The sixth day of the WSOPE Main Event (officially Day 4) began with 32 hopefuls reconvening at the Empire to contest a spot at the final table and a shot at the Betfair Poker-assisted £1 million first prize. Among the contenders were chip leader Aleksander Vathne, as well as Norwegian online sensation Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad and world-class pros like Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, Annie Duke and Erick Lindgren.
Cursed with a damnably short stack at the beginning of the day, it looked like Lindgren would surely find himself among the first eliminated as play got underway, but in a shocking turn of events the E-Dog was beaten to the rail by none other than Patrik Antonius.
Antonius had entered the day with a respectable $174,000, but the Eye Candy would soon find himself rendered eliminato after getting into a monster bidding war with Magnus "People" Persson that resulted in all the money getting in pre-flop and Antonius racing for his tournament life with treys to Persson's A-K. A king on the flop turned the advantage to big slick, and PA was out in 29th place for £27,150.
Also eliminated in a hellacious frenzy of early bustifications were Patrick Jouven, Marcello Marigliano and Julius Colman, the latter the victim of those demonic quads after getting all-in with J-10 to Theo Jorgensen's A-Q. The board came Q-Q-9-Q-K and Colman was stoved in 30th place. Earning £27,150 along with the above-mentioned players were Shaun Needham and Nicolas Levi.
Then, finally, Lindgren gave up the ghost, having survived to a jump in the pay structure and having seen six of his compatriots fall ahead of him. On the climactic hand, the E-Dog check-called all-in on an A♣ A♦ 4♠ Q♠ flop and turned up pocket kings - a monster pre-flop, but woefully inadequate in the face of Pat Scanlon's A♥ 5♥. The rivered J♣ would seal his fate and Lindgren would hit the road with £30,770 to account for his time.
Henrik Waltersson and Andreas Berggren would fall before Janne Lamsa, erstwhile chip-leader and possible James Bond supervillain, hit the bricks at the hand of Johannes Korsar. Mr. Jennifer Harman himself, Marco Traniello, would follow soon after, busting in 22nd place, the victim of Persson's pocket nines in the face of his own unimproved A♥ 3♥. Each of the above would earn £30,770, and then it was time for the first break of the day, with 11 players having been eliminated in the span of a single level.
The return from the break saw Annie Duke quickly gonzo. Howard's sister moved all-in with big slick on a A♠ K♠ 5♠ flop and Annette Obrestad beat her to the pot, turning up Q♠ 7♠ for the flopped nut flush. An ace on the turn made things interesting, but the 8♦ on the river was not one of Annie's outs and she was sent railward in 21st place for that same £30,770 figure.
Aleksander Vathne and Terry Cook would also collect checks of an identical amount before Jakob Paulson initiated the next money bubble with his 18th-place finish. Joining Paulsen in the £34,390 bracket would be the likes of Abishek Khaitan and Kenny Tran (ousted in 16th place by Obrestad when his big slick fell to her turned set of sevens).
Karl Mahrenholz, Pat Scanlon and William Durkee would all earn £38,010 for their efforts, finishing 15th, 14th and 13th respectively. Meanwhile, Obrestad, at one point a chip leader, found herself in freefall after failing to successfully bluff Magnus Persson from a substantial hand and then shipping $500,000 across the felt to Johannes Korsar after doubling up J.K. with treys versus queens.
Obrestad would double-up and get back on course, but would fail to regain that dominating chip advantage and ended the day in the middle of the pack, forced to luck her way out of a number of sticky situations and double-up multiple times to stay alive.
Play slowed after Scanlon's elimination, and during the last hour before the dinner break Durkee's was the only elimination to report. Thus the players hit the buffet 12-strong and needing to reduce their numbers by three before the day could conclude.
It would not take long to lose the final three. The after-dinner rush reared its ugly head and claimed Tino Lechich and Steve Zedelhoff within an hour's time, Lechich with A♦ 7♥ to Oyvind Riisem's pocket kings and Zedelhoff with A♣ Q♣ to Magnus Persson's pocket jacks. Both players received £41,630 for their achievements and the rest of the field received seats at the final table.
Of course, one elimination remained before the final table (10-handed) could be called the real final table, and it was the tournament's most recognizable survivor who would go out on the TV bubble. Gus Hansen would fall to Bodog.com qualifier Matt McCullough after getting all of his chips in the middle pre-flop on the strength of pocket queens and finding his redheaded rival turning up kings in response. The board could not save the Great Dane and he was thus bustified, relegated to the status of also-ran with a £41,630 severance package.
With Hansen's elimination the night was over. The nine survivors were dismissed at about midnight, London time, and instructed to return tomorrow at 2 p.m. for the final table of all final tables. Chip leader is the aforementioned McCullough ($1,278,000), and the New Jersey native is followed by Persson ($1,231,000), Korsar ($1,134,000), John Tabatabai ($982,000), Annette_15 ($697,000), Oyvind Riisem ($664,000), Theo Jorgensen ($605,000), Dominic Kay ($490,000) and Jimmy Keys, who comes in as the short-stack with barely $172,000 to his credit.
Action resumes tomorrow at 2 p.m. and PokerListings.com will be there, bringing you the greatest of hourly updates as well as timely and illustrative photography, expert analysis and juvenile humor as we play down to the £1 million and, of course, the World Series of Poker Europe bracelet. See you tomorrow!