The magical shrinking field at the World Series of Poker Main Event continued at a breakneck pace on Day 5, with the field dropping from 407 players to 185 in just three levels of play. Along the way to the early end of the day, aces were cracked, bad beats were delivered, and over 200 bracelet dreams were crushed. By the end of the day Warren Zackey had emerged as the overnight chip leader, with Kasper Cordes, Tom Schneider, James Akenhead, and Day 4 chip leader Matt Affleck all sporting big stacks.
Leo Labbe set the tone for Day 5 when he shipped it in on the very first hand of play. Steve Sanders min-raised from early position, and Labbe moved all in over the top with . Sanders quickly called with pocket aces, and picked up a set on the turn to send Labbe packing just minutes after the day’s action began. Other early eliminations included Thor Hansen, Sorel Mizzi, Sander Lylloff, and Andrew Tuttle.
Nick Binger picked up his fourth cash of the 2009 WSOP, but fell short of his ultimate goal when he busted on Day 5. Binger moved all in over the top of Corrado Montagna’s three-bet with , but found himself facing pocket kings when Montagna snap-called. The board ran out aceless, and Binger was done.
Dan Harrington started the day as one of the few remaining former world champions in the field, but he ended it in the company of most of his fellows: on the rail. Harrington got it all in on the flop of with and got action from Eric Cloutier, who called with . Cloutier faded the clubs on the turn and river, and “Action Dan” was done.
Kara Scott became the only woman to cash in both the 2008 and 2009 WSOP Main Events when she busted on Day 5. Scott lost most of her chips when her aces got cracked, then pushed the rest of her stack in a few hands later with against Paul Baron’s . Baron made a pair on the flop, then tripped up on the turn. Scott was already drawing dead when the hit the river, and her Main Event was done.
It was a good day to be the 2007 Player of the Year, as Tom “Donkey Bomber” Schneider went from an average chip stack to one of the biggest stacks in the room early on. In one hand he sent Tony “Bagels” Cavezza packing when his held up against Cavezza’s on the board of . Schneider finished the day near the top of the leaderboard with over three million in chips.
Another player vacuuming up chips on Day 5 was Warren Zackey. Zackey and Tom Lutz both accumulated big stacks early in the day, and then put those big stacks in the middle of the table on the flop of to create a pot worth nearly four million. Zackey showed for the overpair to Lutz’ for the nut flush draw and live overcards. The on the turn changed nothing, leaving Zackey still in the lead, and the on the river gave the monster pot to Zackey as Lutz headed to the rail. Zackey continued to chip up all throughout Day 5, finishing with 4,872,000.
Several big-name players made big strides in the last level of the day. J.C. Tran doubled through Nasr El Nasr when he called all in on the flop of . Tran showed for top pair, top kicker, but he had a lot of outs to fade as El Nasr showed for the flush draw and live overcards. Tran dodged all those bullets as the turn and river came down and to move him on to Day 6.
Antonio Esfandiari increased his stack in the late going by making his opponents disappear. All the chips went in preflop as Esfandiari and Adam Sanders tangled. Esfandiari showed to Sanders’ . No help on the board for Sanders, and "The Magician" added to his stack.
Phil Ivey concluded his Day 5 with a little excitement, sending Huub Verdonschot to the rail on the last hand of play. The hand was a classic coin toss as Ivey held pocket eights to Verdonschot’s . The flop missed both players as it came down , but Verdonschot picked up straight outs on the turn. Ivey’s eights held up in the end as the hit the river, and Verdonschot was done.
Day 5 was done as well, with 185 players making it through to Day 6. Among the survivors were Ivey, Esfandiari, Schneider, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Ludovic Lacay, Joe Hachem, Peter Eastgate, Joe Sebok, and Dennis Phillips.
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