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WSOP10 Main Event - Day 7
CEO "Rocket Boy" 15 July 2010

The featured table as seen from the mezzanine

The action was nearly non-stop at the featured table on day 7, and far too much happened to cover here. We'll focus on the three most active players to make it through the day: Michael Mizrachi, William Thorson, and Hasan Habib. (And one specific hole card combo that played a major factor throughout the day's play.)

Can he do it?

Can Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi win the two most prestigious WSOP events in a single year? It's a question we are slightly afraid to ask for fear of jinxing him in any way, just in case the the Poker Gods actually are listening. Grinder's wife Lily, all of his brothers, and countless friends were all there to cheer him on as he won pots and to cheer him up when he occasionally lost. And they are all certain the answer to that fearsome question is "yes."

Grinder won the $50K Players Championship last month against the world's best all-around players. And at the start of play on day 7, he was among the chip leaders, poised to make a run at the November Nine. He played an enormous number of hands, always aggressively, sometimes agonizing for minutes before calling or folding. And as a result, he rode a rollecoaster of highs and lows as he won and lost huge pots. He ended the day's play with 6.3 million chips, below average and in 16th position.

William Thorson's stack grew early and shrank later as he somehow lost the ability to fold second best hands.

William the Conquered

William Thorson started the day looking invincible. He briefly held the chip lead at the featured table after busting several players. But in the evening he seemed to forget that protecting your chips is far more important than protecting your hands in a tournament. He sat there, squirming, for many minutes and seemed unable to fold on many hands.

And he played a huge number of hands. Thorson's stack dwindled to less than 3.7 million by the end of play on day 8. Grinder took advantage of this looseness and used his position two to Thorson's left to both trap him and possibly bluff him off several large pots. Thorson will start day 8 with 3.68 million chips, or less than half the average.

Hasan Habib talks with his poker "mindset coach" Sam Chauhan between hands.

Hasan the Relentless

We've seen Hasan Habib play nearly every hand for several orbits at the Bay 101 WPT event this year. He was another of the very active players at the featured table on day 7. He joked with his friends on the rail that he hoped to finish in the mid-20s, especially after Tony Dunst doubled through him on a massive pot. But throughout his huge swings he maintained a calm, nearly carefree demeanor.

Many pros, friends, and fans cheered him on from the grandstands, and he occasionally fist-bumped many of us on his frequent walks to the rail. He acted as though he were playing in a friendly home game, totally fearlessly, and completely free of any hollywooding. (Unlike some at the WPT Bellagio Cup event we railed the previous day.) Habib ended the day dead last in 27th position with just 1.51 million chips.

Hasan Habib congratulates Tony Dunst after doubling him up (AIPF AK vs QQ, ace on flop, queen on river).

Big Slick of Doom and Glory

Ace-King determined many players' fates at the featured table. On two occasions, pocket kings fell over and burned when players with AK spiked aces. There is a reason why pocket kings are called "the ace magnets."

Hasan Habib nearly tripled up with AK versus shorter stacked Damien Luis' 44 and then-big-stacked William Thorson's AQ. An ace flopped, nobody else improved, and Luis was out. This hand more or less marked Thorson's downward trend, and gave Habib enough chips to survive to the final 27.

Hasan Habib after tripling with AK and busting Damien Luis (far left).

Grinder busted Corey Emery to nearly double up.

Thorson congratulates Theo Jorgensen on his 31st place finish. Jorgensen was chip leader on day 5.

Grinder wearing (dare we say it) bracelet #1 of 2010.

It's going to be a very tough fight to the make the November Nine on day 8. The average M is under 26 with 27 players left, but many players' stacks are far below the average of 8.132 million. The top ten stacks are all above average, and chip leader Joseph Cheong's stack is a whopping 24.49 million. Which gives him almost 9% of all chips in play.

This puts tremendous pressure on the 17 players below average in chips. The blinds are already at 15k/60k/120k and they're going to jump to 20k/80k/160k soon. Good luck to the short stacks tomorrow.

Next: WSOP Main Event Day 8: the November Nine will be decided...

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