The 2019 World Series of Poker Championship Event has reached its critical Day 7. After seeing 106 players come back on Thursday, only 34 remain with the hope of making it to the pinnacle of poker success, the final table of the “Main Event.” Leading these players are a quartet of men over the 30 million mark, with Nicholas Marchington sitting on 39.8 million chips to hold the edge.
Su Maintains His Stack, Position on the Leaderboard
At the start of the action on Thursday, Timothy Su was the man in charge. With over 19 million chips, Su held nearly an eight million chip lead over his closest competitors and was knocking on the door of the 20 million mark. He would ride that stack through the early hours of the day and maintain much of that lead.
It didn’t come without a bit of tribulation. On a Q-J-Q flop, Sam Greenwood (one of the men challenging Su), tossed out a bet from early position and Su made the call. A King on the turn brought checks from both men, but it was the seemingly innocuous seven on the river that set off a confrontation. Greenwood bet out into the pot for 860K and, after a moment of thought, Su looked him up. Greenwood turned up pocket Queens for flopped quads, thoroughly crushing Su’s holdings and bringing him back to the pack a bit.
That seemed to be the last time that Su made a misstep. He would get paid off on an 8-7-Q-5-5 board by Alex Livingston after hitting runner-runner to make trips, then continued the upwards trek through the remainder of the day. It would be another clash with Greenwood that would be the apex of Su’s day.
After Su led the betting for 500K,
Greenwood came over him with a three bet of 2.5 million and Su called. A Q-J-4 rainbow
flop brought a continuation bet out of Greenwood for 1.4 million and Su made
the call to see another Jack hit on the turn. When Greenwood slid out a 3.5
million stack for a turn bet, Su fired over him with an all-in move. With his
tournament life on the line, Greenwood sighed heavily and made the call – which
turned out to be correct.
Greenwood: pocket Aces
Su: 10♣ 9♣
Su had an open-ended straight draw for the 18 million-plus pot, but it was Greenwood that was in the lead with his made Aces up. That changed on the river, however; a King on the river brought the straight home for Su and knocked out one of the most dangerous players left in the tournament. Even with that victory, though, Su was unable to hold onto the lead for another day…as we shall see.
Sammartino Rollercoaster Continues
Someone who just won’t succumb to the rigors of the WSOP Championship Event is Italy’s Dario Sammartino. Starting Thursday with only 860,000 in chips, the Italian was able to get a big double up in a cooler against Daniel Kirsch, who had pocket Queens but ran into Sammartino’s Kings. He would add a few more chips to his stack before a big clash against Antonio Esfandiari that made his day.
Sammartino made the opening bet, but Esfandiari three bet the action from the hijack to 530K and Sammartino called. A K-10-5 flop brought a check-call from Sammartino and a Jack on the turn made for a Broadway straight possibility. Esfandiari moved all in at this point and was immediately called by Sammartino, which brought an exasperated sigh from ‘The Magician’ as if he knew what the cards were going to be:
Sammartino: A-Q (Broadway straight)
Esfandiari: A-K (pair of Kings, redraw to split pot with gut shot Broadway)
Looking for a lady to save his tournament, Esfandiari instead saw another Jack hit the river as he shipped all but 825K of his chips to Sammartino. Sammartino would use those chips to work to an end of day total of 19.85 million while Esfandiari would depart soon afterwards in 82nd place when he ran his final chips and pocket fives into Chris Hunichen’s pocket eights.
Four Players Over 30 Million Mark
As stated previously, Su wasn’t the only player who made a big move on Thursday. Nicholas Marchington was in the Top Six at the start of the day and he finished it by holding the chip lead. Along with veteran European Poker Tour player Hossein Ensan and Milos Skrbic, these four men have mountains of chips and know how to use them.
1. Nicholas Marchington, 39.8 million
2. Hossein Ensan, 34.5 million
3. Timothy Su, 34.35 million
4. Milos Skrbic, 31.45 million
5. Henry Lu, 25.525 million
6. Garry Gates, 25.025 million
7. Duey Duong, 21.65 million
8. Warwick Mirzikinian, 20.7 million
9. Dario Sammartino, 19.85 million
10. Kevin Maahs, 19.55 million
Other notables that still have a shot at the next World Championship include Yuri Dzivielevski (13.75 million), Corey Burbick (7.25 million), and Zack Koerper (10.075 million), but they will have their work cut out for them. Those that won’t be back for the festivities on Friday include Esfandiari, Greenwood, Hunichen, Jake Schindler, defending Player of the Year Alex Foxen and Daniel Hachem, whose run to equal his father Joe’s feat of winning the WSOP Championship Event ended in 79th place.
Play will resume at noon today (Pacific Time) and it could be a very long night. The plan is to play down to the final table of nine players and, with the players stacked extremely deep (blinds are currently at Level 32, 150K/300K with a big blind ante of 300K), it may be a long slog for those involved. But the rewards for the players who make the final table will be a couple of days off before resuming action on Sunday and having the shot at poker’s World Championship.