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Koray Aldemir's WSOP Main Event Title Defense Continues Into Day 6

The 2022 Main Event Drew 8,663 Entries, And The Reigning Champion Is Still In With Just 123 Remaining


As the champion of the 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, Koray Aldemir outlasted a field of 6,650 entries to win his first bracelet and $8,000,000. In 2022, the main event attracted the second-largest field ever with 8,663 players. Heading into day 6, 8,540 of those entries have been sent to the rail, but Aldemir was not one of them. The defending champion was one of 123 players to survive day 5, bagging up 3,800,000 chips (47.5 big blinds) as he looks to be the first player since Johnny Chan to successfully defend the main event title. Chan first won in 1987, defended in 1988, and made it down to heads-up play in 1989, only to finish as the runner-up to Phil Hellmuth.

Aldemir will enter day 6 in 58th chip position, squarely in the middle of the pack of the 1.4 percent of this year’s field that is still in with a chance at securing the 2022 championship bracelet and the top prize of $10,000,000.

Aldemir invoked the famous tweet that Mark Newhouse sent out before the main event in 2014 after making the final table in 2013, only to finish ninth. Newhouse posted, “Just bought into the main event day 1c. Not fucking finishing 9th again.” He went on to finish ninth that year, making the back-to-back final tables but busting first both times. Though Aldemir’s tweet was surely in jest, it might actually be working its intended magic.

Damian SalasThere is also another recent main event champion still in contention: Damian Salas. The 2020 winner, who finished seventh in 2017 main event, is making a third deep run in a six-year span. The Argentinian ended day 5 with 2,435,000 (30.5 big blinds).

While two remaining contenders will be looking for their second win in the biggest poker tournament in the world, the other 121 will be looking to make their debut as a world champion. Leading the pack is James Hobbs (12,505,000), with Efthymia Litsou (11,675,000) and two-time World Poker Tour main event winner Aaron Mermelstein (10,680,000) rounding out the top three.

Last year’s seventh-place finisher in this event, Argentinian rapper Alejandro Lococo, sits in fourth place on the leaderboard with 10,020,000. He won a massive pot without showdown late in the day, six-bet shoving with AClub SuitJDiamond Suit after an apparently accidental min-raise four-bet was reraised by fellow big stack Karim Rebei. Check out the tweet below from PokerGO for a look at that wild hand.

Plenty of highly accomplished players are still in with a shot at the title, including bracelet winner Andrew Yeh (5,830,000), this year’s tag team event winner Espen Jorstad (4,665,000), bracelet winner Gabi Livshitz (3,400,000), two-time bracelet winner Marco Johnson (2,820,000), 2022 $25,000 heads-up champion Dan Smith (2,030,000), Eddy Sabat (1,225,000), two-time bracelet winner Timur Margolin (1,095,000), and bracelet winner Benjamin Moon (995,000).

Day 5 began with 380 players remaining, which meant that 257 players saw their runs come to an end before play ended. Big names to hit the rail included five-time bracelet winner Brian Rast, two-time bracelet winner Ari Engel, WPT champion Taylor von Kriegenbergh, two-time bracelet winner Yulian Kolev, five-time bracelet winner John Juanda, two-time bracelet winner Loni Hui, 2012 main event 10th-place finisher Gaelle Baumann, bracelet winner Justin Lapka, bracelet winner Sean Troha, and WPT winner Matas Cimbolas.

Two players accused of online cheating were also eliminated on day 2. Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler have both been playing at the series despite the allegations which were leveled earlier in 2022, which neither have yet publicly responded to. Imsirovic finished 229th, while Schindler, who won his first bracelet earlier this summer, placed 173rd.

The final 123 will take their seats in Bally’s Event Center on the Las Vegas strip at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, July 12. Play was halted midway through level 26, which means they will have one hour of 40,000-80,000 blinds with a big blind ante of 80,000 to start the day.

Here is a look at the top ten chip counts heading into day 6:

Rank Player Chips
1 James Hobbs 12,505,000
2 Efthymia Litsou 11,675,000
3 Aaron Mermelstein 10,680,000
4 Alejandro Lococo 10,020,000
5 Gerald Morrell 9,775,000
6 Dingxiang Ong 9,500,000
7 Jorge Hou 9,500,000
8 Philippe Souki 9,425,000
9 Robert Minor 9,160,000
10 Imran Bhojani 8,635,000

A full list of the chip counts for the start of day 6 can be found HERE.

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