When Day 6 began at the 2008 World Series of Poker there were a number of names on the tips of ever fans tongue. Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Victor Ramdin and Kido Pham were the biggest names left and everybody in the Amazon Room was hoping that a couple of them would make the November Nine.
But after the day was done, and Nikolay Losev had been eliminated in 28th, none of those big four were still in the field. In a day of attrition all four players were sent home paving the way for the final 27 to come back on Monday and play down the November Nine.
The chip leader is Dennis Phillips from St. Louis, MO with 11.9 million. He and Craig Marquis, who sits second with 11.46 million, spent the better part of the last hour of play going back and forth for the chip lead. One of Marquis’ roommates Dave Benefield was one of the Day 6 casualties as well but the deep run by both players is something Marquis credits for his success.
"It was crazy because we never played at the same table, which I'm pretty glad about because he's definitely better at poker than I am,” said Marquis, who is normally a cash game specialist. "Coming into this event I was kind of pressured because I'm the only person (in the house) who hasn't done anything the entire series. I'm pretty excited." Marquis’ other roommate, Joe Commisso, took home a bracelet from Event #46 ($5,000 Six-handed No Limit Hold’em).
But despite the big stacks at the top, the two happiest players in the room when play ended for the day might have been Tim Loecke and Nicholas Sliwinski. After qualifying online via a $63 satellite Loecke is now guaranteed at least $257,334 and while he’s having the time of his life, he’s focused on one thing.
“I want the dream, man. I just want to be in that nine. I want to be in that nine,” said Loecke, who works as a Sales Manager for Staples. “If I don’t, I don’t, but we’re gonna have fun trying“.
Loecke is actually playing his first live tournament ever and at the end of Day 1 he received a compliment from one of poker’s legends, who he had shared a table with the entire day.
“I had Johnny Chan at my table,” said Loecke. “He was great, very personable. We both had big chip stacks at the table, he came around the table and gave me the greatest compliment I could ask for, he said ‘you’re a very good poker player’.”
But Loecke wasn’t the only one who caught the eye of the 10-time bracelet winner. During Day 5 action, with roughly 180 players remaining, Chan was being interviewed by Dutch television and was asked who he thought was going to win the event. He picked Sliwinski.
“I hadn’t played with him. I hadn’t met him and as far as I had known, he hadn’t even seen me play,” said Sliwinski. Little did Chan know that the interviewer was Sliwinski’s sister, Melece, who the Dutch journalists had asked to help conduct the interview in English.
“And he offered to personally tutor me. Once I pick through this field, with 18 more people need to go out tomorrow, I’ve got 2.5 months to have Johnny Chan tutor me, and of course I’m going to take him up on it.”
Another player living the dream is Tiffany Michelle, who sits third with 9.75 million in chips and is the last female standing. Should Michelle make the final table she will be only the second female to do so, joining Hall of Famer Barbara Enright, who accomplished the feat in 1995 with a fifth place finish.
For complete chip counts and live updates on the November Nine stay locked in to WorldSeriesofPoker.com.