Welcome to the first of three nights for the final table of the 2019 World Series of Poker Championship Event! As we’ve done the past couple of years, we here at Poker News Daily are reviving an old practice that used to be the way people relayed information regarding a live event – blogging about it while it was going on! Over the next three nights, we’ll give our insights and answer any question that you in the audience might have…just put your questions in the comments and we’ll try to answer as best as possible!

We’re moments away from the start of the festivities tonight, so strap in and get ready for some fireworks!


Just to give you a quick reminder, here’s how the players will line up:

Seat 1: Hossein Ensan (Germany), 177 million
Seat 2: Nick Marchington (United Kingdom), 20.1 million
Seat 3: Dario Sammartino (Italy), 33.4 million
Seat 4: Kevin Maahs (United States), 43 million
Seat 5: Timothy Su (United States), 20.2 million
Seat 6: Zhen Cai (United States), 60.6 million
Seat 7: Garry Gates (United States), 99.3 million
Seat 8: Milos Skrbic (Serbia), 23.4 million
Seat 9: Alex Livingston (Canada), 37.8 million

It may be a quick night with the three short stacks, but they may have some fight to them! Let’s see what happens…


OK, what the hell was that song that started the broadcast?!?!

You think you got tired of the “twanging guitar” or the guy yelling “THIS IS THE GREATEST TOURNAMENT IN THE WORLD!” You’re going to get real tired of that song by…oh the end of the tune.


Is it just me or is John Cynn looking forward to his trip to the Buddhist monastery?


Early dance between Marchington (all-in) and Cai, who is third in chips. Cai wasn’t wrong to make the call, considering Marchington’s moves earlier in the tournament.

Marchington: pocket tens
Cai: A-Q

Ten on the flop basically ends it and seals the double for Marchington.


Skrbic is making all the wrong moves at all the wrong times. Yes, he’s short stacked. Yes, he has to move and move SOON. But he’s choosing to pick on the wrong people and, yes, they’ve been waking up with hands behind him. Sit back for a bit, Milos, and get a feel for what’s going on around you.


…and I didn’t mean to be prophetic. Blind versus blind battle, Gates with A-Q and Skrbic with A-J. 10-9-7 flop gives Skrbic a gut shot draw, blank turn and blank river sends Skrbic home in ninth place.

Milos Skrbic – Ninth place ($1,000,000)


Not surprised that Ensan called that all in, even with just an A-J. He knows Su is playing to move up and can have any Ace, a small pair, or a big suited connector.

Su: pocket treys
Ensan: A-J off suit

Jack on the flop and fortunes are flipped. Ten on the turn and another Jack to add insult to injury and Su is out in eighth place.

Timothy Su – Eighth place ($1,250,000)


Maahs is going to piss off someone – the TD, the producers at ESPN, SOMEBODY – if he keeps up with this “asking for a chip count” every hand, even when he has nothing. Also has a way of irritating the viewers, too.


Maybe the “poker gods” ARE aligned with Gates in this tournament. Holding a measly 8-5 against Marchington’s K-Q, Gates flops the nuts with an eight-high straight AND gets Marchington to pay him off on the river. He’s creeping closer to Ensan very quietly…


At this commercial break, here’s some thoughts on each player:

Ensan – not really willing to mix it up, but that’s his right as chip leader.

Gates – been the dominant force at the table early. On the rise.

Cai – tried to take down a player, now has to worry about being in the pack.

Sammartino – Pretty quiet right now. Also the best dressed.

Marchington – Afraid there’s a blowup on his horizon.

Livingston – Also pretty quiet. But he seems to be comfortable where he is right now.



Sammartino just seems like he wants to irritate the dealers and the floor staff. That is at least the third time that he’s pushed the rules and been called on it. He needs to worry about playing poker and quit trying to be the “suave Italian.”


Got to agree with Jamie Kerstetter on this hand. Maahs three-betting light with pocket tens over Ensan’s pocket sixes isn’t the right move. He should have pushed all-in, as the short stack, but the small three-bet invites Ensan to come along. It worked out for him, but he’s got to show some strength at some point.


As the players take a break before the introduction of the five MILLION chip (looks very cool!), let’s address the elephant in the room: the lack of Nick Schulman on the coverage of the WSOP Championship Event.

Apparently on the broadcast the other night, Schulman allegedly said something along the lines of “if you’re looking to learn poker, watching the WSOP isn’t the way to do it.” As soon as he said that, POOF! Schulman went away.

Now let’s forget that Schulman is one of the better analysts out there right now. He made an honest (and truthful) assessment of the quality of play at the WSOP. There ARE some monkeys out there who make completely inane plays and just aren’t what you probably should be playing if you want to be a profitable player.

For ESPN, or PokerGO, or whoever it was who clutched their pearls (WSOP?), this is what you pay an analyst for. The broadcasts have suffered with a lack of Nick Schulman…and we also could have done without Phil Hellmuth’s tired schtick.


With each player putting three million each round of the table, we’re going to see some action here. Marchington, with 17 million, will definitely be hunting for a big hand or an attempted steal. Look for the next knockout in the next 60 minutes.


This could be it.

Ensan opens with pocket Kings and Marchington moves all in with an A-7 off suit. 31 million chip pot.

Flop: J-6-8
Turn: five of hearts

Open ended straight draw for Marchington.

River: Queen

And that spells the end for Marchington, who was looking to become the youngest man ever to win the WSOP Championship Event.

Nick Marchington – Seventh place ($1,525,000)

And it looks like they will keep playing!


Cai DEFINITELY with a “suicide all-in,” according to Kerstetter, with only a K-7 off suit against Maahs’ A-J on a 6-5-2 flop. And it gets through! Don’t expect Cai to do that again…the only reason he did it is because he knows Maahs is not playing to win, but to level up.


Maahs’ earlier “Hollywooding” may have cost him on that hand. He had the clock called on him because the rest of the table saw how he was stalling on earlier hands (for whatever reason).


This could get ugly quick.

Livingston raises the action with pocket Queens and Sammartino calls with pocket eights. Gates, in the big blind, has pocket tens and three-bets to 13.3 million. Livingston eyes Gates and Sammartino both and tosses the Queens to the muck!

Sammartino now has the action. With only 28 million at the start of the hand, it is all in or nothing. AND IT IS NOTHING! Gates takes the hand and pulls closer to Ensan’s stack.


Would like to say there’s been something going on, but there hasn’t. Sammartino and Cai are short (23.7 million and 26.9 million, respectively) and they may be looking at just hanging on to the end of the night.


And we have action! Maahs runs pocket nines into Cai’s Big Slick and we get Cai all-in. If Maahs loses the hand, he’s virtually out.

Flop: Q-J-7
Turn: Four of diamonds

One card to decide the hand…

River: Deuce of diamonds and that ends the tournament for Cai. Absolutely nothing went right for Cai tonight, who deserved a lot better than what he got tonight.

Zhen Cai – Sixth place ($1,850,000)

And that will do it for tonight. This is the way your leaderboard will look heading to tomorrow night’s action:

1. Hossein Ensan, 207.7 million
2. Gary Gates, 171.7 million
3. Kevin Maahs, 66.5 million
4. Alex Livingston, 45.8 million
5. Dario Sammartino, 23.1 million

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