In the span of six hours the World Series of Poker Main Event has seen the field shrink from 237 hopefuls to just 109 contenders in the biggest poker tournament of the year. It has been an action-packed afternoon and the players are currently on a well-deserved dinner break.
At present, Marc Etienne McLaughlin stands as the chip leader with about 6 million. The Montreal-based poker player's record shows some success up to this moment, including a 30th-place finish in the 2009 WSOP Main Event. McLaughlin jumped into the chip lead right before the dinner bell rang, edging out Jonathan Jaffe (pictured) who rests in second place with just over 5 million chips.
Most of the buzz from this afternoon resulted from Greg Merson's elimination from the Main Event. He went out in 167th place, which paid $42,990. The 2012 World Champion arrived on Day Five in the middle of the pack. However, he lost a number of big hands early in the day and was eliminated when his ace-deuce could not improve against Brett Richey's ace-king.
Merson's elimination leaves Carlos Mortensen as the only past World Champion remaining in the Main Event. Mortensen was hovering near the bottom of the counts for much of the afternoon, but a pair of double ups now has him resting comfortably with almost 1.4 million chips.
The exit of Merson also leaves Steve Gee as the only October Niner in the field. Though Gee exited early at last year's final table, he appears to be in for the long haul here today. The bracelet winner is currently one of the top ten chip counts with over 3.25 million chips.
Notable players still alive include bracelet winner Amir Lehavot, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, two-time bracelet winner Rep Porter, Noah Schwartz, two-time bracelet winner Vitaly Lunkin, and two-time bracelet winner J.C. Tran.
Annette Obrestad deserves her own paragraph. The 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event winner became the youngest gold bracelet winner in history at age 18 (she won in the UK, where the age to enter is 18). She had to wait two years before being able to play at the WSOP in Las Vegas, and now she appears to be making up for lost time. Obrestad, who already has $2.1 million in WSOP earnings across eight cashes, is making her best Main Event run. At present, she's got around 970,000.
Obrestad isn't the only female remaining. She is also joined by Australian pro Jackie Glazier, Kima Kimura, and Beverly Lange. Glazier is sitting on around 1.45 million, while Kimura is taking 680,000 into dinner and Lange ended the level with 930,000.
Day Five was not good to several notables including Ashton Griffin, Ronnie Bardah (124th), bracelet winner Max Steinberg (131st), Kristy Gazes (200th), Roland Israelashvili (218th), Shawn Sheikhan (224th), and Greg Mueller (226th),.
True to its name, the WSOP includes an international cast of nations. There are 27 counties with players still alive. This list is as follows:
Following the dinner break, surviving players will return to the Amazon Room at the Rio and play two more levels on Day Five. Players are expected to bag up just shy of 1am.
Here is a look at the top ten chip counts heading into dinner break:
1. Marc McLaughlin – 6,075,000
2. Jonathan Jaffe – 5,015,000
3.. Sami Rustom – 4,300,000
5. Robert Sichelstiel – 4,300,000
6. Matthew Reed – 4,130,000
7. Anton Morgenstern - 3,755,000
8. Jason Mann – 3,710,000
9. George Wong – 3,690,000
10. Steve Gee – 3,250,000