WSOP 2013: Final 27 seek place in November Nine

As the clock approached 11pm last night play in the main event came to an abrupt halt. Set to play five full levels, the countdown paused when just 27 players remained - three tables of what was once a tournament of three full rooms and three starting days.

It leaves one day of play before this most famous of events pauses for four months of reflection and build up, ahead of the final table in November. The November Nine will preoccupy the poker world for weeks yet, but first it must find the nine to celebrate. That's what today will be all about.

The last 27 players play on today and tonight for a place in arguably poker's most anticipated final. They will not play levels, or for a certain time, they will simply play on until nine players remain. Some 18 of them will leave crushed but wealthy - 27th place alone pays $285,408 - while the others will set forth on a life in the spotlight.

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The Amazon Room feature table

Hoping to be first to secure his seat in that limelight is German pro Anton Morgenstern.
Our attempts to build something of a cult following behind Morgenstern was helped by what appeared at times to be his inability to lose pots this week, at least from Day 4. Since then his progress has been relentless, typical of a player playing the poker of his life, and what you'd expect for the backstory of a potential November-niner.

From 400,000 on Day 5 to nearly 22 million coming back today, Morgenstern has the momentum and of course a huge lead over the field. If he is to be stopped it must be today.

There are still potential obstacles in his path. The Berliner will need to overcome the likes of JC Tran who continues to shine, as does the only former winner in the main event field Carlos Mortensen. Mortensen's stack might be only half the size of the leader, but the Spaniard rarely wastes an opportunity, and the story of his attempt at an historic World Series double would keep magazines covered from now through to November.

First though a long day in the Amazon Room. There's a long day ahead, but rarely can a day in poker be so important.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter. Pictures courtesy of Poker Photo Archive.