At the head of them all is Daniel Negreanu, who may be the most recognizable player in the world right now. Despite making some comments about his dislike of the South and southern food, the always-entertaining Canadian seems right at home in Tunica, and it's no wonder - he has been surrounded by an entourage of lonely-looking, middle-aged women who cheer whenever he steals the blinds and antes, and who present tee-shirts, billfolds and body-parts for him to sign whenever there's a break in the action.
Negreanu has handled the attention with his usual grace and, dare I say, aplomb, even though it's obvious that were he not still in contention the bleachers would be substantially less full than at present, and that the number of women "of a certain age" in pink WPT tee-shirts would certainly decrease exponentially. Kid Poker will enter the final table with $1,296,000 in chips, good for second place on the leaderboard.
Two other big-name pros remain in the hunt for the WPT bracelet, J.C Tran and Thang "Kido" Pham. With two World Poker Tournament final tables on his resume already, Tran will be looking for something a little better than his pair of fifth-place finishes, but he'll come into the final day of play with the short-stack, and with a meager $181,000 to his name, Tran might have to settle for the sixth place prize of $142,810.
The final "name" name at the table is Kido Pham, who has been near the top of the leader-boards for most of the tournament. He started today near the bottom of the charts, but quickly began rebuilding his stack, eliminating Jolyne Thompson on the first hand of the day and following that up with a takedown of Don Mullis a few hands later.
Kido first shot to infamy during the Season 3 Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship, in which he placed second to Carlos Mortensen for $496,400 and captured the attention of the poker world thanks to his near-maniacal play.
Kido has since logged a World Series of Poker Circuit win at Paris/Bally's, but has yet to repeat the success he found in his first major tournament. He enters the final table in third place with $731,000, but could easily have none or triple that total within a half hour of the final table's commencement.
The chip-leader as we head into the final table is the same man who topped the charts yesterday with his hit single, "Day 3 Domination." Young Cho is an enigmatic man, as you'll read in his exclusive interview with PokerListings.com's Matthew Showell. The 35-year-old Korean slowed it down a bit compared to his previous effort, but even the man's slow jams managed to put him above the $2 million mark before anyone else could go platinum.
Cho's biggest hand came when he took down John Racener, who had the audacity to push all-in on Young Cheezy while 12 players still remained. Cho made the call with pocket rockets, and Racener was well behind with pocket eights. After the flop, the man with the gaudy watch was seeing stars and tweety birds as Cho had flopped quad aces, drawing him dead even before the turn card was shown.
With $2,571,000, Cho will certainly be the man to watch, and the man in the crosshairs of everyone at the table. It will be interesting to see whether he can make his chip lead stick, or whether an Isaac-Haxton-esque meltdown is in the cards.
The final two contestants on our dramatically-lit slice of high-stakes poker include Brian Sumner, a quiet and unassuming man out of the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles who has somehow made it to the spotlight despite seeming to only play hands that start with ace-king and making a point to mask his face from his opponent whenever he makes a big raise.
Sumner also survived the day despite seeing Daniel Negreanu raise his blind EVERY SINGLE ROUND and not re-raising until he hit the aforementioned Big Slick. Sumner has $596,000 for fourth on the leaderboard, and could definitely be a sleeper favorite provided he sees a lot of aces and kings early.
Rounding out the spectacular six is Gary Kainer, a poker player based out of Bay City, Texas, who first came to PokerListings.com's attention when he doubled through Erik Seidel with a full house at the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship at Bellagio in December. Kainer has returned to tournament play with a chip-shoving vengeance, pushing all-in many times throughout Day 4 and receiving very little in the way of calls for his effort.
Fortunately for Gary, one of the few times he was called occurred on a hand where he woke up with pocket aces, and his subsequent elimination of Matt Russell, coupled with repeated chipping away at the blinds and antes, is what has propelled him to where he stands in this tournament - which is to say, fifth out of six with $514,000 to his name.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the line-up you'll see when you tune into PokerListings.com's incredible tournament coverage tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. (CST). As usual, you can count on thrilling live updates, comprehensive results, and spectacular photography from the moodily lit WPT soundstage. We'll be there from player introductions to the Budweiser-soaked final photograph, so keep it locked right here while you slough off work and we'll make sure the day goes down as smooth as what Sabina's pretending to drink. See you tomorrow!