JC Tran is used to thriving on big stages. He has two WSOP bracelets, he’s found victory under the lights of the World Poker Tour set, and he has amassed over $9.5 million in poker tournament earnings over the years. But even a seasoned vet like Tran feels the pressure on Day 6 of the World Series of Poker Main Event. After all, just a couple dozen people stand between him and a doubling of career tournament earnings that would propel him into the league of all-time greats like Erik Seidel and Phil Ivey.

But before Tran can think about the bracelet, he and the 43 other players still alive on tonight’s all-new episodes of WSOP coverage on ESPN have to worry about making it to the end of the day. The sixth day of play in the Main Event is unforgiving. One mistake, one bad beat, and a week’s worth of time at the tables turns from a life-changing experience to a near-miss.

Whether you are farmer Phil Mader or poker pros like Byron Kaverman, Jackie Glazier, Carlos Mortensen, and Tran, the tension is palpable as the tables in the Amazon Room at the Rio continue to break down and players inch closer and closer to the November Nine. No one is safe from elimination, just ask folks like Billy Kopp and Marc-Andre Ladouceur, both of whom went from big stack to out in the blink of an eye.

For players like Tran or 2001 Main Event Champ Carlos Mortensen, there is added pressure from fans and peers who assume that players with skills like theirs have a seat at the November Nine final table all locked up. Jackie Glazier is feeling the pressure too. As the last woman left in the field, the hopes poker fans built up last year when Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille made their runs are now on her.

Even though the mood in the Rio is growing more and more serious, that doesn’t mean this week’s coverage isn’t without its lighter moments. In between breaks form the action, we’ll hear more from Phil Hellmuth and his White Magic, we’ll watch Norman Chad take on none other than Poker Hall of Fame nominee Mike “The Mouth” Matusow on the bowling lanes, and we’ll see some of the most exuberant celebrations the game has to offer as players go all-in only to come out with their Main Event hopes still intact.

You may not see that enthusiasm from Tran though. Not only is he one of the most experienced players left in the fied, he is also notoriously calm, cool, and collected. Part of the crew of California pros like Nam Le, Tim Phan, and Tuan Le that took the tournament poker world by storm about a decade ago, Tran was once one of those faces you saw at every major event on the tournament circuit.

Lately poker fans haven’t seen as much of Tran though. The Sacramento, CA-based Tran recently got married and started a family, which shifted his priorities away from the tables. We’ll let him explain in this sneak preview from tonight’s episode:

 
Will this year bring the Main Event victory that allows Tran to spend even more time at home with his family? Tune in at 9pm ET for more of the Day 6 action to see if Tran can keep building his stack. Tweet us your thoughts on the coverage to #WSOPonESPN.