There’s a camera team out in the hallway of the Rio convention centre. They need B-roll of players walking towards the Amazon Room to take their seat. The camera team has been there all week, first filming crowds of people all looking the same. If they were lucky they’d spot a familiar face and get footage of a pro saying a few words or making an obscene gesture into the lens. Now though the camera team has no problem picking out whom they need shots of, as one by one players arrive back for work.
We started with 6,598, now just 97 players remain. They’ve played for five full days but their journey is still some way from completion, although statistically their end will come at some point today as we play down to just 27. Each of them is guaranteed $62,021 today, a handsome reward for mere mortals perhaps, but for those with loftier ambitions it’s the $8,527,982 with which they’re more enamoured.
Kyle Keranen leads, bagging up 6,935,000 last night with the average count hovering just above 2 million. Of the 97 there remain two Team PokerStars Pros, returning for this penultimate day.
Yesterday Jan Heitmann turned 25 big blinds in the first level of play into a stack of 3.4 million by the end of it. Right now that puts him in the top 20, among the front runners for what could be a day stretching out into the early hours of Monday morning.
Vanessa Selbst has never looked anything other than a title challenger and spent much of yesterday showing exactly why she is among the best players in the modern game.
Selbst was not immune to fortune however and various knocks late on slashed her stack to 1,165,000. Some would struggle mentally to begin the rebuilding process again, but few have the tenacity of Selbst who is a long way from elimination.
Moments ago two players were making their way into the Amazon Room. The camera team, dressed black and in comfortable shoes, equipped with their relevant cameras, poles and microphones called out to them for a response: “So which one of you is going to win?”
Perhaps owing to bashfulness, or perhaps even superstition, neither player said anything. Nobody knows how this day will pan out, as we play down to three tables for as long as it takes. But by sun up we’ll be a step closer to finding out.