Vojtech Ruzicka goes into Day 7 of the 2016 WSOP Main Event with the top stack | poker news

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Tim Fiorvanti/ESPN
Michael Ruane, center, is second in a three-way race to the top of the chip counts after Day 6 of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. 27 players remain.

The World Series of Poker bracelet is literally the gold standard for earning points between tournament poker players, and the most important of all is obviously the one awarded to the Main Event champion. In recent years it has even been modified to reflect its special position among all other championships.

There’s no denying the overall talent among the final 27 players of the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Many players’ records include resounding successes on every major tour, both live and online. So it might come as a shock to learn that only one of those 27 has a bracelet (he actually has two) – 50-year-old Cliff Josephy.

Josephy has been in or near the lead for the last two days of the WSOP Main Event, and despite finishing third with 23.86M, Josephy is just a single pot away from chip leader Vojtech Ruzicka overnight (who has 26.415M).

He’s ready for the fight that lies ahead on Day 7.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” Josephy said. “I never feel pressure to play and I always love to play. I don’t know how it affects other people, they can explode, but I won’t explode. If I lose a hand, I lose a hand. I don’t think I’ll feel any pressure at all. Who knows, I’ve never been there, but it’s just no big deal – I love playing the game.”

Josephy used a small ball strategy throughout the day, and the cards cooperated to keep him in the top stacks despite the lack of many big pots. While other hay choppers were throwing, Josephy contributed to an overall lighter-than-normal atmosphere at the table at this stage of the tournament – an element clearly noticeable to viewers.

“I try to keep everyone light-hearted,” Josephy said. “I want it to be fun and I want everyone to have fun. I don’t want those a–h—- in the hoodies with headphones just ruining the game. It was supposed to be a parlor game.”

While historically there’s usually a player or two who breaks away from the crowd, chip counts are tight en route to the final day of the summer. Ruzicka and Josephy are joined by Michael Ruane (24.565M), James Obst (19.56M) and Mike Shin (19.345M), but things are so close that the next 12 players behind Ruzicka are doubling down and taking the chip lead in one could single-hand, leaving the potential for dozens of very different exciting outcomes for this tournament.

Several players still in this field have proven they are up to a monumental task by firing out of the gate and carrying that stack forward through thousands of other players. Day 2 chip leader Valentin Vornicu, Day 3 chip leader Kenny Hallaert and Day 5 chip leader Jerry Wong have both positioned themselves for a realistic shot at making poker’s most productive final table, and maybe more.

Only one member of this 27-strong group has a chance to join Mark Newhouse as the only two-time member of the November Nine – Antoine Saout.

The French pro, whose first cash of his career was a third-place finish at the 2009 WSOP Main Event, has learned a lot in the seven years since his first run.

“I’ve played a lot in those seven years and now I know what I’m doing during the tournament,” said Saout. “It’s more fun. I can speak English now, so I can talk to the other players at the table.”

He will start Day 7 24th of 27 returning players, and while it’s the first time he’ll be short-stacked the entire tournament, Saout said he wasn’t worried.

“I’ve been low every day since day 2. It’s my worst ending,” Saout said. “But in poker, even with a small stack, you can crank it up and be deep [in a short amount of time]. If I win the first hand tomorrow maybe I could be deep again.”

Notable eliminations on day 6

80th-73rd ($80,721)

Jonathan Karamalikis ($80,721)

Karamalikis’ career-best results include two cashes worth over $450,000 in Asia-Pacific Poker Tour events.

72nd-64th ($96,787)

Michael Banducci (69th)

Per Linde (68th)

Linde has a 2nd place finish in a European Poker Tour Main Event, a 3rd place finish in a World Poker Tour Event and now two top 100 finishes in the WSOP Main Event.

63-55 ($116,963)

Kaufmann Talley (62nd)

Brian Yoon (60th)

Tom Middleton (56th)

Dietrich Schnell (55.)

Yoon, along with Cliff Josephy and Paul Volpe, were the only multi-bracelet winners to make it to Day 6 of the Main Event.

54th-46th ($142,447)

Tony Gregg (50th)

Jan Suchanek (49.)

Gregg’s WSOP bracelet came at One Drop High Roller 2013 and also brought a $4,830,619 payday.

45th-37th ($174,826)

Chris Klodnicki (45th)

Paul Hoefer (43.)

Jason Les (40th)

Klodnicki has never won a WSOP bracelet, but he has finished second in two of the WSOP’s biggest events outside of the Main Event – the $111,111 One Drop High Roller and the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship

36-28 ($216,211)

Max Silver (33rd)

Dan Colman (31st)

Paul Volpe (29th)

Volpe was the last 2016 WSOP bracelet winner in the field, as well as the last bracelet winner outside of Josephy.

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Michael Turieniec won the $1,111 Little One for One Drop for $525,520, ending the preliminary World Series of Poker event schedule.

Small blinds: It took four days, but the last bracelet winner of the summer was crowned. Michael Tureniec defeated Calvin Anderson heads-up to win the $1,111 Little One for One Drop for $525,520 and his first WSOP bracelet of his career. Anderson won $324,597 for second place and Ryan D’Angelo earned $239,232 for third place. Overall, this tournament raised $483,960 for the One Drop Foundation, which has collectively raised more than $10 million to improve water access and long-term sustainability. … With Paul Volpe’s elimination from the Main Event in 29th place, Jason Mercier was officially named 2016 WSOP Player of the Year.

What’s next: Day 7 of the Main Event is one of the most unique experiences poker has to offer. The day begins with 27 players, and no matter how long it takes, the field will be reduced to the final table of nine before all is said and done. Play begins at 12:00 PM PT with blinds of 100,000/200,000 and a 30,000 ante for the remainder of the level, which was interrupted when the final 27 was reached on Day 6.

http://en.espn.co.uk/poker/sport/story/421335.html?CMP=OTC-RSS Vojtech Ruzicka goes into Day 7 of the 2016 WSOP Main Event with the top stack | poker news

Ryan Sederquist

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