The world's largest poker tournament is entering its sixth day of competition in Las Vegas, and believe it or not, but there are still four people from around these parts still alive.
The $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event began with 6,598 entrants, the fifth-most ever, and only 1,765 of them remain in contention for the $8.5 million first prize. That list of survivors includes a University of Arizona grad student who qualified through a $100 satellite tournament, a dude from Benson, a former UA student/online poker prodigy, and a former realtor who has already won a WSOP event in the past year.
Ray Chiu, who is studying economics at the UA, is in the Main Event after winning a satellite tournament at Casino del Sol on June 30. He got into that one by making the final table of a $100 tourney earlier in June, and now has a chance at big-time money. He currently stands 568th in chips, the only local whose ranking puts them within the 666 players that would get paid if the tournament ended now. Cashers will win at least $19,227.
Timothy Kilpatrick, from Benson, is ranked 761st, while Lee Gaines sits in 1,279th place and Sean Getzwiller is in 1,416th. Getzwiller won a $1,000 no-limit hold'em tournament at last year's WSOP, earning $611K and a sweet gold bracelet for his troubles.
All told, nine people with local connections entered the Main Event, with six making it out of their Day 1 flights.
Action resumes at 12 p.m. Thursday and will continue on through Monday, when after the field is reduced to nine players (each of whom wins at least $754K) the tourney will be paused until late October. This will allow ESPN's coverage of the Main Event to catch up to that point, and the final table will be shown live (er, with a 15-minute delay) until a winner is crowned.