Rhode Islander leads with just one day separating the final 26 and the final table

July 11, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - There is only one more day of play before the final table for the year’s most anticipated final table is set. Day 6 of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event wrapped up in the early hours of Wednesday morning with the 7,874-player field down to its final 26 players.

Those final 26, who will play down to the final nine players on Wednesday afternoon, are led by Aram Zobian. The poker pro from Rhode Island bagged up the chip lead with 41,585,000 in chips. It’s a sizable lead with Artem Metalidi in second with just 30,845,000.

“I can’t even comprehend how good I’m running right now,” said Zobian after bagging up his stack. “[I’m] definitely blessed. I’ve never ran this good in a tournament. Not even close. Hopefully that will be true for tomorrow as well.”

Zobian climbed to the top of the chip counts earlier in the day thanks to a run of cards anybody would be jealous of. It wasn’t a steady climb, however, as he lost a three-way all in after coming back from dinner break with the chip lead.

Jan Mach was all in with ace-ten, Zobian held ace-king and Metalidi was all in for about 10 million with pocket kings. Metalidi’s hand held up, he more than doubled up into the chip lead and Zobian lost more than a third of his stack.

“I wasn’t really too distraught after that hand because earlier in the day I actually lost a massive pot when I was bluffed and I made the incorrect fold,” said Zobian. “After that hand, I was very clam and very cool. So, after the ace-king hand, I was the same. Just very patient and stayed calm.”

Patient is exactly what he was. He hovered around 20 million until a late surge. In the final 30 minutes of the day, he eliminated Nishant Sharma in 34th place with an aces versus queens all in preflop scenario to move into the chip lead. He extended it by busting Samuel Bernabue in 30th place when his pocket queens held up against Bernabeu’s king-queen suited.

Coming into Day 7, Zobian doesn’t plan on doing anything differently. Nor should he.

“[I’m] just going to do my morning routine. Take it one day at a time and one hand at a time,” said Zobian.

Joining Zobian and Metalidi at the top of the counts are Antoine Labat (28,445,000), start-of-day chip leader Michael Dyer (26,515,000) and Alex Lynskey (22,045,000).

Bracelet winners Yueqi Zhu, Eric Froehlich, Ivan Luca and Barry Hutter also made it through the day with Zhu finishing just outside the top five with 19,245,000. He won his first bracelet earlier in the summer by taking down the $1,500 mixed Omaha hi-lo event. Hutter comes into Day 7 as the stack with just 2,250,000.

2009 Main Event champion Joe Cada also made it through the day but is near the bottom of the chip counts with 8,850,000. Despite his experience running deep in this event, the two experiences are completely different.

“My first one I was Day 1C chip lead and was double average, playing comfortably the whole time until maybe the final 15 [players],” said the Michigan native. “This one, it’s a much different dynamic, playing shorter and grinding more. I’m much more disciplined this time around because I don’t think people give me credit as much. My image has changed, so I have to kind of change as well.”

There is a certain amount of pressure that comes with playing under the scrutiny that comes with making it deep in the Main Event, as well as under the lights and cameras of the ESPN production crew. Cada thinks his experience playing in this atmosphere is minimal though.

“I’m not sure. I guess it affects everyone differently,” said Cada. “I think just my experience alone, having played so much poker, helps me out here. I just try and get through the day. It’s been a long six days. I remember now what this process was like.”

Cada, who won the Main Event at just 21 years old, isn’t the only one with that experience. Sylvain Loosli finished fourth in this event in 2013. The French pro finished a few spots ahead of Cada with 11,635,000.

One of day’s highlights on the felt was Jeffrey Trudeau’s hero call on Laurynas Levinskas. Trudeau raised from early position and check-called all three streets on the       runout with the river bet being a shove for 3,300,000.

Trudeau thought for a couple minutes before calling the shove. Levinskas showed    and Trudeau won the pot with   .

“With his bet sizing on all three streets, and the way he threw out all of his chips on the river, he just looked very uncomfortable,” said the 24-year-old poker pro from Orlando. “I just thought he would have more bluffs in his range than value hands, especially with his sizing. I was like 70 percent sure he was bluffing, so I was like ‘Alright, call.’”

With so much on the line, and so many cameras on him, even though he was pretty sure about it, the call was far from easy.

“With all the cameras and stuff, I was kind of like ‘Man, do I really want to call here and be wrong and look like an idiot with ace-high?’” said Trudeau. “But I was like ‘Just whatever.’ I felt like I had the best hand.”

Levinskas busted in 79th place for $91,610 and Trudeau used the chips to survive the day. The four-time Circuit champion finished the day with 5,090,000, ahead of only Nirath Rean and Bart Lybaert.  

When cards got in the air, there were 109 players still in the hunt after yesterday’s version of a rain delay and plenty of top pros busted before the day’s final hand. Shaun Deeb (104th), Justin Harvell (95th), Aleksandr Shevelev (82nd), Jordan Cristos (69th), Kelly Minkin (50th), James Obst (46th), Benjamin Pollak (42nd), Brian Yoon (41st), Shannon Shorr (39th), and Jason Gooch (36th) were all out of the tournament before the day’s end.

The day was scheduled to stop when there were 27 players remaining. Clayton Fletcher busted in 28th place to officially put an end to the day, but the hands on the three other tables needed to finish up before the staff brought bags for the day.

And those three hands didn’t disappoint. Barry Hutter tripled up and Jordan Fox busted to Dyer in 27th, which left the field with 26 players.

Those 26 players will return on Wednesday at noon to play down to the final nine. There are a few minutes left in level 31 with blinds of 100,000/200,000 with a 30,000 ante and everybody is guaranteed a cash of at least $282,630.

Top 10 Chip Counts:

1st: Aram Zobian - 41,585,000
2nd: Artem Metalidi - 30,845,000
3rd: Antoine Labat - 28,445,000
4th: Michael Dyer - 26,515,000
5th: Alex Lynskey - 22,045,000
6th: Yueqi Zhu - 19,245,000
7th: Kao Saechao - 18,985,000
8th: Martijn Gerrits - 17,790,000
9th: Nicolas Manion - 17,630,000
10th: Eric Froehlich - 15,285,000

Full Chip Counts
Results Thus Far
Day 6 Live Updates