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"Winning my seat has been my biggest score in life." Dean Morrone is living every online poker satellite qualifier’s dream. A player from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada, Morrone earned his way to the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event by winning a $100 satellite. On dinner break of Day 5, there are 259 players left from the WSOP Main Event’s second largest field ever and Morrone is one of the biggest stacks in the room. He’s guaranteed just less than $44,000 and is thrilled with the experience. “I won a $100 satellite on 888poker that gave me a ticket into the [WSOP Main Event],” Morrone told PocketFives. “888poker flew us here, gave us some spending money, a week in a really nice hotel, and if I’m the last qualifier standing I get to come do it all over again next year. 888poker has been really good to us. I highly recommend trying to satellite online to get into this tournament.” Morrone admits to being a losing player when he first started, and let’s be honest, most of us were to start off. Just like others who have progressed in the game, Morrone began to take poker more seriously and increased his studying. “It changed my game completely,” Morrone said. The studying allowed Morrone to develop as a player and his chops have shown in the 2019 WSOP Main Event. He may not have the live poker experience of some of the others in the field, specifically when it comes to this tournament, but countless hours of honing his craft online have given Morrone the confidence he needs for a deep run. “It was the biggest celebration I’ve had to date,” Morrone said of winning his seat on 888poker. “I’ve won more money than the seat was worth before, but never celebrated like I did because I really manifested me playing this tournament. For me to get a chance to actually play, it means everything. Winning my seat has been my biggest score in life and I truly appreciated that score.” Morrone’s hometown has a population of less than 13,000 people. It doesn’t have a casino, so Morrone focused his poker-playing efforts in the online space after first learning the game from his dad. “Getting into poker, in general, started with my dad and home games,” Morrone said. “He used to bring some buddies over every couple of weeks and they weren’t very good at cards. But they taught me how to at least read the hands and play the hands, so that’s where I first got into it. After that, it was a lot of online poker because I’m from a small town and there are no casinos.” Entering Day 5 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event, 354 players remained and Morrone was atop them all. Although he lost a sizable pot a couple of hours into Wednesday’s Day 5, Morrone still has a very healthy stack. “It’s unbelievable,” Morrone said. “It’s obviously tough before the money when you’re in satellite position because you want the min-cash, so I had to do a lot of folding before the bubble but so did a lot of other people. But after the bubble, it’s a whole different game. As long as you have chips, you can spin it up, play some real poker, and try to take it down.” Back home, many are rooting hard for Morrone. From friends to family members, they’re intently following his progress and sending him positive messages that is causing his phone to blow up every few minutes. Even though he’s deep in the greatest poker tournament in the world and focusing hard on keeping the run alive, the love and support Morrone has received isn’t lost on him. “I’ve said it to a few people now, but my support back home has been the most unbelievable support I could have imagined,” Morrone said. “Messages every few minutes with how I’m doing or how they want me to be doing. It’s crazy. All my buddies, even the ones I haven’t talked to in a long time, have all been very supportive and I really appreciate that. I really feel the support.” Morrone said that poker isn’t his profession, although it could be one day. He’s worked in oil and gas industry as a fabricator, but winning the $10 million first-place prize could certainly change everything. “I’ve never really found a passion of a career,” Morrone said. “Poker is my number one passion, but obviously you’ve got to be really good to make a career out of it.”
The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event went from 1,286 players down to 354 on Tuesday Those left are deep in the money and guaranteed $34,845, and it’s Dean Morrone holding the chip lead entering Day 5. Former NFL star Richard Seymour was one of the big stacks to advance. Morrone Leads the Way Morrone is a Canadian player and a qualifier from 888poker. He’s making his first career WSOP cash with his run in this year’s WSOP Main Event and it’s also his largest live tournament score to date as he entered the tournament with just $10,138 in live earnings. Morrone entered Day 4 with 365,000 before he went on to finish with 4.98 million and the lead. Other big stacks in the group behind Morrone on the leaderboard were Lars Bonding (4.04 million), Michael Messick (3.925 million), Warwick Mirzikinian (3.9 million), and Henrik Hecklen (3.862 million) to round out the top five. Morrone’s fellow 888poker qualifier Mihai Manole finished the day with a very healthy 3.781 million. Top 10 Chip Counts Dean Morrone - 4,980,000 Lars Bonding - 4,040,000 Michael Messick - 3,925,000 Warwick Mirzikinian - 3,900,000 Henrik Hecklen - 3,862,000 Mihai Manole - 3,781,000 Robert Heidorn - 3,700,000 Sean Mills - 3,692,000 Christopher Wynkoop - 3,563,000 Andrew Brokos - 3,518,000 Former NFL Star Richard Seymour On the Rush Former NFL star and three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour was among those to advance to Day 5. He spoke with The Fives Poker Podcast at the end of Day 3 about his sixth time playing the WSOP Main Event being a charm and things only got sweeter on Tuesday. Seymour came into the day with 275,000 and quickly got his stack up to 400,000. It wasn’t long before he reached 1 million in chips and then the progression only continued after he was moved to one of the secondary features tables. Seymour bagged up 2.75 million in chips, but he wasn’t the only former NFL player to move on. Eric Stocz, who spent time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, reached the money in the WSOP Main Event for the second time in his poker career. He’s already outperformed the 402nd-place finish he netted in 2011 that earned him $30,974 and will only be looking for more. Stocz bagged 350,000 for Day 5. Former PocketFives #1 Players Performing Well A handful of former PocketFives #1 players are performing well and have advanced to Day 4 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event. Fabrizio Gonzalez bagged 2.916 million, Chris Hunichen finished with 2.617 million, and Yuri Dzivielevski ended with 1.79 million. Hunichen bagged those chips despite losing one of the biggest pots of the tournament so far. He got involved in a big one with David Guay and Guay flopped a set of tens against Hunichen’s pocket kings. The hand resulted in a full double for Guay and took a dent of about 1.2 million out of Hunichen’s stack. Eight from Pennsylvania Still Alive Pennsylvania online poker has been legalized and the launch date is coming up soon. When sites do go live there will be a handful of players with some extra money to deposit thanks to deep runs in this WSOP Main Event. Eight players from Pennsylvania remain, with Thomas Parkes of Alburtis finishing Day 4 with the most chips at 3.172 million. Pittsburgh’s Chad Power is next with 2.78 million, and then it’s Matthew Sabia (1.81 million), Kenneth Smaron (1.806 million), Edward Pham (1.43 million), Jake Schindler (1.168 million), Donald Dombach (799,000), and Matt Glantz (690,000). Yoon, Esfandiari, Cheong Among Bracelet Winners Remaining In addition to all the names that have been mentioned, Brian Yoon (2.622 million), Antonio Esfandiari (2.583 million), Craig McCorkell (2.5 million), Chris Wallace (1.98 million), and Joseph Cheong (1.958 million) represent some of the WSOP gold bracelet winners still in the field. Yoon and Esfandiari are both three-time gold bracelet winners who have had some deep runs in the WSOP Main Event before. Yoon has finished in the top 60 on three separate occasions (2018, 2016, and 2011), and Esfandiari finished 24th in 2009. McCorkell took 13th in 2014, and Wallace finished 32nd in 2017. We also know very much about Cheong’s third-place finish behind Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener in 2010 that earned him $4.13 million. All Former Main Event Champs Gone Of course, not every player could advance. Three former WSOP Main Event champions began the day, with Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, and Qui Nguyen still in the field, but all three of them busted out on Day 4. Moneymaker finished 687th for $20,200, Chan took 560th for $24,560, and Nguyen went out 455th for $30,780. Nguyen’s bust came when he got the last of his chips in with pocket fives only to lose out to an opponent’s two sixes. With no former WSOP Main Event champions in the field, we will see a brand new winner in 2019. Others to bust on Day 4 were Ricky Guan (362nd - $34,845), Scott Lazar (388th - $34,845), Jean-Robert Bellande (415th - $30,780), Bryan Campanello (435th - $30,780), Josh Arieh (485th - $27,390), Adam Owen (570th - $24,560), and Cliff Josephy (759th - $20,200). Day 5 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event starts at 12 pm PT on Wednesday, July 10 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino.