2008 World Series: Dreams die

There are numerous ways to measure the progression of a poker tournament, from the basic count of players eliminated, to the angle of the slouch of the average reporter on media row. The blue screens displaying time, level, blinds and payouts have kept us updated with the key stats throughout the past couple of weeks, and for the last level (level 31), the players have been ante-ing 20,000 chips.

That, in case you forgot, is the equivalent of one player's starting stack.

Yes, each compulsory ante being posted by these 11 players before every single hand is even dealt has previously represented $10,000 in cold hard cash or, in another currency, one player's broken dreams. A couple of orbits of the table without winning a pot equates to nothing short of a massacre of idealism, and yet here it barely registers a wince.

The day is now getting long and the stakes, tension and anticipation are ratcheting up by the minute. Level 32, which we have just entered, now means blinds of 80,000-160,000 and an ante of one-and-a-half splintered fantasies.

Chip leader Dennis Phillips

Six PokerStars players are keeping their dreams alive. Their names and chip counts are:

Dennis Phillips -- USA -- PokerStars player -- 23,100,000
David Rheem -- USA -- PokerStars player -- 13,800,000
Peter Eastgate -- Denmark -- PokerStars player -- 13,540,000
Ylon Schwartz -- USA -- PokerStars player -- 13,160,000
Ivan Demidov -- Russia -- PokerStars player -- 9,800,000
Darus Suharto -- Canada -- Qualifier -- 8,700,000