It was inevitable that Day 5 of the 2018 World Series of Poker main event was going to mean "lights out" for the majority of the players who began play Monday morning in Las Vegas.
What few could have predicted is that, for the 109 players who played deep into the night, the lights would literally go out during the biggest poker tournament of the year.
As a rainstorm battered Las Vegas, the Amazon Room at the Rio Casino suffered a power outage at approximately 11:20 p.m. PT that knocked out almost all the lights and brought about a moment of confusion for all involved.
After playing out the remaining hands via cellphone and camera light, players went on break as the staff waited to see whether the lights would come back on. At 11:45 p.m. PT, it was determined that Day 5 was over, and the remaining players bagged up their chips for Tuesday's Day 6. Day 5 was originally planned to wrap up at approximately 12:30 a.m. PT.
For Clayton Fletcher, who bagged 1.74 million in chips, the surreal experience turned into a community effort to ensure that the final hand played out as naturally as possible, given the circumstances.
"I was not involved in the hand, but there were two players at my table doing battle on the flop," Fletcher told ESPN. "There was a bet, and the next player was contemplating his decision when the lights shut off. Instinctively, three of us turned on our phones to light the table. I put my cellphone flashlight on the chips, someone put it on one guy, and someone put it on the other guy.
"That was surreal. I thought I'd seen it all, and now I know I haven't."
This hand was in progress when the power went out. pic.twitter.com/B1CrO1HCkX
- Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) July 10, 2018
No one had a better Day 5 than Michael Dyer, who bagged 12.18 million for the chip lead. The launch point for his late run was a 7.6 million chip pot against 2016 WSOP main event third-place finisher Cliff Josephy. Dyer had Josephy all-in before the flop but needed help with Ac-Kc vs. Josephy's Kh-Kc. The board ran out dry until the As knocked Josephy out in 123rd.
The rest of the top 10 is tightly bunched, with stacks sitting between 6.5 million and 8.4 million; three-time WSOP bracelet winner Brian Yoon sits in second, just ahead of Jeff Trudeau. Three players with WSOP main event final table experience remain in the field: 2009 champion Joe Cada (2.965 million), 2017 third-place finisher Benjamin Pollak (5.715 million) and 2013 fourth-place finisher Sylvain Loosli (3.715 million). Eric Froehlich and Shaun Deeb, who have each won multiple WSOP bracelets, are also in the mix.
Kelly Minkin, who for part of the day surged near the chip lead, finished the night with 1.205 million in chips and some work to do to climb back into the hunt. Minkin, who finished 29th in the 2015 WSOP main event, once again earned "last woman standing" honors with the elimination of Natalie Teh in 120th place.
Fletcher, a New York-based stand-up comedian, has some deep WSOP main event experience, finishing 96th in 2015. Though he is happy to have made it through the night by any means necessary, Fletcher doesn't see much divine intervention in anything that happened on Day 5.
"Fate is a beautiful, romantic concept, and it's not very useful," Fletcher said with a laugh. "What I believe in is that everyone has the same luck in the long run, and if I happen to get the cards I need on the day that I need them, I might win $8.8 million."
Day 6 of the 2018 WSOP main event will kick off at 11 a.m. PT, with coverage on ESPN2 and PokerGo. With two days of poker to go, the final table is almost in sight.
Notable Day 5 eliminations
115th: Ralph Massey ($57,010)
123rd: Cliff Josephy ($57,010)
127th: Billy Kopp ($57,010)
132nd: Antonio Esfandiari ($57,010)
136th: Ivan Demidov ($57,010)
142nd: Paul Volpe ($57,010)
150th: Ben Yu ($57,010)
182nd: Adam Levy ($49,335)
192nd: James Akenhead ($49,335)
204th: Richard Lee ($49,335)
230th: Chino Rheem ($42,980)
253rd: Chris Bjorin ($42,980)
265th: Daniel Alaei ($42,980)
273rd: Chris Moorman ($42,980)
276th: Bruno Politano ($42,980)
292nd: Barbara Enright ($37,705)
• The power outage also affected the final few hands of play on Day 1C of the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, but they finished up play as best they could. The event has generated a significant prize pool over three starting days, with an unofficial 4,732 entries. First place is worth $559,332 and 710 places will be paid. Day 2 kicks off at noon PT Tuesday.
• After the power issues, play in the $3,000 six-handed pot-limit Omaha event was moved to the unaffected Pavilion Room. They are scheduled to finish play Tuesday.
• A third post-lim event, $3,000 limit hold 'em, kicked off the first of three days on Monday.