The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship continued on Saturday at the Rio in Las Vegas with the start and completion of Day 4.

Poker’s world championship resumed play with a total of 661 players who survived the third-day session. 

Saturday’s participants played five more levels, of two-hours each in duration.  With periodic 20-minute recesses and a break for dinner, that made for another nearly 13-hour marathon in which nearly two-thirds of the field was eliminated and the leaderboard changed numerous times.

By night’s end, there were just 237 survivors from this session who still remain alive in this year’s world championship.

Here were some of the highlights from Day 4:


CURRENT STANDINGS

The chip leader changed at least seven times on this day.

However, by session’s end, Joe McKeehen, from North Wales, PA stood atop the field with 3,122,000 in chips.  He's trailed closely by Upeshka De Silva, with 3,067,000, who won his first gold bracelet earlier this summer, as well as Brain Hastings, a two-time winner so far in 2015, who ended the day with 2,464,000.

The list of survivors from this session were as follows:  CHIP COUNTS  
 

THE FATE OF FORMER WORLD CHAMPIONS

Of all the former WSOP Main Event winners, only one now remains alive in this year’s championship. 

Five champions started Day 4 – including Phil Hellmuth (1989), Jim Bechtel (1993), Joe Hachem (2005), Jonathan Duhamel (2010), and Ryan Riess.  However, only Bechtel ended the day still alive.  He ended up bagging 1,125,000 in chips, which ranks in the top half of the field.  The fate of the other former champions was, as follows:

-- Hachem finished 289th.
-- Hellmuth finished 417th.
-- Riess finished 426th.
-- Duhamel finished 565th.


HUSBAND AND WIFE JOINED BY MORE THAN MATRIMONY

Only three married couples have won WSOP gold bracelets, including Max and Maria Stern, Harry and Jerri Thomas, and Barry and Allyn Shulman. 

Moreover, relatively few couples have cashed in the Main Event during the same year.  Tim Reilly and Ness Reilly, from Boston, MA added their names to this list as the couple both went deep and made the money.  Tim Reilly went out in 360th place, which paid $24,622.  Ness Reilly will now have bragging rights in their household, since she lasted quite a bit longer, going out late in the day in 244th place, good for a higher payout of $34,157.


CELEBRITIES IN THE WSOP SPOTLIGHT

When Day 4 began, the three biggest names from the sports and entertainment world still alive in the championship were Shane Warne (cricket legend from Australia), Fatima Moreira (3-time Olympic Gold Medal champion from The Netherlands), and Patrick Bruel (French actor/singer and a former gold bracelet winner).

By day’s end, both Warne and Moreira had been eliminated, finishing in 597th- and 286th-place, respectively.
Meanwhile, Bruel was still hanging on, with 167,000 in chips, which is in the bottom part of the field entering Day 5.


WOMEN STILL REMAINING IN THE MAIN EVENT

The day began with barely a dozen females in the championship.  By day’s end, only 6 remained.  They are -- Kelly Minkin, Gabi Livschitz, Suzie Zhao, Sara Hall, Diana Svensk, and Lily Newhouse,
 

SEVERAL MORE WSOP GOLD BRACELET WINNERS ELIMINATED

A large number of gold bracelet winners saw their 2015 WSOP experience come to an end.  Among the most notable former winners to hit the rail were – Kory Kilpatrick, George Danzer, Marco Johnson, Joe Hachem, Mitch Schock, Andre Akkari, Blair Rodman, Ryan Welch, Brian Lemke, Phil Hellmuth, Ryan Riess, Craig McCorkell, J.C. Tran, Charles Sylvestre, Nick Petrangelo, Jonathan Duhamel, Vladimir Shchemelev, Chris Bjorin, David Kitai, and John Monnette.
 

THE 2015 GOLD BRACELET WINNERS CLUB

There were 67 gold bracelet tournaments leading up the Main Event.  Accordingly, many players will return home with the satisfaction of having achieved poker’s most coveted prize, winning the WSOP gold bracelet.  Here’s the fate of a few players who won gold bracelets this year and how they fared in the Main Event on this day:

-- Brian Hastings, who won two gold bracelets this year ($1,500 buy-in Ten-Game Mix and the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud Championship), which gives him three WSOP wins for his career, was near the top of the leaderboard all day and finished near the top of the rankings.  Based on his accumulating point totals, certain to improve with this showing, he’s now one of the favorites to win 2015 WSOP “Player of the Year” honors.

-- Upeshka De Silva, who won his first career gold bracelet victory in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tourney, got as high as second place on the leaderboard and is close on the heels of the chip leader.

-- Phil Hellmuth, who won his 14th career gold bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in Razz Championship, cashed for the 114th time in his career (the most every), finishing in 417th place.

-- Nick Petrangelo, who won his first gold bracelet in this year’s $3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, finished in 552nd place.


APPENDECTOMY INTERUPTS JOHN MYUNG’S WSOP (BARELY)

John Myung, from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC has an impressive resume of tournament cashes dating back more than a decade.  He’d previously cashed in the Main Event twice before, but this year Myung appeared to be in position to post his highest finish ever.  Then, at the end of Day 2, Myung was suddenly struck with an appendectomy and had to be rushed in to undergo emergency surgery.  While in the hospital, Day 3 began and Myung – still in the tournament and comfortable in chips – he was helpless as his chips were blinded off.  Somehow, Myung managed to make it back into the tournament, and made it into the money.  He showed up for Day 4 a bit weary and still weak from the surgery and lasted for several hours before going out during the late afternoon.  Myung ended up finishing in 325th place and is now without an appendix.


THE WILLIAM WACHTER WATCH

One of the most endearing human interest stories of this year’s series was the deep run made by William Wachter, from Carmel, NY.  At 94, he was the oldest player in the field of 6,420 players.  Remarkably, he lasted until the middle of the fourth day, becoming the oldest player in the 46-year history of the WSOP to cash in the Main Event.  Wachter, a veteran of World War 2, finished in 524th place.


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PREVIOUS “BUBBLE” FINISHERS?

It’s become customary to award the “bubble” finisher of the Main Event (the player who barely misses out on making the money) a paid-entry into next year’s championship.  Remarkably, the previous two bubble players fared quite well, since.  Three-time gold bracelet winner Farzad Bonyadi, who bubbled the Main Event in 2013, came back last year and cashed in the championship.  Moreover, he cashed again this year – and is currently very much alive with an above-average stack.

Last year’s bubble finisher was Cai Zhen.  He too made the most of his complimentary repeat opportunity, finishing in 366th place.


WHAT’S COMING NEXT?

The 2015 WSOP Main Event Championship continues with Day 5, which will be played on Sunday, starting at noon.  There will be 237 survivors who will return for the next playing session.  All players who have survived up to this point are guaranteed to receive a payout of at least $34,157.

Play continues for three more days until the 2015 edition of poker’s “November Nine” is ultimately determined.