It was calm before the storm on Day 5 of the. Then, in the midst of degree 26, the unusual Vegas storm hit — inducing multiple power outages at the Rio until tournament officials decided to call an end to the day’s session 83 minutes early.
Before the lights went out, Joe Cada perfected his short-stack poker game, Benjamin Pollak stayed alive in his quest to produce back-to-back closing tables, Cliff Josephy took a sick bad defeat to bust, and Kelly Minkin was abandoned as the last woman standing.
At around 11:30 pm, a thunderstorm winds round the valley clocked as high as 70 mph. Much of the Las Vegas Strip and downtown went dark, while McCarran airport temporarily closed. The Rio eventually experienced multiple power outages, also.
Without lighting, play could not continue, obviously, or at least not for long.
When the Amazon Room went dark, ESPN camera crews used some of the generator-powered gear to shine spotlights over tables in which there was action pending. Players also used lights from their cellular phones to stop utter mayhem from ensuing.
Even though some of the lights at the Amazon room soon came back on, play was stopped for the night with 109 remaining players still dreaming of winning $8.8 million.
Frenchmen Repeating History
Since Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event in 2003, just two players — Dan Harrington (2003/2004) and Marc Newhouse (2013/2014) — have made back-to-back final tables. Benjamin Pollak, who’s currently 16th in chips, has a opportunity to join that exclusive club of players.
Pollak, last year’s 3rd place finisher, could become the second Frenchman to look at the final table twice in the past decade, linking Antoine Saout, who also made the final table last year (and finished 5th) and in 2009 (finishing 3rd).
Another Frenchman, Sylvain Loosli, also has an opportunity to make his second final table appearance of the past decade. The 2013 4th place finisher will return to the Rio on Tuesday with a slightly above average stack (3.7 million).
Play Like a Champion
Joe Cada is the only other former Main Event final tableist still alive in the field. The 2009 winner and 2018 bracelet winner ($3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout) was nursing a small stack for the majority of the past two days but continues to survive.
The Michigander waited hours for an chance to score a big double-up and finally got it in the middle of the session with pocket jacks against Kenneth Watson’s big slick. Cada won the race, eliminating Watson at 147th place, and watched his stack bump up to 2.5 million — average size in the moment.
He ended up bagging 2.965 million chips, a bit below average but good for 57th place with 109 staying.
Cada and James Akenhead had a bit of a reunion on Monday. The two 2009 November Niners were seated in the same table early in the session.
Cada again outlasted the 2009 9th place finisher, who busted in 192nd place last night.
Brutal River Sends ‘JohnnyBax’ Packing
Cliff Josephy was one of the big stacks for much of Day 4 and into Day 5 and arrived within one ailing river card of being in serious contention for another final table in three years.
The 2016 3rd place finisher got his big stack of 3.8 million in against Michael Dyer’s big slick pre-flop. With over 7.6 million from the pot, enough to propel either player into the chip lead, a king landed on the river, sending online poker legend”JohnnyBax” home in 123rd place.
Dyer, the player who bustedon Day 4, unsurprisingly ended the session with a massive chip lead at over 12 million chips.
Last Woman Standing
There are 108 males and only one female left in the 2018 Main Event. And it’s going to take a miracle to see a woman at the final table for only the second time in history.
Barbara Enright, the only woman to ever make the final table (5th place in 1995) was removed in 292nd place on Monday, and now it’s up to Kelly Minkin to become the second.
Minkin, who spent much of the afternoon in the ESPN feature table, has only 1.2 million chips (20 big blinds), after beginning Day 5 with a big pile. She will need some rungood early on Day 6 or we’ll have an all-male closing table for the 48th time in 49 years.
Notable Players Headed to Day 6
Michael Dyer (USA) 12,180,000*
Benjamin Pollak (France) 5,715,000
Eric Froehlich (USA) 5,365,000
Sylvain Loosli (France) 3,715,000
Joe Cada (USA) 2,965,000
Shaun Deeb (USA) 2,610,000
James Obst (Australia) 1,730,000
Kelly Minkin (USA) 1,205,000
* chip leader
Closer to Big Bucks
When Day 6 begins at 11 am PT on Tuesday, massive cover jump considerations will be on the heads of the remaining 109 players. Each participant is guaranteed $57,010 but one will make $8.8 million and nine will make at least $1 million.
Six-figure payouts start at 64th place, which will happen on Day 6. By the time Day 7 kicks off on Wednesday, the final session before the final table, all players will probably be guaranteed at least $200,000.
Blinds will be in 30k/60k/10k when play resumes.