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WSOP: A look at the Main Event final table’s top four in chip counts

With the final nine players in the World Series of Poker Main Event enjoying a two-day reprieve Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s the perfect time to get to know the final table.

Scott Blumstein leads the way with 97,250,000 chips, good for 122 big blinds entering final table play. And as the New Jersey native has told PokerNews and other outlets during the Main Event media blitz, that was the plan all along.

After winning $199,854 in a big-time event at Borgata last July, Blumstein finally felt bankrolled enough to make his first trip to Sin City for the WSOP. But rather than grind a full schedule, Blumstein told his poker pals that the Main Event would be his sole target – and that he’d win it as a WSOP rookie.

With a mountain of chips to work with, and plenty of final table experience to boot, Blumstein may just back up that boast by bagging the bracelet every poker player prizes most.

John Hesp of Bridlington, England is next up in the chip counts, carrying 85,700,000 for 107 big blinds into the final table. And just like Blumstein, this is his very first time playing under the WSOP spotlight.

The 64-year-old Hesp is the epitome of a recreational player, having accrued just seven tournament cashes in his “career” – all £10 rebuy events at his local card club.

The $10,000 Main Event is obviously a different beast, but you wouldn’t know it from watching Hesp play. He likes to show his cards after a hand – win or lose – and the Brit’s friendly banter seems to keep the entire table in good spirits.

Poker people are hoping to see Hesp finish off his momentous Main Event ride with a victory, one which might just resonate with the general public like Chris Moneymaker’s win once did.

Coming in third in the counts is Benjamin Pollak, a 33-year-old tournament grinder out of Paris, France who holds 35,175,000 for 44 big blinds.

Counting the $1 million he’s already locked up by making the final table, Pollak is a hair under $4 million in lifetime earnings. He added $285,488 to that haul back in 2013, making a deep run in the 2013 Main Event en route to a 27th-place finish.

He’ll be trailed closely by Bryan Piccioli (33,800,000 chips for 42 big blinds), the man who provided audiences at home with one of the Main Event’s most memorable moments. Sitting on a short stack with just 11 players left, Piccioli looked down at pocket eights and made his move with a shove from the small blind, only to see Antoine Saout call with A-4 offsuit out of the big blind.

He was in great shape to score the double, but the dealer fanned a flop with two aces, leaving Piccioli on the ropes. The turn changed nothing, and with everybody in the room craning their necks to sweat the river, Piccioli watched as an eight hit the felt to save his tournament life. His passionate shouts of “Let’s go!” rang throughout the Rio, while professionals and fans alike cheered the two-out spike to come back from the brink.

We’ll preview the remaining five players tomorrow morning before action resumes, but you can learn more about the finalists tonight by tuning into ESPN-2 for the Final Table Preview Show, which airs from 7 to 8 p.m. Pacific time.

See poker reviews and WSOP qualifier specials here.