LAS VEGAS -- Only 13 tables remain in the Amazon Room after six hours of play on Day 5. The table conversations have turned from general chatter to almost nothing but the rattle of chips, and with the blinds at 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante, we saw plenty of million-chip pots that have shaped the leaderboard.
Marc McLaughlin, Jonathan Jaffe and Sami Rustom lead the remaining field of 109. McLaughlin surged to a 5.8 million chip stack late in the last level with an A-A>Q-Q hand against Patrick Renkers. Jaffe's day at the feature table has been extremely active. He eliminated Vivek Rajkumar during the first level of Day 5 (A-Q>Q-Q) then chipped up to 3 million after a hand with Yi Fang. He knocked out Nikolai Sears, won a 1.1 million chip pot against Michiel Brummelhuis and recently won a couple hundred thousand off Goran Mandic to end the level with 5.1 million.
Rustom's latest addition of nearly 1 million chips came after a big fade on the river with 6-6 against Vincent Robert's flush draw with Ad-4d. As a heart hit the river, Robert hit the rail and Rustom moved over the 4 million chip mark for the first time. He headed to dinner with 4.3 million in chips.
2001 WSOP main event champion Carlos "The Matador" Mortensen has had an active level, which was initially more focused on survival than anything else. Mortensen suffered a tough beat with 9-9 against 5-5 to drop to nearly 400,000, but he got those chips back after his A-8 overcame J-J with his tournament on the line. A few hands later, Mortensen doubled again with aces over queens, and he's at his tournament peak with 1.5 million in chips.
Steven Gee kept his quest for a repeat final table alive with a double up of A-A>K-Q and is over 3 million heading into the dinner break. The past few days haven't been easy for Gee, but he's survived and is back with a strong stack deep in the main event. This is already an incredible accomplishment, and at this point, I can't help but wonder what if ...
Small blinds: Former chip leader Max Steinberg, Ronnie Bardah and Ashton Griffin were among the eliminations during the last level. ... Robert Sichelstiel tried to sell action on 2+2 but received just a few percent of interest. Guess who's laughing now. ... Pedro Fernandez was down to one big blind. At dinner he has over 1 million in chips. ... The next pay jump comes at 99th. ... Definitely fewer all-ins and calls over the past two hours. ... There will be four more hours of play tonight.