2012 Main Event: Day 5 Ends with 97 Players (& 5 Women)

Elisabeth Hille finished among the top 20.
Elisabeth Hille finished among the top 20.

Action started on Day 5 with 282 players, and after five levels, they were down to 97.

There were five women who started Day 5, and amazingly, all five survived -- Gaelle Baumann, Elisabeth Hille, Marcia Topp, and Vanessa Selbst, and Susie Zhao.

Check out the video interview we did with Elisabeth Hille at the end of this update.

Only one woman in history has ever made the final table of the WSOP Main Event. Barbara Enright finished fifth in 1995, the year Dan Harrington won.

This year, there are five women among the final 97 trying to become the first to make it since the November Nine concept was implemented. This is a dramatic change from just two years ago, when no women at all reached the top 100. (Breeze Zuckerman was the last woman standing, eliminated in 121st place.)


Luske Drawing To Elimination

Marcel Luske had a tough couple hours to end the day, and since he was moved to the final table he had met with some sticky situations.

Eric Pratt raised to 62,000 from under the gun. It folded around to Marcel Luske who three-bet from middle position. When it folded back around to Pratt he decided to shove over the top of Luske’s 215,000 bet. It didn’t take long for Luske to make the call.

Luske: A K

Pratt: A A

Luske was way behind in the hand, and the T 2 T board didn’t help. When the 9 came on the turn, Luske was a dead man walking. The T on the river was insignificant. The jovial Dutch pro was sent to the rail, leaving Pratt to stack over 3.7 million in chips.


Controversial Ruling Saves Andras Koroknai; Costs Gaelle Baumann

Late in the last level, there was a highly controversial situation involving Gaelle Baumann and Andras Koroknai.

Baumann min-raised under the gun to 60,000, and Koroknai moved all in from the small blind.

Gavin Smith folded the big blind, and Koroknai acted as if that was the end of the hand -- and he mucked his cards before Baumann had a chance to react to his reraise.

Koroknai realized his mistake at the last second, and was able to save one of his cards from going into the muck. Unfortunately, the other card was irretrievable.

Controversy between Andras Koroknai and Gaelle Baumann
Dennis Jones is on the phone w/ WSOP TD Jack Effel as he determines the fates of Andras Koroknai (left) and Gaelle Baumann (right).


Tournament Director Dennis Jones came over to rule on the situation, second in command to WSOP TD Jack Effel. Baumann had yet to act.

Jones heard the story, and ruled that Koroknai would forfeit the amount of Baumann's raise (60,000 in chips), but would keep the rest of his stack.

There was still some confusion, so Jones called WSOP TD Jack Effel, and spent a couple of minutes on the phone. When he was finished, Jones said the ruling would stand.

Jones specifically said, "You're not losing your tournament life."

Jones gave a lengthier explanation to the table, and cited that the ruling was made in the best interest of the entire tournament.

At the end of it all, Baumann showed her cards to the table -- she had pocket kings. Ouch.

A similar ruling happened at the 2009 WSOP, where a player moved all in, but her cards were pulled into the muck by the dealer. In that situation, it was the same ruling -- her hand was dead, but she only forfeited the amount of the raise in front of her.

Daniel Negreanu and Kara Scott
Negreanu was still cheerful enough after his bustout to make Kara Scott laugh.

Big Names Hit the Rail Today

There were a lot of very notable players in the field to start the day, from Daniel Negreanu (arguably the most popular player in poker) to actor/comedian Kevin Pollak (who could shine a mainstream light on poker if he were to make the November Nine).

Unfortunately, Negreanu was eliminated in the middle of the day by Pollak, who was himself eliminated a little while later.

Other notables who hit the rail today include John Juanda, J.P. Kelly, Freddy Deeb, Andrew Lichtenberger, Dan Shak, Sorel Mizzi, Matt Marafioti, John Phan, and Marcel Luske.

Perry Green (76 years old) was the oldest player in the event at the start of play today, but didn't make it to Day 6. Green has three WSOP bracelets to his credit, and was the WSOP Main Event runner-up to Stu Ungar in 1981.

Joseph Cheong has had an amazing run in the WSOP Main Event the past three years. Cheong was among the chipleaders with fewer than 150 players in the field, but hit some hard luck and went from top of the leaderboard to eliminated in a single level.

Cheong finished 116th here today, and that's the worst finish he's had in the past three years. Cheong finished 114th in 2011, and third in 2010.

Ben Yu Holds a Sign For Scott Abrams
Ben Yu holds a sign on the rail to support his friend Scott Abrams (foreground).

Unofficial Day 5 Leaderboard

The official chip counts will be released overnight by the WSOP staff, but here is a look at the unofficial leaderboard, courtesy of WSOP.com. The blinds will begin tomorrow at 20,000-40,000 and a 5,000 ante.

1.  Kyle Keranen  -  6,935,000  (173 bb)
2.  Robert Salaburu  -  6,195,000  (154 bb)
3.  Taylor Paur  -  5,820,000  (145 bb)
4.  Erik Hellman  -  4,715,000  (117 bb)
5.  Wilfried Haerig  -  4,505,000  (112 bb)
6.  Shahriar Assareh  -  4,395,000  (109 bb)
7.  Charles Coultas  -  4,015,000  (100 bb)
8.  Gaelle Baumann  -  3,980,000  (99 bb)
9.  Fabrizio Gonzalez  -  3,935,000  (98 bb)
10.  Nicco Maag  -  3,895,000  (97 bb)

Action resumes tomorrow at 12:00 noon PT for Day 6, when the field will play down to the final three tables (27 players). Return to PokerListings.com for continuing coverage of the WSOP Main Event.

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2012 Main Event: Day 5 Coming to a Close

The media vultures during an all-in
The media vultures during an all-in

We're getting close to the double-digit mark and the final level of the day is almost over. Level 24 saw 15,000/30,000 blinds and a 4,000 ante.

Level 24 is special in a few ways; not only is it the final level of the day, it's going to be the last level of the tournament to feature the yellow, T1,000 chips. But while we lose one chip, we gain another. The floor has put a white, T100,000 chip into play. 

This recent development has really helped turn the monstrous, multi-million stacks into more manageable stacks for the players. This is especially true for our new chip leader, Robert Salaburu. 

Hitting 6 Million

Robert Salaburu has taken over the chip lead, and sits at 6,070,000. He was able to take the lead after he raised to 65,000 from under the gun. Marcel Luske made the call, and Amit Makhija called from the big blind.

The flop came down 3 9 5. Makhija checked to Salaburu, and he came out with a bet of 30,000. Luske wasn’t playing nice, as he raised to 150,000. Makhija got the message and threw in his cards, but Salaburu wasn’t convinced so he called.

The turn was the A. Both players checked their option to see if things improved on the river. The last card to hit the board was the Q. Salaburu bet 250,000 to which Luske folded after thinking for a minute.

Salaburu showed a 3 before scooping up the pot and building his stack over 6 million.

Yuval Bronshtein
Stache and mohawk

Bronshtein Takes One Out

Yuval Bronshtein is always changing. One year his hair is short and topped off with a yarmulke, in other tournaments he's sporting an afro and sometimes he's wearing a hat. Today, Bronshtein is sporting a mohawk and a mustache. 

He's also got some chips. 

Bronshtein and John Ro -- who tripled up in our last update -- were all-in pre flop. Ro had about 400,000 while Bronshtein was closer to the 2 million mark. 

Ro: A K

Bronstein: 10 10

The board ran 4 J 6 7 8 and Ro was eliminated in 105th place. Bronshtein, on the other hand, saw his stack grow to 2.4 million. 

There was also some commotion at the table a bit earlier. A railbird had asked a reporter a question and when the reporter didn't know the answer, Amnon Filippi offered to help.

"It's none of your business," the railbird said. After more sass from the railbird, Filippi asked for the rail to be moved back a bit.

The ever-polite railbird responded with, "F#ck you asshole." Filippi then asked security to remove the unnecessarily combative railbird from the room and he was escorted out. 

Chip Counts

Top 10 chip counts, courtesy of WSOP.com:

1. Robert Salaburu -- 6,503,000

2. Taylor Paur -- 5,500,00

3. Kyle Keranen -- 5,473,000

4. Erik Hellman -- 4,400,000

T5. Paul Volpe -- 3,900,000

T5. Robert Corcione -- 3,900,000

7. Gaelle Baumann -- 3,860,000

8. Jesse Sylvia -- 3,800,000

9. Eric Pratt -- 3,742,000

10. Charles Coultas -- 3,620,000

Average Stack
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2012 Main Event: Cheong Vanishes From The Main Event

Past 3 Main Events, Joseph Cheong finished 3rd, 114th, and 116th
Past 3 Main Events, Joseph Cheong finished 3rd, 114th, and 116th

The bust outs are starting to slow down a bit with 126 players remaining. It could be a fluke, or it could be the fact that stacks are starting to even out a bit. With blinds at 12,000/24,000 with a 3,000 ante the average stack has about 66 big blinds.  Our chip leader, Kyle Keranen is working with about 256 big blinds.

Joseph Cheong Eliminated by Paul Volpe

Joseph Cheong was poised to make another deep run in the WSOP Main Event this year.

Two years ago, Cheong famously finished third. Last year, Cheong finished 114th.

This year, he was among the chipleaders with fewer than 150 players left in the field, and poised to make another deep run.

But the past level had been a brutal one for Cheong, knocking him down from about 3.1 million to about 1.1 million in chips.

Some of Cheong's chips were lost early in the level in an all-in preflop situation where he had A Q to the A K of Nicolau Villa Lobos.

Late in the level, Cheong was down to about 1.1 million when he got it all in preflop with 10 10, and he was racing against the A K of Paul Volpe.

The board came K 6 5 2 J, and Volpe paired his king on the flop to win the pot and eliminate Cheong from the Main Event in 116th place. It was a brutal end to a brutal level for Cheong.

Paul Volpe moved up the leaderboard, and he is now sixth in chips with about 4.25 million.

A Look At The Chip Lead

The great thing about poker is that it attracts people from all walks of life and at all skill levels. It may be one of the only “sports” where players are able to compete against each other without having a handicap or having to be at a relatively even skill level.

Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst is a seasoned pro, but that doesn't mean its an easy ride to the final table.

This creates a rather interesting dynamic in that players can be successful and well rounded without having to have the same experience as the pros. At this stage of the game, there are many seasoned players amongst the sea of “unknowns.” However, the term “unknown” is about to be thrown out the door as players go deeper and deeper in.

Kyle Keranen, from Minneapolis, is our current chip leader with 5,780,000 in chips. So far, he is guaranteed $52,718, which will be his biggest tournament cash to date. He has also had a few other deep runs which include a 1st place finish in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $24,844.

Robert Sazlaburu is second in chips with 5,401,000. He too, has a rather sparse tournament history, with this being his biggest tournament cash to date. His best finish was for $17,261 at PokerStars NAPT Mohegan Sun, and he has a few other 1st place finishes in smaller events as well.

Gaelle Baumann, from France, is third in chips at the moment. She only has four cashes listed to her name, and her biggest cash was for $19,804 earlier this year. However, she has been climbing steadily as the tournament has gone on, and she has proven that she can tango with the best players on the table and hold her own.

These guys may not have as many cashes as Vanessa Selbst (who is sitting at 2,960,000 in chips), but they are proving that they have what it takes to play well and battle the fatigue that comes from long days of play.

Three Way

There's been a lot of three-way action here in the Amazon room recently.

Down at table 421 in the purple section, there were three hands face-up. The table was surrounded by cameramen and nearly all the players were standing up.

Lasse Soerensen, John Ro and Charles Coutas all had hands in front of them. Ro was the shortest stack with less than 150,000 and Soerensen had about 400,000. Coutas had them both covered by millions, but he also had the worst hand.

Coutas: J 4

Soerensen: A 7

Ro: 6 6

The flop came 2 8 5 and Coutas picked up a flush draw. The turn was a 6, Ro hit a set and Soerensen got a straight draw. There were outs, draws and straights all over the place. The river could turn those draws into made hands, but a 10 came instead.

Soerensen tripled up, Ro took the side pot and Coutas still had a massive stack.

Top 10 Chip Counts

Kyle Keranen                    6,150,000

Robert Salaburu                5,300,000

Gaelle Baumann                4,700,000

Charles Coultas                 4,400,000

Erik Hellman                      3,910,000

Paul Volpe                         3,866,000

Jacob Balsiger                    3,650,000

Elisabeth Hille                    3,360,000

Jesse Sylvia                       3,300,000

Nicco Maag                        3,300,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: Brutal Beat For Pollak

Kevin Pollak after a brutal beat
Kevin Pollak after a brutal beat

We're down to 132 at the WSOP Main Event. 

The post-dinner bustouts are in full force today. A dealer yelling "All in and a call!" followed by rush of camera crews tell us someone's Main Event life is at risk again. There's no break for the frantic and dangerous camera crew, there seem to be all-ins going on every hand. The stacks are also getting unnecessarily massive. 

Some players are towering their chips in stacks of 40 and creating mini fortresses of solitude. One player has a pyramid of chips that extends almost a foot into the table. 

The floor has taken note and started to color up some of the T1,000 chips. Some players are a bit reluctant though, they find their massive stacks reassuring. With 130 players left, the guaranteed payout is still $52,178. There won't be a pay jump until the tournament gets into the double digits. The final 99 players will be guaranteed $62,021 and that number will slowly grow until it reaches $8.5 million.

Pollak Out

Kevin Pollak was a joy at the poker table. When he wasn't playing a hand, Pollak was busy making everyone at the table laugh. It was destined that one of the most joyous players would be eliminated in the most brutal fashion. 

Kirill Rabstov raised to 52,000 from UTG and Omar Saeed called from the button. Pollak moved all-in for 369,000 from the blinds and only Rabstov called. Both players the turned over the same pocket pair. Pollak had Q Q while Rabstov showed Q Q.

The flop was a kingly K 9 K and the river brought a 3. Rabstov was the only player with a heart, and needed one more card for the flush. The river: 2.

Rabstov hit his flush and Kevin Pollak was eliminated in 134th place for $52,718.

Gavin Smith Doubles Thru Jason Somerville
Gavin Smith doubles again

Smith Doubles

Gavin Smith is still alive in the Main Event. This is Smith's fourth, and largest, Main Event cash. Smith's largest Main Event cash before this came in 2004, when he finished 52nd for $45,000. Smith is now guaranteed a bit more, but he's looking to improve that run. Doubling up helps.

Smith moved all-in for 326,000 from the hijack and Bobby Poe reshoved from the button. The blinds released and it was Smith v. Poe.

Smith: Q J

Poe: A 10

Poe was in the lead and the 2 6 2 flop kept him there. The turn was a Q and Smith was now the favorite. The river was a 7 and Smith doubled up to about 800,000.

Aces Cracked

As soon as dinner break was over, there were several short stacks who were just itching to get it in. John Duley couldn’t wait to get his last 240,000 into the pot, and he was even happier when Timothy Adams made the call.

“All in and a call!” the dealer shouted.

It was apparent why Duley was so eager to get it in when he turned up A A. Adams looked a little disappointed when he turned up K K.

When the flop came 6 K 7 Adams perked up a little. Even though he was behind, Duley was still in good spirits, as he smiled and chatted with one of his tablemates. 

The 9 that came on the turn was a brutal card for Duley. It meant that he could win with an ace, but it could only be the lone red ace in the deck. The ace of spades would give Adams a flush.

The river was the 8 which send Duley off to the sidelines to collect his cash.

Chip Counts

Top 10 chip courts, courtesy of WSOP.com:

1. Kyle Keranen -- 5,780,000

2. Robert Salaburu -- 5,401,000

3. Gaelle Baumann -- 4,800,000

4. Charles Coutlas -- 4,400,000

5. Erik Hellman -- 3,910,000

6. Paul Volpe -- 3,866,000

7. Nicco Maag -- 3,540,000

8. Elisabeth Hille -- 3,360,000

9. Jesse Sylvia -- 3,300,000

10. Dung Nguyen -- 3,250,000

Average Stack
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2012 Main Event: After Dinner Action

Gaelle Baumann comes back from dinner break with 4,034,000 chips
Gaelle Baumann comes back from dinner break with 4,034,000 chips

Cards are back in the air on Day 5 of the Main Event. There are 139 hopefuls that have returned from dinner and are antsy to make it to Day 6.

If you are wondering what they are hopeful for, here is a look at the next couple pay jumps:

162-100: $52,718

99-91: $62,021

90-82: $73,805

81-73: $88,070

72-64: $106,056

Kyle Keranen (5,662,000) and Robert Salaburu (5,401,000) have bypassed the 5 million chip mark. It is another milestone crossed in the Main Event road. Although--what may be called the coolest development of the day--Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille have made it to the top of the leader board. Each have a little over 4 million in chips and are doing a great job representing women in poker.

Stay tuned for more action from the felt, as we get closer and closer to the final nine.

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2012 Main Event: Daniel Negreanu Eliminated

Daniel Negreanu can still laugh w/ Kara Scott after busting.
Daniel Negreanu can still laugh w/ Kara Scott after busting.

For the second straight year, Daniel Negreanu has made a deep run in the WSOP Main Event.

But for the second straight year, Negreanu's run came to an end on Day 5, much earlier than he would've liked.

Negreanu came into the day with a short stack, but a positive attitude, as you can see from his Twitter feed.

@RealKidPoker (Daniel Negreanu): Started Day 4 with 22 bbs. I'll start day 5 with 25 bbs. No big deal. Been here before. I'll be tough to bust. That is all.

Not surprisingly, Negreanu has been anchoring ESPN's Featured Table, and it took a couple hours before he was all in for the first time in this event.

@RealKidPoker (Daniel Negreanu): At risk for the first time all tourney against 8 outs with one to come I was an emotional wreck but faded it! 750k now!!

Earlier this level, Negreanu played what he called a "key pot" against Kyle Bowker.

Negreanu and Bowker checked to the turn on a board of 7 6 3 2. Negreanu bet 91,000, and Bowker called.

The river paired the board with the 6, Negreanu checked, and Bowker bet 210,000. That represented nearly half of Negreanu's remaining stack, and he tanked for a while before calling.

Bowker showed 2 2 to win the pot with a full house (deuces full of sixes), and Negreanu mucked. On Twitter, Negreanu would later admit that he had 4-4.

After winning that hand, Bowker shot up to 2.3 million, while Negreanu dropped to about 250,000 (12 big blinds).

Actor Kevin Pollak
Actor Kevin Pollak was able to bust one of his poker idols, Daniel Negreanu.

Daniel Negreanu Eliminated by Kevin Pollak

It didn't take long after that for Negreanu to move all in for his last 12 big blinds, and actor Kevin Pollak moved all in over the top for 25 big blinds.

Negreanu showed K Q, but he was dominated by Pollak's A Q.

The board came J 6 5 5 3, and Pollak won the pot with his ace to eliminate Daniel Negreanu from the WSOP Main Event in 160th place.

@RealKidPoker (Daniel Negreanu): It was a good run but I'm out in 160th place. Lost key pot with 44 vs 22 on 367 flop turn 2 put me in tough spot. Then KQdd vs AQ no good. Even after the fact I can't imagine folding the 44 on the 6 river. Not much he could have that beat me. Time for some R & R

Negreanu gave an interesting interview to ESPN's Kara Scott afterward, where he explains his thinking in the key hand against Kyle Bowker, and also says that he feels most people play the WSOP Main Event incorrectly. With two deep runs in back-to-back years, Negreanu may know what he's talking about.

Gaelle Baumann
Gaelle Baumann smiles after catching a runner-runner straight with pocket sixes.

Gaelle Baumann Nears the Lead

There are still four women in the WSOP Main Event, and two of them are among the top five on the leaderboard -- Gaelle Baumann (3.85 million) and Elisabeth Hille (3.4 million).

Vanessa Selbst (1,060,000) and Susie Zhao (860,000) are also still in contention.

Baumann recently climbed into third place on the leaderboard on the strength of riveting a straight with 6 6 on a board of 7 5 2 9 8. Baumann bet big on the river, and got paid off.

Leaderboard at the Dinner Break

Here's a look at the top of the leaderboard as the field takes their dinner break. When action resumes, the blinds will be 12,000-24,000 with a 3,000 ante.

1.  Kyle Keranen  -  5,040,000  (210 bb)
2.  Paul Volpe  -  3,900,000  (162 bb)
3.  Gaelle Baumann  -  3,850,000  (160 bb)
4.  Erik Hellman  -  3,750,000  (156 bb)
T5.  Charles Coultas  -  3,400,000  (141 bb)
T5.  Elisabeth Hille  -  3,400,000  (141 bb)
7.  Robert Salaburu  -  3,350,000  (139 bb)
8.  Jesse Sylvia  -  3,200,000  (133 bb)
9.  Wilfried Haerig  -  3,160,000  (131 bb)
10.  Joseph Cheong  -  3,100,000  (129 bb)

Action will resume after dinner at roughly 8:15 pm PT. Return to PokerListings.com for continuing coverage of the WSOP Main Event.

Average Stack
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2012 Main Event: Tough Day To Be Religous

Gavin Smith scoops some chips.
Gavin Smith scoops some chips.

Players took their second break of the day, and they will play one more two-hour level before the dinner break. The day started with 282 players, and there are 174 players remaining.

Blinds have gone up to 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante, so pots are getting huge and even the big stacks have to be careful when doubling up a short stack.

Freddy Deeb, Brian Meinders, and Andrew Lichtenberger were a few of the short stacks that weren’t able to double. They have since picked up their cash from the payout stand, and will be strategizing for next year’s WSOP.

Gavin Smith Doubles Thru Jason Somerville

At the secondary featured table, Gavin Smith and Jason Somerville got it all in after a flop of 9 9 4.

Smith was the short stack with K K, while Somerville turned over J 10 for a diamond flush draw.

The turn was the Q, giving Somerville additional outs with an open-ended straight draw, but the river was the 5. Gavin Smith doubled up with his pocket kings.

Gavin Smith  -  1,330,000  (66 bb)

Jason Somerville  -  855,000  (42 bb)

Where Is Jarrett Nash?

Since play started today, Jarrett Nash’s chair has been empty. For the first few moments, everyone thought that Nash had just been running late. After the first level was over, it became apparent that Nash wasn’t going to show up for awhile.

Ryan Daut @rcdaut: Jarrett Nash started today with 525k and has blinded down to 350k sitting out because he doesnt play on the Sabbath”

According to some sources, Nash departed the tournament before sundown on Day 4. As part of his observance, he is unable to play from sundown on Friday thru sundown on Saturday. With the blinds and antes getting so big, it would have been a miracle for him to survive until the dinner break today.

About halfway through the second level of the day, Tournament Director Bill Bruce announced that Jarrett Nash was eliminated in 171st place. He just barely misses the pay jump, but still takes $44,655.

Elisabeth Hille
Elisabeth Hille crushes the guys on her table.

Hille In The Top 10

The ladies continue to dominate at this year’s WSOP. Elisabeth Hille, the Betfair qualifier,  started to build her stack late yesterday. Today, she continues to stack chips, as the boys on her table keep paying her off.

Jeffrey Finkelstein got in a betting battle against Hille preflop. It didn’t take long before Finkelstein had all of his chips in the pot. He had about a million behind and Hille quickly called turning up A A. Finkelstein was obviously disappointed as he turned up his A K.

The board ran really dry for Finkelstein as it came out T 5 5 9 2.

With that hand, Hille placed her name at the top of the chip counts.


Top 10 Chip Counts

Paul Volpe                    3,800,000

Elisabeth Hille               3,650,000

Robert Salaburu            3,616,000

Robert Corcione            3,600,000

Erik Hellman                 3,550,000

Kyle Keranen                 3,400,000

Jesse Sylvia                  3,200,000

Gaelle Baumann            3,200,000

Joseph Cheong              3,070,000

David Kluchman            2,700,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

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2012 Main Event: JP Kelly Out, Negreanu Doubles

Kara Scott interviewing JP Kelly
Kara Scott interviewing JP Kelly

J.P. Kelly Eliminated

J.P. Kelly had been hanging on at the ESPN Featured Table, but was relatively short with about 23 big blinds.

Omar Saeed raised from late position to 35,000, William Katona called from the cutoff, and J.P. Kelly moved all in from the button for 372,000.

Saeed called, and Katona folded. Kelly turned over A 8, but he was dominated by Saeed's A Q.

The board came K 10 9 2 4, and Omar Saeed won the pot with his queen kicker to eliminate J.P. Kelly from the tournament.

Kelly, who is the only player to win a WSOP bracelet and a WSOP Europe bracelet in the same year (2009), finished 26th in last year's WSOP Main Event to earn $302,005. Not a happy ending here today, but another deep run for Kelly in poker's biggest event.

Kelly's empty seat was filled a few minutes later by actor Kevin Pollak, causing a few spectators to question whether he was purposefully moved to the TV table -- he wasn't. It was the standard random table draw.

Daniel Negreanu Doubles Thru William Katona
Daniel Negreanu celebrating his first double up of the tournament

The Feature Creature

The Mothership feature table is alive and chirping with railbirds.

With JP Kelly's seat open, a lucky player in the Amazon was about to be beamed up to the Mothership. Luckily for the television crew and fans, that player turned out to be Kevin Pollak.

Pollak has made it further than he ever expected in this event, and now he's going even further. But now, it'll all be captured by the ESPN crew. 

Daniel Negreanu is also at the feature table, and he recently got a double up. 

William Katona raised to 37,000 from middle position and Negreanu called from the big blind. The flop came Q 7 10 and Negreanu checked.

Katona bet 46,000 and Negreanu called, bringing a 7 on the turn. Negreanu checked again and Katona bet 95,000. Negreanu moved all-in for 191,000 more and after a few minutes in the tank, Katona called.

Negreanu showed 7 6 for three sevens while Katona turned over K J for a straight draw. Negreanu had to dodge nines and aces to double up, and he did when the 4 came on the river. Negreanu is now up to 750,000.

Baumann Boats Up

Gaelle Baumann has been dominating the field since Day 2 of the Main Event. She arrived for Day 3 of the Main Event as the Chip leader, and has been able to keep her stack building.

Dave D’Alesandro opened from early postion to 35,000. Baumann was in middle position and called, while Timothy Adams called from the hijack.

When the flop came Q Q 5, D’Alesandro decided to check. Baumann was next to act and threw out 52,000. Adams called to see a turn, as did D’Alesandro.

The turn was the 9. D’Alesandro checked again, and Baumann kept the pressure on by betting 110,000. Adams made the call, and this time D’Alesandro decided to give up by folding his hand.

When the river brought the J, Baumann kept up the pace and bet 250,000. Adams looked perplexed, but called anyways. Baumann turned up 5 5 for a flopped full house. 

Adams mucked his hand shipping the pot to Baumann. She is now up to 2,600,000 in chips.

Chip Counts

Here are the top 10 chip counts, courtesy of WSOP.com:

1. Elisabeth Hille -- 3,650,000

2. Robert Salaburu -- 3,616,000

3. Robert Corcione -- 3,605,000

4. Erik Hellman -- 3,550,000

5. Kyle Keranen -- 3,400,000

T6. Jesse Sylvia -- 3,200,000

T6. Gaelle Bauman -- 3,200,000

8. Joseph Cheong -- 3,070,000

9. David Kluchman -- 2,700,000

10. Paul Volpe -- 2,670,000

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2012 Main Event: Lucky Chewy Eliminated

ESPN's Kara Scott interviews Lichtenberger after his bustout.
ESPN's Kara Scott interviews Lichtenberger after his bustout.

Jason Somerville was moved to the secondary featured table just in time to liven things up a bit.

In his first hand at the table, a player raised under the gun gun, and Somerville called. Then Amit Zulkowitz reraised from the big blind. The UTG player folded, and Somerville moved all in.

Zulkowitz snap-called with A A, and Somerville turned over Q Q.

The board came K 5 2 K Q, and Somerville spike a queen on the river to win the pot with a full house, queens full of kings, and double up to be among the chipleaders with 2.3 million.

Zulkowitz dropped down to 1.36 million, having been one card away from being the tournament chipleader.

@JasonSomerville: Well. I get moved to the feature table. First hand guy raises utg, i flat queens, CL in bb makes a huge raise. I move all in for a mil… He snaps with aces :( board comes K52K…Q! And i double huge to 2.3 million. #gameisonnowboys

Somerville had just finished stacking his chips when Andrew Lichtenberger got involved in a big pot at the same table.

Jason Somerville Doubles Up
Jason Somerville is ready to accept his elimination as the dealer is about to put out a queen on the river to save him.

Even though it's a featured table, there was no access to see the board, but we know that Lichtenberger had gotten it all in on the turn against A.J. Jejelowo.

Lichtenberger had K Q for two pair, kings and queens, but Jejelowo had the lead with 7-7 for a set of sevens. That's what we know.

Lichtenberger needed a king or a queen on the river to stay alive, but the last card was a blank, and Jejelowo won the pot. Lichtenberger was eliminated from the Main Event with a little more than 200 players remaining.

Monkeying Around w/ Will Souther

Will “Monkey” Souther is a long time tournament and cash game grinder from Biloxi, MS. He has over $450,000 in tournament winnings to his name, and he has a bigger than life personality. This is his first deep run in the WSOP Main Event, and he is trying to make it worthwhile.

Tomas Samol opened to 25,000 form the hijack, and A.P. Phahurat called from the cutoff. “Monkey” was on the button and raised all in for 189,000. The blinds folded, and when it got back to Samol, he folded his hand. Phahurat took a few moments before making the call.

Phahurat:  K J
Souther:  A K

Monkey seemed to be bracing himself for a bad beat. When the flop came 4 A A he seemed to be a lot more relaxed as he was way ahead. The A came on the turn, giving Monkey quads. The 6 on the river was meaningless.

Monkey’s stack was given a little more life, and is now up to 495,000.

The Chip Count Leaderboard

With the blinds at 8,000-16,000 and a 2,000 ante, here's a look at the top of the leaderboard:

1.  Paul Volpe  -  3,550,000  (221 bb)
2.  Robert Corcione  -  3,400,000  (212 bb)
3.  Robert Salaburu  -  3,240,000  (202 bb)
4.  Andras Koroknai  -  2,700,000  (168 bb)
5.  Kyle Keranen  -  2,600,000  (162 bb)
6.  Erik Hellman  -  2,400,000  (150 bb)
7.  Erik Cajelais  -  2,350,000  (146 bb)
8.  Jason Somerville  -  2,300,000  (143 bb)
9.  Kyle Bowker  -  2,200,000  (137 bb)
10.  Eric Buchman  -  2,200,000  (137 bb)
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2012 Main Event: John Juanda Helps The Numbers Drop

John Juanda wraps up his Main Event with pocket jacks.
John Juanda wraps up his Main Event with pocket jacks.

The day began with 282 players, and the number is steadily dropping. The entire Amazon room was filled with poker tables a few days ago. Now, there is a lot of empty space. As soon as tables become empty the WSOP staff quickly packs up the tables and chairs, providing further evidence that the summer is almost over.

Luckbox Can’t Catch Up

John Juanda is known as @LuckBoxJuanda on Twitter, and we’ve been following his progress during the Main Event. He has been able to double his short stack on several occasions during this tournament, but today his luck ran out.

Kyle Knecht min-raised under the gun to 24,000, and when it folded back around to John Juanda in the big blind he announced he was all in. Knecht insta-called having Juanda covered.

Knecht confidently turned up K K, and when Juanda saw his hand he sheepishly turned up J J.

Juanda needed to find the last two jacks in the deck or some kind of draw in order to have any hopes of surviving. The board ran out 9 9 6 3 5, which wasn’t what Juanda was looking for. He graciously wished his tablemates good luck and headed for the payout cage.

Joseph Cheong Crushing the Main Event For the 3rd Straight Year

This is the third straight year that Joseph Cheong has cashed in the WSOP Main Event, and he has done it in impressive fashion.

Everyone remembers Cheong's memorable third-place finish as part of the 2009 November Nine, and his infamous hand where he six-bet A-7 into Jonathan Duhamel's Q-Q in one of the biggest pots in WSOP history. (The queens held up to cripple Cheong and propel Duhamel into a huge chip lead.)

Cheong earned $4,130,049 for that third-place finish.

Cheong barely missed the top 100 in last year's WSOP Main Event, finishing 114th for $54,851.

Joseph Cheong
Joseph Cheong looking for a November Nine repeat.

This year, Cheong is still alive with about 230 players left, and he's up among the chipleaders with 2.2 million in chips (137 big blinds). Could Cheong make another deep run, and become the first two-time November Niner?

(Even though this year's November Nine takes place in late October, the delayed-final table concept is still being called the November Nine.)

Chips and a Chair

The old saying says that as long as you have a chip and a chair, you can still win the tournament. But there's another crucial element to the equation: the player.

There's a lot of chips and one chair at table 420, seat 4, but no player. We're already one level into the day and one player still hasn't showed up.

Jarrett Nash is currently missing, and his 526,000 stack is slowly being blinded away. Despite not playing a single hand today, Nash has already made an extra $6,202. Only 236 players are left in the Main Event and they're all guaranteed $44,655. Nash's no-show strategy may be good for making a few pay jumps, but it won't get him into the November 9. We'll keep an eye out and see if Nash shows up to the biggest tournament in the world.

TV Time

The ESPN crew is out in full force today. Nearly a dozen cameraman and boom operators are buzzing around the Amazon room trying to catch every all in. When John Juanda was eliminated, a cameraman and boom operator nearly tripped over themselves trying to follow him to the payout booth. At these speeds, they're a danger to others and themselves, it's lucky for them that there are no traffic cops in the area.

We'll keep you updated on any TV crew-related accidents in the Amazon room.

Chip Counts

Here are some updated chip counts, courtesy of WSOP.com:

1. Paul Volpe -- 3,550,000

2. Robert  Salaburu -- 3,060,000

3. Erik Hellman -- 2,400,000

4. Timothy Adams -- 2,170,000

5. Joseph Cheong -- 2,130,00

6. Eric Buchman -- 2,120,000

7. Jacob Balsiger -- 2,110,000

8. Erik Cajelais -- 2,075,000

9. Andras Koroknai -- 2,070,000

10. Elisabeth Hille -- 2,060,000


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2012 Main Event: The Shrinking Field

A glimpse at the final 32 tables
A glimpse at the final 32 tables

The Rio is different than it was a few days ago. 

The Pavilion room is eerily quiet and the once crowded hallways only have a few passersby. The Brasilia room appears to have been struck by a well-organized tornado. All the tables are flipped over and the table lights are placed neatly on top. There are no cash games, no other tournaments, just the Main Event.

All the energy and money that flowed through all three rooms is now concentrated in the Amazon room. Even in there, things are starting to clear up a bit. Only 32 tables are left, and they fit rather comfortably in the massive Amazon room.

The tournament is only going to get smaller. Only one player can survive the tournament, but nine will survive this part of the Main Event. We have three days left until we have October's November 9. 

Deeb Looking For A Double

Freddy Deeb is still hanging on at the Main Event. He's really short-stacked with only 98,000, but he is in shove mode and has already picked up one round of blinds in the first level.

Deeb shoved for 98,000. As players decided whether to call or not, Deeb laughed and joked with his tablemates.

“How much is it?” someone on the table asked.

“98,000,” Deeb replied “Will someone lend me 2,000 to make it an even hundred?”

Marcel Luske
Marcel Luske

The player next to him gave him two yellow chips, and Deeb placed it on his stack.

Although the two extra chips didn’t count towards Deeb’s stack, his confidence must have tipped the other players off because they all folded, giving Deeb the blinds.

Luske Knocks Daya Out

Preflop, Marcel Luske and Aadam Daya got in a betting war, and Daya ended up with all of his chips in the middle. Luske quickly called and the two were left to wait a few minutes until the ESPN cameras showed up.

Once the cameras were put in place, Luske and Daya turned up their hands.

Luske: A K

Daya: K Q

The flop came out 6 A 3, which extended Luske’s lead in the hand. When the J hit the turn, Daya picked up more outs and could win if a ten came on board. However, it was the 5 that came on the river, which left Daya packing his bags.

Lucky Chewy Not So Lucky

Andrew Lichtenberger (a.k.a. "Lucky Chewy") ran into a bit of a cooler at the secondary featured table, getting it all in preflop with Q-Q, but watching Bobby Poe turn over K-K.

The board came J 9 4 8 K, and Lichtenberger turned a gutshot straight draw, but he missed as Poe made a set of kings on the river to win the pot.

Poe doubled up his short stack as Lichtenberger took a hit to knock him below a million in chips.

Bobby Poe  -  490,000  (40 bb)

Andrew Lichtenberger  -  890,000  (74 bb)

Chip Counts

Here are the top 10 chip counts, courtesy of WSOP.com:

1. Erik Hellman -- 2,400,000

2. Paul Volpe -- 2,350,000

3. Joseph Cheong -- 2,200,000

4. Ruggeri Marco -- 2,110,000

5. Dave D'Alesandro - 2,093,000

6. Kyle Bowker -- 2,081,000

7. Eric Buchman -- 2,076,000

8. Elisabeth Hille -- 2,014,000

9. Andras Koroknai -- 1,971,000

10. Amit Zulkowits -- 1,961,000 

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2012 Main Event: Day 5, Shuffle Up & Deal!

3-time bracelet winner Perry Green finished 2nd to Stu Ungar.
3-time bracelet winner Perry Green finished 2nd to Stu Ungar.

Action begins today with 282 players, and all of them are guaranteed to make at least $38,453. The field will play five 2-hour levels today.

WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel gave the opening announcements, and he was joined by 76-year-old Perry Green. Green is the oldest player who still has chips in the Main Event -- he has 304,000 (25 big blinds).

Green finished as runner-up to Stu Ungar in the 1981 WSOP Main Event, the year Ungar won his second World Championship in a row. There were 75 players in the entire field that year -- there are still more than three times that many still alive on Day 5 of this year's Main Event.

Green also has three WSOP bracelets of his own, and most recently made a WSOP final table in 2010.

Day 5 begins with the blinds at 6,000-12,000, and the average stack has about 58 big blinds. Shuffle up and deal!

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2012 Main Event: Day 5 Preview

Jason Somerville is hunting the big one.
Jason Somerville is hunting the big one.

It’s Day 5 of the 2012 WSOP Main and things are starting to get serious in the Amazon Room.

With the money bubble successfully burst and many players have already collected their min-cash and headed home with a few stories to tell about their experience in Las Vegas.

The journey continues for the 282 players that remain, however, as they will attempt to chip up today and get one step closer to the final table of nine players.

Everyone is chasing Paul Volpe, who picked up 2,750,000 chips yesterday. The New Jersey-native has numerous cashes at the WSOP but has yet to make a final table. This would be the event to do it in with $8.5 million on the line for first place.

Poker pros Kyle Bowker (2.08 million) and Eric Buchman (2.07 million) are also in the top five as we enter play today.

There are still plenty of notable players in the mix with Leo Wolpert, Kevin Pollak, Vanessa Selbst, Erik Cajelais, Joe Cheong, David “ODB” Baker, Tristan Clemencon, Isaac Baron, JP Kelly, Jason Somerville and Daniel Negreanu looking to do some damage today.

Here’s a look at the top 10 chip counts as we enter play:

1. Paul Volpe – 2,750,000
2. Erik Hellman – 2,216,000
3. Dave D’Alesandro – 2,093,000
4. Kyle Bowker – 2,083,000
5. Eric Buchman – 2,076,000
6. Elisabeth Hille – 2,014,000
7. Andras Koroknal – 1,971,000
8. Amit Zulkowitz – 1,961,000
9. Eric Legoff – 1,947,000
10. Nicco Maag – 1,899,000

Action resumes in a little over an hour so check back here for real-time live updates from the tournament floor.


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