Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Well, Day 6 saw two of the guys I would have most liked to see survive to the November Nine -- former ME champions Peter Eastgate and Joe Hachem -- both hit the rail late in the day as neither one could hold on and make an improbable second run through the monstrous field that the WSOP Main Event attracts each year these days. Ultimately, Eastgate was more of a fad with me, as I don't know anything about him, and the only poker I've ever really watched him play was the late stages of the 2008 WSOP when he got luckier than just about anyone I've ever seen who hasn't been playing me in an mtt since I returned from Las Vegas earlier this month. Hachem I have always had a good feeling for, first when he stormed through the 2004 WSOP ME field to win out against 6000-some runners, and then when I had the opportunity to sit next to him for a couple of hours in my first World Series of Poker tournament the following summer, when Hachem not only sucked out a 2-outer to eliminate me early from the tournament on the turn, but he took advantage of the short time we played together to really rub off on me an impression of a generally good, down to earth guy. If you've read here for a while you may recall my story of when the dealer failed to recognize Hachem -- then the reigning World Champion of Poker -- and Hachem was really cool about it in a spot when I guarantee you a bunch of other name pros would have sliced and diced the dealer in front of everybody. So Hachem and Eastgate are out, eliminating the last of the former world champions and meaning that we will definitely have a picture of a brand new face hanging up in the Amazon Room after this year's final table comes to an end in November.

After 6494 players put up $10,000 apiece to play in this year's WSOP Main Event, we are now down to just 64 players remaining as we head into Day 7 of action at the Rio. The payouts for the first players eliminated today will begin at over 100 large, and the plan for the day is apparently to play as long as it takes to get down to just 27 players remaining, which means that the final table-full of eliminations this evening will each be paid $253,941 for their efforts. Needless to say, with such an F-load of money waiting to be disbursed, there is a ton at stake here even for the shortest of short stacks with just a wing and a prayer to get back into things before it's too late.

And, although two of my favorites remaining were busted on Monday, among the 64 guys still standing are some fun names and some solid chipstacks to go along with it. The big story, almost since Day One, continues to be Phil Ivey -- he of the perpetually emotionless poker face -- as Ivey recovered from losing set-over-set early on Monday to now sit in 3rd place heading into the Day 7 action with over 6.3 million in chips. Also in the top ten remaining is another well-known-from-tv pro, Antonio Esfandiari, who has quietly been climbing up the leaderboard for days and now sits firmly perched in 6th place overall with 5.6 million in his stack, making for some fun possibilities right there as far as name pros to last this deep into one of the biggest poker tournaments of all time. Also still alive and kicking in the event among other people I have some interest in are last year's November Nine participant Dennis Phillips, currently in 43rd place of 64 remaining players with 2.3 million in chips, with Kill Phil co-author Blair Rodman right on Phillips's heels with 2.1 million. Young pros Joe Sebok and Prahlad Friedman round out the list of people still alive who I care at all about, each sitting in the bottom handful of stacks with under a million chips apiece to start the day.

The action begins again at 3pm ET on Tuesday, so be sure to keep checking in with Pauly, wsop.com or wherever else you are getting your real-time WSOP Main Event updates fix.

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