WSOP Main Event in the Money, All Former Champs Out, Few Pros Remain, Back-to-Back Final Tables in Sight for Hallaert, Charity ‘Little One’ Also Underway

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The 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event began with 7,221 runners, and after Day 4 action on Sunday, just 297 players remained. Argentina’s Damian Salas is out in front. But hot on his heels is 2016 November Niner Kenny Hallaert, who is eyeing back-to-back Main Event final tables, and 295 others still holding chips and a chair and dreams of winning it all.

Carlos Mortenson 2017 WSOP Main Event
Carlos Mortenson, seen here nursing a short stack, was one of several former Main Event champions to hit the rail on Day 4. (Image: Jon Sofen / CardsChat)

Hallaert Eyes WSOP History

Last year, 35-year-old Kenny Hallaert finished sixth in the WSOP Main Event to win nearly $1.5 million. This summer he cashed eight times with two final table appearances, and now he’s capping it off with another deep run in the Main Event.

Hallaert is looking to join Mark Newhouse as the only player to make back-to-back final tables in the modern era, though he’s trying not to think about that.

“I don’t want to focus too much on going back to back final table,” Hallaert told WSOP officials. “The way to the final table is still so long. We need to play three full days. I can just finish 250th tomorrow, it can happen. I don’t have high hopes just yet.”

Among those who’ll return for Day 5 action are 2011 WSOP Player of the Year Ben Lamb (2,746,000), Frenchman Antoine Saout (2,318,000), 2017 SCOOP champ Charlie Carrel (1,598,000), online star Isaac Haxton (1,436,000), 888poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche (1,404,000), Triple Crown winner Davidi Kitai (594,000), and Poker Hall of Fame nominee Max Pescatori (429,000).

Other notable pros and players still alive include Chris Wallace (1,605,000), Greg Mueller (1,267,00), Marcel Luske (1,159,000), Sam Stein (1,098,000), Randy Lew (1,055,000), Max Silver (1,000,000), Kevin Song (698,000), Kathy Liebert (684,000), David Pham (573,000), Minh Ly (374,000), and Chip Jett (202,000).

When players return blinds will be at 10,000/20,000/3,000.

Of course, not everyone was fortunate enough to advance. Among those who took their leave on Day 4 were Liv Boeree (314th for $35,267), Jeff Lisandro (383rd for $31,170), Andre Akkari (409th for $31,170), and 2017 Super High Roller Bowl champ Christoph Vogelsang (444th for $27,743).

Likewise, the last three former champs in the field all hit the rail. Carlos Mortensen (984th) and Joe Cada (948th) exited early, while 1998 WSOP champ Scotty Nguyen finished as the last winner standing, ultimately finishing in 549th place for $22,449.

Nguyen fell after shoving his last 73,000 from early position holding the A♦7♣ only to have Jesse Decker call from the big blind with the A♠K♦. The 9♦6♠9♣ gave Nguyen some chop outs, but he missed as the 3♦ blanked on the turn followed by the 10♦ on the river. The five-time bracelet winner earned the distinction as last former champ standing in the 2017 WSOP Main Event.

Top 10 Chip Counts
1 Damian Salas (Buenos Aires, Argentina) 4,678,000
2 Sebastien Comel (St. Pierre Du Mont, France) 4,198,000
3 Kenny Hallaert (Hansbeke, Belgium) 4,145,000
4 John Kelly (Bucks, Italy) 3,973,000
5 Richard Gryko (Romford Essex, GB) 3,559,000
6 Cosmin Joldis (Floresti, RO) 3,500,000
7 Colin Moffatt (Aurora, Colorado) 3,086,000
8 Jonas Mackoff (Vancouver, BC) 3,076,000
9 Eyal Maaravi (US) 3,030,000
10 Valentin Messina (Pantin, France) 2,979,000

Little One Down to Final 100

One Drop Logo at WSOP
One Drop tournaments offer a reprieve from Main Event heartbreak, as WSOP players can feel good about helping raise nearly $1 million this year to address various global water concerns. (Image: CardsChat)

The final tournament of the summer, Event #74, $1,111 Little One for One Drop, is down to the final 100 from a 4,391-player field. The tournament raised $487,401 for charity, which along with the money from the One Drop High Roller brought the total to $992,000 donated to One Drop on behalf of players during the 2017 WSOP.

When Day 2 started, 93 players needed to fall before the tournament money bubble burst for the top 659. The unfortunate bubble boy ended up being Ozgur Arda, who saw his A♥A♠ cracked by the Q♣Q♥ of Adam Duong after the board ran out K♦J♠9♥Q♠6♠.

From there, the in-the-money finishes came quick and included Dietrich Fast (101st for $3,454), Ben Yu (130th for $3,545), Ray Henson (179th for $3,012), David Bach (186th for $3,012), and Jason Mercier (225th for $3,012).

Others still battling for the $528,316 first-place prize are two-time MSPT champ Jeremy Dresch (656,000), Dan Heimiller (629,000), $25K PLO bracelet winner James Calderaro (585,000), Matt Berkey (423,000), and Chris Ferguson (163,000).

Day 3 action will get under way at 2 pm PDT.

Top Ten Day 3 Chip Counts
1 Daniel Dizenzo (Sussex, New Jersey) 1,345,000
2 Alexandros Papadopoulos (Greece) 1,200,000
3 Jurgen Wenigwieser (East Poland, Maine) 1,188,000
4 Luigi Knoppers (Netherlands) 1,124,000
5 Dejuante Alexander (Houston, TX) 950,000
6 Giuseppe Pantaleo (Bielefeld, Delaware) 935,000
7 David Bagheri (Las Vegas, Nevada) 900,000
8 Ricardo Ramos (Apo, AE) 873,000
9 Cannon Lim (SG) 857,000
10 Troy Sprungl (Gilbert, Arizona) 838,000

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