After seven days of intense play, a tournament that started with 6,353 entrants has determined its final nine players. The World Series of Poker Main Event has been reduced to its final table, with none other than J.C. Tran emerging as the chip leader for the “November Nine.”
Tran will enter final table play with a stack of 38 million chips. Tran is a long-time poker pro with numerous accomplishments, including two WSOP bracelets (won in 2008 and 2009) and five World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables, including winning the 2007 World Poker Challenge and a WPT Player of the Year title.
But in a departure from recent Main Event final tables, Tran is far from the only well-known player who will be back in November. In second place with 29.7 million chips is Amir Lehavot, winner of the 2011 WSOP $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship. Lehavot also has a WPT final table on his resume, and boasted over $1.5 million in tournament winnings even before cashing in the Main Event.
In third place with 26.5 million is Canadian Marc McLaughlin, who is making his third appearance in the top 100 of the Main Event in the last five years. Jay Farber (25,975,000) is lesser known as a poker player, but is a popular figure in the local nightlife industry in Vegas. Ryan Riess (25,875,000) has had success on the WSOP Circuit and has been bolstered by his raucous supporters. Sylvain Loosli (19.6 million) is a French player who had only one EPT cash for $3,198 before his monster Main Event score.
Then there are the short stacks: three players who all have the talent and experience to make runs for the title if they can secure an early double-up. Dutch pro Michiel Brummelhuis (11,275,000) has previously final tabled two WSOP events and is among the most successful poker players in the Netherlands. Mark Newhouse (7,350,000) had a WPT title and over $2 million in tournament winnings before accounting for his Main Event prize money, and David Benefield (6,375,000) is a former online pro who went by the handle “Raptor” and was a winner at the highest stakes levels.
All nine players have already earned a prize of $733,224. Though the table won’t reconvene until November to play out the rest of the tournament, each player has received that money to tide them over until play continues.
Even that life-changing amount of money is nothing compared to what’s at stake when the players return. First prize is worth $8,359,531, and each of the top five players will earn at least $2 million in cash.
The November Nine will return to the Rio to begin final table play on November 4. The winner will ultimately be surrounded by his stacks of cash on November 5, and will also receive a gold and diamond bracelet that is estimated to be worth about $500,000.