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WSOP: Massive field whittled down to final nine for Main Event

After 10 calendar days and seven spent on the felt, nine contenders for the World Series of Poker Main Event crown have emerged from the 7,221-strong field, playing their way to the most anticipated final table in the game.

New Jersey-based professional Scott Blumstein leads the pack with 97,250,000 chips, good for 122 big blinds when the final table kicks off on Thursday, July 20.

But while the close-knit community of pros will likely rally around their representative, the poker world at large is rooting for John Hesp.

Clad in a multi-colored suit coat, fedora and an ever-present smile, the 64-year-old Hesp hails from Bridlington, England, where he exclusively plays £10 rebuy tournaments as a weekend diversion. After crossing the pond and taking his shot at the $10,000 single-entry variety, Hesp rode his unique brand of friendly table banter – and some surprisingly astute moves – to build the second-largest final table stack of 85,700,000.

Frenchman Benjamin Pollak is next up with 35,175,000, and he’ll be trailed closely by American Bryan Piccioli, a player who looked for all the world to be out of the final table festivities altogether.

All-in for his tournament life holding pocket eights against the A-4 offsuit of Antoine Saout, Piccioli watched helplessly as the dealer delivered not one but two aces on the flop. The turn was a brick, changing nothing, but the river brought a third eight to send Piccioli into an extended, full-throated celebration.

Saout managed to recover from the blow, bagging 21,750,000 by night’s end to reach his second Main Event final table – following his third-place run in 2009.

Las Vegas pro Ben Lamb is also back for his second go at the Main Event final table, as the high-stakes grinder sits on 18,050,000 with hopes of topping 2011’s third-place finish.

Others in the mix include British-born Jack Sinclair, who tried to wield his big stack yesterday like Joe McKeehen before him, only to bleed away to his current holding of 20,200,000.

Argentina’s own Damian Salas (22,175,000), donning his country’s light blue flag like a cape for much of yesterday, and American Dan Ott (26,475,000) round out the final table lineup.

With the “November Nine” concept ditched this year, the final table members will take a two-day reprieve to refresh their minds and bodies, while attending to media duties and the like.

On Wednesday, July 19 a final table preview will be shown on ESPN-2 between 7 and 8 p.m. Las Vegas local time, before Day 8 brings the nine happiest players on the planet back to the Rio.

ESPN-2 will carry the coverage on July 20, beginning at 6 p.m. and concluding when six players are left.

ESPN takes the baton at 6 p.m. the following day, and the remaining six will play down to three.

The final day of the Main Event takes place on July 22, with ESPN broadcasting all the action beginning at 6 p.m.

Take a look below for a full rundown of the 2017 WSOP Main Event final table:

2017 WSOP Main Event Final Table
SeatPlayerNationChipsBig Blinds
1John HespUnited Kingdom85,700,000107
2Scott BlumsteinUSA97,250,000122
3Antoine SaoutFrance21,750,00027
4Benjamin PollakFrance35,175,00044
5Jack SinclairUnited Kingdom20,200,00025
6Damian SalasArgentina22,175,00028
7Ben LambUSA18,050,00023
8Bryan PiccioloUSA33,800,00042
9Dan OttUSA26,475,00033

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