A lesser-known Iranian-born poker player named Hossein Ensan will take a huge chip lead to the final table of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Ensan, who now calls Germany home, accumulated 177 million chips in his drive to the final nine and will have nearly twice the chips of his nearest competitor when the final table kicks off Sunday.
This year’s final table includes a fascinating mixture of poker pros and amateurs from across the globe with the USA, Italy, Serbia, Canada and the United Kingdom all represented.
There are no huge names at this year’s final table but Garry Gates, who is second in chips, is well-known in the poker industry for working on the media side. Meanwhile, Italian poker pro Dario Sammartino is likely the most accomplished player at the final table with over $8 million in earnings.
They will all be chasing a first-place prize of $10 million when the final table commences on Sunday. Every player remaining has already locked up at least a $1-million payout.
Here’s a look at the chip counts to start the 2019 final table:
Robert Heidorn Bubbles Final Table on Turbo-Paced Day
Setting the final table of nine players at the WSOP can be a marathon considering no one wants to miss out on the most prestigious and lucrative final table in poker but this year’s playdown was relatively painless.
Day 7 began with 35 players all chasing poker glory but the eliminations were flying this year with five in the first hour of play. Action never really let up and it took just over nine hours to set the final table.
German Robert Heidorn had the unfortunate distinction of being this year’s final table bubble boy. Heidorn was playing from the short stack and shoved all-in with king-queen and got looked up by Canada’s Alex Livingston with pocket eights. The eights held and Heidorn had to settle for 10th place and $800,000 in the world’s biggest poker tournament.
The biggest hand of the tournament occurred when Hossein Ensan and Timothy Su faced off in the last hour of play. The two players had been pulling away from the rest of the pack and decided to butt heads in a massive, potentially tournament-defining hand.
In the hand, Su held ace-queen to Ensan’s pocket tens. The flop came ace-queen-ten, which ensured plenty of action thanks to Su’s two pair and Ensan’s set of tens.
By the time the dust hand settled — they never actually went all-in — Ensan had chipped up to 160 million chips while Su plummeted to 39 million.
Final-Table Showdown Set for Sunday
This year’s Main Event attracted 8,569 players to become the second-biggest tournament in poker history so it’s safe to say the final nine players have each achieved a little bit of history just by making the final table.
The difference between ninth and first place is $9 million so it’s safe to say that they all still have quite a bit to play for. Action will commence on Sunday but TV producers are going to take their time. A Sportsbook won’t be crowned until Tuesday night. The final table will be broadcast on ESPN.
The final nine of this year’s Main Event includes five North Americans and four Europeans, which is a sharp contrast to last year’s final table, which was dominated by U.S. players.
Here’s a quick look at every player at this year’s final table:
Seat 1 — Hossein Ensan — 177,000,000 Chips
Hossein Ensan is an Iranian-German who immigrated to Germany at a young age.
Ensan still considers himself a poker amateur but he does have over $2.6 million in earnings, including several high-profile wins.
In 2017 he won a WSOP circuit event at Rozvadov, Czech Republic, for $219,036. The Czech Republic has been a great place for Ensan – he also won an EPT Main Event in Prague in 2015 for $825,151.
Ensan is retired but worked as a painter for most of his life.
Seat 2 — Nick Marchington — 20,100,000 Chips
Nick Marchington hails from Hornchurch, Essex and will be representing the U.K. at the final table.
The 21-year-old poker pro is the youngest player at the final table and will become one of the youngest world champions in history if he goes on to win this year’s Main Event.
Marchington has just one official live tournament cash. It came earlier this summer when he finished 18th in a WSOP DeepStack event for $12,415. He’s already set to eclipse that number by about $1 million just for making the final table.
Seat 3 — Dario Summartino — 33,400,000 Chips
High-stakes poker pro Dario Summartino is without a doubt the most accomplished player at the final table with over $8 million in earnings.
The Italian has victories across the globe with his biggest scores recorded in the Bahamas, Monte Carlo and Las Vegas.
Summartino has cashed in the Main Event three times, including a 43rd-place finish in 2017. He is a former Starcraft professional and a regular on the high-stakes international poker circuit.
Seat 4 — Kevin Maahs — 43,000,000 Chips
Kevin Maahs is one of the more under-the-radar players at the 2019 Main Event final table.
The Chicago native has just 10 official live tournament cashes to his name with total earnings of $61,213. He mostly sticks to smaller tournaments in the Midwest.
Prior to the Main Event he’d never cashed in a WSOP tournament. That will change in a big way after this week where he’s guaranteed to pick up at least $1 million.
Seat 5 — Timothy Su — 20,200,000 Chips
Timothy Su has been one of the most bombastic players in the 2019 WSOP Main Event.
The 25-year-old software engineer from Boston, Massachusetts, was the chip leader in the Main Event on Day 2 and Day 5.
He played one of the most memorable hands in the tournament when he got lucky against longtime pro Sam Greenberg. Su busted Greenberg and scored a tournament-leading stack.
He cooled off a bit on the final day as he lost that huge pot (and the chip lead) to Hossein Ensan.
Su is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is a huge fan of Philadelphia sports teams.
Seat 6 — Zhen Cai — 60,600,000 Chips
Zhen Cai is a poker pro who primarily plays Pot-Limit Omaha but has somehow managed to secure one of the biggest stacks in the most famous No-Limit Hold’em tournament in the world.
The 35-year-old Cai generally sticks to Florida-based poker rooms but has been cashing at the WSOP since 2010.
Interestingly, Cai received poker coaching from his good friend Tony Miles, who finished second to John Cynn in last year’s Main Event.
Seat 7 — Garry Gates — 99,300,000
Garry Gates is a well-known personality in the poker industry but it’s generally been on the media side and not as a player.
Gates got his start in poker as a live reporter and moved his way up to live reporting manager for PokerNews. From there he got a job with PokerStars as their events manager and senior consultant for player affairs.
He resides in Las Vegas and was a survivor of the horrific 2017 mass shooting on the Strip where 58 concertgoers were gunned down.
For the last decade Gates has been participating in the Main Event, with cashes in 2011, 2015 and 2017. He has already locked up $1 million in this tournament but has a very good chance to increase that number by a large amount thanks to having the second-most chips.
Seat 8 — Milos Skrbic — 23,400,000 Chips
Milos Skrbic is the first player from Serbia to make the WSOP final table in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old poker pro has just over $1.6 million in live tournament earnings but the majority of his earnings have been recorded in Europe.
His breakthrough moment came at the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event in Rozvadov, where he placed fifth for $275,054.
Last December, Skrbic recorded his biggest score ever when he placed second at the WPT Five Diamond event at Bellagio for $1.08 million. He will be looking to eclipse that number with a long stay at the Main Event final table.
Seat 9 — Alex Livingston — 37,800,000 chips
Alex Livingston is the sole Canadian at this year’s final table.
The full-time poker pro splits his time between his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Las Vegas. The 32-year-old is very familiar with the Main Event and finished 13th in the 2013 edition to record his biggest-ever payday of $451,398.
Livingston attended Tufts University in Boston and later purchased North of Brooklyn Pizza in Toronto.
He is looking to become the second Canadian to win the WSOP Main Event, following Jonathan Duhamel in 2010.