Welcome to the final table of the 2014 World Series of Poker, live from the Penn & Teller Theatre inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Today is the day that the remaining nine players from a staring field of 6,683 return to lock horns after a four-month hiatus from play. Up for grabs will be the most coveted prize in all of poker, the WSOP Main Event gold bracelet, and this year the players will also be vying for a top prize of $10 million.
Leading the way into the final table is Dutchman Jorryt van Hoof. Van Hoof brings 38.375 million to the table, and he's trailed by Felix Stephensen in second place with 32.775. Third place on the leaderboard belongs to Mark Newhouse, and the American has been the talk of the town since he made back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables in 6,000-plus player fields. That's quite the feat, and Newhouse will have 26 million to work with when the cards get in the air in hopes of improving upon his ninth-place finish from last year.
Andoni Larrabe from Spain and Dan Sindelar from the United States sit fourth and fifth on the leaderboard with 22.55 million and 21.2 million, respectively. Those two are nestled together in the middle with right around the average stack, which sits at just over 22.275 million. Both are quiet characters, but their play can be viewed as loud and aggressive at times.
Billy Pappas has 17.5 million entering the final table, and the foosball world champion is the only true amateur remaining. Behind Pappas, you've got the short stacks William Tonking (15.05 million), Martin Jacobson (14.9 million), and Bruno Politano (12.125 million) bringing up the rear. Jacobson is a big favorite amongst the touring pros, especially those who frequent events in Europe, and Politano will have the entire country and Brazil resting on his shoulders.
The goal for today's play will be to go from nine players down to the final three. Once the final three is reached, play will be halted for the night in order for the trio to return tomorrow to continue action. Right now, each November Niner is guaranteed $730,725, but everyone wants a bit more. After a long four months off from the event, no one will want to leave in ninth place and receive no extra cash, so things could be awhile before the first elimination comes to fruition.
The cards will be int he air promptly at 4:30 p.m. PT. PokerNews will be right there from start to finish with our exclusive live hand-for-hand coverage, so stayed tuned for the festivities to kick off in a couple hours time.