And then there were nine! Say hello to the July Nine… Scott Blumstein, John Hesp, Benjamin Pollak, Bryan Piccioli, Dan Ott, Damian Salas, Antoine Saout, Jack Sinclair and Ben Lamb. This year at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, we're kicking it old school and finishing out the Main Event in July, like it was always supposed to. The final table begins on Thursday and will play down to 6. On Friday, the final six will play down to the final three. On Saturday, the final three will slug it out for the championship, the bling, and $8.15M in cash.
The 2017 WSOP Main Event attracted 7,221 dreamers, dilettantes, amateurs, pros, semi-pros, high rollers, high ballas, cash-game specialists, home game heros, degens, donks, fish, ocelots, sloths, and bucket listers. By the end of Day 7, only nine players remained. Day 7 kicked off with 27 players at the final three tables. The action went quick, all things considered and we saw 18 eliminations in a timely manner. Those unfortunate 18 would go home so close, yet so far away from final table glory.
Scott Blumstein from Morristown, New Jersey bagged up the big stack with over 97.25M. All eyes will be on him when the final table resumes on Thursday.
Two players at the final table have previous Main Event final table experience. Antoine Saout and Ben Lamb both boast November Nine credentials, but neither went all the way to the Promised Land. Saout took third place in 2009 and Lamb finished third in 2011.
Going into Sunday, a pair of players were attempting to make history. Mike Ruane and Kenny Hallaert final tabled the Main Event last year and both 2016 November Niners were attempting to pull off a Newhizzle by making the final table in consecutive years. Alas, both fell short of their quest. Hallaert bowed out on Day 6, but Ruane was still in the middle of the pack on Day 7. With 10 to go, Ruane was seated at the unofficial final table. Alas, he unfortunately became the proverbial Bubble Boy when he bubbled off the final table in tenth place.
John Hesp probably have stood out as the token “old guy” at the table, but his wild sportsjacket is difficult to ignore. Hesp bagged up the second most chips and he's hoping to bring the title back to Europe and home to England for the first time since Mansour Matloubi won the Main Event back in 1990.
Ben Lamb, a member of the 2011 November Nine, finished in third place that year (Puis Heinz won the Main Event). Can the American pro improve upon his previous high-water mark? Lamb will need lots of help since he limped into the finale as the short stack.
A pair of Frenchies made the final table and both are ranked in the Top 10 all-time French money winners. Benjamin Pollack, a pro from Paris, banked approximately $3M in career tournament earnings. Pollack final tabled events on the EPT and WPT, including a victory in an EPT side event. Antoine Saout final tabled the Main Event back in 2009. Antoine Saout won over $5.5M in tournaments, with the bulk of his earnings fueled by his third place finish in 2009. Saout is also an important part of poker history: he's a member of the first-ever November Nine.
Two players from the United Kingdom made the final table. In addition to Hesp, Jack Sinclair is the other player playing under the Union Jack. Sinclair is a veritable noob with only two previous WSOP cashes to his name (both coming this summer). The Brits have two shots at crowning a champ.
Damian Salas is the lone player from South America represented in the final table mix. The Argentinean bagged up sixth overall in chips. Salas was a fixture on the Latin American Poker Tour for many years.
Bryan Piccoli is the feel-good story of the year. The pro from Pittsburgh is known in the virtual world by his online poker handle: theczar19. Piccoli shipped over $6M online and nearly $2M in the real world. Check out the article over at Pocket Fives on Piccoli bouncing back from a family tragedy. Piccoli is fourth overall and hoping he can pull off a win for his father, who introduced him to the game of poker.
Cards go in the air at 5:30pm local time on Thursday. The final six return to action on Friday. The final three will battle on Saturday to determine the next champion. The entire final table will be aired on ESPN/ESPN2 (with a 30-minute delay). Check local listings.
2017 WSOP - Event #73 $10,000 NL MAIN EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP
Prize Pool: $67,877,400
Players Remaining: 9
1. Scott Blumstein (USA) 97,250,000
2. John Hesp (United Kingdom) 85,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak (France) 35,175,000
4. Bryan Piccioli (USA) 33,800,000
5. Dan Ott (USA) 26,475,000
6. Damian Salas (Argentina) 22,175,000
7. Antoine Saout (France) 21,750,000
8. Jack Sinclair (United Kingdon) 20,200,000
9. Ben Lamb (USA) 18,050,000
Main Event Payouts: