WSOP 2016: Pick your storyline as Main Event heads to Day 5
The bonhomie is almost off-putting. Two men in an elevator, trapped for a moment in a conversation about their futures, both still alive in the biggest tourney in the world and knowing that one or both of them could be exiled before midnight. But there they are, commiserating about the slings and arrows, the twists and turns, and all the hell they might soon face. They wish each other good luck, and they are sincere about it. Both knows they need good fortune, and they will take its wishes from anyone, even a man who hopes to kill him.
It's a good story, no? It's Westley and Inigo Montoya wishing each other luck before going to battle. It's two fighters touching gloves. It's where all good stories begin before the bloodletting begins.
Tonight, we have our pick of good storylines, and so do you. By this time tomorrow, none of these stories may have a chance. Right now, though, with a couple hours left in the day you can play Choose Your Own Adventure.
Another PokerStars Champion
Maybe it's a longshot at this hour, but we're biased and rooting for it anyway. With fewer than 400 players left in the field, there are only three PokerStars patches out there. They belong to Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Jennifer Shahade, and Jason Somerville. Each of them has a storyline of their own. Ladouceur began the day with a top ten stack. Shahade is deeper in the Main Event than she's ever been. Somerville is continuing to prove there are two sides to his personality.
While these storylines remain, those of Liv Boeree and Aditya Agarwal ended today. Boeree (who is giving some of her winnings to charity) and Agarwal (whose progress we updated through his entire tourney) both cashed today but fell short of a Day 5 berth.
Another WSOP Champion
After the dinner break today, the first feature table of the Main Event formed, and it was easy to pick. Former champs Greg Raymer and Ryan Riess were both sitting at the same table, and there was no way ESPN was passing up that opportunity. Raymer doubled up within 25 minutes of sitting down to give himself a chance at his deepest run since 2005.
Meanwhile, Johnny Chan sat out in the middle of the room, giving the 2016 WSOP three potential repeat champs.
Online hero makes good
These days, most of the online heroes are also live heroes, so it's not particularly fair to call a player one or the other. Still, imagine the excitement in the online community if someone like Shaun Deeb, James Obst, Tom Middleton, Tom Marchese, Sorel Mizzi, or Chris Hunichen managed to make the final table of this event. Any of them are capable of a deeper run, and they all have the chips to do it.
Behind-the-scenes guy steps into spotlight
There is a good chance you already know Kenny Hallaert, but you may not know he spends most of his working hours behind the scenes working on the Belgian Poker Challenge. Today, he is working to never have to worry about working again. He spent a good part of the day with the chip lead and still had an above-average stack heading into the last level.
Meanwhile, PokerStars' French blogger and filmmaker Victor Saumont is taking his time in the spotlight after spinning less than $600 into a Main Event entry.
First female champion
It could happen this year. The talent among women in this Main Event has rarely been more pronounced. In addition to Shahade's climb through the field, at one point today two of poker's best, Maria Ho and Melanie Weisner were in the first two spots on the leaderboard. That's not to mention Gaelle Baumann and one of poker's funniest talents, Jamie Kerstetter, who were still in action late tonight. Any of them could win this thing.
While all of those stories are in play at the time of publication, anything could change in the next few minutes, and if not then, then by this time tomorrow. For now, think on the possibilities and let us know your favorite by tweeting us on our @PokerStarsBlog account.
After today, there are only three more days of play before we hit the November Nine. There isn't a lot more time for the storylines to change. Play resumes Saturday at noon Vegas time and will run all the way into the early Sunday morning hours. Stick with us for all the behind-the-scenes coverage. Who knows? We may just get a great story out of this one yet.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.