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While most of the Rio Convention Center has been cleared out, the poker remained fierce in the Brasilia room on Saturday. After 297 players returned, only 85 survived for a sixth day of World Series of Poker Main Event action as the tournament gets closer to the final table. An emerging story is the possibility of 2016 November Niners Michael Ruane and Kenny Hallaert making back-to-back final tables, an impressive feat not accomplished since Mark Newhouse in 2013-14.
When the action came to a close after 1 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, Germany’s Robin Hegele led the remaining field with 9,990,000 chips, followed by Joshua Horton (9,360,000) and England’s Max Silver (8,665,000). Silver, who won his first WSOP bracelet this year, has more than $3.5 million in tournament winnings, and finished 33rd in the Main Event last year for $216,211. Hegele has a bit over $48,000 in tournament winnings mostly in European tournaments. This will certainly be the biggest score of his career. Horton, of Rainsville, Ala., also has limited tournament experience, with a lone third-place finish in a WSOP-Circuit event in April for $146,245.
Some other notables remaining include: Zhu Zhou (7,345,000), Scott Stewart (7,270,000), Scott Blumstein (6,845,000), Connor Drinan (3,360,000), Christian Pham (2,080,000), Chris Wallace (2,675,000), Dario Sammartino (2,585,000), Marcel Luske (2,290,000), Jonathan Dwek (1,910,000), and Ian Johns (1,085,000).
While not among the top 10 chip leaders, a second-straight final table may still be in the cards for Ruane (3,450,000) and Hallaert (4,370,000). In 2016, Ruane finished fourth for $2,576,003 and Hallaert took sixth for $1,464,258. Two other November Niners also remain: Antoine Saout (8,260,9000) and Ben Lamb (4,725,000). Saout made the final table in 2009 and Lamb in 2011.
Another player who drew some interest throughout the day was 64-year-old John Hesp, not only for his colorful attire, but also for deep run. The retired English business owner is playing in his first-ever WSOP and says he has never even played a big tournament. The grandfather of seven he is living a dream to play in the Main Event and his experience keeps getting better and better. His massive run continued on Saturday and he’s now made Day 6 with a bit over 4 million chips. PokerNews spoke with Hesp earlier on Saturday about his experience.
The eventual champion wins the gold bracelet and $8.15 million. Players return for Day 6 on Sunday at 11 a.m. ESPN2 will have the action from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and PokerGO picking up the stream at 3 p.m. Check back with PokerNews for all the updates as play builds to a final table.
With 12 players still remaining, this event will require a fourth day of action to determine a winner in the final bracelet tournament of the summer. After three days of play Matt Berkey leads the pack with 12 million in chips. Berkey has amassed $3.2 million in career tournament winnings, but still looking for that first bracelet.
Rounding out the top five are: Giuseppe Pantaleo (5,175,000), Martin Lesjoe (5,085,000), Ricardo Ramos (3,380,000), and Samuel Vonkennel (2,995,000). The winner takes home the bracelet and a top prize of $528,316. The Day 4 restart is on Sunday at 2 p.m. and PokerNews will have all the action until there is a winner. Click here to follow along.
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