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The $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event is definitely shaping up to be of gross interest to the most arduous poke fan as well as the occasional bystander. With $8.8 allocated as prize money, it’s a spectacle well worth beholding and one we expect to follow with the greatest interest indeed.

The Gist

If you haven’t been paying attention, then a quick refresher will do you well to refresh your memory. The Rio is currently playing host to the most anticipated event of the year. An event that has the status of the Olympics, World Cup and any race that raises the stakes that high. We mean $8.8 million high. Yes, the $10,000 WSOP Main Event is well on its way and we are all agog with the news of the latest action that has taken place.

This year’s event has had 7,784 entrants by Day 4. At the end of the business, only 310 could continue. Some of the casualties here were notable names in the industry, including Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmouth.

While you may rejoice that two of the most successful players have been dispatched with, which certainly was the case when news broke that Hellmouth had been eliminated, with the tidings eliciting cheers across the whole venue, there are still 24 bracelet winners in the stack. Chips have been generously swapping hands and at the end of Day 4 the first top five picks look as follows:

  • Barry Hutter – 5,597,000
  • Alexander Haro -5,031,000
  • Brian Altman (the man who eliminated Phil Ivey) – 4,861,000
  • Andres Jeckeln – 4,506,000
  • Hari Bercovici – 3,510,000

Barry Hutter has managed to break away from the pack quite tentatively and it’s rather obvious that he’s currently slated to grab the title. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Brian Altman managed to send the 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey home.

A more interesting observation is the fact that Phil Hellmouth, the outspoken poker pro, and 14-time bracelet holder was defeated by a player who’s not even on this list, namely Jans Arends.

Watch Out for the Pros

Of course, there are many people who may seem like ill-poised to claim the big pot, that is if we relied on their chips standing alone. However, in terms of skill Shannon Shorr, Bennjamin Pollak, James Obst and at least a few others are all in a position to contest for the grand prize. And if pressed, we will give Mr Arends the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, the WSOP Main Event is as heated as ever and the arrival of new contenders have made the pros both posed to slog through many players and fine-tune their game, but also face unprecedented pressure to stay ahead, as the new players also bring different playstyles and stratagems that often may elude the established order.

With each year that the popularity of poker grows and its legal status improves, the established order of professionals will have to prepare itself for tougher competition. The elimination of Mr Ivey and Mr Hellmouth might as well end up to be a waking up call.