Breaking Down the Action:
  • Main Event Creates Stars on Screen
  • Women on the Warpath
  • The State of Play

4 Minute Read

Dan Smith survived a rollercoaster ride on Day 5 of the 2022 WSOP Main Event.

Drama, excitement, controversy, and the most amazing all-in of the series. Day 5 of the 2022 saw 380 players reduced to just 123 hopefuls by the close of play, but among them, several players had etched their names into poker history with the standard of their play.

Who’ll win the $10 million top prize? Day 5 helped us get a crucial part of the way closer to find out.

Main Event Creates Stars on Screen

Everyone has their eyes on the life-changing sums of money on offer at the final table, but Day 5 was one of patient negotiation, not single hands to change your Main Event destiny… for most. To many watching the stream on PokerGO, it was all about one man – Zilong Zhang. The unpredictable player may have taken his time in certain pots, but he was so entertaining doing so that any fans could forgive him.

Starring from the off on the feature table on Day 4, the PokerGO team didn’t miss a beat and put him right back under the lights on Monday and he never failed to deliver. He didn’t win every pot by any means, losing a crucial one to Dan Smith (below)

It wasn’t only Zhang who was becoming a star on the small screen. Alejandro Lococo finished seventh in the 2021 WSOP Main Event and far from being happy with it, he seems to have taken it as a personal insult that he didn’t make it further.

In a massive raising war pre-flop, the Argentinian unloaded the clip, going ‘Lococo’ (it’s one-up from Loco) as he piled it all-in with ace-jack in a six-bet move which some have called the greatest all-in the Main Event has ever seen. His opponent folded, too, leading to fist-pumps and celebrations all round on the rail.

Women on the Warpath

The same table saw a quieter but perhaps just as pivotal all-in and call, as Shelby Wells hit an eight on the river to win when she was drawing to a two-outer on the river for her tournament life. Trebling up with that card, Wells is one of two remaining women still in the Main Event – and both look well-placed for a deep run if they can catch the cards or avoid disastrous bad luck.

Efthymia Litsou is second in chips in the tournament overall with 11,675,000 chips, behind only James Hobbs, with a shade over 12.5 million chips and the lead with 123 players remaining. Litsou isn’t just well-liked, but extremely well respected and both her and Wells could well go far if they can make it to Day 7. We have not had a female [layer at the final table for some time. There’s a realistic chance that if the card fall fairly, we might have two in 2022.

The State of Play

With 380 players cut by more than two thirds by the close of play, overnight chip leader Taylor von Kriegenbergh lost his stack halfway through the day, losing out in 144th place. Othrs to fall included Norman Chad’s last ‘sleeper pick’ Ari Engel, five-time bracelet winner and 2022 Poker Hall of Fame nominee Brian Rast and poker legend John Juanda.

One player to make third place on the leaderboard was overnight leader Aaron Mermelstein, who got there in spectacular fashion when he cracked aces with a level to go to end the day with 10.6 million. British player Philippe Souki managed to get to the top ten too, piling up 9.4 million chips. Souki has finished 905th in the Main Event before and inside the money, but never got this far.

The stars of the show, Zilong Zhang (6.9 million) and Dan ‘The Cowboy’ Smith (just over 2 million) will both be back on Day 6. Who can make Day 7? We can’t wait to find out.

WSOP 2022 Event #70 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips
1st James Hobbs U.S.A. 12,505,000
2nd Efthymia Litsou U.S.A. 11,675,000
3rd Aaron Mermelstein U.S.A. 10,680,000
4th Alejandro Lococo Argentina 10,020,000
5th Gerald Morrell U.S.A. 9,775,000
6th Dingxiang Ong Singapore 9,500,000
7th Jorge Jou Panama 9,500,000
8th Dingxiang Ong Singapore 9,500,000
9th Philippe Souki United Kingdom 9,425,000
10th Robert Minor U.S.A. 9,160,000

Photographs courtesy of PokerGO, home of the 2022 World Series of Poker, with final table live streams throughout July.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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