Tournament Director Jack Effel announced prior to play on Saturday that the field would be in for a lengthy day. Five and a half levels are planned for Day 5 (11 hours) as Effel hoped to bring the field down to around 80 players by the end of the night. Play should conclude just before 2 a.m. PT.
Play is expected to slow down dramatically as the day progresses, but that was far from the case during the first level. John Monnette, 2014 bracelet winner Sam Jaddi, Mike Sowers, Kevin MacPhee, Farzad Bonyadi and Paul Tedeschi were among the 60 eliminations during the level. With the average stack more than 60 big blinds deep, short stacks aren't truly "short" at all. Extremely aggressive play is leading to these eliminations and, of course, a few coolers.
Kyle Keranen and Griffin Benger continue to top the leaderboard with Keranen having an incredibly successful level, building from 2.1 million in chips to 3.5 million. Mark Newhouse, whose style doesn't often call for gigantic pots, was involved in a huge one against Munir Shahin. The 2013 November Niner held As-Qs and had a huge flush draw after a flop of 9h-7s-2s. Shahin held K-K and with a 2 million-chip pot at hand, couldn't fade the spade on the river. Newhouse eliminated Shahin with the dramatic river and handed his opponent his largest career cash ($38,634) with the effort. Newhouse is now in the top 10 in chips.
When players return from break, the blinds will be 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante. Here are the current chip leaders:
1. Kyle Keranen (3.44 million in chips)
2. Griffin Benger (3.42 million)
3. Zach Jiganti 3.07 million)
4. Dan Smith (2.55 million)
5. Leif Force (2.49 million)
6. Trevor Martin (2.49 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (2.36 million)
8. Michael Finstein (2.34 million)
9. Matthew Haugen (2.27 million)
10. Pakinai Lisawad (2.21 million)
Small blinds: Anh Van Nguyen doesn't play much poker anymore, but decided to come to Vegas last week just for a little action. Van Nguyen spends most of his time now with his kids (including a 5-month-old) and doesn't pursue poker as actively as in the past. He has $1.2 million in career live earnings and finished 46th in 2004 and 106th in 2009. We don't see a lot of new sponsors appear these days, but PartyPoker has placed a patch on Brian Hastings. In extremely too early storylines, Alex Outhred's birthday is Nov. 9. John Monnette decided to warm up this morning with some high-stakes cash games at the Bellagio. I wonder if he slept. David Einhorn doubled up in the last level. That's good for charity. Keranen has moved to the feature table, with Maria Ho's table soon to break. There have been no eliminations at the feature table so far today. A few players were late to show up today, including Yorane Kerignard, who was seated at an outside feature table.