Seventy-eight players — survivors of six days of poker — arrived at noon Friday hoping to continue their long and winding World Series of Poker Main Event journeys. They were the final standing from the starting field of 7,319 and all had achieved more than most people dream of. They wanted more, however, but only 27 earned the right to come back Saturday for the last day of poker this summer at the 2010 WSOP. Leading the way with an extremely healthy 24.49 million was Joseph Cheong.
Cheong jockeyed for the lead all day on Friday, winning a number of coin flips against short stacks, as well as getting fortunate enough to be in a few overpair vs. overpair spots. It wasn't all so ABC for Cheong, though, who showed his ability to mix it up in a hand with the always dangerous Scott Clements. On a flop Cheong bet 265,000. Clements was his heads-up opponent, and "BigRiskky" made the call to continue to fourth street, which was the . Cheong fired right out again, 735,000 chips this time, and Clements called. The hit the river and Cheong again bet, sliding out 1.675 million. Clements went into the tank as the clock ticked down signifying the last break of the night and made the call splashing in the the chips with a reluctant look. Cheong tabled for the turned straight, prompting a muck from Clements, which gave the sizable pot to Cheong. Sitting in second after the end of the day was Cuong Nguyen, who got a huge portion of his stack by crippling Theo Jorgensen who came into the day as one of the chip leaders. The two players both called a raise from Brandon Steven and saw a flop. Both Jorgensen and Nguyen checked, and Steven continued out with a bet of 525,000. Jorgensen check-called, but Nguyen wanted to play for more. He raised to 1.5 million, and Steven quickly folded. Jorgensen promptly reraised to 4 million straight and Nguyen came right back over the top with an all-in shove for 7.62 million. Jorgensen called, and all of a sudden a pot of 19.52 million was up for grabs. The crowd went wild, and when Jorgensen flipped over the he saw that he'd need a bit of help against the that Nguyen held. The turn was the , and the river was the , shipping the massive pot to Nguyen.
The two biggest names in the field, Scott Clements and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, both will continue on to the last day of play. Mizrachi had a day he'd probably like to forget — he never seemed to gain traction. Starting the day in second position, Mizrachi was soon at risk but was able to double, and at one point even got above where he started after flopping a set against Team PokerStars Pro William Throson's top-pair. Mizrachi ended the day with 6.3 million.
Clements ended with 7.25 million in chips yet he spent most of the day climbing, having begun the day with only about 1 million. His surge didn't come without a little bit of luck because early in the day Clements got his entire stack in the middle with against Benjamin Statz's pocket kings. The flop brought Clements his ace, and the early double was enough to make him a force at the table. Clements later opened a pot to 245,000 from middle position, and Pascal LeFrancois reraised to 655,000 from late position. Joseph Cheong overcalled the three-bet from the big blind. Clements, not one to be pushed around, reraised right back to 1.745 million total and both his opponents folded.
Also still in the mix are Team PokerStars Pros Johnny Lodden, and William Thorson, along with Hasan Habib, John Racener, David Baker, Adam "Roothlus" Levy, Ronnie Bardah and Redmond Lee.
Many of the bigger names were not so fortunate. Jean-Robert Bellande, Meenakshi Subramaniam, David Benyamine, Peter Jetten, Theo Jorgensen, Alexander Kostritsyn, and Tony Dunst all departed during the day.
Saturday marks the final day of play at the 2010 World Series of Poker, and the final 27 players will play down to the third ever November Nine. Play will resume at 12 p.m. and PokerNews will be be bringing you all the action live from the Rio in our WSOP live reporting pages.