The field at the WPT World Championships has been cut to just 19 players after the fourth days play at The Bellagio - although the tournament's bubble is still yet to burst with only 18 players guaranteed some prize money.
The players were consulted as to whether they wanted to play on to the next elimination but the general consensus was that it had been a long day and that the bubble would have to be decided when they come back for Day 5 (in fact, Day 5 - recently underway - has now seen the bubble decided and the unlucky bubble boy was Josh Arieh who shoved his final 109k chips holding AJ only to run into the KK of Marvin Rettenmaier)
When play resumed today the chip leader was Hafiz Khan, in search of his first WPT title and the $1.2 million first prize. It wouldn't be Khan's first seven figure score however as he took 2nd place in the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $1.1 million back in 2008.
Day 4 saw plenty of high profile eliminations, and also the demise of the player who started the day in pole position, Curt Kohlberg. There was no major hand which led to Kohlberg's demise but it was a fairly rapid leak of chips throughout the first levels of the day leading him to shove his last 150k chips in the middle holding A7 only to find himself dominated by Rinat Bogdanov's AJ.
Bogdanov is still in the hunt for WPT Player of the Year although with only 278k chips in his stack at the close of play and sitting in 13th place it seems unlikely at this point that Bogdanov will grab 1st place - the position he needs to finish in to take the POY title!
Two players in with a realistic chance of picking up the POY award are Joe Serock (needs 15th place or better) who starts the day with a fairly short stack of 244k in 14th place and Moon Kim (needs 5th place or better) who starts the day in 6th place with 1.194 million chips.
Another POY candidate who fell by the wayside today was Anotonio Esfandiari who busted out in a dramatic three way pot. Both Esfandiari (170k chips) and Jonathan Little (400k) found themselves all in vs Michael Mizrachi who had them both covered. Mizrachi actually held the worst (and dominated) had with his QJ up against Antonio's KJ and Little's AK. A Queen on the turn however sent both to the rail in 21st and 20th place respectively. As a result Mizrachi ended the day with 1.17 million chips in 6th place.
With half the field starting day 5 with over a million chips and none over 2 million this still really is anyones title - with the blinds ever increasing as we hit Day 5 we should see some big chip stacks accumlating as we approach the final table.
Top Ten Chip Stacks Entering Day 5
1. Hafiz Khan – 1,966,000
2. Marvin Rettenmaier – 1,870,000
3. Nick Schulman - 1,315,000
4. Trevor Pope – 1,300,000
5. Wil Wilkinson – 1,197,000
6. Moon Kim – 1,194,000
7. Michael Mizrachi – 1,168,000
8. John Esposito – 1,080,000
9. Steve O’Dwyer – 1,079,000
10. Matt Juttelstad – 935,000