WSOP Main Event: Damian Salas leads after Day 4 as Chinese contingent carries Asian hopes

With the fourth day of this year’s Main Event now concluded, just 297 players remain in contention for poker’s world championship, from the 1,084 who began the day. There is an $8,150,000 1st prize up for grabs, which is just a portion of the $67,877,400 prize pool which is to be paid out. At 7,221 this starting field was the third largest in history, and now with the top chip stacks being counted in millions rather than thousands, we have reached the business end of the tournament

Bubble bursts at the end of day 3

Quan Zhou - Photo Joe Giron courtesy of WSOP
Quan Zhou – Photo Joe Giron courtesy of WSOP

China’s Quan Zhou was the official bubble boy of the tournament, and did not meekly exit by being blinded off. He in fact attempted an overbet river bluff against Davidi Kitai, who had unfortunately for Zhou, spiked a full house on the river. Zhou busted at the same time as Roger Campbell, and the two essentially had to flip to see who would receive the bubble prize of a $10,000 buy in for next year’s Main Event. Zhou won that flip, and is our official bubble boy. Those who remained locked up a min cash of $15,000.

Big names still going strong

Argentina’s Damian Salas leads the field with 4,678,000 chips.

An other player who should be mentioned here is Kenny Hallaert. The Belgian pro sat with 1.6 million chips at the end of day 4 last year, and went on to final table and finish 6th for over $1.4 million. Right now, he sits as the third biggest stack in the tournament with 4,145,000 chips. With blinds at 10K/20K, that equates to well over 200 big blinds. There’s still some distance to cover, but if he could replicate Mark Newhouse’s back to back final tables of 2013 and 2014, it would be a truly special achievement.

Other notable names with strong stacks include two-time bracelet winner JP Kelly, who has 3,973,000. He is joined near the top of the counts by bracelet winner and 2011 3rd place finisher Ben Lamb with 2,746,000.

Another former 3rd place finisher in this event is also still looking very strong. Antoine Saout will bring 2,318,000 into the fifth day as he looks to go a couple of spots better than his finish in 2009.

Having taken 3rd place in the $10K Heads-Up event this year and recently won the SCOOP High Main Event, Charlie ‘Epiphany77’ Carrel also remains a serious threat in this tournament with 1,598,000. Other big names with seven figure stacks include Isaac Haxton (1,436,000), three-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche (1,404,000), double bracelet winner Greg Mueller (1,267,000), Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew (1,055,000) and EPT winner Tom Middleton (1,053,000). Davidi Kitai and Connor Drinan also remain in the hunt with 594,000 and 703,000 respectively.

Chinese hopes remain intact

Juicy Lee
Juicy Li

Hopes of a Chinese winner remain strong, as Sixiao ‘Juicy’ Li bagged up a very respectable 777,000 chips. She will be joined on day 5 by big stack Jingwei Zhang (2,651,000) and smaller stacks Yin Liu (535,000), Jian Chen (393,000) and Shiguang Zeng (253,000).

Korean stacks staking their claim

Sung Joo Hyun will be happy with his day’s work, after bagging up 888,000 at the end of the fourth day. Nearer the top of the standings though, is the imposing chip stack of Hyon Kim. He holds 2,347,000 and will be a real threat going into tomorrow.

Australians still alive and kicking

Ben Richardson is the largest Australian stack still in the tournament with 1,903,000, and he will be joined by Michael Adammo with 1,006,000, Matthew Wakeman with 780,000 and Matthew Walker with 650,000. These players will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the only Australian Main Event champion in history – Joe Hachem.

Indian hopes rest on Rahul Byrraju and Paawan Bansal

There was a strong contingent of Indian players at the start of this year’s Main Event, and as we enter the late stages, Indian hopes are still alive, and resting on the shoulders of two players. Rahul Byrraju brings 1,320,000 into the fifth day and Paawan Bansal will have 514,000 to work with.

Jessica Ngu will also be representing Singapore with a stack of 850,00 on day 5, and is the only player of her nationality still standing.

Article by Craig Bradshaw

More: Full WSOP Coverage