It must be a pretty good feeling to go into a day knowing you are about to be at least a million dollars richer. That’s how nine men were feeling on Sunday, as the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event final table got underway. With a minimum payout of a million bucks and a grand prize of $10 million, everyone playing at the final table was in for a good time, even if they were the first eliminated.

Here is a look at the chip counts going into the 2019 WSOP Main Event final table:

Hossein Ensan – 177,000,000
Garry Gates – 99,300,000
Zhen Cai – 60,600,000
Kevin Maahs – 43,000,000
Alex Livingston – 37,800,000
Dario Sammartino – 33,400,000
Milos Skrbic – 23,400,000
Timothy Su – 20,200,000
Nick Marchington – 20,100,000

Hossein Ensan, as you can see, was the overwhelming chip leader – thanks in large part to a huge hand against former chip leader Nick Marchington – holding a third of the chips in play. The top three players have separated themselves from the pack and there is a clear bottom three to begin play.

The first player eliminated on the night was Milos Skrbic, one of those bottom three. Though he needed to make a play, he had some rough luck on his last hand. Less than a half hour into play, action folded around to Garry Gates in the SB, who raised all-in with A-Q. Skrbic found, of call hands, A-J in the big blind and himself shoved for his remaining 18.400 million. Neither player improved and Skrbic was out in ninth place and a $1 million cash.

Shortly thereafter, Timothy Su decided that pocket 3’s was a good hand with which to shove under the gun with his short stack. It folded around to Ensan, who called him with A-J. He flopped a Jack and rivered another for good measure to eliminate the seemingly always happy Su in eight place.

A schedule break was taken at about 9:00pm local time as the blinds increased to 600,000/1.2 million with a 1.2 million chip big blind ante and just a few hands after the players returned, Ensan had Kings pre-flop and raised to 2.4 million. Marchington, who needed to find a hand with which to commit his 14 million chips, unfortunately found one, going all-in with A-7. Ensan easily called and though Marchington was able to sweat an open-ended straight draw on the turn, the river was of no help and he was eliminated in seventh place.

Now, that was supposed to be the end of the night, according to the schedule, but because it happened so quickly, tournament officials decided to continue until one more elimination occurred or the end of the level, whichever came first. This was bad news for those of us following on the east coast.

It was around 11:00pm that the elimination to end the night occurred. Ensan raised pre-flop to 2.4 million with Q-J and Kevin Mahs called with Nines. Zhen Cai, who was unable to find hands all night, moved all-in with A-K for 28.7 million chips. Ensan folded and after some thought, Mahs made the call, virtually risking his tournament life, as he didn’t have Cai covered by much.

The flop was Q-J-7, giving Cai a straight draw in addition to his two over cards, but the next two cards stayed low and Cai was knocked out in sixth place.

And so the first day of the final table ended. Ensan and Gates are miles ahead of the rest of the field, each of them with well more than the other three players combined. The five players will reconvene at 6:30pm Las Vegas time. ESPN will have the broadcast starting a half hour later.

2019 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Hossein Ensan – 207,700,000
  2. Garry Gates – 171,700,000
  3. Kevin Maahs – 66,500,000
  4. Alex Livingston – 45,800,000
  5. Dario Sammartino – 23,100,000

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