People may say they play poker for the money and the bracelet, but when you break down the day to day of a poker tournament, really only one thing matters: chips. So, we have decided to take a look at each day of this year's Main Event strictly by the counts to see what history has taught us, what the future may hold, and how this year's event stacks up. Since we always tell you the top ten counts, let's have a glance at the top ten stack stories from Day 4 of the 2013 WSOP Main Event:
1. Rough Day for the Big Stacks
At the beginning of play yesterday, Jon Lane and the other folks near the top of the counts likely felt on top of the world. Yes, the field of 239 was still a ways away from the final table, but a big stack this late in the game usually translates to a top 100 finish. Last year, all ten of the big stacks from the start of Day 5 advanced to Day 6. The year before that, there were seven out of ten that survived the day. This year though, being a big stack at the start of play seemed much more a curse than a blessing. Not only did chip leader Jon Lane exit in 94th place, eight of the top ten stacks failed to make it through the day. While Sami Ruston actually chipped up and finished first in the counts with over 7 million, Yann Dion was the only other player to make it through. Dion survived, but didn’t make much progress over the course of the day, starting with 2,025,000 and ending with 2,270,000—good enough for 37th in the chip ranks.
2. Let’s Hear It for the Gal
We’re down to just one woman left in this year’s Main Event after beginning Day 5 with six females in the field. Jackie Glazier is the last woman standing in this tournament, but there is still a tremendous possibility she survives another day. Glazier ended Day 5 with 4,045,000, which puts her 12th in the counts. Were you to weigh Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille’s success at this stage of the game last year, you would probably feel good about Glazier’s chances, as those ladies ended Day 5 with 3,980,000 and 3,390,000 respectively. Granted, with 68 players left this year compared to 97 last year, the average stack is slightly higher, but Glazier is nonetheless matching the performance of women in the field last year.
3. Youth Prevailing
We are getting into the late stages of the Main Event where players are genuinely starting to pay the physical toll that comes with playing poker so intensely for so many days. So, it isn’t surprising that the average age of the big stacks has dipped into the 20s again. While chip leader Sami Ruston is 46, the rest of the top ten are all under the age of 40 with not one, but two players, Maxx Coleman and Ryan Riess, who are just 23 years old.
4. Gee Whiz
It is always tough to see the first November Niner exit the final table each year, but for two year’s running, it is the ninth place finisher who has given us the biggest sweat and most excitement the following year. Last year, 2011 ninth place finisher Sam Holden made a push for a second Main Event final table that ended with a 55th place finish. This year, it is Steve Gee still drawing live at the incredible feat. Gee comes into play today, coincidentally, 55th in the chip counts. Gee is starting with fewer chips than he did at this point last year, with 1,315,000 compared to 1,815,000 last year.
5. What They Lack in Chips, They Make Up in Experience
We’ve got seven bracelet winners still in this field, including 2001 Main Event Champion Carlos Mortensen. However, while these players have experience on their side, they are all somewhat lacking in the chip department. The highest ranking bracelet winner is JC Tran, who begins 28th in the counts with 3,280,000.
6. It’s Canada Day
We’ve been a bit tough on the Canadians in this column, but they’ve come on strong late in the game here in the Main Event. Two of the top three big stacks are from Canada and there are five Canadians remaining in the field. There were 419 Canadian players in this year’s Main Event, representing 6.6% of the total field. With five in the final 68, they are slightly outperforming their numbers, representing 7.4% of the remaining field.
7. Nine Not-So-Millionaires
With 68 players beginning the day, only nine players are not in seven-figure territory. Bruno Kawauti began the day at the bottom of the pack with 430,000 chips, which translates to a stack worth a little over eight big blinds. At this stage, a million chips is a 20 big blind stack, so , while it may sound like a lot of chips, in the scheme of things, being a millionaire is not as impressive as it sounds. In fact, two tables began today with no players with stacks below a million.
|8. Past Chip Leaders Won’t Go Quietly Into the Night
We’ve spent the past couple of days focused on the latest big stacks, but it is worth pointing out that Day 1B chip leader Clement Tripoldi is still alive in this tournament with 2,100,000. So is Maxx Coleman, the Day 3 chip leader who has the chance to buck the trend of Day 3 chip leaders busting out before the field reaches the top 50 players.
9. What Does Average Mean Anyways?
At the start of Day 6, the average stack is 2,802,352 chips, equating to roughly 56 big blinds. With no particularly lopsided chip leaders distancing themselves from the pack, that number runs pretty close to the median chip stack as well. There are 32 players who are above average and 36 who began the day below it.
10. More N9 Prognosticating
Yesterday we observed that, for the past five years, one and exactly one player from the end of Day 4 top ten advances to the November Nine. The end of Day 5 chip leaders have had a little more mixed results, but the numbers are still lower than you might expect. Three out of the past five years, only one player in the top ten at the start of Day 6 made the final table (2008-Dennis Phillips, 2010-Joseph Cheong, and 2012-Rob Salaburu). The other two years, three players from the top ten maintained the momentum and earned a spot in the November Nine. In 2011, Phil Collins, Ben Lamb, and eventual champ Pius Heinz all made their presence known on Day 5. Back in 2009, it was Darvin Moon, James Akenhead, and Steven Begleiter.