WSOP TODAY: July 5; Russians to the fore, Hachem runs deep in NLHE Six-max

Highlights from day 40 of the 2012 WSOP (July 5)

After David Borg’s deep run in Event #56, all eyes shifted to Event #57, the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-handed tournament, where Tony Hachem was poised for a deep run. Coincidentally, Borg and Hachem finished 1-2 in the 2008 New Zealand Poker Champs Main Event!

Hachem , who has five WSOP cashes to his name including 37th in l(pictured left, with thanks to year’s Main Event, started day three 15th in chips with 27 players remaining, stormed up the chip count through a field that still included Carter Phillips, Andrew Lichtenberger, Eddy Sabat, Roberto Romanello, Jason Mercier, Shannon Shorr and Layne Flack.

However, his bracelet charge ended in 10th for $75,299, with Greg Merson securing victory after a single hand of heads-up play against Keith Lehr to earn a first prize bigger and richer than every single WSOP Main Event Championship held up through 1999: $1,136,197.

• One of the most star-studded fields of the year turned up for the latest event, which was the $3000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split Championship. The high-calibre four-day competition finally concluded with Viacheslav Zhukov, from Stary Oskol, Russia, emerging victorious.

The 23-year-old poker pro overcame a granite-tough final table line-up, which included six former gold bracelet winners – Chris Bell (third), David “ODB” Baker (fourth), Randy Ohel (fifth), and former world champion Scotty Nguyen (eighth). But the biggest test of all was from Roch Cousineau, who finished as the runner up. Zhukov’s first victory was in last year’s $10,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split event.

Just as Zhukov was earning his second gold bracelet victory, across the room Konstantin Puchkov cashed for the 11th time at this year’s WSOP. That broke the all-rime record for most cashes in a single year at the WSOP. Fittingly, the old record (10 ) was held by Nikolay Evdakov, another Russian.

• This week in WSOP history will be remembered as one of the richest, with huge fields, seven-figure paydays, and the Big One for One Drop. The wealth of poker paydays isn’t over yet though. Today marked the start of another marquee event of the 2012 WSOP and, while it may not have a million-dollar price tag to pay, it does offer many a chance at a piece of $1 million of freerolled cash in the WSOP National Championship.

The invited players runs the gamut thanks to a unique combination of WSOP Circuit qualifiers, 100 of which were invited on a freeroll, and 100 WSOP POY points qualifiers, who have the opportunity to buy into the event for $10,000. With a million dollars added to the prize pool and the lure of the ESPN camera, it’s expected the majority of the 200 invited players to be in attendance.

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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