2022 WSOP Main Event bracelet on a stack of cash

The 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event field has dwindled to just 123 players; more than 8,500 players have fallen by the wayside. After Day 5, there is a good battle going on at the top of the leaderboard, with James Hobbs bagging the largest stack of 12.505 million chips.

Not far behind is Efthymia Litsou, one of two women remaining in the field (Shelby Wells is the other), with 11.675 million chips and then two players with over 10 million: Aaron Mermelstein (10.680 million) and Alejandro “PapoMC” Lococo (10.020).

It was Lococo who won what was arguably the most interesting and/or significant hand of the day. With blinds at 30,000/60,000 with a 60,000-chip ante, he raised pre-flop and was called by Karim Rebei from the big blind. They checked the 9♠-8-7 flop and then came the K♠ on the turn, which is where things got a little crazy.

Rebei bet 140,000, prompting Lococo to raise to 485,000. Rebei then three-bet up to 1.135 million, putting the decision back to Lococo. PapoMC decided to raise once again, but he physically put the wrong amount of chips in and therefore ended up stuck with just a min-raise, not something you would typically want to do when in raising war.

Seeing it as an opportunity to pounce on Lococo’s mistake, Rebei bet 4 million chips. Lococo tanked…and tanked…and tanked some more. For about six minutes he thought about his next move before finally moving all-in for 5.710 million.

Rebei appeared to have been caught in a bluff, as he said, “Oops,” and eventually folded after asking for a count and thinking about it for a couple minutes. The thing was, Lococo was also bluffing, as he showed A♣-J and celebrated.

Though there is still a ways to go and the tournament could veer in any direction, we could be in for a fascinating stretch run. Two players from last year’s final table are still in the mix: Lococo, who finished seventh in the 2021 WSOP Main Event, and Koray Aldemir, who won the whole thing. Also playing on Day 6 are 2018 WSOP Main Event ninth place finisher Antoine Labat and 2020 WSOP Main Event champ Damian Salas.

Plus, Efthymia Litsou, with her second place stack, has a legitimate chance of becoming just the second woman to make the WSOP Main Event final table. Poker Hall of Famer Barbara Enright is the only woman to have done it, finishing fifth in 1995. Gaelle Baumann, who was eliminated on Monday, came oh so close in 2012, finishing tenth. As mentioned, Shelby Wells is still alive, but with 1.955 million chips, her final table odds are a bit longer.

Main Event action will resume at 1:00pm Vegas time at the Bally’s Event Center on the Strip.

2022 World Series of Poker Main Event – Day 5 Chip Leaders

  1. James Hobbs – 12,505,000
  2. Efthymia Litsou – 11,675,000
  3. Aaron Mermelstein – 10,680,000
  4. Alejandro Lococo – 10,020,000
  5. Gerald Morrell – 9,775,000
  6. Jorge Jou – 9,500,000
  7. Dingxiang Ong – 9,500,000
  8. Philippe Souki – 9,425,000
  9. Robert Minor – 9,160,000
  10. Imran Bhojani – 8,635,000

Image credit: PokerGO.com

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