Here we are, Poker World. It's taken almost a fortnight for us to get here. Way back on July 5, the first flight of hopefuls -- more than 1,200 in total -- sat down for Day 1a of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. Now, 12 days later, the full field of 7,319 players has been condensed, consolidated, whittled down, and crystallized into 27 players who are one last day away from a berth in the November Nine.
Two players each already have more than 10% of the chips in play. Soi Nguyen and chip leader Joseph Cheong have a huge advantage against the rest of the field. They can't necessarily fold their way to the November Nine, but both have to be considered prohibitive favorites to dominate their respective tables today and secure a date in November in the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio.
The rest of the field has some work to do. We're not playing favorites, but we can't help but be intrigued by the story of Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi. He won the $50,000 Player's Championship to start the 2010 WSOP. Can he end the 2010 WSOP having survived the ultimate grind by making it to the November Nine?
We can't even count out the player in the Dank Position -- Hasan Habib. Habib has one previous bracelet in 2004. Could this be the year he wins his second? And what of two-time bracelet winner Scott Clements? As yesterday made patently clear, truly anything can happen between now and the end of the day.
Last year everyone in the media expected Day 8 to go into the wee hours of the morning, and then were shocked when play wrapped up by midnight. This year we're not making any predictions. All we can tell you is that we'll be here until the bags come out again, from the first riffle of the cards to the last river dealt at the 2010 WSOP -- at least, until November.
See you in fifteen minutes.