The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event has whittled its way down to just nine players and former French finalist Antoine Saout could be one of the early favorites.
Following seven days of high stakes, high octane poker action, the WSOP’s $10,000 Main Event has reduced the 7,221 starting field to its final nine.
When play resumed at the start of Day 7, Christian Pham lead the remaining 27 players with just over 31 million chips.
Having won a bracelet in the 2015 $ 1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit event, Pham looked to have the experience along with the chips to make it deep.
However, as the session wore on, the American pro gradually slipped down the chip counts before hitting the rail in 19th.
Pham Slips as Ruane Bursts the Bubble
With his top pair and failed flush draw unable to overcome Benjamin Pollak’s set, Pham went to rail to collect his $$263,532 consolation prize will the Main Event rumbled on.
As the chips continued to fly, similarly strong players such as the UK’s Richard Gryko fell before Michael Ruane burst the final table bubble.
Holding just 1.9 million chips with the blinds at 400,000/800,000 and a 100,000 ante, Ruane moved all-in with A
Thanks to Saout open-folding an ace, Ruane needed a minor miracle to survive but could only watch as the board ran out: 10
As the realization set in that the nine remaining players had made the WSOP Main Event final table, thoughts quickly turned to the next potential world champion. In terms of the man with the chips, Scott Blumstein was sitting comfortably atop of the counts with 97.25 million (122 big blinds).
Saout Could be a Threat
Despite holding the chip lead, Blumstein is one of the least experienced players at the final table in terms of WSOP cashes. Prior to the 2017 Main Event, the American pro had just three WSOP cashes for a total haul worth $312,142.
Although his future performance won’t necessarily be determined by his previous results, it may mean he’ll have a tough time against WSOP veterans such as Saout. Among his 13 WSOP cashes and $5.5 million in prize money, Saout finished 3rd in the 2009 Main Event.
On that occasion, the Frenchman was able to outlast the likes of Phil Ivey, James Akenhead and Jeff Shulman before taking the bronze medal position and $3.4 million in prize money.
When the final table action gets underway on July 19, Saout will start 75 million chips behind the overall leader, Blumstein. But with 27 big blinds and previous experience on the biggest stage in poker, there’s every chance he could be a contender for the title.
WSOP Main Event Final Table Chip Counts
- Scott Blumstein – 97,250,000
- John Hesp – 85,700,000
- Benjamin Pollak – 35,175,000
- Bryan Piccioli – 33,800,000
- Dan Ott – 26,475,000
- Damian Salas – 22,175,000
- Antoine Saout – 21,750,000
- Jack Sinclair – 20,200,000
- Ben Lamb – 18,050,000