Two-time bracelet winner Ryan Hughes eyed to add number three when he cruised to the heads up of the $2,500 Mixed Big Bet last year, but he couldn't eliminate Scott Bohlman. This time, Hughes has already done that. He dispatched the defending champion in eighth place to set the final table lineup.
Moreover, it is Hughes himself who captains the ship, leading the last seven players who made it through a field of 218 entries. He is in possession of 1,212,000, more than a third of all chips in play.
Hughes' surge towards the big lead kicked off on the last two tables when he pulled off a gutsy bluff with nut blockers in Big O, forcing a river-fold from Phil Hui. Hughes then started tackling his opponents one by one, eliminating Jared Bleznick, Ray Henson, and Bohlman.
Hughes is certainly a favorite to win the $127,808 top-prize, considering his position and experience of playing on a final table of this very event. At the moment, Hughes' biggest concern might be the seating order. Arthur Morris, who is second in chips with 728,000 sits directly to his left.
Morris and Jonathan Depa are the only players at the final table who are yet to win a bracelet. Loren Klein is the most accomplished player among the final seven when it comes to claiming the WSOP hardware; he's done it three times.
Klein, however, has his work cut out for him should he aim for his fourth notch. He is in last place with only 95,000.
Hui, Joey Couden, and Mike Sexton are also vying for the title, so it is fair to say that the mixed big bet final table boasts a ton of talent. Come back to PokerNews on Thursday, June 20, at 2 p.m. PDT to find out whether some of them adds another piece to their showcase or if a first-time champion will be crowned.