Day 4 of the World Series of Poker Main Event has concluded with Kenny Hallaert primed for back-to-back final tables finishing the day third in chips.
Between 1987-1989 the name ‘Johnny Chan’ was ubiquitous with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, winning back-to-back titles in 87 & 88, only to have his unprecedented triple triumph foiled in 89 by a promising young lad named Phil Hellmuth Jr.
Back then you could fit the WSOP Main Event combatants in a petri dish. Today, Chan’s accomplishments border on the impossible. Just making the final table is itself a minor miracle, and Mark Newhouse did that in 2013 & 2014 finishing in ninth place on both occasions, a fact that must have felt like a chisel driven into his marrow.
The Newhouse run was a mere flash in the pan.
Or, so we thought.
With 297 players left remaining in the WSOP Main Event, Kenny Hallaert is three positions off the top spot. The 35-year-old Unibet Tournament Director, finished sixth last year for $1.4m.
Could he do it again?
“The way to the final table is way too long,” Hallaert told PokerNews.
It’s worth noting that the year before Hallaert’s incredible WSOP Main Event run, he finished 5/22374 in The Colossus. And already this series he has finished third and seventh in No-Limit Hold’em events.
I wouldn’t back against him.
The only two players who finished with more chips than Hallaert were Damian Salas, and Sebastien Comel. Salas is a two-time Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Main Event winner, who has cashed twice in the WSOP Main Event finishing 606th in 2013, and 418th in 2016. Comel also cashed last year finishing 632nd. Both have previous experience making WSOP final tables.
Hallaert or no Hallaert there will be a new WSOP Main Event Champion this year. Former winners Carlos Mortensen, Joe Cada and Scotty Nguyen all crashed out of the contest during Day 4.
Here are the heroes still left.
The former WSOP Player of the Year, Ben Lamb (2,746,000), former November Niner Antoine Saout (2,318,000), high stakes crushers Dario Sammartino (1,769,000) and Isaac Haxton (1,436,000), and Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) Main Event winner Charlie Carrel (1,598,000).
Multiple WSOP bracelet winners still in the field include Dominik Nitsche (1,404,000), Greg Mueller (1,267,000), Ian Johns (1,000,000), Davidi Kitai (594,000), David Pham (543,000), Mark Radoja (488,000), and Max Pescatori (429,000).
Top 10 Chip Counts
1. Damian Salas – 4,678,000
2. Sebastien Comel – 4,198,000
3. Kenny Hallaert – 4,145,000
4. JP Kelly – 3,973,000
5. Richard Gryko – 3,559,000
6. Cosmin Moffat – 3,086,000
7. Jonas Mackoff – 3,076,000
8. Eyal Maaravi – 3,030,030
9. Valentin Messina – 2,979,000
10. Sammy Lafleur – 2,957,000