After a day of play when it seemed as if the players, dealers and floor staff of the WSOP were late for a train, the final table of the 2019 World Series of Poker Championship Event has been determined. In the driver’s seat for the start of play on Sunday will be Hossein Ensan, who dominated the play throughout Day 7 and will have a significant chip advantage over the remainder of the field.
Marchington Misstep Gives Ensan Huge Stack
The leader at the start of Day 7 was Nicholas Marchington and it seemed that he was playing his best poker at the right time. Starting the day with a 39.8 million stack, Marchington added to that wealth in knocking out Steven Parrott in 34th place and Luke Graham in 29th place to power his stack over the 64 million mark. But it was an attempted play against the only stack at the table that could significantly hurt him – Ensan – that will be what he’s remembered for in 2019.
With only two tables left, Ensan started the betting with a one million chip bet from the cutoff and Marchington protected his big blind. An A-8-5 rainbow flop greeted the duo and, after a Marchington check, Ensan tossed out another million in chips. Marchington decided to go with a raise now, moving the betting up to four million and, after a call from Ensan, the twosome saw a deuce hit the turn.
Marchington decided now wasn’t the time to hold back as he fired in a healthy 9.5 million chip bet and Ensan made the call. The pot was now about 30 million and, for those watching 30 minutes later on the ESPN broadcast, they saw the reality; Ensan had made his original raise with an A-5 (flopped two pair) while Marchington was making a move with complete air (10-2, turned bottom pair). Unbeknownst to him, Marchington was drawing thin as the last card came.
A six on the river didn’t improve either player or slow Marchington down. He put out a 25 million chip bet, nearly a pot bet, and Ensan immediately made the call. Ensan snapped his hole cards on the felt, showing his flopped two pair, while Marchington sheepishly pushed his cards to the muck as he remembered one of the cardinal rules of poker – don’t mess with a stack that can damage you greatly. The resulting pot pushed Ensan over the 100 million mark and all but guaranteed his seat at the final table.
Gates Looks to Challenge Ensan
There is only one player within shouting distance of Ensan and that is Garry Gates. Gates, a veteran of the poker world from his journalistic work and his ongoing job with PokerStars, slowly and steadily built his stack through the day’s play. By the end of the night, following Alex Livingston’s elimination of Robert Heidorn in tenth place, Gates had just short of 100 million chips, vastly more than the rest of the table but a pittance compared to the mountain that Ensan had amassed.
1. Hossein Ensan, 177 million
2. Garry Gates, 99.3 million
3. Zhen Cai, 60.6 million
4. Kevin Maahs, 43 million
5. Alex Livingston, 37.8 million
6. Dario Sammartino, 33.4 million
7. Milos Skrbic, 23.4 million
8. Timothy Su, 20.2 million
9. Nick Marchington, 20.1 million
The players are taking the day off on Saturday to allow for guests to make their way to Las Vegas and rest up for the next three days of action. Sunday will be the first day of the final table, with the final nine playing down to six beginning at 10PM (Eastern Time). On Monday at 10PM (Eastern Time), those six survivors will return and play down to the final three. Finally, on Tuesday night beginning at 9PM (Eastern Time), the final three will be playing down to the champion. ESPN (and, on Sunday night, ESPN2) will have the broadcasts each night until completion. 7