Welcome back to the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event! Just 282 players from the starting field of 6,598 return for today's Day 5, with Pennsylvania's Paul Volpe leading them all.
Volpe began Day 4 with a healthy stack of 820,000, good enough for 10th position out of the 720 who started the day. He began adding to that stack immediately, and by early evening had assumed the chip lead. Volpe would end the day on top as well with an even 2.75 million, better than half a million ahead of nearest challenger Erik Hellman of Sweden with 2,216,000.
The chase pack includes four others who will be unbagging more than 2 million chips today — Dave D'Alesandro, Kyle Bowker, Eric Buchman, and Elisabeth Hille. Here's a look at the current top ten:
Not far behind that group are Vanessa Selbst, Erik Cajelais, Joseph Cheong, and Gaelle Baumann, with David "ODB" Baker, Andrew Lichtenberger, John Phan, Isaac Baron, and A.J. Jejelowo among those also coming back to million-plus stacks.
In the group sitting just above or below the current average (just over 700,000) one also finds a number of other familiar names, including Gavin Smith, Amnon Filippi, Jan Heitmann, J.P. Kelly, Jason Somerville, Matt Marafioti, Marcel Luske, and Fabrizio Gonzalez.
Actor Kevin Pollak — whose interest in poker was first excited while filming Martin Scorsese's 1995 classic Casino — made it to Day 5 as well with 530,000 chips. Among those following him in the counts are Dan Shak, Amit Makhija, Sorel Mizzi, and 2011 November Niner Sam Holden.
Like Buchman, Cheong, and Holden, another player looking to make a return trip to a WSOP Main Event final table is Perry Green of Anchorage, Alaska. While that group all made their ME final tables within the last three years, Green's appearance came way back in 1981 when he memorably fought his way to heads-up versus Stu Ungar before falling in second.
The 76-year-old Green is the oldest remaining player in the field, and the three-time bracelet winner will be given the honor of directing the dealers to "shuffle up and deal" today before he sits down behind a stack of 304,000 to continue his WSOP Main Event journey.
Coming back to a nearly equal stack of 302,000 will be Daniel Negreanu, another player who has made numerous deep ME runs before. And 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event champion John Juanda and 2007 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. winner Freddy Deeb will start today trying to work up their short stacks as well.
The first 48 players eliminated today will all earn $38,453 for their finishes, with the next pay jump (at 234th) moving the payouts up to $44,655. Those payouts will continue to move up as the field shrinks today, although everyone will continue to aim for those eye-popping final table prizes, including the cool $8,527,982 reserved for the eventual champion.
Cards go back in the air at noon Vegas time. Join us then for Day 5 coverage here at PokerNews.