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Robert Butt

Day 4 Roundup

So the speed tournament that is this year's WSOP continues. The structure for the tournament is as slow as ever of course but players don't seem to care, if they can get their money in with live cards they seem happy to do so. After 4 days of play only 135 out of the nearly 9000 players who started remain and although the stacks are still very deep eliminations aren't slowing down as much as they should be. Out on Day 4 - Kathy Liebert, Lars Bonding, Josh Ewing, now I guess ex-champion Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu, David Chiu and Aaron Bartley. Brits Dave Penly and Katherine Hartree, Alan Barnacle, Gary Jones and Brian Hallows too.

Part of the 'problem' will be that probably 80%, perhaps even higher, of the entrants will be online qualifiers. Party, Pokerstars and Full Tilt making up 50-60% of the entrants on their own! They won't be used to deep stack play and the idea of laying down AK preflop is almost alien to some of them. I certainly don't want to be condescending, as there are a lot of top class players who play almost exclusively online. Having said that even these will surely be at a disadvantage recognizing and preventing themselves giving off the tells which help in live play post-flop, and they could be protecting themselves by avoiding hard post-flop decisions. When the average stack is growing at such a rate as it has been, it must be very hard for even those used to better structured tournaments than are usually found online from getting disparaged and wanting to take risks themselves to build up a stack. After all, how can you take advantage of your read on an amateur to force them off a hand when you have 50,000 in front of you and the amateur has ten times that after winning a few coinflips against other players willing to gamble.

A new chip leader ended day 4. Jamie Gold (pictured), a very well off entertainment producer from Malibu, California, finished up with 3.7 million, with Max Reese in 2nd with 'only' 2,358,000. It looks increasingly likely that a previously unknown player is going to win the biggest ever prize in poker (and, if you count it, sport). Prahlad Friedman takes 1,500,000 into Day 5, and Jeff Lisandro 1,208,000. Richard Gryko is the highest placed Brit remaining with just under 1 million but 'names' are few and far between - Annie Duke, Cuong Do, Thomas Wahlroos, Humberto Brenes, Allen Cunningham and Marcello DelGrosso probably the biggest.

Leaving the Rio at the end of Day 4, I spotted Phil Hellmuth signing an autograph for a disabled fan, as sweet as can be. It was nice to see that such a successful player isn't really such a brat as he makes out at the table, but I've got to admit to being a little pleased to that, now just about out of earshot of his fan, he started swearing loudly and violently to himself, his mind no doubt back to the last bad beat he received. So it's not all put on for the cameras!

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