Poker: Bruno Politano

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.

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