We’ve had a couple of weeks off, but Tuesday night is once again poker night on ESPN with two brand new hours of World Series of Poker Main Event coverage, starting at 9pm ET tonight.
The action picks back up at the start of Day 5 of this year’s Main Event. The starting field of 6,352 is down to the final 239 and Jon Lane of Menasha, WI leading the way with just over 2.8 million chips. While Doyle Brunson may not be back in action, bracelet winners Rep Porter, Max Steinberg, Amir Lehavot, Ronnie Bardah, JC Tran, Jim Collopy, and Greg Mueller are all still alive. So is Steve Gee, last year’s ninth place finisher looking for redemption after an early final table exit.
Then, of course, there are two players who know how it feels to win on poker’s biggest stage—2001 Main Event Champ Carlos Mortensen and the defending champ, Greg Merson. It has been almost a decade since we’ve seen a past winner return to the final table, but with two World Champs still kcking on Day 5, a poker fan has to start to wonder.
The big names still pepper this quickly shrinking field, but Day 5 is more about which players break out as people to watch as they make a run to the final table. In past year’s this is the part of the tournament where memorable characters like Dmitri Nobles, Hevad Khan, Tiffany Michelle, and Eric Molina make their presence known.
In the last batch of new episodes, Carter Gill proved to be a YouTube sensation after his sad reaction to a bad beat on the river. This week, the player with breakout potential as an internet meme might just be Yi Fang.
At a feature table that boasts the likes of Jonathan Jaffe and rapper/poker pro Brett Richey, it is Fang who steals the spotlight with antics, table talk, and an enthusiasm for the game unrivaled by anyone else on this year’s coverage. ESPN is already circulating a memorable hand between Fang and Jaffe, but that is just the start of what this Canadian brings to the table tonight in primetime.
As the field plays from more than 200 to 68 over the course of Day 5, we will also get some camera time with this year’s November Nine, a crop who have been tearing up the tournament Circuit since making the final table. Last year, none of the Octo-Niners posted any major results in the downtime, but this time around three players have made deep runs, including final table appearances at both the EPT Barcelona High Roller Event and the High Roller Event at Seminole Hard Rock in Florida last month.
The action begins at 9pm ET on ESPN. Tune in, Tweet at us about your thoughts on #WSOPonESPN and check out this sneak peek of what to expect tonight on the WSOP: