The field has been cut down to just 80 players in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, and the man with the lead is Jerry Wong, who bagged a stack of 11.555 million after Day 5 Saturday. Wong, a New York native, has over $1.3 million in live tournament cashes, the most notable of which was a third-place finish in the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $725,000.
Wong eliminated start-of-day leader Bryan Piccioli in the last level of the night with blinds at 30,000/60,000/10,000. Piccioli opened to 140,000 in late position, Wong made it 405,000 in the small blind, and Piccioli jammed for 2.6 million. Wong called with and held against on an eight-high board.
Jan Suchanek (10.305 million), Kenny Hallaert (10.05 million), also Griffin Benger (9.86 million) also bagged heaps.
Top Ten Chip Counts
|1||Jerry Wong||United States||11,555,000|
|2||Jan Suchanek||New Zealand||10,305,000|
|5||Joshua Weiss||United States||8,330,000|
|6||William Kassouf||United Kingdom||8,300,000|
|7||David Lhonore||United Kingdom||8,265,000|
|8||Chang Luo||United States||8,090,000|
|9||Jared Bleznick||United States||7,955,000|
|10||Fernando Pons||United States||7,930,000|
Suchanek eliminated 2015 WSOP Player of the Year Mike Gorodinsky late with against .
Benger is two years removed from a 90th-place run in the 2014 Main Event, and he thinks he's in the right state of mind to keep crushing.
"This time I have a really good mindset and a really good perspective," he said. "I'm so grateful that I had that opportunity before, and now I'm even more grateful that it's prepared me for this and it's just part of my journey."
Unlike many others at the top of the counts, there wasn't one or two pots to point at that propelled Benger to where he's at. Most of the hands involving Benger in the updates were ones he won without showdown, and he said that does reflect how it's gone for him thus far in the tournament.
"I've never been all in for my tournament life," he said. "I've never been in any huge deficit situations where I've had to suck out, but I've definitely been getting some big hands, flopping some big hands and I've been on the right end of coolers. I'm running extremely good to have 10 million chips in the Main Event, make no frickin' mistake about it."
Another who made it through to Day 6 is Cliff Josephy. An old school online legend who piled up millions in cashes on the virtual felt, Josephy has scored two bracelets at the WSOP, but never really made a mark in the Main Event in his distinguished career, with his best finish being 386th in 2008.
Josephy, who picked up kings and held against ace-king for a late elimination, echoed Benger's sentiment about running good. The man who is perhaps just as famous for backing other winning players as he is for taking down tournaments himself is as comfortable on the grind as he is making profitable deals.
"I guess sometimes you've got to do the work yourself," he said. "My guys they had a lot of stacks yesterday and no one made it through, so hopefully I can pick the team up right now."
Others advancing included Jared Bleznick (7.955 million), Paul Volpe (7.29 million), Tom Marchese (7.155 million), Antoine Saout (6.705 million), Dan Colman (6.345 million), James Obst (4.88 million), Chris Klodnicki (1.875 million), and Tony Gregg (1.405 million).
Volpe and Saout have notable storylines to follow, with the former having a shot to catch Jason Mercier for Player of the Year honors, and the latter looking for his second November Nine appearance following a third-place finish in 2009.
Jon Turner, Ami Barer, Gaelle Baumann, Greg Raymer, Melanie Weisner, Mukul Pahuja, David Pham, Todd Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Shaun Deeb were among the players eliminated Saturday. Baumann finished 102nd and was the last woman standing for the second time in the Main Event (10th place in 2012), while Raymer and Chan were the final former champs left in the field. Raymer went out last, falling in 122nd when he ran nines into Hallaert's tens.
While that was a nice result for the Belgian player, Hallaert said he isn't going to get caught looking ahead.
"It's already been a long ride, but still two more days to go until the November Nine," he said. "I'm not in a hurry, I'm definitely not dreaming of the November Nine already."
As the 2016 WSOP rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, brought to you by our sponsors, 888poker.