Day Five at the 2007 World Series of Poker saw the 112 remaining players continue in their pursuit of the custom Corum winner's bracelet and $8.5 million in first-place money. 36 players survived the day, including one World Champion (Scotty Nguyen), two 2007 bracelet winners, and one online phenom that has stayed near the top of the leader board almost since the tournament began. Left on the rail were a Porsche-driving Italian wunderkind, one of the most feared players in tournament poker, and a Main Event champ and prop-bet legend.
Dario Minieri came to the attention of the poker world when he cashed in his FPPs (Frequent Player Points) on PokerStars to buy a Porsche, the first player ever to do so. The young Italian cemented his reputation as a top tournament player over the past year with final-table finishes on the European Poker Tour and a strong showing in the WSOP Main Event. The chip leader at the end of Day Three, Minieri's fearless, aggressive style earned him the respect of his opponents, including 1998 Main Event Champion Scotty Nguyen, who told him at one point during Day Five play, "I like your style, baby. Young blood. Got no fear."
Minieri started Day Five in the middle of the pack, and immediately began mixing it up with the other players at his table, raising and re-raising at will. The young star's quest for WSOP gold was halted early on when he ran into Reagan Silber's flopped set. On a flop of , Minieri bet out and Silber called. Minieri moved all-in on the turn, and Silber called, turning over for a set. Minieri's needed a spade (that wasn't the seven or five), but the river brought the and sent Minieri to the cashier's cage.
Huck Seed was one of two prior Main Event Champions still in the hunt as Day Five began, but he was unable to add to his medium stack early, and was eliminated in the middle of the day's play when his short-stack raise was re-raised preflop by Robin Bergren. Pot-committed, Seed called and showed . Bergren's led, and Seed didn't catch his gutshot after the flop, as the turn brought the and the river the to end Seed's run at a second Main Event bracelet at 71st. In WSOP History, only four men have won the Main Event more than once – Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar three times each, and Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson twice.
Gus Hansen's active, aggressive style of play has suited him well in tournament poker, gathering him four World Poker Tour titles and millions of dollars in tournament winnings. He started Day Five in the middle of the pack as he chased his first WSOP bracelet, but exited in 61st. Hansen raised in early position and Ryan Elson moved all-in from the small blind. Hansen had Elson covered and made the call. Hansen showed the , a slight underdog against Elson's . When no helpers for Hansen arrived and Elson doubled through, the Great Dane was crippled. A few hands later Hansen moved all-in from the small blind with and was eliminated when Jason Koshi made the call with and caught a four on the flop.
The always-active Humberto Brenes made his second straight deep in the Main Event but was eliminated, as many players were in the first five days of play, by Hevad 'Rain' Khan. Khan, the online wizard who once had to videotape himself playing 28 sit-'n'-go tournaments at once, re-raised from the big blind. Brenes, with a theatrical flourish, stood up and announced "All-in!" Khan called with pocket aces, and Brenes was in serious trouble with the . The flop came , giving Brenes the two remaining kings as outs to win, and the on the turn gave Brenes two more outs to chop with a straight if the river brought a non-spade deuce (Khan held the for that possible flush). The on the river filled Khan's flush and sank "The Shark" in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.
Khan was not the only internet poker whiz active on Day Five, as Jared 'WacoKidd' Hamby and Dag Martin 'dmmikkel' Mikkelsen were both still in the hunt as the day started. Their paths diverged widely from Khan's as the day progressed, as Hamby ran into a tough string of hands culminating in his running into Lee Watkinson's . No help came for Hamby and he was eliminated early in the day. Mikkelsen, who started Day Five as the chip leader, joined Humberto Brenes on the list of top players who ran Big Slick into aces to be eliminated. Late in the day, Mikkelsen raised in the cutoff and David Tran re-raised from the button. Mikkelsen re-raised all-in, and Tran called with . Mikkelsen's caught a meaningless king on the river, but the board meant Mikkelsen's ouster and Tran was the new leader. Tran finished the night with over ten million in chips.
Two women started Day Five looking to be the first woman to win the Main Event, Maria Ho and Kelly Jo McGlothlin. When McGlothlin was eliminated midway through the day, Ho became the longest-lasting woman in the 2007 Main Event. A professional cash-game player from LA, Ho recorded largest tournament cash of her career on Day Five, when she busted n 38th place, leaving the Main Event winner's circle an all-boys' club for at least one more year.
With Huck Seed's elimination, Scotty Nguyen was the last remaining former Main event champ. Nguyen was on form throughout Day Five, showing down bluffs and picking up pots, and made it through to start Day Six with a short stack, but still enough chips to be dangerous. In one hand with Kevin Kim, Nguyen moved all-in on the river on a board of . Kim thought a long, long time before saying, "If I fold you'll show the bluff." Kim finally mucked his hand, and Scotty said, "I got the nuts, baby," and turned over for the busted flush draw.
Bill Edler and Alex Kravchenko started Day Five chasing a different type of exclusive membership. Kravchenko and Edler are the only two players remaining who can join Tom Schneider as multiple bracelet winners in 2007. Edler, the winner of Event #45, and Kravchenko, winner of Event #9, both made it through to Day Six. Edler endured a roller-coaster of a day to finish with a healthy stack, while Kravchenko held on to finish on a short stack after starting play in the top ten in chips.
Speaking of chips, as play progressed and chips were colored up, players began to notice an issue with some of the new chips put into play for the Main Event. The 5,000 chips, 25,000 chips and 50,000 chips were made very close in color, and several players expressed dissatisfaction with the colors. Steven Garfinkle said "I'm a little shade blind, so it's killing me. I have to actually read the numbers on the chips, or if they're too far away, I have to ask." The peach 25,000 chips and orange 5,000 chips were particularly close in color and caused problems for several players as the day progressed.
At the end of the day, only 36 players had chips to worry about, as Mikkel Madsen concluded the night's action by eliminating the short stack of Ayaz Mahmood. In a textbook coin-flip hand, Madsen's pocket queens held up to eliminate Mahmood's A-K, and play was halted for the night. David Tran and Philip Hilm ended the day on the top of the leader board, each near ten million in chips, while Robin Bergren owns the shortest remaining stack at 520,000.
Here are the seating assignments and chip stacks for Day Six, as players return to play down to the final table. Play resumes at noon PDT, with continuous updates in the 'Live Reporting' section here at PokerNews.com:
Seat 1: Daniel Alaei 1,995,800
Seat 2: David Tran 10,280,000
Seat 3: Ray Henson 8,250,000
Seat 4: Philip Hilm 9,950,000
Seat 5: Lee Watkinson 3,500,000
Seat 6: Bob Slezak 2,115,000
Seat 7: Jason Welch 2,115,000
Seat 8: Jeff Bryan 2,100,000
Seat 9: Ryan Elson 1,785,000
Seat 1: Steven Garfinkle 2,115,000
Seat 2: Peter Darvill 2,430,000
Seat 3: Robin Bergren 520,000
Seat 4: Hevad Khan 7,585,000
Seat 5: Allan King 1,000,000
Seat 6: Mikkel Madsen 2,080,000
Seat 7: Roy Winston 1,071,000
Seat 8: Paulo Loureiro 1,645,000
Seat 9: Kevin Kim 610,000
Seat 1: Jason Koshi 1,175,000
Seat 2: Lee Childs 6,520,000
Seat 3: Jon Kalmar 2,665,000
Seat 4: Stefan Mattsson 3,260,000
Seat 5: Christian Togsverd 2,030,000
Seat 6: Jerry Yang 5,090,000
Seat 7: Kenny Tran 4,955,000
Seat 8: Tuan Lam 3,600,000
Seat 9: Hoa Nguyen 2,205,000
Seat 1: Ron Kluber 3,070,000
Seat 2: William Spadea 4,575,000
Seat 3: Bill Edler 2,680,000
Seat 4: John Armbrust 2,600,000
Seat 5: Scott Freeman 7,360,000
Seat 6: Kevin Farry 7,400,000
Seat 7: Scotty Nguyen 1,960,000
Seat 8: Alex Kravchenko 1,555,000
Seat 9: Raymond Rahme 3,100,000
The official top ten in chips entering Day Six play:
David Tran — 10,280,000
Philip Hilm — 9,950,000
Ray Henson — 8,250,000
Hevad Khan — 7,585,000
Kevin Farry — 7,400,000
Scott Freeman — 7,360,000
Lee Childs — 6,520,000
Jerry Yang — 5,090,000
Kenny Tran — 4,955,000
William Spadea — 4,575,000