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, each day of this year's Main Event, we’re going to take a look at what’s going on strictly by the counts to see what history has taught us, what the future may hold, and how this year's event stacks up. Here are some of the big takeaways from our end of Day 3 chip counts:

Where Does Chip Leader Matthew Haugen Stack Up?

Today’s start of day chip leader, Matthew Haugen, has an impressive stack with 2,808,000 chips, but that isn’t quite enough to set the record for biggest start of Day 5 stack in Main Event history. For players in a comparable structure, that honor goes to last year’s start of day chip leader Jon Lane, who started with 2,839,000. If you look all-time though, it is 2006 winner Jamie Gold who began Day 5 of play with the most, as he started with an astonishing 3.7 million with 300 players from a field 8,773. While there were more players in Gold’s year, there were actually fewer chips, as players began with 20,000, resulting in just over 175 million chips in play compared to the 200 million we have in circulation this Main Event.

Too Many with Two Million

In many years, the start of Day 5 chip leader hasn’t even had 2 million chips. The most players we’ve ever seen return for Day 5 in that territory is seven, which occurred last year. This year, we have 12 players with more than 2 million chips. Not only is the wealth spread among many people, it will be spread amongst many tables too, as none of these players will begin the day seated together.

Our Daily November Nine Prognosticating

It may seem like we’re nearing the end as we enter Day 5, but at this point in the tournament, most of the players who will end up in the November Nine are still lurking somewhere in the middle of the pack. Since 2008 when players started beginning play with 30,000 chips and the event generally adhered to the same structure, no more than one November Niner has ended Day 4 in the top ten each year and none of them were the start of day chip leader. Last year, none of the top ten made it to the November Nine and only three of them even managed to survive the day. Only once has the eventual winner ended up in the end of Day 4 top ten. That happened in 2011 when Pius Heinz finished third in chips.

Bling Bling
There are 19 bracelet winners left in the field and, if history is any indication, we should end up with one of them at the final table. Since the inception of the November Nine, only one final table has not featured a previous bracelet winner, 2008. The highest ranking bracelet winner heading into today is Brian Hastings, who is beginning 11th in chips with 2,079,000.


Only four players from the country of Thailand took part in this year’s Main Event, and one of them Pakinai Lisawad, is in the top ten chip counts. Last year, Lisawad posted the best Main Event finish of a Thai player ever, taking 318th place. He has already surpassed that mark this year, and could move to number one on the Thailand all-time money list with a top 27 finish.

Two Girls, One Million

There are six women left in the field and two of them are sitting pretty in the chip counts with seven-figure stacks. Other than 2012, when three women all bagged up over a million, no more than one woman has bagged up those kinds of stacks at this point in the tournament. With two, Mikiyo Aoki and Marcia Kuntz, maybe this is the year we see another woman get close to the final table.

How Is Newhouse’s Old Count?

After spending much of Day 4 grinding the short stack, Mark Newhouse ended the day above average with a nice stack of 1,301,000 chips. That is good enough to put him 27th in the counts heading into today, which is basically the exact same situation he was in at the start of Day 5 last year. Newhouse started the 2013 Main Event Day 5 22nd in the counts with 1,611,000 chips. He ended that day 40th in chips with just north of 2 million, so even if Newhouse doesn’t build a big stack, you shouldn’t count out his chances for a run at a second consecutive Main Event final table.

Assessing the Average

At this point in the tournament, players are returning to blinds of 6,000/12,000 ante 2,000 and the average stack of 709,587 amounts to around 59 big blinds. Of the 291 players in the field, 116 are above average, while the majority, 175, are sitting below that benchmark. If you were to identify the danger zone in this tournament as less than twenty big blinds, there are only 42 players in that boat, while just seven players are returning with less than ten big blinds.

How Have the Mighty Fallen?

Wondering how the chip leaders up to this point have fared? Here’s the breakdown:

1A: Martin Jacobson – still in with 1,594,000
1B: John Luxemburger – did not cash
1C: Eric Tracy – did not cash
2AB: Timothy Stansifer – still in with 134,000
2C: Phil Ivey – cashed in 430th place ($25,756)
3: Andrew Liporace – still in with 991,000