Poker: Maria Ho

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.

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.

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