6,650 hopefuls started and now, just 292 players remain in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Day 3 saw the money bubble burst and 1,000 players lock up at least $15,000. However, with $8 million going to the winner, chips were flying on Day 4.
Friday’s sessions started with a plethora of notable names still in the mix, including 2003 champ Chris Moneymaker. However, as the day wore on and the blinds began to bite, the big names started to fade. Bertrand Grospellier, Mike Matusow, and the man leading this year’s Player of the Year race, Josh Arieh all fell by the wayside.
However, even as some of the game’s best faltered, Moneymaker remained a bastion of composure. Although he finished Day 4 somewhat off the pace down in 225th place, he still has chips and that’s important. The WSOP Main Event isn’t like any other poker tournament. The size of the field, combined with the mix of pros and amateurs, make it a heady cocktail of uncertainty.
Anything Can Happen in the WSOP Main Event, Even with One Chip
The phrase, “a chip and a chair,” was first coined in the Main Event. As the story goes, Jack Strauss was down to a single chip on Day 2 of the 1982 Main Event. He parlayed that into a winning run and, thus, the phrase was born. The 2021 WSOP Main Event might be bigger and better than it was in 1982, but the ethos still stands strong; even with a single chip, anything is possible.
Chris Moneymaker finished Day 4 with more than one chip. In fact, he finished with 621,000, which was just over 30 big blinds. That’s more than a playable stack, but the former world champion wasn’t the only big name still in the hunt. When the chips had fallen and 1,000 players were reduced to 292, Jonathan Aguiar, Jason Koon, and Toby Lewis were still in the mix.
However, the name that stood out the most after Day 4 was Stephen Chidwick. The English pro is widely regarded as one of the best tournament players of the last decade. After honing his skills online as the infamous Stevie444, Chidwick turned his attention to live events in the late noughties.
A string of deep runs in major tournaments followed, including a side event win at the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Since then he’s become a force in Hold’em and Non-Hold’em high stakes events, and banked over $37 million in prize money. He’s in a strong position to add another $8 million to that tally after climbing to fourth in the chip counts on Day 4.
Taking 4.3 million chips into Day 5 should help the Englishman stay the course as the pressure starts to build. But, again, this is the WSOP Main Event, and anything could happen. What’s more, the man leading after Day 4, Ramon Colillas, is no slouch.
Ramon Colillas Leads the Spanish Invasion
The Spanish pro burst onto the scene in 2019 when he won a PokerStars Platinum Pass worth $30,000. That gave him entry into the $25,000 PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship (PSPC) and the rest, as they say, is history. Colillas won that event for $5.1 million and went on to earn a spot on Team PokerStars.
That remains his biggest score to-date. In fact, it’s his only seven-figure score and, if you take away the PSPC win, Colillas has just over $147,000 in live earnings. However, he’s shown that he can perform when it matters. The PSPC might not have been as big as the WSOP Main Event, but it was a tough tournament to win. Could this be his second fairytale performance? It certainly possible.
Colillas ended Day 4 with 5 million chips, which was 500,000 more than his closest rival, Demosthenes Kiriopoulos. There’s still a long way to go in this year’s WSOP Main Event. A winner is due to be crowned on November 17 and a lot can happen between now and then.
Chidwick could use his experience to dominate. Chris Moneymaker could roll back the years and maneuver himself into a strong position, or an unknown could rise up and surprise everybody. There’s no telling what might happen in the coming days.
However, what we do know is that there will be plenty of drama as the biggest prize in poker draws closer. With so many top players left in the event and $8 million on offer for the winner, expect fireworks as we move into the latter stages of the WSOP Main Event.