Esfandiari, Ivey headline 2009 Main Event

Antonio Esfandiari

Day 6 at the 2009 WSOP Main Event turned out to be a magical one for Antonio Esfandiari.

The 'Magician' had never cashed in the Main Event prior to this year but with just 64 players returning for Day 7 Tuesday, Esfandiari is in the mix after a huge day.

The high-stakes specialist ran spectacularly well Monday, ending up with 5.6 million chips and a spot in the top ten.

After surviving another fast-paced day with frequent eliminations Esfandiari thinks he has what it takes to make a deep run.

"Determination and will, and I have both," Esfandiari said shortly after bagging up his chips for the night. "And I'm going to get there."

Esfandiari knew he was in for a big day when his KQ wiped out an all-in opponent's AK, with the flop coming J-T-9.

It was that kind of day for the 30-year-old pro, who won his lone WSOP bracelet in 2004 in $2k Pot Limit Hold'em.

"Up until today I've had really good tables," Esfandiari said. "And today I've had some tough opponents on my left.

"But I adjusted to that. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a good table."

Esfandiari has been one of the rare pros at the WSOP without a major endorsement from any online poker entity, but he says that might be about to change with some TV coverage coming his way from his deep 2009 run.

"Some offers have been made," Esfandiari said. "I just settled my contract with WPT, so talk about good timing. I am a free man, and some offers have been made but I'm not settling for anything less than what I think I'm worth."

Esfandiari will still be looking up at the most feared player in poker when Day 7 begins at 12 p.m. PT Tuesday.

Team Full Tilt's Phil Ivey sits third in chips under Darvin Moon and Billy Kopp, but with two bracelets already this summer, pundits are making him the favorite to book a spot in the November Nine.

Another pro making a deep run in the Main Event is 2007 WSOP Player of the Year Tom Schneider, who's rebounding from a rough overall 2009 WSOP with his effort.

Schneider played at the ESPN feature table on Day 6 with the likes of Dennis Phillips, Peter Eastgate and the aformentioned Moon.

After a tough day, Schneider ended with 2.9 million chips.

"I really took some brutal beats today," Schneider said. "Today was actually the first day that I had some really rough hands and minimized my losses.

"I made one big laydown. I think I might have been out of the tournament if I didn't make the big laydown. I just feel good to be here. It feels great to survive."

Schneider was happy to survive on another day of lighting quick eliminations.

"I think the structure has actually gotten better from what I understand, so I don't get it," Schneider said. "Some people just panic. You play six or seven days and all of a sudden, if you take a beat, even if you have a million, all of a sudden your stack looks short.

"It's just a psychological thing. I think people want to give their money away and get the stress away from them."

PokerListings' comprehensive coverage of the 2009 Main Event continues with Day 7 Tuesday at noon Las Vegas time on our 2009 WSOP Home Page.

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