The fourth day of action in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship ended much like it began—with Don Nguyen leading the way and everyone else desperately trying to keep up. In fact, Nguyen only managed to extend his lead over the course of Day 4 action as the field played from 26 players, through the money, and down to the official final table.

Nguyen ended play today with just north of 5 million chips, while his next closest competitors bagged just south of 3 million. It is a massive chip lead, but with so much play left in such a prestigious event, it is certainly not a given that Nguyen’s Day 5 of play will go as smoothly as Day 4 did.

While Nguyen managed to steadily build throughout Day 4 of play, other players were not so lucky. In fact, 10 of the 26 players who returned for action today went home empty-handed, including John Juanda, Greg Mueller, Joe Hachem, 2009 Champ David Bach, Mike Leah, Stephen Chidwick, and Justin Smith.

The money bubble itself was an interesting affair. Hand for hand went for a stretch before two players busted on the same hand, resulting in a split of 16th place money. While Australian Gary Benson got his aces cracked in a PLO hand by George Danzer on one table, Joe Cassidy got it all-in in a Stud 8 hand against Huck Seed holding two pair only to have Seed improve to a better two pair on seventh street. The dual elimination resulted in a split of the $111,893 payday with each taking home $55,947.

Once the bubble burst, the eliminations picked back up a bit as Kevin Song (14th), Bryn Kenney (12th), and two-time Poker Players Championship final tablist Huck Seed (10th) hit the rail. Once the group got down to the nine-handed unofficial final table, it did take a while, but eventually bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky’s exit in ninth place drew the day to a close.

This year’s Poker Players Championship final table features only one player who was been there before, 2011 third place finisher Minh Ly. John Hennigan and Mike Wattel have cashed in this event previously, but the other five are brand new faces to the shortlist of players with Poker Players Championship success.

The final table also features one World Champion, 2010 winner Jonathan Duhamel, who is proving his skills at the table extend beyond just No Limit Hold’em. David Benyamine, who has long excelled at a wide array of games, is also posting his first Poker Players Championship cash. George Danzer of Germany as well as Hennigan, Benyamine, and Nguyen will be making their second final table appearances of the summer, growing the list of repeat final tablists this
summer to 39.

Matthew Ashton will be making his impressive fourth final table appearance of the summer, tying himself for the most of 2013 along with David “Bakes” Baker. Ashton also has a sweat on his hands beyond just whether or not he will win the Chip Reese trophy. A top two finish in this event would make him the new frontrunner in the WSOP Player of the Year race, giving him the lead over Daniel Negreanu.

Here are the chip counts and seat assignments for the Poker Players Championship final table:

Seat 1: Matthew Ashton – 2,996,000
Seat 2: Jonathan Duhamel – 1,627,000
Seat 3: Don Nguyen – 5,068,000
Seat 4: Mike Wattel – 810,000
Seat 5: George Danzer – 2,868,000
Seat 6: Minh Ly – 2,307,000
Seat 7: John Hennigan – 1,412,000
Seat 8: David Benyamine – 2,709,000

The final table gets underway at 2pm PT on Thursday. Live updates will be available on WSOP.com. There will also be a livestream with commentary from David Tuchman and a panel of guests throughout the day on a five-minute delay.