Day 5 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event aired on Sunday night on ESPN, going up against the Philadelphia Eagles’ beat down of the New York Giants. When the first of two hour-long episodes began at 9:00pm Eastern Time, there were 139 players left and former #1 ranked PocketFiver Griffin Flush_Entity Benger (pictured) was third in chips.
As Greg Raymer put it in the opening montage, “The better you play, the less luck you’re going to need.” The first hand, for example, saw Tony Ruberto win a pot from Benger with just ace-high. Afterward, Benger talked to ESPN’s cameras about making a living playing video games and mastering Counter-Strike.
Speaking of Ruberto, an interview with the young gun aired in which he brushed off the notion that driving deep in the Main Event is buzz-worthy: “It’s not a big deal. You want to know why? It’s just another tournament. That’s all it is. There’s no glory. Yeah, it’s the Main Event and there’s a little more prestige, but it’s still another day at the office.”
Meanwhile, Maria Ho, who would ultimately be the Last Woman Standing in the Main Event in 2014 for the second time in her career, called an all-in with pocket queens against an opponent with A-10. No bullet came and Ho continued to stack chips.
Trending the opposite way was the boisterous Curtis Rystadt (pictured), who dropped 20% of his stack after his J-10 could not suck out on A-K of diamonds. Rystadt had gotten into it with California pokerpro Kyle Keranen earlier on Day 5, but the two had improved to “frenemies.”
Meanwhile, former “2 Months, $2 Million” star Brian Roberts bluffed all-in with Q-10 on a board of J-A-7-5-7, getting an opponent with A-10 to lay down his hand. Then, Roberts busted a player after his jacks stood tall against pocket tens. The latter hand caused Roberts’ chip stack to swell by 70%.
On a board of 9-Q-8-A, Dan KingDanSmith, holding queens, put Kane Kalas all-in. Kalas, who had Q-9 for two pair, stared down Smith, who coyly swallowed and looked nervous. ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad said of Smith’s move, “Camp counselors shouldn’t give off false tells.” Smith was a camp counselor in high school, by the way, as I’m sure several people reading this article were. In any case, Kalas called and was eliminated.
The second episode, which aired at 10:00pm Eastern Time, began with three players all-in pre-flop on the same hand. The holdings: 4-4, A-J, and A-K, with a player who had J-J having all of them covered. The board rolled out 10-4-9-8-9 and Billy Pappas, who had 4-4, quadrupled up.
Rystadt continued to bleed chips, this time his entire remaining stack. On a board of K-6-Q-2-4 with three clubs, Rystadt, who had an offsuit K-4, bet 400,000 and Keranen, his new best bud, shoved all-in with A-10 of clubs for the flopped nut flush. Rystadt stewed over his decision and ultimately called, sending him away from the Main Event and leaving Keranen to breathe a sigh of relief.
In one of the final hands of the night, Benger moved all-in before the flop with J-J and Chad evechad Eveslage called with Q-Q. The better hand held and Benger was eliminated in 90th place.
Despite doubling up a player and dropping one-fifth of his stack, Mark Newhouse(pictured) ended Day 5 as the Main Event’s chip leader, seeking to become the first two-time November Niner. As Chad put it, “If he makes back-to-back final tables, I will zip line across the Grand Canyon with Mike Matusow on my back.” Have fun with that, Norm.
You can catch Day 6 of the Main Event starting at 9:00pm Eastern Time on Sunday on ESPN.