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July 17, 2019

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David Bach making hold’ em his game at World Series of Poker Main Event

Ben Lamb not far behind Bach on chip leader board

WSOP Horse

Leila Navidi

David Bach of Athens, Ga. plays during the final table of the World Championship H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the World Series of Poker at the Rio Tuesday, June 30, 2009.

Notable End of Day 5 Approximate Chip Counts

  • Players Left: 142
  • Average Chips: 1,450,352
  • David Bach — 4,706,000
  • Ben Lamb — 4,032,000
  • Aleksandr Mozhnyakov — 3,462,000
  • Bryan Devonshire — 3,292,000
  • Sam Barnhart — 3,065,000
  • J.P. Kelly — 2,665,000
  • Daryl Jace — 2,110,000
  • Tony Hachem — 2,067,000
  • Joseph Cheong — 1,988,000
  • Claudia Crawford — 1,800,000
  • Christian Harder — 1,624,000
  • David Sands — 1,620,000
  • Jean Robert-Bellande — 1,230,000
  • Eli Elezra — 707,000
  • Allen Cunningham — 641,000
  • Aaron Jones — 607,000
  • Sorel Mizzi — 500,000
  • Erick Lindgren — 385,000

While everyone at the surrounding tables had left the Amazon Room, David Bach remained at his seat after eight hours of play in Day 5 of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Bach, a 39-year old poker pro from Athens, Ga., had a good reason for staying at the Rio for a few extra minutes. It took that long to bag his chip stack, which had become five stories tall and stood almost as high as the cowboy hat on his head while he played.

With three days left before a final table emerges at the Main Event and 142 players remaining, Bach is the chip leader. He had slightly more than 4.7 million chips Saturday night.

“I’m wired,” Bach said shortly after his day concluded. “I won’t be sleeping for a while.”

Success at the World Series of Poker is nothing new for Bach. He has $2.6 million in career WSOP earnings and famously won the 2009 $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E world championship — which is now revised as the Poker Player’s Championship.

But this marks Bach’s first cash in the Main Event. Results indicate no-limit hold’ em isn’t Bach’s strongest poker variation. Out of seven in-the-money finishes in WSOP events over the last three years, only one came in hold’ em for the mixed games specialist.

“It’s far from my favorite game,” Bach said. “But there’s a lot of money in it. It pays to try and play it well.”

Bach is guaranteed at least $54,851 for making it this far, but looks like he could close in on much more. He used precise reads and calculated aggression to frustrate his tablemates all day Saturday, knocking out a handful of them along the way.

Ever since the money bubble burst Friday afternoon, Bach has steadily climbed the leader board. He got plenty of attention Friday for single-handedly accounting for the elimination of popular poker pro Vanessa Rousso.

Bach took nearly 900,000 chips off of Rousso in a series of hands on ESPN2 and kept the momentum.

“Today, I was really sharp,” Bach said. “I played really well. I was kind of seeing things before they happened. I had a really good feel for what was going on.”

Bach couldn’t attribute a career-best showing in the Main Event to anything particular. He made no significant changes in his game before the event, but has found himself playing more patiently.

He also elicited advice from his friend Josh Arieh, who finished third in the 2004 Main Event.

“The Main Event is unique,” Bach said. “People are playing differently in this tournament, for good and bad, than they do in any other tournament. You have to figure out what they’re doing and adjust to it. I think I’ve done that well.”

Bach isn’t the only notable near the top of the chip counts. Las Vegas pro Ben Lamb, who has held the lead frequently throughout the Main Event, finished the day in fifth with right at 4 million chips. WSOP Circuit Champion Sam Barnhart and two-time bracelet winner J.P. Kelly are also in the top 15 with 3 million and 2.6 million, respectively.

Day 3 chip leader Patrick Poirier and well known pros Freddy Deeb and Daniel Negreanu were among those who made their exit from the Main Event Saturday.

Click to enlarge photo

Daniel Negreanu talks during play at the 2011 World Series of Poker Friday, July 15, 2011.

“Tough WSOP,” Negreanu posted to his twitter, “I ran absurdly bad this summer. Oh well.”

Negreanu played in many of the WSOP’s 58 events, but cashed in only three for around $76,000. Not counting the Main Event, Bach has also cashed three times.

Including a second-place finish in a pot-limit Omaha hi-low tournament and a third in a 2-7 triple draw lowball event, Bach has earned around $334,000 this summer.

He’s not done yet.

“I’m confident,” Bach said. “But I cant get ahead of myself.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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