The continued story at the Main Event is how much people want to stay in it. The field of 135 players was cut to 65 before the dinner break, and those players got their through a shower of monster hands. Prahlad Friedman doubled up with quad jacks to knock out Kevin Daly's queens. Aki Ruuskanen's quad queens sent Glenn Karlsen to the rail with his kings. Clint Brotherton may have had the most brutal beat for today, when his A-Q was up against Eric Lynch's A-J. The board of Q-J-4-J-J doubled up Lynch.
There were few big names left at the tables, and the three best known players had to fight through the sea of unknown players. Annie Duke's top 100 finish brought her biggest cash in over a year (88th, $51,129). Allen Cunningham fought hard with a short stack through much of the day. He doubled up over $1M for the first time when he moved all-in with K-Jo vs. pocket 7's and spiked a jack. He dropped back to $500k on a big pot right before the dinner break. By the end of the day, he was below average at $1.3M but still in the hunt. Humberto Brenes started at $835k and ended at 565k and didn't do much in between. He's still around, and you have to be around to have a chance.
Crowd favorite and former chip leader, Dmitri Nobles, had another topsy-turvy day, but ended in turvy. The camera loved him, and ESPN would have booked him at the final table if they could, but he left in 76th ($65,973). Jeffrey Lisandro finished close to $3M, one of the few players left in the field with WSOP final table experience.
Jamie Gold started as the Day 5 chip leader and it looked like he'd read some book about how to wrongly use the chip lead: he just started doubling up everyone at the table with marginal hands. He doubled up one player holding A-4o vs. AA, and then a couple of hands later he called with pocket 7's which were up against queens. His table replaced Humberto Brenes' table at the ESPN Feature Table, and his magic returned. By the dinner break, Gold was up to $5.2M and a big chip lead over 2nd place Erik Friburg's $4.3M. Lee Kort held the chip lead briefly at $3.1M but dropped back on a tough table. He took the final pot of the day on a big bluff with K-J on a board of to push Doug Lee off of his pocket 10's. Kort finished at $2.0M.
Martin de Knijff, former WPT Championship winner and head of Martins Poker, was identified as improperly using someone else's media credentials near a member of Team Martin. There is no official word on what, if any, ramifications this will have for him or his player.
Jamie Gold finished strong, picking off David Murray's pocket deuces move with pocket 10's. A 10 and a 2 flopped, and Gold was up to $7.3M and the final chip lead. The field was cut from 135 to 45 in these five levels, and the average stacks have moved up to $1.9M. Every player is now guaranteed $247,399. The unofficial leader board at midnight:
1. Jamie Gold ($7.3M)
2. Erik Friberg ($5.9M)
3. William Thorsson ($3.5M)
4. Rhett Butler ($3.2M)
5. Kevin Aaronson ($3.2M)
6. Ricki Nielsen ($3.2M)
7. Siddharth Jain ($3.1M)
8. Michael Binger ($3.0M)
9. Jeffrey Lisandro ($3.0M)
10. James Routos ($2.8M)
For the most part, our analysis to begin the day on Sunday came through. The field was cut to 45 players.