After 239 players began, the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event has been cut down to just 68 players after the conclusion of Day 5. Another five, two-hour levels of play have been put in the books, and leading the way into Day 6 is Sami Rustom with 7,005,000 in chips.
Heading into the last level of the night, Rustom had the lead. While Marc McLaughlin and Ryan Riess managed to both take turns holding the top spot during the final level, Rustom soared at the end to finish just 10,000 chips ahead of McLaughlin. The California native is here making the largest cash of his career by a long shot. In fact, this single score here, whatever it may be for Rustom, has already surpassed his total lifetime tournament earnings of $43,957. Rustom does have two WSOP cashes, both coming from back in 2007.
While Rustom may have the chip lead, the biggest story returning today was that of defending champion Greg Merson. Merson made it to the second level of the day, Level 22, with the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000 before he was eliminated at the hands of Brett Richey. After Richey had opened to 40,000 from middle position, Merson moved all in from the next seat with the for 481,000. Richey called holding the to have Merson dominated. Following a runout of , Merson was sent to the payout desk to collect his winnings. He finished in 167th place for $42,990.
After Merson was sent off, plenty of other notables joined him in the payout line. Kevin Calenzo finished in 165th place, Jason Potter busted in 164th place, Alexander Kuzmin hit the rail in 135th place, and Alex Bilokur went out in 126th place, just to name a few. Then came the elimination of Ronnie Bardah in 124th place.
Bardah had cameras fixated on him for much of the past three days as he went deeper and deeper in his fourth WSOP Main Event cash in a row, but he'd have to settle for a payday of $50,752 after busting out at the hands of Jorn Walthaus. Walthaus cracked a short-stacked Bardah's aces with the by making a flush.
Heading into Day 6, the two big stories are stealing the headlines belong to Jackie Glazier and Carlos Mortensen.
Glazier proved to be the last woman standing in the 2013 Main Event and will advance with 4,045,000 in chips. She found a nice surge to her stack in the last level of the night, Level 25, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000/5,000 by doubling through Chris Johnson. Johnson was crippled and eliminated shortly thereafter.
Mortensen is trying to repeat the feat he achieved back in 2001, when he won the WSOP Main Event for $1.5 million. En route to finishing the day with 2,665,000 in chips, Mortensen busted Marvin Rettenmaier in 99th place. When Rettenmaier put his money in for the last time in this event, his were outdone by the for Mortensen. This is Mortensen's deepest run in the Main Event since his win in 2001.
Other notables still left in the field are Steve Gee, last year's ninth-place finisher, Ryan Riess, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, David Benefield, JC Tran, Noah Schwartz, Chris Lindh, Amir Lehavot, Jonathan Jaffe, Yann Dion, Jim Collopy, Vitaly Lunkin, Mark Newhouse, Vladimir Geshkenbein, Brett Richey and Rep Porter.
Day 6 will begin on Sunday at 12 p.m. Las Vegas time, and the plan right now stands at playing out another five levels. That plan could be altered due to filming and how fast play has been moving along, but we'll have more on that tomorrow. Until then, get a good night's sleep and prepare yourself for another day of exciting poker action. We'll see you right back here then on PokerNews!