WSOP Main Event Day 5: Pierre Neuville leads; Daniel Negreanu is lurking, with other big names in contention

Could Pierre Neuville strike for the older generation? The 72-year-old is currently chip leader of the 2015 WSOP Main Event 

The WSOP Main Event played down to 69 players last night and there are some fascinating stories developing. Top of the pile is 72-year-old year old Pierre Neuville, with a towering stack worth 7,105,000. You might not have heard of Neuville but he’s been around the poker block a few times. He had by far his best WSOP last year, with eight cashes including a second place finish in the $5k Six-Handed for his best cash of $385,041. He’s also got two runner-up finishes in EPT Main Events and won the 2014 GPI European Lifetime Achievement award. He might be older than your average Main Eventer, but he knows what he’s doing.

One player you will definitely know about is Daniel Negreanu. After eliminating his buddy Phil Hellmuth in a huge flip on Saturday, Negreanu has been climbing and finished the day with 3,620,000, good for 22nd place. He’ll return with an above average stack with 70+BBs and a thirst to do the one thing he’s never managed in his stellar poker career – final table the Main Event. He came close back in 2001 when he finished 11th, but that tournament only attracted 613 players. This would be an entirely different achievement. Negreanu doesn’t need any other plaudits to cement his legacy in the game but a media-friendly Kid Poker on the Main Event final table would be fantastic for the game and hugely entertaining for the neutrals.

Hellmuth might have been eliminated by his good buddy but his presence lives on in the Main Event. He’s coaching Mark Kroon, a player with a best career cash of $42,036. He’s already guaranteed $96k but he’s hoping Hellmuth’s patented ‘white magic’ can propel him into the WSOP millionaire’s club.

Watch out for stealthmunk

Another name to watch out for is Justin ‘Stealthmunk’ Schwartz. If you’re a regular 2+2er you’ll know his name but maybe not for the pokers. He’s got lifetime earnings of $681,814 but he’s better known for shooting his mouth online and there are a lot of people who would love to see him shake things up in the November Nine. Before the Main Event Daniel Negreanu offered Schwartz a $100k heads-up with a twist. If Schwartz won he could keep the money, if Negreanu won Schwartz had to embark on a healthy lifestyle including a visit to the Choice Centre university. If both of them make it to the final table we might have to admit that we’ve died and gone to poker heaven.

And Negreanu’s not the only big name still gunning for a slot on the November Nine. Brian Hastings hasn’t been far from the headlines – good or bad – this summer, and he’s been lurking at the top of the leaderboard for a few days now. He’s got 4,740,000 and sits in 10th spot. Max Steinberg (14th), Toby Lewis (33rd), Fedor Holz (44th), Justin Bonomo (56th) and Charles Chattha (57th) are all still in the hunt. Amar Anand, chip leader for the past two days, also bagged and tagged – he’s back in 23rd spot with 3,600,000.

Unfortunately there’s only one female player left in – Kelly Minkin, who’s sitting in midfield with 2,145,000. She enjoyed her best cash earlier in the year when she finished 3rd in the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $262,912. A spot on the fabled November Nine would be worth far more, and not just for the guaranteed million dollars it would net her.

Play resumes at noon today, when another five two-hour levels will seriously shape who has a great shot at securing a spot on the most coveted final table in poker.

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