In just a few days – November 4 and 5 – poker fans around the world will be watching the live televised climax of this year’s World Series of Poker….the final table at which nine survivors from an original field of 6,352 face off with millions of dollars in prizes up for grabs.
The main event this year generated a massive $59,708,800 prize pool from which just $26,662,046 remains for the nine finalists; that means a first prize worth fighting for at $8,359,531 and millions to be earned by doing well in this final confrontation.
Starting at 5.30pm Las Vegas time on November 4 in the Rio’s Penn and Teller Theater, the action will commence, playing down to the last three contestants. These will return on November 5 to battle it out for the really big money.
Television, livestreaming, print and online coverage will be extensive, enabling poker fans everywhere to get the latest state of play and maybe indulge in a little betting themselves.
This is the composition of the final table, starting with the chip leader:
JC Tran (36) holds the most chips at 38,000,000. An acknowledged ace professional player, he hails from Sacramento in California and is an accomplished live tournament player and formidable opponent. Tran won two WSOP bracelets in 2008 and 2009 and can boast of career earnings around $9 million, much of it from 44 WSOP cashes. He’s tough and he’s wiley….and definitely one to watch.
Chasing him on 29,700,000 is Weston, Florida pro Amir Lehavot, at 38 the oldest contestant on the final table this year. A WSOP veteran who has played every WSOP tournament since 2007, Lehavot is one of only two players at the table who have won a WSOP gold bracelet, his in a $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em event victory back in 2011. With over $1.5 million in career earnings and a string of WSOP cashes to his credit, he’s a clever and well-respected player and a real threat in this sort of competition.
All the way from Montreal in Canada is Marc-Etienne McLaughlin (25) who has 26,525,000 chips and is only the second Canadian to grace a WSOP main event final table. He is a highly experienced tournament player and this is his fifth main event. He has six WSOP cashes and career earnings approaching $640,000 to his credit.
28-year-old Jay Farber is a local Las Vegas player and night club promoter who has been supplementing his income with live poker tourney winnings for years…but none of these in WSOP events. This is his second WSOP main event. He holds 25,975,000 chips.
Ryan Riess (23) in the youngest player at the table and a BA graduate in Business achieved at Michigan State. Despite his tender years Las Vegas resident Riess is one to watch; he is an experienced and talented player who has four WSOP cashes on his resume and currently sits behind a 25,875,000 chip stack.
French professional player Sylvain Loosli (26) lives in London but originally hails from Toulon, France. He has a burning ambition to win the first prize cash and become the first French WSOP Main Event champion, and he is middle of the pack with a chip count of 19,600,000. Loosli is perhaps better known in online poker cash game circles, where he has a fearsome reputation as an aggressive and ruthless player who has online career earnings exceeding a million dollars.
Dutch professional player Michiel Brummelhuis (32) from Amsterdam has 11,275,000 chips and would also like to claim national glory by becoming the first Dutch player ever to win a WSOP Main Event. This is his fourth WSOP main event, but he has yet to cash – something he will handsomely remedy this year just by making it to the final table. He’s a thorough-going professional known for keeping his cool and playing a skilled and disciplined game. He has seven WSOP cashes on his slate, and career earnings approaching $700,000.
Mark Newhouse (28) is a Los Angeles-based professional player with impressive live tournament experience – he’s been a WSOP regular since 2006, and is a former World Poker Tour champ. Newhouse is one of the lower stacks at 7,350,000 chips, but he’s no pushover – he can claim over $2 million in career earnings and has at least six WSOP cashes, one of them a deep run in a main event. Those who have tangled with him on the felt know that he is a tough, knowledgeable player and a great one on the bluff.
With 6,375,000 chips, the low stack man on this final table is 27-year-old David Benefield, a consummate online high stakes cash game player originally from Fort Worth, Texas but now resident in New York. He’s a well-respected and perhaps even feared online semi-professional under his internet handle Raptor, and has been spending more time studying Chinese and Political Science at Columbia University recently. He’s played in five WSOP main events, cashing in one. Online career earnings are unknown but likely to be considerable, given his habit of crushing high stakes opponents, and he has a very respectable live tournament resume as well.