ivey found himself in a hand against two-time WSOP champion John Kabbaj and made an ill-timed all-in on the turn of a 9-9-2-2 board. The shock and frustration came over Ivey's face immediately as his A-K trailed Kabbaj's J-J. Down to his final card, the cameras came over and Ivey's tournament ended with a blank on the river and a sprint to the back doors of the Amazon Room.

Hours before Ivey's departure, Ronnie Bardah's exit marked the end of a historic run. Bardah has cashed in each of the past five WSOP main events, a new record.



Other notable Day 4 eliminations include John Juanda (293rd), NASCAR's Jason White (348th), Michael Binger (353rd) and Jonathan Little (490th).

Action resumes at noon PT and will most likely continue for five levels or until the field is down to 72 players. The minimum cash for all those who remain is $33,734.

Small blinds: The pre-money elimination of Huck Seed marked the first year since 2002 that a former champion did not make the money. It has happened nine times in the total history of the event. … I've followed "Rainbow Hat Guy" around the WSOP for the past few years and today he had his chance at the feature table. Zach Hall sat directly across from Ivey, who looked at him and said "Are you serious?" Hall was eliminated on the final hand of the night. … Alex Outhred started Day 2 of the main event with 12,000. He bagged 714,000 on Day 4. … Blake Cahail played the last level in one of the $230 Zooop suits that is being sold at the Rio. He didn't buy it, but said if his friend bought it, he'd wear it. … In 2012, Keranen was the chip leader after Day 5. … Take a look at the bracelet. … Plenty of drinks were ordered toward the end of the day. Relatively surprising at this point. That usually ends on Day 2. … David Einhorn is donating his winnings to Robin Hood NYC. … Sam Jaddi and John Kabaaj are the two remaining 2014 bracelet winners in the field. … The highest chipped woman in the field is Mikiyo Aoki, who has 1.5 million in 21st place. She was the runner-up in the 2014 WSOP Ladies championship. … There are five multiple-bracelet winners remaining in the field: Jeff Madsen, Farzad Bonyadi, John Monnette, John Kabbaj and Rep Porter. … Including the main event, Roland Israelashvili now has 10 cashes this WSOP.
It's been a rough two days for the world's best player. After his incredible Day 2 effort, Phil Ivey faltered over the past two days and was eliminated during the past level in 430th place. Event 25 bracelet winner John Kabbaj led out for 80,000 and Ivey moved all-in for 225,000 more on the turn of a 9-9-2-2 board. Kabaaj called instantly and Ivey reacted stunned, looking on in disbelief. Before the cards were flipped, Ivey said to Kabbaj, "Jacks?" Sure enough, that's what his A-K was up against. The cameras set up as Ivey waited for the river card, then bolted down the back hallways of the Rio upon seeing the 5c. Ivey earned $25,756.
[+] EnlargePhil Ivey
Andrew Feldman/ESPNPhil Ivey (left) stares at the board in disbelief on his final hand.

Nearly 100 players fell during the past two-hour level. NASCAR's Jason White fought for the entire day as a short stack, but couldn't avoid some bad luck.

"I'll be back," said White after his elimination in 350th. He earned $33,374 for the finish that was cut short in a key hand against David Einhorn where his J-J lost to 6-6. David Paredes, Maria Mayrinck, Owen Crowe, Chris DeMaci, Michael Binger and Thayer Rasmussen were also among the casualties.

At 2.3 million, Dan Smith remains the biggest stack, but there are a number of players who are under 800,000 in chips that shouldn't be missed:

  • John Juanda - It's been a slow day for Juanda who has demonstrated great patience. He has 430,000 in chips and is looking to best his 31st-place finish in 2005. Juanda's last main event cash came in 2012 (234th).
  • Brian Hastings - The bracelet winner and high-stakes cash gamer has $1.1 million in live tournament earnings. The only thing that might hurt Hastings is his obsession with Open Face Chinese poker which is he playing on his iPad in between hands.
  • Mark Newhouse - The last member of last year's final table is still fighting. He chipped up early today and had a well above average stack, but has been short for the past few hours. He has 280,000 in chips. If there's anyone who knows how to grind in order to make it to the next level, it's Newhouse.
  • Maria Ho - Ho is seated at the feature table, but she's still under the radar in the reporting. She has 700,000 in chips and is seated with ...
  • Brian Townsend - During poker's zenith, Townsend was one of most prolific onliners in the game. Now he has a shot at a main event title with 800,000 in chips
  • Jon Turner - "PearlJammer" finished 299th in 2013 and 344th in 2011. His resume is strong and all he needs is to win that one flip that has evaded him numerous times over the past few years.
  • Ali Eslami - A high-stakes mixed-game player, Eslami doesn't often player tournaments, but won't miss the main. Oh, and he snuck into the Amazon Room last night.
  • Mukul Pahuja - Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year.
  • Taylor Von Kriegenbergh - WPT Champion has $1.4 million in lifetime tournament earnings
  • Matt Waxman - WSOP bracelet winner, WPT champ. Been short for two days now.
  • Mike Sowers - 14 WSOP cashes and five final tables (two runner-ups).
  • Bryan Devonshire - Devo isn't involved in the poker world much at all anymore, but the nature guide loves the main event. He finished 12th in 2011.

There a number of other players that with over 300 to go deserve some attention. From here on out I'll try to highlight the accomplishments of those remaining in contention to paint a better portrait about the field that remains.

Day 4: Finstein leads final 443

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
9:37
PM ET
The flood of players out the door continued during Level 17 and all remaining players have locked up a pay day of at least $25,756. After a period of constant all-ins, the pace has slowed of late as players are now taking this time to position themselves for a deeper run.

Michael Finstein is looking to make his first WSOP main event cash count. The Bright, Mass. native was the first player over two million in chips and has played the role of eliminator throughout the day. He seized the lead when he won a big pot against Rocky McNatt with his 10-10 connecting on a 10-9-3-9-9 board against McNatt's K-K. He added a bit more shortly after knocking out Lisa Tehan, Joe's wife, who just missed her largest career tournament cash by a few hundred dollars.

Dan Smith, now seated at a secondary feature table, has 1.9 million in chips which is good enough for a second-place stack. At the main feature table, Phil Ivey has struggled to gain any momentum since his latest table joined the feature set. His three-bets haven't been getting through and he's now playing with a sub-370,000 stack. Ivey's table broke for the second time today right before the dinner break and a new table, featuring Maria Ho and Jared Bleznick, will take their seats when action resumes

Kenny Tran's elimination represents many of the bustouts right now. With players so deep, it takes real coolers to get all the chips in the center and Tran was unlucky enough to run kings into the aces of Pete Kaemmerlen for all of his stack. Other notable eliminations include Jonathan Little, Abe Mosseri, JJ Liu, Bryan Yoon, Phil Galfond, Daniel Alaei and the five-time consecutive casher, Ronnie Bardah.



Here are the top 10 stacks at the break:

1. Michael Finstein (2.0 million)
2. Dan Smith (1.9 million)
3. Andoni Larrabe (1.7 million)
4. Danny Yousefzadeh (1.7 million)
5. Zach Jiganti (1.6 million)
6. Matthew Leecy (1.4 million)
7. John Gorsuch (1.3 million)
8. Jing Wang (1.3 million)
9. Griffin Benger (1.2 million)
10. Mark Herm (1.2 million)

When players return, blinds will be 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante.

Small blinds: NASCAR driver Jason White doubled towards the end of the level. He has 250,000 and was the recipient of a Phil Hellmuth pep talk in the Orange section. They met last night at Haze. … Leif Force is looking to make a second deep run in the main event to add to his 11th-place finish in 2006. … Two more levels (four more hours) are planned for Friday. … Players received bags of chips at their table this morning courtesy of Ruffles. Players utilized those far more than the stress relief pucks from another WSOP sponsor, Dough. … The WSOP staff did a great job today with the bubble and payouts. I've seen years where it hasn't been so smooth, but this operation was run perfectly.

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