For the first time in over two years, we have a true World Series of Poker Main Event final table. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, while most people in the United States were asleep, Koray Aldemir eliminated Demosthenes Kiriopoulos in tenth place to narrow the 2021 WSOP Main Event field to nine players and set the final table.

It is Aldemir who is in the enviable position as the chip leader heading into Tuesday afternoon’s action and oh, what a chip lead he has. With 140 million chips, he has nearly as many as the next three players combined. His closest competitor is George Holmes with 83.7 million.

Aldemir appears to be trying to keep a level head about the situation he faces, telling WSOP.com after play concluded, “The focus is on sleeping well. That’s going to be kind of important. It’s of course a big final table, but it’s still poker. So I’ll try to play well. Just normal poker. I’ll try to play it like any other final table and see where it brings me.”

Speaking of Holmes, it is pretty much a poker miracle that he’s at the final table at all, never mind sitting in second place. Early on Monday, he was down to about a single big blind. But as the saying goes, all it takes is as chip and a chair. Holmes hung tough, grinded back up, and even though Aldemir has a massive lead, Holmes is still close enough where one hand could swing the tournament.

Chase Bianchi, the second-shortest stack of the final table, is the only player of the remaining nine own a World Series of Poker bracelet. He won his in 2016 in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. The timing of this deep run couldn’t be better for obvious reasons, but it is also the only tournament in which he has or will play at this year’s WSOP.

One of the more interesting people at the final table from purely a fan’s perspective is Alejandro Lococo, in third place with 46.8 million chips. Lococo is a well-known Argentinian rapper who goes by the stage name Papo MC. He has over 817,000 Twitter followers and 1.7 million followers on Twitch. From a pure marketing standpoint, his final table appearance could be great for poker. There are going to be a lot of people, particularly in South America, following the final table these next couple days.

At this point, every player still in the tournament is guaranteed at least $1 million. That’s clearly big, big money, but the real eye-popping stuff arguably starts at fourth place, which is slotted at $2.3 million. After that, it’s $3 million for third, $4.3 million for second, and $8 million for first place. I remember when I was one of four people remaining in a tournament, the next pay jump was a few hundred bucks, and a friend recommended a play conservatively to try to at least make it third place. I can’t imagine sitting there starting at a $700,000 pay jump in that same spot.

Play will begin at 4:00pm Vegas time and will continue until four players remain.

2021 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Koray Aldemir – 140,000,000
  2. George Holmes – 83,700,000
  3. Alejandro Lococo – 46,800,000
  4. Joshua Remitio – 40,000,000
  5. Jack Oliver – 30,400,000
  6. Ozgur Secilmis – 24,500,000
  7. Hye Park – 13,500,000
  8. Chase Bianchi – 12,100,000
  9. Jareth East – 8,300,000

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