WSOP Main Event Day 6: Ready to take their chance
Back from the dinner break, full and slightly sleepy. There are various ways the Blog team will reinvigorate themselves for the two levels of play that lay ahead - an atomic fireball perhaps or a few push ups in the media room hallway. But for players they'll be relying on whatever cunning and craft they can muster to out-do their opponents at the table.
The winner of this year's World Series of Poker Main Event may well be an unknown entity right now but nestled in the field somewhere remain several PokerStars Players, each of whom have the kind of pedigree that could serve them well when they enter the stretch run against players lacking the experience to survive the waltz of the last few tables.
As detailed earlier there are players remaining in the field today to whom this will likely be the biggest cash finish of their careers, and the cheque they're about to receive far exceeding anything they'd ever expected when they arrived in Las Vegas.
But for four players at least, the Main Event comes after an extended period of running good, or at least having had some solid results in the past. Signs, if the past is anything to go by, that they are in good position for a run on November.
Take PokerStars player Desmond Portano for example. The Brooklyn man already has two World Series cashes this year, both coming in $1,500 no-limit hold'em events. This is already going to be Portano's biggest cash and a top 45 finish would eclipse his career tournament earnings of $174,412 completely.
Jonathan Duhamel has experience at the tough end of a major poker tournament. In 2008 he travelled to the Czech Republic to play the EPT Prague main event and finished tenth behind eventual winner Arnaud Mattern.
Jerry Payne has a similar story, albeit on this side of the Atlantic. Earlier this year Payne, from Ohio, travelled west to Hollywood to play the World Poker Tour Hollywood Open. Against a tough field Payne reached the final table alongside the likes of Mike Mustafa, Frank Calo and eventual winner Carlos Mortensen, earning $88,791.
Finally Getty Mattingsley could be experiencing the crest of a beautiful wave of good form. From Texas, Mattingsley arrived in Las Vegas weeks before the Main Event to loosen up in some earlier tournaments. He cashed in an early $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament, and then another in June, before finishing 15th in the $3,000 Triple Chance event, cashing for $26,554 just a few days before the main event. Sometimes it can serve you well to just keep playing. Mattingsley did and now finds himself with an average stack on day six of the big one.
If this doesn't bolster their spirits they might want to remember this.
Last year's winner Joe Cada scored his first two cash finishes at the World Series last year, before winning the Main Event bracelet in November. Two years prior the Main Event marked Jerry Yang's first ever career World Series cash finish - his previous best had been a third place at a $500 tournament in Inglewood.
In 2006 Jamie Gold had never cashed in an event with a buy-in of more than $1,000 when he won $12,000,000 in the Main Event. And despite multiple cashes in his native Australia Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem had recorded just one World Series cash finish prior to his Main Event win, finishing tenth in a $1k no-limit hold'em event.
And well, you've all heard of Chris Moneymaker.
PHOTO OF THE HOUR
A young poker fan stands with her father outside the Amazon Room. Only those 21 and over are allowed entry
BOSOM BUDDIES OF THE HOUR
The two remaining Team PokerStars Pros in the field who are now sitting right next to each other.
William Thorson (left) with Johnny Lodden and Thor Hansen (centre right) checking Lodden's new seat card
STRAINED FRIENDSHIP MOMENT OF THE HOUR
David "I'm Not Maridu's Boyfriend" Baker was all-in with two jacks against the A♥Q♥ of Eric Baldwin. When the flop came down with a queen, jack, and nine, one of Baker's alleged friends yelled, "Put a nine out!" Baker's head snapped to the right. "No!" His friend got sheepish and then said, "Well, I guess I don't know the board then." Baker then called for any card below an eight. Instead he got an eight. "Well, at least I can't lose now." The three on the river gave Baker the double up. We'll work on the friendship counseling after the WSOP.
NEW CHIP OF THE HOUR
A lavender chip, worth 100,000, has now been introduced to action.
HAND OF THE HOUR
There's no one quite like William Thorson for getting loads of chips with sub-standard cards. Martijn Schirp has just had his World Series ended by Thorson after the two of them got involved in a pre-flop raising battle ending with all the chips in the middle.
William Thorson standing over Martijn Schirp
Thorson had J♣9♣ and Schirp had K♣Q♥. And it was looking good for Schirp through the first four cards out: 6♦2♦4♦2♠. But the J♠ rivered and that was good enough to send Schirp to the cage and Thorson up to more than five million.
TOURNAMENT FLOOR MAP OF THE HOUR
The table alignment in the Amazon Room is not exactly regular. Tables are scattered like lily-pads on a pond. Here's our best artist's impression of the area at the moment (featured tables are off to the right.)