We are getting down to the business end of the WPT World Championships at The Bellagio with nine players remaining - ready to play down to Saturdays televised final table of six players as Day 6 is just getting underway. Let's see the story of Day 5.
The first of the remaining 18 players to bite the dust had been among the chip leaders for the majority of the tournament - but it just wasn't Guillaume Darcourt's day and he finally succumbed shoving his remaining chips in with 4th pair and an open ended straight draw on the turn (with 9 7) but was called and defeated by Wil Wilkinson's turned set of 8's.
Three players left in the field at this point could still overtake Will Faila as WPT Player of the Year - the nearest rival being Joe Serock who needed a 15th place or better finish to overtake Faila. He had a hell of a sweat however when he threw his stack in holding A 10 only to be looked up by Trevor Pope's 99. Pope easily had Serock covered but an Ace in the window doubled Serock up when he had only 15 bb's left.
Another of the POY contenders, Rinat Bogdanov fell short of the mark and fell in 16th place in a three way all in with all three players holding pocket pairs. It was actually the worst hand that grabbed the main pot as Ron Coury's 66 made a set on the turn. Matt Juttlestad's wired Aces took the side pot and Bogdanov's 10 10 meant that (as Juttlestad had him covered) he had to hit the rail. Juttlestad however still has a chance to overtake Faila - although his elimination of Bogdanov means that for now Serock has overtaken Faila in the POY standings
With only 15 players remaining we still had two Shulman's in the field with both Barry and son Jeff still in the hunt for glory. It was to be Shulman Snr's day however as he busted in 15th place with his 99 bested by Trevor Pope's 10 10.
The day started with Hafiz Khan as chip leader with around two million chips - he continued to dominate and after eliminating John Esposito in 12th place his stack had doubled to over 4 million chips and he found himself in a dominating chip lead.
The unofficial 10 seat final table was decided shortly afterwards as Ron Coury - for a long time the short stack - fell to Moon Kim as Coury's Q8 couldn't outdraw Kim's 10 10. Moon Kim now has a realistic chance of taking POY glory from Serock as he still has over 1 million chips whereas Serock was the final player of the day to fall as his 10 10 (despite seeing an encouraging flop of Q77) couldn't beat Marvin Rettenmaier's AK as a K fell on the turn.
During the latter stages of play the chip lead changed a couple of times as Michael Mizrachi briefly held the lead after winning a huge pot against then chip leader Khan with his QQ vs Khan's JJ. Mizrachi however lost a decent sized pot to Nick Shulman, bluffing a dry board on the flop with AQ only to run into Shulman's KK.
At the end of the days play however neither player held top spot as Marvin Rettenmaier had the honour with over 3.7m chips. By the end of the day Khan had slipped to just 1.6m but did have the last laugh of the day as he bluffed Jeff Shulman all in on the river on a J8574 board with nothing but a busted sraight draw holding Q9.
Chip Counts Going into Day 6
Marvin Rettenmaier - 3,757,000
Michael Mizrachi - 3,124,000
Steve O'Dwyer - 1,643,000
Hafiz Khan - 1,641,000
Nick Schulman - 1,350,000
Moon Kim - 1,139,000
Philippe Ktorza - 977,000
Trevor Pope - 800,000
Wil Wilkinson - 705,000