One of the most exciting days on the annual poker calendar has been completed, as the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final table has been determined. Leading the final nine players into Thursday’s action is New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein with 97.250 million chips, followed by the UK’s John Hesp with 85.700 million.
Beyond the chip counts, this final table is historic, as it is the first time it features two players who have previously made a WSOP Main Event final table. Antoine Saout, currently seventh in chips, finished third in the Main Event in 2009, while Ben Lamb, in the ninth spot right now, finished third in 2011.
We almost had a third repeat final table member, as Michael Ruane just missed, bowing out in tenth place. Ruane made the Main Event final table last year and would have become just the second person to make back-to-back Main Event final tables. Mark Newhouse did so in 2013 and 2014, finishing in ninth both times.
But wait, there’s more. Saout’s and Lamb’s appearances at the final table are even that much more amazing considering that not only did they both make the final table in the past decade, but they also put together incredibly deep runs in other Main Events. Last year, Saout placed 25th, while in 2009, Lamb came a few breaths away from the final table, getting eliminated in 14th place.
The odds of two final table appearances in such large fields (this year was the third-largest Main Event at 7,221 players) plus making the final three tables last year are just astronomical. Even if neither Saout nor Lamb win the whole thing, they are players that I know I, personally, will remember for a long time.
From purely a chip count perspective, it will be very difficult for either man to make it all the way to the end. Saout has just 21.750 million chips and Lamb is the short stack with 18.050 million. In fact, after Hesp’s 85.700 million chips, the next largest stack belongs to Benjamin Pollak, who has 35.175 million. Everybody is looking way up at the two leaders. Blumstein and Hesp have more chips between them than do the other seven players combined.
Antoine Saout is also part of another first this week. Both he and Pollak are from France, marking the first time in WSOP history that two people from France have made the final table.
For those of you who want to watch the action at the final table, remember that it will play out this week, rather than in November, as it had done for the past decade. The players get a break Tuesday and Wednesday (well, a partial break, as they will have to do interviews for television and what not) and then come back Thursday for a three-day final table.
On Thursday, play will go until six players remain, on Friday, it will go until three remain, and on Saturday a winner will be determined.
The entire final table will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, starting at 9:00pm ET each night. ESPN2 will broadcast the final table on Thursday, while ESPN will have it Friday and Saturday. All of the action will be “semi-live” with a 30 minute delay.
2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Chip Counts
1. Scott Blumstein – 97,250,000
2. John Hesp – 85,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak – 35,175,000
4. Bryan Piccioli – 33,800,000
5. Dan Ott – 26,475,000
6. Damian Salas – 22,175,000
7. Antoine Saout – 21,750,000
8. Jack Sinclair – 20,200,000
9. Ben Lamb – 18,050,000