The most-prestigious poker event of the year will see nine players return to their seats on the main feature table of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, all guaranteed to walk away with a seven-figure payday in the second-biggest WSOP Main Event in history. Five North-Americans and four Europeans out of 8,569 entries will be supported by a boisterous rail in their pursuit to take home the biggest piece of the $80,548,600 prize pool when the action resumes at 6.30 p.m. local time.
Leading the final nine in the first of three days of the 2019 WSOP Main Event final table is 55-year-old Hossein Ensan. After scooping two enormous pots on Day 7, the former EPT Main Event and WSOP Circuit Main Event champion enters the biggest stage in poker with 177,000,000.
Second in chips heading into Day 8 is poker industry veteran Garry Gates, who has cashed the WSOP Main Event for the fourth time. His deepest run will see Gates second in chips with 99,300,000 and a big rail is expected to be there for his support. After working behind the scenes in the industry for more than 10 years, the spotlight will be on Gates this time as he returns second in chips and with a shot at the top prize of $10,000,000.
Zhen Cai will be supported by his good friend and 2018 WSOP Main Event runner-up Tony Miles, who knows exactly what it takes to go as far in the pinnacle poker event of the year. Cai is on track to go as far as Miles after earning 60,600,000 to his name for Day 8, good enough for 60 big blinds and third place on the overall leader board when the action resumes.
In the middle of the pack, a trio of players is separated by just ten big blinds and may swap positions at any time with a successful pot. Kevin Maahs will return with a stack of 43,000,000, while Canada's Alex Livingston follows close behind with 37,800,000. Widely considered as the most experienced finalist in 2019 is Dario Sammartino, who has added yet another final table appearance to his WSOP resume. After losing an all in to Livingston late on Day 7, the Italian with more than $8 million in cashes will have 33,400,000 at his disposal.
Even smaller is the gap between the bottom three stacks, who are all within three and a half big blinds and stealing the blinds and antes would immediately change their position. Milos Skrbic finished 5th in the 2018 WSOPE Main Event for a payday of €241,718 and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the WPT Five Diamond Classic right here in Las Vegas two months later for $1,087,603. Skrbic has another seven-figure payday locked up already and returns with a stack of 23,400,000.
Timothy Su (20,200,000) and Nick Marchington (20,100,000) topped the leader board on Day 5 and Day 6 respectively, but clashes with eventual chip leader Ensan cut their stacks short. Both still have 20 big blinds to their name and the generous Main Event structure with two-hour levels provides plenty of time to run up a stack.
Official Final Table
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|2||Nick Marchington||United Kingdom||20,100,000||20|
|4||Kevin Maahs||United States||43,000,000||43|
|5||Timothy Su||United States||20,200,000||20|
|6||Zhen Cai||United States||60,600,000||61|
|7||Garry Gates||United States||99,300,000||99|
There is 1:31:35 remaining in Level 37 (500,000/1,000,000, with a 1,000,000-big blind ante).
How did the nine finalists get there?
Poker enthusiasts all over the world can watch the action on a 30-minute delay on ESPN and PokerGO, depending on their region. Stay tuned for all the Final Table action, as the PokerNews live reporting team will provide hand-for-hand coverage on all three days on the way to crowning a new WSOP Main Event champion in Las Vegas.