Day 6 of the 39th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas ended as we went to press, with just 27 players left, all guaranteed to earn six-figure or bigger rewards for lasting the course so far.
It was a long day full of excitement as chip leader Mark Ketteringham on $5.8 million led the surviving Day 5 field of 79 players into Day 6 with plenty of big guns still in contention, including David "Chino" Rheem, David Benefield, Brandon Cantu, Kido Pham and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow.
There was an early controversy when tournament officials ruled that ‘Poker Brat' Phil Hellmuth should start the day a little later, having received a one-orbit penalty for berating a player as play closed on Day 5. This had the potential to prejudice Hellmuth's chances as he was among the short stacks in a field with an average chip stack of well over a million.
Hellmuth subsequently met with top tournament and Harrah's officials, including WSOP director Jeffrey Pollack, who decided the penalty imposed was excessive and overturned the punishment, allowing Hellmuth to continue. Pollack stressed that Hellmuth had been strongly cautioned, saying: "Phil has now been warned and put on notice in a way that he never has been."
For Hellmuth, it was a temporary respite however. The WSOP star was subsequently taken down by Andrew Rosscamm deep into Day 6 and departed in 45th place with a check for $154 400.
Eliminations continued throughout the day in a steady stream right through to the 90 minute dinner break at which point what was left of the field was seated in the cavernous Amazon Room around just four tables, with the target of reaching 27 players to end the day in sight and just eight eliminations away. It took time – an hour later only one more elimination had been reached. Highglights included some monster six-figure bets by Cristian Dragomir, including one that gave Tiffany Michelle a half million dollars.
Dragomir, along with Nikolay Losev headed for the exit in 29th and 28th positions respectively as the night ended, taking home a highly consolatory $193 000 each for their finishes, and giving the surviving 27 players an opportunity to get a good night's sleep before entering Day 7of this increasingly tense competition.
Eliminations in Day 6 have included: Matt Matros, Keith Hawkins, Justin Scott, Alex Outhred, Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Plens, Kido Pham, Andrew Rosscamm, Jamal Kunbuz and Victor Ramdin. Mike Matusow held out until 30th place but was also eliminated.
Jeremy Joseph, who was chip leader and going so well earlier in the tournament went out at 57th position with a check for $115 800, and major Day 6 chip leader early on, Mark Ketteringham, was eliminated in 52nd place for $135 000. Internet superstar Adam Levy left in 48th position.
Unofficial Day 6 Top Ten chip counts as InfoPowa went to press were:
Craig Marquis $11 300 000
Dennis Phillips $11 150 000
Tiffany Michelle $9 900 000 – the only woman left in the Main Event.
Peter Eastgate $8 720 000
Gert Andersen $8 350 000
Kelly Kim $7 850 000
Chris Klodnicki $7 800 000
David Rheem $6 800 000
Ivan Demidov $5 800 000
Paul Snead $5 600 000
The average stack going in to Day 7 is $5 069 630, and 27 players are left on three tables.