Another level down, and ten players still remain.
The reassembling of players around a single ten-handed table introduced a marked change from the fast pace of play we'd seen for most of the day. Indeed, the first hour of Level 35 saw relatively few hands even reach a flop, let alone make it to showdown. The group began to carry things further more frequently during the second hour, but most pots remained relatively small, not growing beyond the 2-3 million chip range.
Then came a hand between Martin Staszko and Phil Collins in which Staszko drew pocket jacks, led a ten-high flop, check-called a Collins bet on the turn, and checked down the river to earn a 5 million-plus chip pot. Soon after Collins scored about 5 million himself from Ben Lamb in a hand in which Collins check-raised the flop and then pushed Lamb out on the turn.
After that minor flurry, Staszko was in a virtual tie for the lead with Eoghan O'Dea, both hovering near the 40 million mark, with Lamb and Collins their closest challengers. Meanwhile, Matt Giannetti slowly sunk to the bottom of the counts, joining Badih Bounahra as the table's short stacks. The tight Bounahra did shove all in once just before the break, but got no takers. With the blinds moving to 250,000/500,000, neither is going to be able to wait around much longer.
So to Level 36 they'll go. Back in 10 minutes.