After four days of play, just 297 hopefuls remain in the 2017 World Series of Poker main event. Although the $8.15 million first-place prize won’t be awarded for another week, there are some players near the top of the leaderboard who have to like their chances.
The 2016 sixth-place finisher and Dutch tournament director Kenny Hallaert has put himself into great position, bagging up the third biggest stack in the room with 4,145,000.
Hallert earned nearly $1.5 million for his run last summer, and he followed that up this year with nine cashes at the summer series, including a third-place showing in the $5,000 six-max event for $238,855 and a seventh-place finish in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for another $58,083. The last player to make back-to-back WSOP main event final tables was Mark Newhouse, who finished ninth in both 2013 and 2014.
Another player who has been there before is 2011 WSOPPlayer of the Year Ben Lamb, who finished the day with 2,746,000 and sits in 14th place. Lamb made three final tables and won his first bracelet, and then followed that up with a massive $4 million score for finishing third in the main event.
Since then, however, he has only cashed in only four live tournaments, preferring high-stakes cash to the grind of tournaments. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native and former poker dealer has nearly $7.2 million in career tournament earnings.
Frenchman Antoine Saout continues to make a run at another final table with 2,318,000 in chips, good enough for 30th place overall. Saout took third in the 2009 main event for $3.5 million. He went deep last year as well, banking $269,430 for his 25th-place finish.
Other former final tablists still in the hunt include Michael Ruane (1,564,000), Jake Balsiger (1,562,000), Eoghan O’Dea (1,467,000), Chino Rheem (529,000) and Tom Cannuli (515,000).
Other notables still in the hunt are J.P. Kelly (3,973,000), Dario Sammartino (1,769,000), Martin Finger (1,658,000), Aaron Been (1,617,000), Charlie Carrel (1,598,000), Kyle Bowker (1,500,000), Isaac Haxton (1,436,000), Dominik Nitsche (1,404,000), Nick Maimone (1,358,000), Brandon Meyers (1,353,000), Greg Mueller (1,267,000), Jake Bazeley (1,225,000), Marcel Luske (1,159,000), Sam Stein (1,098,000), Randy Lew (1,055,000), Max Silver (1,000,000), Ian Johns (1,000,000), Connor Drinan (703,00), Kathy Liebert (684,00), Davidi Kitai (594,000), Ankush Mandavia (545,000), David Pham (543,000), Timothy Adams (432,000) and Max Pescatori (429,000).
Everyone who was eliminated on day 4 finished in the money, including every former main event winner left in the field. Carlos Mortensen, Joe Cada and Scotty Nguyen all hit the rail during play, meaning the poker world will definitely have a new champion for 2017.
Play will resume Saturday at 11 a.m.
For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2017 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.