The WSOP gangplank is the long and disappointing walk from the poker table to the exit. Aside from one winner, all finishers are forced to make the walk at some point. This year, 6,864 players will make what for every participant is an unwelcome departure from the richest and most exciting poker game of the entire year. They will go back to their homes, families, jobs, problems, and all that constitutes daily life.
Every walk is accompanied by a gambit of emotions as well as a mistress named envy. For some players who go bust, the initial reaction is anger. For others, the first emotion is disappointment. But for most players that leave Las Vegas, their sorrow is gradually replaced by contentment and in most cases -- slow and steady self-satisfaction. In his or her own way, everyone who plays in the WSOP is a winner. Just getting onto the floor and taking a seat in the big game is a victory. And those who are fortunate enough to play deep or cash in the Main Event should take great pride in accomplishing what most players can only dream.
And so, at the moment -- the Rio in Las Vegas is filled with a whirlwind of anger, disappointment, jubilation, and intensity that can only be seen on so many levels by so many different people from all over the word at the WSOP.
As of the mid-day break early on Saturday evening, there are 215 players with dreams that remain alive in the Main Event. Some of those dreams are more realistic than others. In fact, some are better described as fantasies. First, there are the chip leaders – including chip leader Alex Moore (Athens, GA), Daryl Jace (Saugus, MA), Heinz Pius (Germany), David Bach (Athens, GA) and Paul Spitzberg (Manchester, NJ). The top five ranked players must now be thinking there's a realistic chance to make a very deep run in the Main Event that could be life changing. Then, there are players with far shorter stacks, who have quite a different dream at this stage of the tournament. Right now, their dream is simply to remain alive and survive until the end of the day.
Day Five of the 2011 WSOP Main Event began with 378 players, which represented about 5 percent of the door-busting number of participants that started what was the third-largest live poker tournament in history, with 6,865 players.
Among the more well-known players who have been eliminated in the initial four hours of play on Day Five were -- Peter Jetten (Toronto, Canada), David Levi (Las Vegas, NV), Richard Lee (San Antonio, TX), "Miami John" Cernuto (Miami, FL), Freddy Deeb (Las Vegas, NV), Darus Suharto (Toronto, Canada), Mike Ellis (London, UK) and many others.
Manoj Viswanathan (New York, NY) began the day as chip leader. He was one of only two players who started play with more than 3 million in chips. The other was former gold bracelet winner (and reigning WSOP Circuit champion Sam Barnhart (Little Rock, AR).
Viswanathan has suffered a tough day, so far. He has fallen from first place to about 25th place in the standings, after losing about 20 percent of his giant stack. Nevertheless, he remains a force and someone to watch over the next few critical levels of play.
The current chip leader (at press time) is Alex Moore. He has enjoyed a monster day and is on the rush of a lifetime. He began the day with only 400,000 in chips (about 65 percent of tournament average) and has increased his stack by about 8 times, now up to nearly 3,500,000. Moore knows he still has a long way to go. But for now, he's getting the most attention among those who will play for four more hours this evening until chips are bagged for another night.
The WSOP continues to be a truly global spectacle. When Day Five began, there were 33 nations still represented in the Main Event. The top five nations by player count were -- United States (230 players), Canada (42 players), Great Britain (20 players), Germany (16 players) and Russia (11 players).
Day Five will end once four full levels of play have been completed, which is estimated to be about 10:45 pm PST (Saturday night).
For the latest updates and chip counts of all remaining players, please click HERE.