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Everybody Wants Rainer: Holz, Hellmuth Chase Kempe in SHRB 7
After three long days of play the $300k Super High Roller has hit both the money and the final seven players.
$5 million awaits the winner today and right now, everybody's looking up at Rainer Kempe.
Coming in under the radar in such a high-profile event, the understated German stayed that way for much of the early action before hitting the spotlight in a big way.
In a massive set-over-set hand against Dan Smith, Kempe soared to a huge chip lead late in the day and cruised into the final seven with 5.5m in chips.
That's heads-and-shoulders above second-place Fedor Holz at 2.2m - coincidentally one of Kempe's good friends.
The two Germans will try to hold off an elite group of American chasers when play picks up today.
Smith Bubbles, Hellmuth Hangs In
Among those American challengers today is one Phil Hellmuth, who managed to both hang on by the skin of his teeth and "go on a rampage" to remain in the hunt.
The lugubrious Hellmuth was even more talkative than usual during the action and clearly aggravated more than a few players, including Smith.
The back-and-forth banter was tense, to say the least, but at the end of the day Hellmuth got the last laugh as he lived on to play another day.
With just 905,000 in chips he is the short stack but that's not a spot Hellmuth feels uncomfortable in. Also coming in low in chips is a comparable poker legend in Erik Seidel, who has just over a million.
Dan Shak, Bryn Kenney and Matt Berkey round out the final seven. Jason Mercier wasn't quite so lucky as he busted in ninth in a KK vs. AA cooler against Kenney.
Full chip counts entering play today:
1. Rainer Kempe 5,545,000
2. Fedor Holz 2,190,000
3. Bryn Kenney 2,085,000
4. Dan Shak 1,650,000
5. Matt Berkey 1,205,000
6. Erik Seidel 1,120,000
7. Phil Hellmuth 905,000
Watch the action live on Poker Central's Twitch Channel for the first hour starting at 6 pm ET, followed by full coverage on CBS Sports Network.