The Championship event has traditionally been extremely long and drawn out. The blind levels are two hours each and the number of chips in play is truly astronomical, but this year we've seen loose and extremely aggressive play which has lead to the high number of eliminations.
Tournament officials were convinced that the pace of this event would slow down at some point as the average chip stack became increasingly large in comparison to the blinds and antes. So far this hasn't happened, and with only 27 players left, there's not much time left.
However, the break-neck speed of play in this event isn't the only reason for the need to subtract a whole day from the tournament schedule. The staff has repeatedly overshot the number of players scheduled to be eliminated on any given day. For instance, on Day 3 the plan was to continue playing until the field had been narrowed down to 600 players. When it got close to this number though, an announcement was made that play would continue until 2am regardless of the number of players left.
This caused quite an uproar, because many players had begun to make plans in anticipation of an early night. A chant began in one corner of the tournament area, and it wasn't long before it was taken up by the hundreds of players sitting in the room. "Six hundred players, six hundred players" was all that could be heard for several minutes.
Despite the dissatisfaction of the players, the event continued until 2am. Every single day has seen a similar situation with play continuing well beyond the projected times. I spoke to several officials and they all commented that they were expecting the pace to eventually slow to a crawl and that everyone would be thankful for the extra play they were enforcing now.
Even though this never actually happened, everyone can agree that it's a lot better to be ahead of schedule than behind as well as the fact that the nine surviving players will certainly be enjoying their day off before the final table. Well, maybe enjoy is the wrong word. After more than a week of Main Event action I'm sure these nine players will be anxious to get into it and see who's going to be the one to take home the $12 million and the championship bracelet.
The final table starts on Thursday and it won't end until we have a new champion. The PokerListings.com crew will be there every step of the way keeping you up to speed on everything as it happens. Don't miss what will be the most exciting day of the poker year.