Esfandiari Retains Chip Lead with 22 Left in the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic

Antonio Esfandiari holds on to the chip lead as we approach the business end of the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic

Over at the Bellagio one of 2012's biggest success stories Antonio Esfandiari seems intent on making himself yet another piece of poker history as he leads the field for a second successive day the the DBFDPC and is on the cusp of making his third straight final table in this prestigious tournament - and looking for his second win here in just three years. As we head into Day 5 Esfandiari sits on 1.597 million chips, a little over 300k ahead of fellow former WPT winner Shawn Buchanan.

Although Esfandiari led at both the start and finish of yesterdays play, it didn't all go "The Magician"'s way, and with around an hour of play left he was actually close to 200k down on his days starting stack (although still in the top ten). He finished strong however, doubling his chip stack in the latter stages of the day to end up as chip leader once again.

The diminished field is still as strong as ever with six WPT champions among the top 13 players alongside players of the calibre of Andrew "luckychewy" Lichtenberger, Brian "tsarrast" Rast, Greg Mueller, Theo Tran and Andrew "good2cu" Robl who are all still in contention.

Day 4 saw the bubble burst with 2012 WSOP $50k Players Championship 5th place finisher, Roland Israelashvili the unlucky bubble boy in 55th place. Those who did make the money but were unable to progress to Day 5 include the likes of Chino Rheem, Dan Shak, Will Falia, Andy Bloch, David "doc" Sands, John Hennigan and Phil "MrSweets28" Galfond. In fact Galfond was one of the final players to bust out before play ended for the day and he was mighty unlucky to do so. He shoved from the big blind over the top of Thomas Winter's cut off raise and found himself a big favourite when Winter called with 10 10 vs Galfond's KK. Unfortunately the board ran out Q J 2 K A to net Winters an unlucky straight and send Galfond to the rail in 24th place.

The final elimination before play was suspended for the evening was Frank Rusnak who needed to spike an ace as he committed his last 200k chips holding A7 against Jason Sommerville's JJ. Rusnak found his ace but unfortunately for him, Sommerville also found a third Jack as he flopped a set and brought a close to Rusnak's ambitions.

Play will resume today at midday today and the final 22 will play down to the final six who will then return for Sunday's televised final table.


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