Friday saw Day 4 played out as the 852 survivors from the previous day were cut down to 378, with Phil Hellmuth’s hopes of a record-breaking 12th WSOP gold bracelet ended for another year.
Phil Hellmuth hasn’t enjoyed a title success in the Las Vegas series now since 2007, when he picked up $637,254 for winning the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event #15.
The Poker Brat – who has a record 85 cash finishes in the series – certainly didn’t have much to celebrate on Saturday, even though it was his 47th birthday as he was unable to improve on his three runner-up spots at the WSOP 2011.
Hellmuth’s best-ever WSOP performance undoubtedly came in 1993, when he recorded an incredible three first-place finishes in three successive days from No-Limit Hold’em events 7, 8 and 9 – with $173,000 from the $2,500, $161,400 from the $1,500, and $138,000 from the $5,000 – as well as $72,500 for his runner-up spot in event #20, the $5,000 No-Limit 2 to 7 Lowball.
But that’s all well behind him now – and Hellmuth will, without doubt, be extremely disappointed to have fallen short of leaving the legendary Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan two WSOP bracelets behind on 10. In fact, he didn’t even make the money, even with 693 paid in the main event.
Reza Kashani was, however, the unlucky bubble boy after being eliminated in 694th place. Joseph Cheong knocked out fellow Californian Kashani on the fifth hand while the event had entered hand-for-hand play that lasted an incredible 46 minutes.
It was a crying shame for Irvine’s Kashani as he had paid his own way into the main event after just one year of playing poker.
However, he was not too disappointed, saying that he believes he gained “a lot of good experience” from his first WSOP event, despite his elimination, and reckons this “is going to help me for next year”.
Kashani may well have just missed out on making $19,359 for 693rd place, but he soon received some wonderful – and unexpected – news soon after his elimination as the organisers announced he would be given free entry to next year’s main event, meaning he becomes the first official entry into the 2012 WSOP.
Kashani displayed good humour throughout and even had some playful words of warning for “all the players who are coming and will be here” next year as he stated “they better watch out for me!” There’s nothing quite like displaying confidence – and Kashani will surely be a much-improved player come next summer. Beware!
Once Kashani had exited, though, we witnessed a flood of bust-outs in the Amazon Room of the Rio to see the field move up five levels on the payout scale by the time the chips were bagged up.
Kashani and Hellmuth were joined by the likes of David Diaz, Todd Brunson, Chris Bjorin, Bryan Micon, Vanessa Rousso, Joe Serock, Sandra Naujoks, Robert Varkonyi, Jake Cody, Shannon Shorr, Dennis Phillips, Steve O’Dwyer, Andrew Chen, Berry Johnston, Jeff Madsen, Humberto Brenes and Jeffrey Lisandro as Day 4 casualties.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Manoj Viswanathan led the way into Day 5 on 2,115,000, with Sam Barnhart second (1,925,000), of Arkansas, and Germany’s Pius Heinz (1,887,000) third.
But the most exciting hand of the day was most definitely the three-way pot involving Texan WIlliam Douglas Smith, California’s Paul Baron and Brazilian Nelson Dantas.
All three committed their stacks pre-flop, with Dantas having been dealt A♠ A♣, Baron holding K♠ K♦ and Smith showing Q♦ Q♥!
The board ran J♠ K♥ 10♦ 8♥ 5♦ and Baron’s trip kings – which chipped up him to 370,000 – sent Smith to the rail and chopped Dantas’ stack down to 205,000.
Top 10 chip leaders after Day 6 of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship:
1. James Lenaghan (USA) – 12,865,000
2. Ben Lamb (USA) – 9,980,000
3. Matt Giannetti (USA) – 7,940,000
4. Andrey Pateychuk (Russia) – 7,255,000
5. Phil Collins (USA) – 7,240,000
6. Hilton Laborda (Brazil) – 7,160,000
7. Nelson Robinson (USA) – 6,420,000
8. Tri Huynh (Canada) – 6,295,000
9. Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (Russia) – 6,070,000
10. Bryan Devonshire (USA) – 5,970,000