LAS VEGAS -- The World Series of Poker main event is only 18 eliminations away from reaching the biggest final table of the year. Play was halted after four levels of play on Day 6 and only 27 players remain in the hunt for $8.3 million. Steven Gee's quest for a back-to-back main event final table appearance remains alive, but similar to the past few days, Gee will bring one of the shortest stacks into action Monday. Gee said that the way he went out in 2012 has kept him up nights, and all he wanted to do this year was to just get back to Day 7 and have a chance at redemption.
"I just hoped for one more day," said Gee after play on Day 6. "I'm just taking it one day at a time. ... Anything can happen on Day 7, and I just wanted to get there and give myself a chance to play. I just needed one more day to [prove myself]."
Gee has outlasted 13,095 players over the past two main events, playing for an astounding 14 days total. He bagged 3.1 million in chips and with the blinds 60,000/120,000 with a 15,000 ante, he'll need to be active early. He entered Day 7 last year 22nd in chips. This year he's 23rd.
The man who everyone is chasing after Day 6 is Anton Morgenstern. The cash game player was born in the United States, but moved to Germany and looks to follow in Pius Heinz's footsteps with a November Nine bid. He built a substantial lead Sunday, playing a style that was envied throughout the Amazon Room. He was involved in only a few major hands, but for the most part, he simply chipped away at his opponents to win plenty of small pots. He ended the night with 21.9 million in chips.
Anton Morgenstern leads the final 27 in the 2013 WSOP main event.
"I had huge setups in my favor and that gave me the momentum, and with that momentum it's easy to pick up little pots," said Morgenstern to Bluff. "People don't want to mess with you if you always have the nuts at showdown."
Morgenstern may have the lead, but his starting table is anything but easy on Day 7 as it features four of the five top stacks. One of those stacks belongs to JC Tran, who absolutely dominated the feature table on Day 6. Tran, making his sixth cash in the past 10 main events, put on a clinic during the later levels with aggressive play and had no problem chipping up at a table that featured 2001 main event champion Carlos Mortensen and Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Mortensen remained stoic all day and looks to become the first repeat champion since Johnny Chan in 1989. Mortensen seemed confident after play Sunday and told the Spanish press, "If you want to make money, you'd bet on me."
Timoshenko was the chip leader for the first two levels, but dropped a bit during the last level to end with 5.3 million in chips.
There were plenty of brutal knockouts throughout the day, but the most dramatic elimination came just moments before play concluded as Jackie Glazier was eliminated in 31st. Glazier had battled on the short stack all day at the feature table. She managed to double up a few times by winning races, but she was unable to chip up naturally without her tournament life on the line. Down to around 2.4 million in chips once again, Glazier moved all-in with A-Q and was called by Sergio Castelluccio's 10-10. The flop of 9-9-9 gave Glazier an additional out, but she couldn't connect on the turn or river. She immediately felt the emotion and headed over to her rail and into the arms of her husband, clearly distraught. She wiped her tears away just long enough to do an interview, but the Australian's elimination was difficult to watch. In a game where keeping emotions in check is everything, her reaction is a simple reminder about what it takes for these players to come so close to their dreams, but miss it ever so slightly. This will be the 18th consecutive year the final nine will consist of all men.
Other Day 6 eliminations included Noah Schwartz, Jonathan Jaffe, Brett Richey, Vitaly Lunkin, Jim Collopy and Vladmir Geshkenbein.
Here are the chip leaders heading into the final day:
1. Anton Morgenstern (21.9 million in chips)
2. Sylvain Loosli (14.1 million)
3. Chris Lindh (12.0 million)
4. JC Tran (11.9 million)
5. Fabian Ortiz (10.8 million)
6. Carlos Mortensen (10.7 million)
7. James Alexander (9.4 million)
8. Jay Farber (8.9 million)
9. Matthew Reed (7.7 million)
10. Jason Mann (7.5 million)
The tournament will resume Monday at noon PT and will continue until the final table is set. The final nine players will then leave the Rio with ninth-place prize money and return for the final table in November.
Small blinds: The chip leader on Day 6 last year, Marc-Andre Ladoucer, did not make the final table. In fact, only two of the top nine players after Day 6 last year made the final table. Two of the players in the bottom six after Day 6, Gee and Andras Koroknai, did make it. ... There are four WPT Champions remaining: Mortensen, Tran, Timoshenko and Mark Newhouse. ... There are five bracelet winners remaining (Mortensen, Tran, Amir Lehavot, Rep Porter, Gee). ... Similar to last year, the cash game pros are the ones excelling in this year's event. Morgenstern, Jay Farber and Chris Lindh all said they were big cash game players. ... The last chip leader to advance the following day was Mark Kroon on Day 2C. ... The minimum payout is $285,508.