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O’Shea Hits Stride at WPT Championship
With players like Phil Hellmuth and Scotty Nguyen competing for WPT glory it was lesser-known Irishman John O’Shea who stole the show on Day 5 of the WPT Championship.
He finished the day as chip leader with 3.1 million chips and showed no fear when contesting pots with venerated legends of the game.
"I'm pretty happy with my position," he said. "I feel my reads have been good for the most part over the last few days."
O'Shea has had a reasonable amount of success on the international poker circuit with a WSOP final table and a handful of cashes but the spotlight has never shined brighter on the Dublin resident.
Primarily a high-stakes PLO online poker player, this is only the third WPT tournament O'Shea has played and he has a serious chance to win it all.
"It's a pretty tough field but I'm used to reasonably advanced thinking," said O'Shea who plays $25/$50 PLO.
To win it all O'Shea will have to outlast the likes of Nguyen, Hellmuth, David Benyamine, Billy Baxter, Eric "BaseBaldy" Baldwin and David Williams who all survived to see Day 6.
Williams was particularly impressive on Day 5 as he managed to take down maniac and WPT Player of the Year frontrunner Faraz Jaka in a spectacular hand.
In the hand Jaka flopped a set of aces and Williams turned a broadway straight. Prior to this hand Jaka had lost several big pots against Billy Baxter and decided to get it all-in on the river.
"I'd have done the same thing he did, except I probably would have gotten an extra raise in," admitted Williams. "It would have been the same result."
Williams lost several big pots to finish the day, including one where he doubled up Scotty Nguyen, but still finished with 2.1 million chips.
It's been some time since Williams was in the position to win a major tournament and the Bodog poker pro mentioned his priorities have changed when it comes to achievements in the poker world.
"I'm in a different place now," he said. "I'm more about cash nowadays and I don't really care about titles. I mean this wouldn't be the most I've ever won but I'd take it."
Williams famously finished second in the 2004 WSOP Main Event to win $3.5 million and since then has made three WPT final tables and won a WSOP bracelet.
As expected the 10 remaining players in the WPT Championship are well-known in the poker world.
Nguyen finished second in chips with 2.6 million and is looking to join Carlos Mortensen as the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship. Hellmuth could also perform this feat although he's low on chips.
Close beyond Nguyen is skilled cash game player David Benyamine who accumulated 2.5 million chips on Day 5. Williams is in fourth place while Baxter is in the top five with 2.4 million.
Baldwin, Cliff Josephy, Shawn Buchanan and Nikolay Evdakov round out the final 10 players in the tournament.
Because of Jaka's elimination, Nguyen, Hellmuth and Buchanan all have a shot at winning the WPT Player of the Year but Jaka is only in danger if one of them wins the tournament.
Tomorrow the remaining 10 players will reconvene for what should be a very short day as they set the final table of six. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas tune in to PokerListings' Live Updates and News.