If the 2019 World Series of PokerChampionship Event were a horse race, the equivalent would be the BelmontStakes, the longest race of thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown. And, ifit were like a horse race, we could say we have entered the top of the stretchafter Day 5. But it would be one helluva stretch run as 106 players remain withTimothy Su holding the lead by a neck over some hungry competitors.
A New World Champion Will Be Crowned
With the elimination of defending championJohn Cynn on Tuesday and the final three former World Champions on Wednesday – ChrisMoneymaker, Qui Nguyen and Johnny Chan – there may have been some relief that anew World Champion would come from the 354 players that started on Wednesday.But even with that thought – and the claim ticket for a cash of $34,845 alreadyin the bank – there was still a great deal of work to be done. 888Pokerqualifier Dean Morrone held down the P1 at the start of his day with 4.98million chips, but Lars Bonding (4.04 million), Michael Messick (3.925 million),Warwick Mirzikinian (3.9 million and Henrik Hecklen (3.862 million) were all inpursuit.
After the call to “shuffle up and deal”from inaugural “Big One for One Drop” champion Antonio Esfandiari, who was alsoin the Day 4 field with a viable stack, the players set off to decide theirdestinies. As usual, the early moments were filled with the calls of “all inand a call” as players looked to double or head off onto the next tournament. Theearly victims of these moves included Maxim Lykov, Tom Cannuli, Jay Farber andCary Katz, who had the unfortunate beat of Big Slick taking down his pocketKings on a 5-2-3-10-A board.
Although there were these earlydepartures, there was still some joviality amongst the competitors. AllenKessler was debating a move at his table when someone called the clock on him. Kesslerfelt this was unjust and that he hadn’t been given enough time to consider hisaction, bringing some good-natured ribbing from Esfandiari and another pro,Adam Friedman. “There’s another 67 spots until the pay jump, Allen…you’re goodto go,” Friedman called from another table to Kessler, who folded in thissituation but would double up later.
Numbers Go Down, Tension Goes Up
As the players were eliminated, thetension the players were under began to become apparent. On the ESPN broadcastof the Day 5 action, former professional football player and Super Bowlchampion Richard Seymour was the focal point, along with pro player DarioSammartino. Both men saw their stacks slip through their fingers, but theirpathways were a bit different.
In Seymour’s case, it was a surprisinglack of aggression that would cost him. After coming into the day as one of thelarger stacks in the room, Seymour laid down some big hands in situations that arguablyhe could have attacked on. As his chips dwindled, Seymour would get his chipsin on a steal attempt off the button with a K-4 off suit, but he would run intothe pocket Queens of Zhen Cai and the A? 3? of Anuj Agarwal. Hope was given forSeymour on the 2-6-K rainbow flop, but the Q? ended any hopes for him orAgarwal as Seymour hit the rail.
Sammartino’s case was one more of badfortune than mistimed play. He was also among the leaders until an opponentrivered a straight against him, which sent his stack on the downward trajectory.Sammartino was able to avoid Seymour’s fate, however, and will be back on ashort stack on Day 6 with 860,000 in chips that you can believe will be inaction early.
A Look at the Leaderboard
With the final 106 men (Jill Bryant wasthe “last woman standing” this year, eliminated in 116th place)decided, these are the men who have visions of the WSOP Championship Eventfinal table dancing in their heads:
1.Timothy Su, 19.235 million
2. Sam Greenwood, 11.95 million
3. Duey Duong, 11.765 million
4. Warwick Mirzikinian, 11.43 million
5. Luke Graham, 11.28 million
6. Nicholas Marchington, 10.835 million
7. Milos Skrbic, 10.715 million
8. Romain Lewis, 10.6 million
9. Laurids Nielsen, 9.955 million
10. Ian Pelz, 9.635 million
Also hovering in the Top 50 are Andy Hwang (8.66 million), Chad Power (7.48 million), Esfandiari (6.63 million) and Daniel Hachem (6.765 million) who, if he should go on to win the 2019 WSOP Championship Event, would join his father Joe as the only father/son combo to win the biggest prize in poker. The action will resume at noon (Pacific Time) in the Rio’s Amazon Room, where the plan will be to play 5.5 levels and close for the day around 2AM.
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