On Day 5 of the World Series of Poker Main Event 237 players returned to the Amazon Room. They were all guaranteed $34,157 at this point, but with $7,6800,021 up top for the winner and all of the November Niners becoming millionaires, they had their eyes fixed on much larger sums.
Five women were still left in the field at the start of the day: Kelly Minkin, Susie Zhao, Sara Hall, Diana Svensk and Lily Newhouse. With plenty of bracelet winners still left – Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Antonio Esfandiari and Jake Cody just to name a few – and a former World Champion, Jim Bechtel, it was a strong field that returned to the tables.
Sara Hall from Parma, Ohio, started the day with 725,000 in chips, but was eliminated in the first level of play, when she was all in with on a flop of . Unfortunately Jay Sharon had picked up to flop a set of nines, and when Hall didn’t improve, she was sent to the rail in 233rd place for $34,157.
High stakes pro Susie Zhao, who also went deep in the 2012 Main Event, began the day with 846,000 in chips. She lost a huge pot at the start of the day, when she four-bet shoved over a three-bet by Ronald McGinnity and was called. Zhao had vs. McGinnity’s , and failed to improve. The hand left Zhao with only 5 big blinds, and soon after she was eliminated in 172nd place for $40,433.
Local player Lily Newhouse began the day with 440,000 in chips (27 bb). At the end of first level she found a doubled up with a pair of kings vs. Sohale Khalili’s pocket queens. Unfortunately Newhouse’s run good didn’t continue, and she was eliminated in 138th place for $46,890.
With Newhouse gone Kelly Minkin and Sweden’s Diana Svensk were the only women left in the field.
Diana Svensk (her surname means “Swedish” in Swedish) started Day 5 with 585,000 in chips. Full of confidence from winning the Swazi Millions Main Event a month ago, the fashion designer and poker player began climbing the leaderboard. Svensk came off to a good start when she doubled up with a pair of nines against her opponents AK in the second level of the day. A level later she was closing in on the 2 million chip mark.
Everything was looking good for Diana Svensk, who was seated at the same table as three-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings for most of the day. At the end of the night Svensk was involved in a preflop raising war that eventually cost her her tournament life. The action started with Hastings raising from middle position. Svensk reraised on the button, and Thomas Cannuli four-bet from the small blind. Hastings folded, and Svensk five-bet all in for her remaining 1,650,000 in chips and received a call from Cannuli. Cannuli turned over a pair of aces, and Svensk was way behind with AT. The board didn’t bring any help, and Svensk was eliminated in 83rd place for $68,642.
With the elimination of Svensk and down to 82 players Kelly Minkin was last woman standing. Minkin, who started the day with 1,289,000 in chips, had a rollercoaster day. At one point the part-time poker player and attorney was up to 1,450,000, and later she was down to only 13 big blinds. Fortunately Minkin managed to double up on more than one occasion, but going into the last level of the night she tweeted:
500k on last break of the night we're battling !!
— Bae Ruth (@The_Illest) July 13, 2015
Fortunately Minkin’s prayers were heard as she picked up aces after the break to double up vs. Trevor Pearlman’s pair of nines. Minkin was now sitting with 885,000 (22 bb). After a hand where Minkin turned a straight, her stack grew to 1,660,000 (41 bb), and in the very last hand of the night Minkin won a big pot with a set of nines against Alexander Turyansky’s two pair to finish the day with 2,145,000 in chips, enough for 37th place out of the remaining 69 players:
Congrats to Sara Hall, Susie Zhao, Lily Newhouse and Diana Svensk on their deep runs, and the very best of luck to Kelly Minkin on Day 6.