WSOP 2017: Salas crushes Day 4 as Lew flies solo for Team Pro
More than 850 players were knocked out on Day 4 of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, but their disappointment was at least cushioned a little by an embrace in the consoling arms of the Rio Hotel & Casino cashier.
There was an EPT dealer lurking the other side of the table, while the pro-bluffing, quads hitting, freerolling K.L. Cleeton was also in the money, and was by far the most popular man in the field.
By the time they had played through five levels, however, only one of the Team Pros (plus the TV star) were left. So we say congratulations in particular tonight to Randy Lew, the Team Online star who bagged 1.055 million. He will fly the Red Spade alone into Day 5 and has already guaranteed that his maiden Main Event cash will be for more than $35,000.
It was so very nearly three of them heading into tomorrow but Liv Boeree perished close to the death and Felipe Ramos was knocked out on the day's very last hand. It was brutal for both of them.
Boeree had made one of the plays of the day: a sensational fold with pocket twos on a board of 8♠2♦K♣T♠K♦. Yes, the board is right. Yes, Boeree had a full house. And yes, she folded. She was right too because James Salmon showed pocket eights.
However, you can't win a tournament by folding--no matter how correct they are--and after a day of "second-best hands", she lost the last of her chips.
It was also a very bitter last-gasp elimination for Ramos, who lost with two premium hands in the last 20 minutes. First up, his aces couldn't beat Istvan Toro's pocket fours when Toro flopped a set. That left Ramos with only around five big blinds, and although he shoved twice to pick up a couple more, he was still short when they played through the last five hands.
On the absolute last of those, Ramos got it all-in again with Q♦Q♠ and Joey Michael re-shoved to isolate Ramos with his 9♣9♥. The flop was nine-high, and there was no queen to follow it.
"What could I do?" a shell-shocked Ramos said.
Lew, however, was on the right side of one of those kind of coups. In his most significant hand of the day, he got it in behind and binked a two-outer. He seemed happy enough about this high-risk approach.
Lew was also a little downbeat at the end as he had peaked today with 1.7 million. But upon learning that he was the last Red Spade, Lew said: "I told you. I'm here til the end."
Before all that, we eventually lost Barry Greenstein, despite his best efforts to keep the Grim Reaper at bay. And Andre Akkari perished in 409th after his own battle with a short stack.
At this super deep stage of the tournament, the Argentinian player Damian Salas is out in front. Salas blasted up the leader board in the day's late stages, winning an enormous pot when he flopped a set with 5♠5♣ and rivered a full house. Dilovan Hussein paid him off with pocket kings, and Salas became the first man to pass 4 million.
Salas is well known to keen followers of the online tables. Playing at PokerStars as "pampa27", Salas has previously topped the Super Tuesday field, which is clear proof he can hold his own in exclusive company.
He leads Sebastien Comel, JP Kelley and Micky Craft, who are also sitting on big stacks tonight. They were the movers on what might not actually be moving day.
Two of last year's November Niners are making brilliant deep runs again. Kenny Hallaert and Michael Ruane know what it takes to go all the way to the final, and have chips tonight too. Other former players in that exclusive club, Antoine Saout, Eoghan O'Dea and Ben Lamb, are also still involved this year.
Meanwhile, Valentin Messina (runner-up EPT Malta), Nick Maimone (PCA High Roller champion), Shyam Srinivasan (PCA final table player), Charlie Carrel (SCOOP Main Event champion) are also sitting with heaps.
There is still some extraordinary class among those who remain. Join us tomorrow for more of the same as we find out together who from the 297 left can make it through another day's poker gauntlet.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.