The last four eliminations came within the space of just a few minutes right at the end of Level 29 last night, and in fact if they had not gotten to 27 by the end of that level, I think play might not have been stopped.
But 27 becomes a convenient point to pause proceedings because there is a scheduled redraw to place players in seats around the last three tables. And as I mentioned yesterday, ever since 2008 they’ve been playing down from 27 to the final nine on the last day of the summer, so it kind of follows tradition to do so again. (EDIT [11:30 a.m.]: Jess Welman reminds me that once a couple of years ago they did return for the final day of the summer with 23 left.)
One of those four last-minute eliminations provided what was the most dramatic hand I watched yesterday, the one that saw Sylvain Loosli eliminate Danard Petit in 30th place. Here’s the hand report, which describes how the pair got all of Petit’s chips in on the turn with Petit holding an overpair with his pocket aces and Loosli having a lesser pair of jacks and an inside straight draw with his Q-J.
Even before the river card came, several who were watching were remembering to each other the Matt Affleck-Jonathan Duhamel hand from 2010 in which Duhamel busted Affleck in 15th by filling a straight on the river to crack Affleck’s aces. Sure enough, that’s what happened in the Loosli-Petit hand, and while I resisted making any puns on Loosli’s name, I did allude to the Duhamel-Affleck hand in the write-up.
Last year there were 246 more players playing the Main Event and so an extra 7.38 million chips in play, and with the same structure in place they made it about halfway through Level 34 before Gaelle Baumann was eliminated in 10th place and play ended. Play will begin at the start of Level 30 tonight.
The current chip leader, Anton Morgenstern, accumulated a ton of chips during the last couple of levels yesterday and seems one obvious choice among the final 27 to make the final table. That said, last year neither the chip leader going into Day 7 (Marc-Andre Ladouceur) nor the player in second position (Daniel Strelitz) made the final nine. In fact, only two of the top nine going into the last day of play made it, with Steve Gee coming all of the way back from 22nd of 27 to get there.
Somewhat amazingly, Gee is back again to play Day 7 this year, in 23rd place this time with 27 left, and so provides a primary storyline for today. J.C. Tran returns to a big stack, and will surely get a lot of attention. So will Carlos Mortensen, who likewise has above average chips and looks to earn a second WSOP Main Event title after having won back in 2001.
I’m not going to try to predict how long the day will go, although I keep remembering how many times in the past we’ve begun a Day 7 thinking it would last until dawn and we end up finishing around midnight. Stacks are deep, but the blinds and antes will get big fast today and I think some players find playing so many long days of poker in a row to be fatiguing enough to encourage them to play faster here at the end.
We’ll see. Follow along at PokerNews to find out how it all goes.