This year’s World Series of Poker Main Event final table hasn’t been a fast-paced affair so far, with hours of play separating eliminations at times on the first night of play. However, there’s been no shortage of drama, and we’re now down to just three players who will compete for the $10 million first prize on Tuesday night.
When play reconvenes, it will be Jorryt van Hoof who has the chip lead. At times, van Hoof had over 100 million in chips, and will now take just a stack of under 90 million into the final phase of the tournament.
He’ll be joined by Martin Jacobson, who fought back from being short-stacked to bag nearly 65 million chips, and Felix Stephensen, who has just over 46 million to play with.
After a relatively slow start to the final table, the action heated up on the second level. A little more than three hours in, Mark Newhouse found himself in an all-too-familiar spot. William Tonking had pocket queens, while Newhouse woke up with pocket tens.
After a couple of reasonable bets, Newhouse moved in for a little more than 10 million chips on a 2-4-J-4-J board. Tonking had a long think, but eventually decided to call, pushing Newhouse out of the tournament in ninth place for the second heartbreaking year in a row.
Once again, the tournament proceeded quietly for over two hours before the second elimination. That came at just after 10 pm local time, when Bruno Politano moved all-in with a short stack from the button with QT offsuit. He was called by Felix Stephensen from the big blind with pocket sevens, and Politano never received any help. The Brazilian took home $947,172 for his eighth-place finish.
Viewers didn’t have to wait nearly as long for the next elimination. Dan Sindelar moved all-in about a half-hour later with a very good-looking pair of jacks, and received a call from van Hoof, who held A3 of hearts. But an ace on the flop came with two hearts as well, giving van Hoof a commanding lead. There would be no miracle for Sindelar, sending him out in 8th ($1,236,084), while Van Hoof extended his chip lead.
With the blinds up to 400k/800k with a 100k ante, there wasn’t much time left for Andoni Larrabe and Martin Jacobson to make something of their short stacks, each of which had less than 10 million in chips. While Jacobson moved in on several occasions, it was Larrabe who went out first, as he reraised all in with JT suited. He was called by van Hoof, who held K5 of hearts. A king on the flop gave van Hoof a pair, and that was enough to send Larrabe to the rail. The Spaniard took home $1,622,080 for sixth place.
Billy Pappas (or William Pappaconstaninou, if you can pronounce it) was one of the best stories of the final table. The foosball champion and amateur poker player came in as the short stack, but managed to chip up to second position before losing a devastating hand to Martin Jacobson. Pappas’ AJ couldn’t catch up to Jacobson’s pocket fives (especially when another five hit on the flop), which cost Pappas all but 50,000 of his chips. Pappas would be eliminated on the very next hand, winning $2,143,174 in the process.
Will Tonking would be the next to drop. Tonking pushed his last 20 million into the middle with pocket twos, only to be called by the pocket tens of Jacobson. Tonking picked up both flush and straight draws over the course of the board running out, but nothing panned out, and he was forced to settle for fourth place ($2,848,833).
While play continued until the end of the level, Tonking would prove to be the last elimination of the night. After 12 hours, play was halted at 4:30 am PT in Las Vegas, allowing the three remaining players to get some well-earned rest before playing for the $10 million first prize on Tuesday evening.
Play will resume at 5:30 pm local time, and will continue until a winner is determined and a World Champion is crowned. We’ll be bringing you every exciting moment.