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WSOP 2022: James Hobbs Leads Main Event, Dan Smith and Zilong Zhang Star on Day 5

Zilong Zhang
Zilong Zhang was the star of the show on Day 5 of the 2022 WSOP Main Event.

An incredible day of action in the World Series of Poker saw six other events battle for column space alongside an unreal day of drama in the Main Event. With Day 5 of the world’s biggest poker tournament in action, players such as Dan Smith, Zilong Zhang and Aaron Mermelstein produced moments of magic along the way.

Main Event Day 5 Slashes Field as Easy as 123

Play was superb at every table, and with stars being born and made out of the drama this WSOP, the Main Event is showing why there is no tournament in the world like it. The narrative of Days 1-4 in this event followed many different strands, but from Day 4 onwards, it has been the Zilong Zhang show. The inexperienced major tournament player has been a star on the stream and his unconventional, talkative style clashed on Day 5 with the elite pro poker player of Dan Smith on Day 5.

After the dust settled on the day’s play, just 123 players were in seats from 380 entries, with the chip leader a new player in James Hobbs on over 12.5 million. With closest rivals Efthymia Litsou (11,675,000) and Aaron Mermelstein (10,680,000) making the cut. The overnight chip leader Mermelstein won a late pot by cracking aces on his way to a late flurry that saw him rival the top of the leaderboard.

Elsewhere in the top 10, last year’s seventh-place finisher Alejandro Lococo ended the night on 10,020,000 courtesy of an outrageous six-bet shove with ace-jack, seen here on the action fro the outer tables.

With British pro Philippe Souki (9,425,000) also bagging up a big stack, last night’s overnight chip leader Taylor von Kriegenbergh was unable to survive, after slipping down the leaderboard almost from the off. Others to bust included alleged live event cheat Ali Imsirovic, as well as poker legends Brian Rast and John Juanda.

One clash that no-one saw coming was the battle between Zilong Zhang and Dan Smith. Smith, known as ‘Cowboy’ was short when the day began, starting on just 16 big blinds, but after getting right back into contention, he was on the feature table with Zhang, and last year’s WSOP Player of the Year winner Josh Arieh couldn’t help but sing his praises after he made a great call.

Here’s the call in all its glory courtesy of PokerGO:

Smith himself was modestly pleased to make the next day’s play, albeit with a shorter stack after running shorter near the end. Others to join him included Damian Salas (2.4 million) and Koray Aldemir, with the reigning champion sliding dangerously into Day 6 water with 3.8 million chips.

WSOP 2022 Event #70 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts:                          

  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 Jou – 9,500,000
  8. Dingxiang Ong – 9,500,000
  9. Philippe Souki – 9,425,000
  10. Robert Minor – 9,160,000

Pei Li Claims Bounty PLO Bracelet After Comeback Win

Pei Li came into play as the only player to half over a quarter of Nolan King’s chips, but sealed victory after a dramatic final table ended with a heads-up duel between the pair for the ages. Going into the final nine, Bulgarian player Konstantin Angelov was the only former bracelet winner, but he fell in eighth place for $20,930 to miss out on a repeat victory.

When Emil Tuominen was taken out in fourth place by King, many thought he might go on to dominate the remainder of the event as he had the previous 24 hours, but Li roared back into contention to lead the heads-up 2:1 before finshing the job and getting his hands on the first bracelet of his career and $190,219 top prize.

WSOP 2022 Event #74 $1,500 Bounty PLO Final Table Results:                  

  1. Pei Li – $190,219
  2. Nolan King – $117,545
  3. Raul Esquivel – $85,739
  4. Emil Tuominen – $63,231
  5. William Gross – $47,153
  6. Eric Lescot – $35,561
  7. Ryan Scully – $27,125
  8. Konstantin Angelov – $20,930
  9. Diogo Veiga – $16,339

One Drop Down to Final 41 Players

Legends are chasing glory in Event #71, otherwise known as the $1,111-entry One More for One Drop event, with Barry Hutter (14,075,000) the chip leader. Hutter has some incredible players in his wake, however, with Christina Gollins (14,000,000), Boris Akopov (12,600,000) and the 2013 WSOP Main Event world champion Ryan Riess (10,425,000) all in the top four.

Others such as Joon Kim (7,575,000), Aaron Gunn (5,100,000), Bryan Kim (4,225,000) and Vineet Pahuja (3,075,000) will all be hopeful of overtaking the leaders, but others were not so fortunate on the penultimate day of action. Joao Simao, Blair Hinkle, Anson Tsang and Andrew Moreno all crashed out on the day.

WSOP 2022 Event #71 $1,111 One More for One Drop Top 10 Chipcounts:             


  1. Barry Hutter – 14,075,000
  2. Christina Gollins – 14,000,000
  3. Boris Akopov – 12,600,000
  4. Ryan Riess – 10,425,000
  5. Niklas Warlich – 10,075,000
  6. Andrew Dubuque – 9,575,000
  7. Mathias Duarte – 8,650,000
  8. Salah Nimer – 8,475,000
  9. Ronnie Ballantyne – 7,800,000
  10. Joon Kim – 7,575,000

Lucky 7’s Led by Selim Oulmekki

The $777-entry Lucky 7’s event saw 1,818 players whittled down to just 75 players after a dramatic Day 1b, with 273 players making the money. The chip leader is Selim Oulmekki (2,565,000) and the French player is followed in the counts by Kevin Oakes (2,125,000) and Armando Figueroa (2,085,000), with Carlos Villamarin (1,830,000) a little further behind.

Others to survive the day include Gary Armstrong (1,805,000), two-time WSOP bracelet winner Kevin MacPhee (460,000) and Daniel Zack (655,000), while others such as Bill Klein, Ben Spragg and Lexi Gavin both all out on the day.

WSOP 2022 Event #75 $777 Lucky 7’s Day 1b Top 10 Chipcounts:                       

  1. Selim Oulmekki – 2,565,000
  2. Kevin Oakes – 2,125,000
  3. Armando Figueroa – 2,085,000
  4. Matthew Land – 2,010,000
  5. Maxwell Young – 1,980,000
  6. Brett Murray – 1,925,000
  7. Tommy Kivela – 1,920,000
  8. Carlos Villamarin – 1,830,000
  9. Gary Armstrong – 1,805,000
  10. Adam Adler – 1,800,000

Bounty Madness Reduces Hall of Fame Event to Final Seven

The $1,979-entry Hall of Fame Bounty event is down to the final seven players and it is Jonho Hong who has the chip lead with 7,785,000 chips. Racing towards the top prize of $276,067 in Hong’s slipstream are well-known player Punnat Punsri (6,280,000) and Daniel Weinman, who has a bit to make up with 2,975,000 chips.

Elsewhere at the final table, Jakob Miegel (2,825,000) and Brazilian pro Yuri Dzivielevski (2,700,000) will both be fighting to put themselves in a position to challenge the leaders and with the Brazilian player one of only two former bracelet winners – Weinman being the other – there is still a lot to play for on the final day.

Players to fall at the last fence included Ole Schemion, Barry Greenstein, David Lappin, Anatolii Zyrin, Barbara Enright and Davidi Kitai, with Greenstein and Enright giving big bounties to those who eliminated them.

WSOP 2022 Event #76 $1,979 Hall of Fame Bounty Final Table Chipcounts:      


  1. Jinho Hong – 7,785,000
  2. Punnat Punsri – 6,280,000
  3. Dan Weinman – 2,975,000
  4. Jakob Miegel – 2,825,000
  5. Yuri Dzivielevski – 2,700,000
  6. George Rotariu – 1,905,000
  7. Pavel Spirins – 1,430,000

Drinan Leads Mixed Game Event

Connor Drinan may be known as the only man to lose with aces against aces all-in pre in a million-dollar buy-in tournament, but he is chip leader of the 77th event of the 2022 WSOP too. Racing to an incredible stack of 1,200,000 chips, the impressive Drinan ened the day as the top dog and one of only two players to top a million chips, with Vincent Lam second on the leaderboard with 1,070,000.

Elsewhere in a top 10 full of talent, Zachary Grech was third in chips (906,000), with Lok Chan (391,000), Daniel Negreanu (325,000) and Sean Winter (300,000) all surviving the day.

WSOP 2022 Event #77 $1,500 Mixed NLHE/PLO Top 10 Chipcounts:                   

  1. Connor Drinan – 1,200,000
  2. Vincent Lam – 1,070,000
  3. Zachary Grech – 906,000
  4. Carter Newhof – 782,000
  5. Leonard Sande – 624,000
  6. Vangelis Kaimakamis – 620,000
  7. Millard Hale – 614,000
  8. Aden Salazar – 606,000
  9. Miltiadis Kyriakides – 569,000
  10. Mohammad Affaneh – 555,000

Jones Keeping Up in Event #78

Finally, in Event #78, English player Ben Jones heads the remaining field of 257 players who survived Day 1 of the $2,500-entry NLHE event. A total of 1,364 players were whittled down to that number by the close of play, when players such as Scott Seiver, Dara O’Kearney, Chris Moneymaker, Alex Foxen, Niall Farrell, Michael Gathy, Jen Shahade, Adrian Mateos, Brandon Adams and Phil Hellmuth all failed to progress.

Chip leader after those Day 1 levels was Jones with a stack of 738,000, and he was followed into the counts by Ari Oxman (685,000), Leandro Vlastaris (586,000), Weiming Aaron Lim (518,000) and Bryn Kenney (484,000), with the controversial figure finishing the day in fifth.

WSOP 2022 Event #78 $2,500 NLHE Top 10 Chipcounts:                    

  1. Ben Jones – 738,000
  2. Ari Oxman – 685,000
  3. Leandro Vlastaris – 586,000
  4. Weiming Aaron Lim – 518,000
  5. Bryn Kenney – 484,000
  6. Georgios Kapalas – 464,000
  7. Axel Hallay – 464,000
  8. Sergey Sergeev – 457,000
  9. Virgile Turchi – 452,000
  10. Emmett Rutkowski – 450,000

Justin Bonomo did the PIO hard yards for anyone interested in Lococo’s logic in the ace-jack hand.

Finally, a row erupted on Twitter between Phil Hellmuth and Doug Polk. With both men disagreeing strongly with the other’s standpoint on the cryptocurrency side of financial investments, we won’t make any comment one way or the other on either CoinFlex or Bitcoin Latinum. We’d simply advise that you grab a bucket of popcorn, and if you fancy some extra special popcorn that nobody else has like our popcorn, just send us your details and invest in our popcorn with us.

Official photographs courtesy of PokerGO, the home of live-streamed action throughout the 2022 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

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