The final table is set in Event #45, $5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold 'Em. Friday's play narrowed the field from 76 to the final table of six, with all eliminated players cashing in the money. Erik Friberg takes a hefty advantage into the finals with a stack of 2,795,000, with Alex Bolotin close behind at 2,010,000. Day One leader Russell 'Dutch' Boyd also made the final, in a short-stacked third place entering today, as the players chase a $904,672 first-place prize.
The first three hours of play on Friday narrowed the field by half. Those eliminated include Jeff Madsen, Tobey Maguire, Tony Hachem, Jeff Aiani, Justin Bonamo, Allen Cunningham, Aaron Been, Michael Hewitt, Roland DeWolfe, Jamie Gold, Sam Grizzle, Mark Muchnik, and Alex Prendes, Jr.
Early in the day, Men 'The Master' Nguyen exited when he went all in pre-flop against Greg Pohler. Nguyen's needed to catch up to Pohler's , but the board gave Pohler a queen-high straight instead, sending Nguyen out in 48th place.
Phil Hellmuth's quest for his 12th bracelet ended early as well. Crippled early, Hellmuth surged back from short-stack status, doubling through Nick Schulman and then twice through Raj Sawant. The surge ended against Sawant when Hellmuth made trip nines, only to have Sawant catch running clubs for a flush. Hellmuth departed in the next hand when Nick Van Newkirk matched his hole-card ace on the turn for top pair to best Hellmuth's pocket tens. Hellmuth won't see a 12th bracelet, but he did officially increase his WSOP cashes record to 62 with 31st-place departure ($13,344).
Tony G started the day aggressively, bouncing Ezra Teitelbaum in the very first hand, and continued to improve his stack in several big hands throughout the day. He caught a board of to match his A-8 for the boat against Erik Friberg's J-10, doubling up. He doubled again through Paul Galfond, then hit Dutch Boyd for a couple of large pots. His luck — and his day — ended in a confrontation with Emil Patel, when Patel's A-8 caught another 8 on the turn and Tony G's A-J didn't improve. Tony G left in tenth place, cashing $58,852.
Alex Bolotin started a surge late in the day that saw his count go from a modest 400,000 to a high of 3,580,000, then back down to 2,010,000 million. Bolotin fueled this charge in a big hand with Bill Edler. After a flop of , Bolotin went all in for 231,000, showing for the nut flush; Edler's top pair () was dead when the fell on the turn. On a roll, Bolotin bounced Galfond (18th place) a few hands later when his topped Galfond's on a board of for the better boat. A while later, Bolotin's pocket jacks sent Patel out in 8th place as his stack surged to over 3,000,000.
Bolotin's luck turned, though, when he ran into Friberg late in the session. Friberg went all in with Q-J and matched a pair on the flop, outrunning Bolotin's K-10, and doubling Friberg up to 750,000. Friberg found the very next hand, while Bolotin called with , and Friberg's aces held when the board changed nothing. Soon, Friberg was up to 2,200,000.
Thierry van den Berg was the next to cross Friberg's path, with van den Berg's exit the result. Van den Berg went all in on , but was up against Friberg's , the chips going in after the flop. The turn and the river came and , but they were no help to van den Berg, who was eliminated in seventh place with $83,145. The knockout established the final table and ended play for the evening. The seat draws and chips will be as follows:
Seat 1: Greg Pohler — 655,000
Seat 2: Alex Bolotin — 2,010,000
Seat 3: Gioi Luong — 570,000
Seat 4: Bill Edler — 535,000
Seat 5: Dutch Boyd — 705,000
Seat 6: Erik Friberg — 2,795,000
Play will resume at 2pm PDT. All but Boyd will be gunning for their first WSOP bracelet; Boyd will be looking for his second. Visit PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #45, $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em Six-Handed, for the latest reports.