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Still a large field to get through in the Main Event! (Photo Courtesy of Cardplayer.com)

Poker players will tell you without hesitation that the WSOP Main Event has one of the best tournament structures in the game.  They’re right, and although it is a grueling test of physical and mental endurance, it is also one of the most fair tests given that the starting stack (and therefore the chance to build through superior play) is so generously deep.  But deep stacks eventually get shallow, and so it was that Friday’s Day 4 action saw several formerly deep stacked players either go bust or just slide through into the money.  Officially, the 693 players who cashed made their money about ninety minutes before the dinner break, but in reality, they’d been working at it for a week.  The far more sobering reality is that for the players who will continue this show on into November, there is MUCH more work to be done.

The Day 4/Day 5 interlude is the unofficial halfway point (structure-wise) between the start and finish lines of this event (November Nine aside), and so we decided to bring you a little more than just a few dry chip counts that will be outdated in a few hours anyhow.  With over 93% of all starters in this event eliminated, we wanted to describe the uphill climb still to be encountered by the remaining few. To do that, we thought it fitting to put the depth of the WSOP Main Event into perspective by the numbers, so here it goes:

Consider the fact that with 378 players left……..

++ The average chip stack to begin Day 5 will be T544,000.  When play opens at Level 19 (5K/10K blinds), those average stacks will still have 54.4 Big Blinds of room to play.  Like we said, greatest structure in the world.

++ There are approximately T206 MILLION chips in play.  That means that after four days and 18 levels of play, there is still only one player, Day 4 Leader Manoj Viswanathan (T2.11M) that has even one percent of the total chips in his own stack.

++ To put Viswanathan’s stack into further perspective, the average stack of a November Nine player will be T22.8 Million.  Even our chip leader is less than 10% of the way there mathematically.

++ By the end of this Day 5, the Big Blind will most likely be T24,000, which means that if the current pace of play is to be maintained, the average stacks will be hovering right around T1.2 Million, and the numbers of players should shrink to around 180 by the end of Saturday’s play.

++ If that average stack prediction holds, it is likely that someone will end Day 5 around the T4.5 or T5 Million mark.  Even then, that chip leader will command less than 3% of all chips in play.

++ In terms of the Main Event pay scale, today is probably the “least profitable” day for nursing a short stack and trying to survive.  The first player eliminated today wins $30,974 for his efforts, and if we cut the field in half, the last player out tonight will likely have earned $47,107.  It’s a 55% increase, sure, but making the money in the first place was a huge swing financially (from -$10,000 to +$9,100) and running into the Top 100 will allow the initial investment to grow exponentially.  Today will make profitable players slightly more profitable in terms of the pay scale – it is a day made for stack growth, not hanging on for survival.

Hopefully those facts and figures are driving the point home nicely.  This is a HUGE Event, and despite all that has been played, there is still a very, very long way to go and a lot of very, very exciting poker ahead of us still.

If you do want a few quick counts from the end of the evening, we have those as well!  Here are some notable players who will open Day 5 with above average stacks:

Manoj Viwanathan (T2.1 M)
Sam Barnhart (T1.9 M)
Max Heinzelmann (T1.67 M)
Ben Lamb (T1.26 M)
Joseph Cheong (T862 K)
Sorel Mizzi (T648 K)
Daniel Negreanu (T619 K)

And here are a few runners who start the Day just a bit behind schedule and looking to build a stack early:

Peter Jetten (T405 K)
Patrick Poirier (T335 K)
Jon Turner (T305 K)
Darus Suharto (T185 K)
“Miami” John Cernuto (T112 K)

Congratulations again to everyone who cashed, and those who are still running strong at the WSOP Main Event.  Good Luck at the Tables!