Just on 1am Vegas time Tuesday, Day 6 of the World Series of Poker Main Event came to a close after starting at noon the day before and playing through a gruelling five levels. Along the way 121 players had their hopes of WSOP fame and wealth dashed as they were eliminated, reducing the Day 6 starting numbers from 185 to only 64 players left in the race.
Two-and-a-half hours into Day 6, forty players had already fallen by the wayside.
The chip leader going into Day 6, South African plumbing supplies salesman Warren Zackey, is way back in the field, having seen his 4.87 million starting stack dwindle to 1.41 million by late afternoon.
Leading the field now is outsider and little known Darvin Moon on an almost 10 million stack, pursued by Billy Kopp around 8.25 million and dangerman Phil Ivey, who has played a measured, strategic competition, steadily growing his stack to almost 6.5 million despite the occasional setback.
Departing the race early on Day 6 were John Monnette, Joe Serock, Dag Palovic, Thierry van den Berg, Eric Cloutier, Blair Hinkle, Kasper Cordes, Matt Affleck, Nasr El Nasr, Theo Tran, and at one stage chip leader in this main event, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. Also out are Hamid Nourafchan, J.C. Tran, 2005 Main Event champ Joe Hachem and 2008 Main Event winner Peter Eastgate, along with David Benyamine, Noah Boeken, Kenny Tran and one of the only two women still in the running at the beginning of the day, Nichoel Peppe, who hit the rail late in the day in 75th position, leaving Leo Margets as the sole representative of the fairer sex left in the field, with a stack of 3.4 million.
Players to watch going into Day 6 include Moon, Kopp and Phil Ivey, but Ludovic Lacay has had a generally good showing and must be regarded as a threat at position five with 6 million in chips. Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari is also strongly placed at around 5.6 million just behind Lacay. Dennis Phillips, the sole remaining competitor from last year's main event final table, is on 2.3 million. Still in contention are formidable players like Tom Schneider, Blair Rodman, Joe Sebok, Antoine Saout, Jeff Schulman, Eugene Katchalov, Fabrice Soulier and Prahlad Friedman.
Former main event champion Joe Hachem had some hard things to say about the general standard of players at this year's main event, comments that were widely publicised in an Associated Press interview with the outspoken Australian.
He was critical of the new brand of extremely aggressive poker players who seem to want to gamble all their chips on every hand in the main event, characterising them as "knowing nothing about poker" and "idiots", which is unlikely to go down well.
Elaborating on his disparaging remarks, Hachem said: "We're playing for one of the biggest prizes in history and they're getting ... five hundred million blinds in there with second pair. To me, the reason I'm upset is because it's disrespectful. We're playing in the world series, we're not just having fun at a local home game. These guys are pushing chips around like it's nothing."
Hachem added: "Look, their style may be the way they play on the Internet and that's what they've got to do because they can open up another tournament every 10 seconds.
"It's fine, right, but you're playing here, you got so much time, you got so much going for you and these guys just want to go to war every hand.
"That's why a crazy Internet kid is very unlikely to win one of these things," the former champion concluded.
Unofficial Top Ten chip counts at the end of the day were:
Darvin Moon 9,745,000; Billy Kopp 8,245,000; Phil Ivey 6,345,000; Steven Begleiter 6,315,000; Ludovic Lacay 5,965,000; Antonio Esfandiari 5,610,000; Tommy Vedes 5,430,000; Antoine Saout 5,195,000; Ben Lamb 4,975,000; Nick Maimone 4,900,000.
Average stack is currently 3,044,063.
Source: InfoPowa News