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WSOP Through the Lens: Part IV: Straight On 'Til November

WSOP Through the Lens: Part IV: Straight On 'Til November 101
We'll pick up where we left off last time, starting with Day 5 of the Main Event. The starting field of 6,865 had been reduced to just 378 by this point. They were all in the money, and Manoj Viswanathan was the only player over the 2-million-chip mark as the bags came back out on the tables. However, he was reduced to the felt within four short levels.

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Sam Barnhart snagged the first bracelet of 2011 when he took the title of World Series of Poker Circuit National Champion in May. On Day 5 of the Main Event, he found himself comfortably in second place on the chip leaderboard and was riding the WSOP rush.

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In third place was Pius Heinz, laying the chip foundation for what would be a very deep run. In and out of the chip lead, he finished up the day one spot better than he began -- in second place.

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Other major players in Day 5 included Bryan Devonshire, who used ace-queen to topple Matt Matros' ace-king and begin a big, steady push toward the top of the leaderboard.

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Alex Moore started the day short on chips, but he went on a charge to the front during Level 20, busting players faster than he could stack up their chips.

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Speaking of chip-stacking issues, David Bach's 16-high stacks make his chips hard to count -- even for him. He was forced to get an exact number at the end of the night, and his 4.706 million ended up being the score to beat.

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Bach had to fight for it, though. Ben Lamb just could not be brushed away, and he too was in and out of the chip lead all day long.

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Other members of the 4-million chip club at the end of the night included Phil \"USCPhildo\" Collins…

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…and Kyle Johnson.

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Jean-Robert Bellande's Day 5 was a kind one as well, and he finished the day with more than a million chips and 50 big blinds to his credit. A large portion of the high-stakes poker world came out of the woodwork to root for JRB as he ran deeper.

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Celebrities making the deepest runs this year included \"Sopranos\" actor Robert Iler, who finished in 275th place…

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…And Mars Callahan, the actor and producer who's listed in the credits of works such as \"The Wonder Years\" and \"That Thing You Do.\" Callahan ran his stack all the way to 95th place before being eliminated.

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If you're an attractive lady and you run deep in the Main Event, you're automatically a celebrity. Claudia Crawford learned that well as she built a formidable stack through the middle stages of the tournament, driving her Google search traffic into a frenzy.

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Daniel Negreanu's search traffic needs no help, but his Main Event luck could use some. Day 5 was mostly very unkind to Kid Poker, though he did what he could to keep his spirits up, at least early on.

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But the day wore on Negreanu, and he was pretty battered by the time he bowed out during Level 21. His pocket tens got in good, but Rupert Elder's ace-seven turned lucky to send Negreanu home in 211th place.

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Only 142 players survived to make the final three days of the Main Event, and Day 6 belonged solely to Ryan Lenaghan. He turned 2.382 million chips into 12.865 million over the course of the day, more than 3 million chips clear of second place.

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By the way, second place was -- who else? -- Ben Lamb. As the field was trimmed down under 140 players, Lamb overtook Phil Hellmuth for the top spot on the Player of the Year leader board. But Lamb was thinking more about November.

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Tony Hachem sparked a lot of chatter when he began to assemble a chip stack on Day 6, seen here knocking out Marius Maciukas during the first level of the day.

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Hachem wasn't the only Team PokerStars Pro doing work, either. Germany's Sebastian Ruthenberg was down and up and back down again, and he ended the day with the shortest stack of 890,000 chips.

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JP Kelly did much better than that, bagging up around the chip average and taking his stack all the way to the final three tables.

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Other notable stories on Day 7 included the fall of 2010 November Niner Joseph Cheong in 114th place.

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Ben Logan flopped a royal flush with ace-king of clubs.

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A trio of ladies were battling it out for the title of Last Woman Standing. Despite dragging this pot, Amanda Musumeci did not claim that title. Nor did the aforementioned Claudia Crawford.

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The last woman left? Erika Moutinho. But more on her in a bit.

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The strawberry-topped Guillaume Darcourt was just out of the top ten in 13th place at the end of Day 7.

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Phil Collins was the story for most of the day, though, seen here holding up nine fingers to tell his friends on the rail how many millions of chips he had. He actually had more than 10 million at that point(!) -- the only player over that mark -- but he cooled off late in the day to end in 5th place with 7.24 million.

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Day 7, the penultimate day, began with 57 players.

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Brazil's Hilton Laborda was one of the early movers and shakers, seen here celebrating the knockout of Stephane Albertini to move very near the chip lead with 45 players left.

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And Laborda was on hand to console countryman Fabio Sousa when he met his fate in 42nd place (Ryan Lenaghan and Matt Giannetti, foreground). But Laborda soon needed some consoling of his own.

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Twice within the span of a half hour, Matt Giannetti made a full house against Laborda's big flush, and the second one sent the final Brazilian spiraling to the rail in 36th place.

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Speaking of Matt Giannetti, he suddenly had 16 million chips and a huge lead.

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Over on the outer table, Guillaume Darcourt was forced to part with most of his chips when he ran his pocket kings into Bryan Devonshire's pocket aces during the 27th level of action.

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Darcourt could only shrug at the sight of the bad news. He was crippled here and eliminated a short while later.

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Also falling during Day 7 was Erick Lindgren in his deepest career Main Event run - 43rd place.

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During the middle of the afternoon, the WSOP audience was treated to quite a special sight in the main featured table arena. This is David \"Doc\" Sands. The boyfriend.

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This is Erika Moutinho. The last woman standing. And the girlfriend.

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And that is Moutinho and Sands sitting next to each other in the Main Event with 30 players left. It was remarkable, to say the least, and a feat that's unlikely to be duplicated.

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Can you guess which of the couple is all in here? Yep, it's Erika. But Doc is the one doing the majority of the sweating, it appears. Moutinho's jacks held against Martin Staszko's pocket sevens, though, and Sands offered a celebratory fist bump when his lady doubled back into contention.

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The union was eventually broken, however, when Sands was eliminated in 30th place. His jack-ten was dominated and soundly beaten by John Hewitt's ace-jack.

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Sands must have been keeping the car cool in the parking lot. Just a few minutes after hugging him goodbye, Moutinho followed her boyfriend out the door in 29th place when her queen-ten was dominated by the ace-queen of Andrew Hinrichsen.

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During that Day 7, the largest pot of the tournament propelled this man, Ukrainian Anton Makiievskyi, into the chip lead with more than 20 million chips. On a king-jack-jack flop, Chris Moore made an ill-timed shove with ace-jack, and Makiievskyi's king-jack had a hammer lock on the pot.

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The flopped full house skyrocketed Makiievskyi to the top of the heap, and he's seen here sneaking a peek of the Main Event bracelet that was perched by the feature table.

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A Czech guy named Martin Staszko was in the middle of the pack with 6 million going into the final day, by the way. Spoiler. He went on an absolute rampage during Day 8 to take the chip lead into November.

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Day 8. Twenty-two players left.

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Sam Barnhart bid farewell in 17th place.

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And lest you forget about Ryan Lenaghan (blue shirt), he lasted all the way to 16th place before being given his marching orders and a check for $378,796.

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Bryan Devonshire did even better than that, but his November Nine dreams were dashed in 12th place when his king-queen could not overcome the math and Eoghan O'Dea's ace-queen.

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Speaking of which, you should meet Eoghan O'Dea, and you'll probably want to remember his face.

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When Khoa Nguyen was eliminated in 11th place, the remaining ten players were combined around one table to play the biggest bubble of their lives. We had our July Ten, but that was still one too many for the November Nine.

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This guy was still there. Ben Lamb was above average and above 20 million chips as they combined and returned to action.

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So was this guy, Day 5's big stack - Phil Collins.

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And another one of those earlier leaders still going strong, Pius Heinz, though he began the unofficial final table just below average.

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And very quietly this guy, the UK's Sam Holden.

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And from Belize, Badih Bou-nahra.

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And Costa Rica brought John Hewitt to the party.

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And then there was Matt Giannetti, who had to sweat a huge all-in when he took his pocket jacks up against Ben Lamb's king-nine.

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The board ran out clean, though, and Giannetti was given the double up to all but cement his spot in the November Nine.

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He was all smiles, but it had to crush Hewitt when his pocket threes lost a coin flip to Eoghan O'Dea's king-jack, sealing his elimination and setting the November Nine without him. He did get a consolatory hug from chip leader Martin Staszko on his way out, though.

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And here they are, your November Nine from left to right: Badih Bou-nahra, Phil Collins, Matt Giannetti, Pius Heinz, Sam Holden, Ben Lamb, Anton Makiievskyi, Eoghan O'Dea, Martin Staszko

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The November Nine with Jack Effel. All trying to get their hands on the coveted bracelet.

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