Only twenty players remained in the field at the LA Poker Classic Main Event when Day 5 kicked off, and of those twenty, six would earn spots at the final table. Chris Ferguson led all runners to start off the day, but a rough start saw him tumble to the middle of the pack before making a comeback to secure his final-table spot. Others in the field weren't so fortunate, falling by the wayside as the final six seats were filled.
Billy Pilossoph was the first to fall on Day 5, busting in 20th place ($44,433) at the hands of Chris Karagulleyan. Pilossoph pushed all in preflop with , and Karagulleyan was the only caller, tabling . Karagulleyan's dominant hand held up on a board to send Pilossoph packing early. Matt Woodward then fell in 19th place ($44,433) to send the tournament down to the final two tables.
After Xuan Nguyen busted in 18th place ($51,114), Nick Schulman went from healthy to homeward-bound in the span of two hands. In the first hand, Schulman three-bet Zach Hyman preflop with . Hyman called, then moved all in on the flop. Schulman thought for a moment before calling with his flush draw, and Hyman showed for top pair. No clubs appeared on the turn or river and Schulman was crippled. He got the last of his chips into the middle shortly after as he moved all in over the top of Mike Sowers' preflop raise with . Sowers called with , and picked up a straight draw on the flop. The was no help to either player, but the on the river made a straight for Sowers and sent Schulman packing in 17th place ($51,114).
Teddy "Iceman" Monroe was one of the most quotable figures in the field this week, but he was silenced in 16th place ($51,114) by Danny "radian" Lu. All the money went in preflop, with Lu's pocket queens dominating Monroe's pocket nines. No help came for Monroe, and his tournament was put on ice. Lu was next to fall when his was no good against Mike Sowers' . The board missed both players, and Sowers' Big Slick held up to send Lu home in 15th place ($57,796).
As the rash of eliminations continued, Peter "Nordberg" Feldman busted in 14th place ($57,796) when Donnie D'Auria's pocket sevens held up against Feldman's . Then Binh Nguyen sent Jeremy Kottler home in 13th place ($57,796) when Nguyen's made top pair on a flop. Kottler moved all in with for the nut flush draw, but missed the turn and river and finished up with just ace-high. Zach Hyman exited in 12th place ($64,477) when a small hand turned big on the flop. Hyman put in a standard raise from late position and Blake Cahail called from the small blind. Hyman led out strong on the flop, and Cahail check-raised all in. Hyman thought long and hard before making the call with , only to see Cahail table for the bigger overpair. No help showed for Hyman on the turn or river, and his run was over.
Donnie D'Auria parlayed his attendance at a WPT Boot Camp into an LAPC Main Event freeroll, then rode that freeroll all the way to a $64,477 payday when he busted in 11th place. He also managed to get it all in ahead in his final hands, calling off most of his stack with after Payman Arjang moved all in preflop with . D'Auria was way ahead preflop, but a board full of clubs gave Arjang the flush and the double-up. Just a couple of hands later, D'Auria got the last of his chips in against three live players. Pat Walsh bet out on the flop and everyone else folded, leaving Walsh and D'Auria heads up. D'Auria showed , but Walsh's had picked up a pair on the board. The on the turn left D'Auria drawing dead as the peeled off on the river.
Once Tam Ly busted in 10th place ($64,477) the remaining nine players condensed to one table. But since the televised final table was set to be six-handed, there were still more elimination to come before the survivors could head for bed. The final-table seating assignments looked like this:
Seat 1: Chris Ferguson
Seat 2: Cornel Andrew Cimpan
Seat 3: Pat Walsh
Seat 4: Payman Arjang
Seat 5: Blake Cahail
Seat 6: Chris Karagulleyan
Seat 7: Mike Sowers
Seat 8: Binh Nguyen
Seat 9: Mark Bryan
Once the last table was reached, play slowed to a crawl as the remaining players scratched and clawed their way towards a television-show berth. Mark Bryan was the first casualty of the final table when Blake Cahail took him out in ninth place ($96,883). Bryan moved all in over the top of Cahail's preflop raise with , but he picked the wrong time to make a move, as Cahail quickly called with pocket kings. The flop left Bryan drawing to two running outs for a straight flush, but the on the turn ended all hope, and Bryan's tournament.
With players in lockdown mode as the TV bubble neared, it took big hands to get any action. Payman Arjang found the second-best big hand when he busted in eighth place ($133,632) at the hands of Chris Karagulleyan. Arjang raised preflop from the button, and Karagulleyan three-bet out of the big blind. After a long time in the tank, Arjang made the call, and Karagulleyan bet enough in the dark to put Arjang all in on the flop. Arjang called dark with , and Karagulleyan opened . In an "of course" moment, the flop came down , moving Arjang well into the lead. The on the turn was irrelevant, but the on the river swung the pendulum all the way back to Karagulleyan's side as he made a set to send Arjang home in eighth place.
Play went back to a snail's pace as the final elimination was at hand. Finally, two players picked up hands to go to war with, as Blake Cahail raised preflop and Chris Karagulleyan three-bet hard. Everyone got out of the way as Cahail moved all in over the top with , and Karagulleyan snap-called with one of the two hands that Cahail wasn't at worst a coin flip against – pocket kings. The flop came down ace-less and heart-less as it read . The on the turn left Cahail drawing to only three outs. The on the river wasn't one of them, and he picked up $180,403 for seventh place.
After that hand, Chris Karagulleyan was firmly in the chip lead, as the TV-table seating assignments and chip stacks looked like this:
Seat 1: Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson — 1,565,000
Seat 2: Cornel Andrew Cimpan — 1,740,000
Seat 3: Pat Walsh — 2,215,000
Seat 4: Chris Karagulleyan — 4,080,000
Seat 5: Mike Sowers — 2,045,000
Seat 6: Binh Nguyen — 1,895,000
Join PokerNews at 4PM Pacific time as the final six battle for the LAPC Main Event's $1.7 million top prize.