WSOP 2011: Glory awaits one of 57
It's getting gradually harder to ramp up the excitement when it comes to the start of each day's play in the World Series of Poker main event. When you start with nearly 7,000 players the day you break a thousand it pretty tense, not to mention when you come back with 378 players, then 142.
Today though just 57 players remain, less than one per cent of the field that started out on this journey nearly two full weeks ago. The days blur together, the weeks into one long passage of time, but we're getting close to finding the nine players who, for the next four months, will go through some of the most intense media scrutiny in the competitive world.
Before that though there is some work to do. Today there are five levels of play scheduled -- just like the good old days on Day 1 - but play will stop should we be left with 18 players before that time has elapsed.
Yesterday, as players bagged up their chips for the night, James Lenaghan, from Alabama, had seized and extended a healthy lead, packing up 12,865,000. That was some way ahead of second placed Ben Lamb, from Oklahoma, who has been among the leaders since the very start of the Main Event, with 9,980,000. There's a clear two million gap between them and Matt Giannetti, from Las Vegas, in third place, with 7,940,000.
There was a time when PokerStars players would be hard to miss in the Main Event, even at this late stage. But even with the restrictions the PokerStars flag continues to be waved, with six of the seven players who played yesterday, back this afternoon.
Both Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly and Passport winner Per Linde finished with 3,750,000 each, while Team PokerStars Online's Andrew Brokos, reaching the top 100 for the third time in a row, bagged up 2,505,000.
Behind them are Tony Hachem on 2,250,000 and Philip Gruissem on 2,005,000. Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg, who flirted with the lead at times yesterday, took several knocks before the close, returning as the short stack on 890,000.
We could be down to just two tables by the close tonight and either way our new champion is out there right in front of us. Today we'll take another giant leap in discovering who they are.
* * * *
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
Here's PokerStars qualifier Per Linde, who starts today with 3,750,000 chips...