Leo Margets, the last woman with chips, is still in there at 26th of 27 players left. Antonio Esfandiari survived an all-in double-up during the final level of play yesterday to return in 20th place. Ludovic Lacay had an up and down day but returns in 15th. James Akenhead, the last Brit standing, is in 11th chip position.
And, of course, there’s Phil Ivey coming back in fourth place. I don’t believe anybody -- other than the remaining 26 players, perhaps -- wants to see him fall short of making this year’s November Nine. Not only would that ensure added excitement over the long waiting period between now and the playing of the final table, but I think it’s safe to say everyone associated with poker, poker media, and other poker-related industries stand to benefit greatly should Ivey make it.
For the most part yesterday was a fast-paced day from the reporting side of things, with lots of bustouts coming in rapid order during the first three two-hour levels. I said yesterday I thought we might get to 27 at the end of three levels yesterday. We were at 29 at that point, as it turned out, and it would take most of the fourth level of play to get to 27. So, again, another short day, relatively speaking.
I got back from dinner break a few minutes early, and was sitting at my laptop when Ivey was chatting with some of the ESPN folks, including Lon McEachern, about the planned-for schedule. Ivey was asking whether or not they’d be playing two more levels or stopping at 27.
Definitely stopping at 27 was the reply. That was going to make for a long Day 8, was Ivey’s answer. “It’s gonna take eight or nine levels,” he said.
From where Change100 and I were stationed, we could overhear many conversations about the same subject among the ESPN crew and tourney officials. From ESPN’s perspective, there was no chance of negotiating the schedule yesterday, as they had their episodes planned already. There will be two one-hour “down to 27” episodes (to air on October 27th) and two more one-hour “down to 9” shows (to air on November 3), and to change things here at the end would monkey too much with their production schedule. There may also be some desire to preserve continuity in the shows, too, with their references to “Day 7” and “Day 8,” what the players are wearing (?), and so forth.
Of course, everyone there covering the event -- and the players, too, it seemed -- recognized that by stopping at 27 we were ensuring a very long day today. Dunno if it will take eight or nine levels, as Ivey said (perhaps with some hyperbole), but who knows? Once again, as I’ve been talking about here for the last couple of days, the stacks are mighty deep and so if players don’t want to gamble it up, many of them will not be forced to do so.
I don’t have much time to write about yesterday or today, although there is much to say about both. When we were done yesterday, I got to hang out some with a relaxed and relieved Tom Schneider and friends, even playing some poker, after which I dropped in on the Tao of Pokerati celebration of their Dream Team Poker victory over at the Gold Coast bowling alley. On my way out I actually had a brief, uncharacteristic gambling excursion -- witnessed by Sir AlCantHang (to whom I didn’t get the chance to explain that no, I’m not actually a degenerate!) -- in which for the first time in my life I played roulette, using money given to me for the specific purpose to gamble with it.
Like I say, I want to write more about all of these things, but haven’t a lot of time this morning to write, so I’ll save these stories for a post-WSOP post. Right now I have to take care of some business in preparation for this potentially long day-night-morning of reporting from Day 8. In fact, I have a flight home scheduled to depart at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow morning, and so am planning for the possibility of going straight from the Rio to McCarran International airport, if it does turn out they play into the wee hours.
Should be an exciting next 24 hours, though, until I am on the plane. A lot of it will be about Ivey, imagine. He’s come this far before in the Main Event. He finished 23rd in 2002. We all remember how he bubbled that final table in 2003 (finishing 10th) in a hard luck hand versus Chris Moneymaker. And he finished 20th in 2005, as well.
Will Ivey make it to the final table this time? And who else will? Come stay up all night with the rest of us over at PokerNews’ live reporting page to find out.