The third largest Main Event in World Series of Poker history reached a final table in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in Las Vegas and for the first time in ten years, will restart in July as a result of the termination of the “November Nine.” Following seven exciting and simultaneously grueling days of poker, New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein comes in Thursday’s first day of final table play as the chip leader.
Blumstein is mostly an online player and made the trip out to Las Vegas last week to play in his first career Main Event. Day 7 was a boon for Blumstein as he started 8th out of 27 players with 18,125,000 and by the time the final table was reached, built himself all the way up to over 97,000,000.
“I feel amazing, I can’t believe it’s real. I have a great group of guys and we’re going to get to work and prepare for Thursday. This is one of the biggest moments of my life. And I’m super excited,” said Blumstein.
Right behind Blumstein is 64-year-old Englishman John Hesp (85,700,000), who crossed an item off of his bucket list by playing in the Main Event and has been having the time of his life making a run to the final table.
This year’s final table is a bit different than most as not one, but two, former November Niners are among the remaining contenders for poker’s biggest prize. Fellow third place finishers Ben Lamb (18,050,000) and Antoine Saout (21,750,000) are two of the shortest stacks left in play but have plenty of experience on their side as they attempt to capture the title that was nearly within reach once before.
“You play a 7,000-player field; to make the final table, obviously, the odds are staggering. I don’t care if you’re ten times better than the second best player in the world, the odds are staggering to make the final table once, let alone twice, with six years in between,” said Lamb about his remarkable achievement.
The rank of established professionals is well represented outside of Lamb and Saout with Benjamin Pollak (35,175,000) and Bryan Piccioli (33,800,000) sitting in the middle of the final table pack. This year was Pollak’s second time making it to Day 7, after doing so in 2013, and he along with Saout are attempting to become the first player from France to win the Main Event title.
Piccioli won perhaps the most memorable pot of the tournament when he rivered a full house to beat the trip aces of Saout to stay alive on the brink of the final table. After coming into Day 5 in 2016 as the chip leader and falling short of making Day 6, Piccioli made it to the finish line this time around. One of the online poker world’s most respected tournament players, Piccioli has a chance to cement his legacy among the game’s greats this weekend.
Speaking of online players, Dan Ott (26,475,000) and Jack Sinclair (20,200,000) fit the bill there. Ott is from Pennsylvania, and Sinclair from England, but both make their primary living playing online and are closing on the best piece of live tournament glory there is.
Hailing from Argentina is Damian Salas (22,175,000), who started Day 4 as the chip leader and continued to build from there on the way to the final table. Salas has one previous WSOP final table to his name from 2016 ($1,500 No Limit Shootout) and brings an unconventional game with him into Thursday.
As with recent years, the final table will be played down to a winner over the course of three consecutive days. All final table coverage will be on ESPN starting at 6:00 pm PT each day. On Thursday, July 20, the field will play from nine to six followed by six to three on Friday, July 21. On Saturday, July 22, the final three players will battle until only the newest Main Event Champion remains.
Final Table Payouts
1st – $8,150,000
2nd – $4,700,000
3rd – $3,500,000
4th – $2,600,000
5th – $2,000,000
6th – $1,675,000
7th – $1,425,000
8th – $1,200,000
9th – $1,000,000
Seat 1 – John Hesp (85,700,000)
Seat 2 – Scott Blumstein (97,250,000)
Seat 3 – Antoine Saout (21,750,000)
Seat 4 – Benjamin Pollak (35,175,000)
Seat 5 – Jack Sinclair (20,200,000)
Seat 6 – Damian Salas (22,175,000)
Seat 7 – Ben Lamb (18,050,000)
Seat 8 – Bryan Piccioli (33,800,000)
Seat 9 – Dan Ott (26,475,000)