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Stacked Final Table Set For 2013 World Series Of Poker Main Event

Nine Players Gunning for $8.35 Million Top Prize in November

by Brian Pempus |  Published: Aug 07, 2013


The World Series of Poker main event always draws thousands of amateurs, but also hundreds and hundreds of the game’s best pros. Very few skip the most prestigious tournament in the poker world, and so, it’s not a total surprise when many excellent players make the final table. However, the 2013 World Series of Poker main event exceeded expectations.

The main event reached a final table after seven days of grueling action at around 3am local time in Las Vegas on July 16. An official final table of nine was formed after 2001 main event champion Carlos Mortensen was eliminated in 10th place, on the bubble. Many in the poker community consider Mortensen to be the most successful tournament player of all-time. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to extend his deep run this time.

A total of 6,352 players turned out for this year’s no-limit hold’em championship, which created a huge prize pool of just under $60 million, capable of generating an $8.3 million first-place prize and millions more for the other finalists.

Despite being down slightly in terms of size from 2012, the 2013 main event capped the largest-ever WSOP in terms of entrants. A total of 79,471 players from 107 countries entered the 62 events on this summer’s WSOP schedule, generating a total record prize pool of $197,041,468. Players from 83 countries participated in the main event.

The final nine players — or the “November Nine” as they have been called for a handful of years now — return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Nov. 4 to play the finale. When play resumes, the players will pick up with 42 minutes and 25 seconds remaining in Level 35. The antes will be 50,000 and blinds will stand at 200,000-400,000.

Here’s a look at the chip stacks for those still remaining:

JC Tran – 38,000,000;
Amir Lehavot – 29,700,000;
Marc McLaughlin – 26,525,000;
Jay Farber – 25,975,000;
Ryan Riess – 25,875,000;
Sylvain Loosli – 19,600,000;
Michiel Brummelhuis – 11,275,000;
Mark Newhouse – 7,350,000;
and David Benefield – 6,375,000.

Each player started with 30,000 in chips.

Tran is by far the most accomplished no-limit hold’em tournament player at the final table. He has won nearly $9 million lifetime in poker tournaments over his career. He is looking for his third WSOP bracelet. He has cashed in the main event four times before now, finishing 108th in 2009, 117th in 2005, 493rd in 2007, and 561st in 2012, but has never gone this deep.

What is remarkable is that Tran was down to just a handful of big blinds early in the tournament.

Despite being the chip leader, Tran will have to run well to beat the likes of Lehavot, Newhouse and Benefield. Lehavot won a WSOP bracelet in 2011; Newhouse took down a World Poker Tour title in 2006 for more than $1.5 million; and David Benefield was once one of the toughest high-stakes cash game players on the Internet prior to his decision to quit and focus on school.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the final days of action on July 15 and 16, as well as some of the main storylines from the earlier days.

2001 Champ Runs Out Of Steam

Mortensen was looking for a chance at his second main event title, but he fell just short of writing another piece of poker history. It was Tran who busted him.

Mortensen’s final hand began with him min-raising to 800,000 from the cutoff. Action was folded to Tran, who called 400,000 more from the big blind. Both players saw a flop of 10Club Suit 6Club Suit 3Spade Suit. Tran checked, Mortensen bet the same amount of 800,000, and Tran called.

The 9Club Suit fell on the turn. Tran shoved, which put Mortensen all in for about 3.5 million (about nine big blinds). Mortensen thought about it briefly before making the call.

Tran tabled the 8Club Suit 7Spade Suit for a straight, while Mortensen exposed the AClub Suit 9Heart Suit for a pair and the nut-flush draw. The pair was meaningless, as he could only stay alive with another club.

The 2Diamond Suit on the river ended the tournament for Mortensen. He walked away disappointed, despite winning $573,204.

Tran played great poker all day, and even knocked out a player by picking off a huge bluff.

Tran Makes Great Call To Bust Fabian Ortiz in 17th Place

One of Tran’s defining moments of the final day began when Fabian Ortiz raised to 500,000 preflop. Action was folded to Tran, and he called. The flop fell KSpade Suit 9Club Suit 7Spade Suit. Tran checked. Ortiz fired a continuation bet (c-bet) of 500,000, and Tran decided to make the call.

The 4Heart Suit landed on the turn, and action went check/check. The 6Spade Suit on the river prompted another check from Tran. Ortiz shoved for a massive 2.78 million.

Tran went into the tank before making the call.

Ortiz turned over the AClub Suit QHeart Suit for a stone-cold bluff, and Tran exposed the 9Spade Suit 8Diamond Suit for a pair of nines. He took the pot and knocked out Ortiz.

Tran and the other finalists played very well, but they were also aided by some of the big names bowing out relatively early in the day.

2012 Finalist Steve Gee Eliminated in 24th Place

Gee was looking to make improbable back-to-back final tables, but he fell short. His final hand began when he opened to 250,000 from the small blind. Anton Morgenstern, who was the chip leader at the time, raised to 550,000 from the big blind. Gee went all in for 2.93 million. Morgenstern called with pocket eights and was up against Gee’s 10Diamond Suit 7Diamond Suit.

The board ran out QSpade Suit 8Spade Suit 2Diamond Suit ASpade Suit 3Spade Suit and last year’s ninth-place finisher was gone with $285,408 in his pocket, but with another main event letdown.

Morgenstern used the hand to build a huge chip lead, but he eventually crashed and burned.

“I think if I can make the final table this year it will be redemption enough for me to finally forget about what happened last year — not think about the bust out at night,” Gee said during the middle of Day 6. “We’ll be talking about the back-to-back, instead of my flame out.”

Gee had called his blow up last year an “albatross on my back.” He exited in ninth that year after a huge bluff gone wrong against Russell Thomas.

His back-to-back run was the best since Peter Eastgate finished 78th in defense of his 2008 title. Another amazing run in the post-Moneymaker era was that of Greg Raymer, who finished 25th in 2005, after winning a record $5 million in the main event just a year before.

Nobody can forget when “Action” Dan Harrington made back-back final tables in 2003 and 2004. The World Series of Poker will have to wait at least another year for such an event.

Massive Chip Leader With 24 Left Exists In 20th

Could this be one of the biggest collapses in main event history?

With close to 30 million with just 24 left, Morgenstern looked like a near lock to make the final table. However, Newhouse got in the way.

Newhouse was relatively short when he doubled up with A-Q versus Morgenstern’s pocket eights. A little bit later, the largest hand of the tournament at that point went down, and it was Newhouse versus Morgenstern once again. The action began with Morgenstern raising to 325,000 from the hijack. Mark Newhouse called on the button. Everyone else folded.

The flop fell ASpade Suit AHeart Suit 2Spade Suit.

Morgenstern led for 425,000. Newhouse just called.

The 3Heart Suit on the turn prompted a 750,000 bet from Morgenstern. Newhouse woke up with a raise to 2 million. Morgenstern made it 3.9 million. Newhouse moved all in for just fewer than 11 million total. Morgenstern called to put the North Carolina native at risk.

Newhouse exposed pocket deuces for a flopped full house, while Morgenstern had A-J for tips. The German was in bad shape, and a 4Club Suit on the river didn’t change things.

After the hand, Newhouse had more than 22 million, which was good for the chip lead, while Morgenstern had about 5 million and was one of the short stacks. He eventually exited in 20th.

Many in the poker community were saying that the German played the hand way too aggressively when it was clear he was likely beat on the turn.

The Defending Champ Makes A Nice Run

2012 main event champ Greg Merson didn’t look poised to repeat this year, as he never had a huge stack in relation to the field. But he managed to keep hanging on, and was one of those still left when the field was down to less than 200 runners.

Day 5 marked the end of the line for Merson when he moved his short stack into the middle with A-2 and ran into A-K. The board offered no salivation, and he was gone in 167th place, a $42,990 cash.

Many poker pros were impressed though with the back-to-back runs, as Merson got many congratulations from the poker community on a strong effort to defend his title.

Merson said he’s actually looking forward to no longer being called the “ambassador of poker.”

Doyle Brunson Eliminated In 409th Place

In what could be his last main event ever, the poker legend had quite a run.
Brunson entered Day 4 with about 700,000, but failed to get anything going through the first six hours of the day. He was down to his last 290,000 when his elimination hand occurred.

With blinds at 4,000-8,000, a player opened to 16,000 in early position. Another player called, and Brunson raised to 86,000. The action folded to the original raiser, who elected to fold as well. The player in the middle shoved, and Brunson called off his last 204,000.

Brunson tabled the KDiamond Suit 10Spade Suit, while his opponent exposed pocket tens. The board ran out 7-3-2-9-A, and Brunson was eliminated, earning $28,063.

Some on the Internet questioned his play, wondering whether he was just getting tired and wasn’t too interested in grinding a short stack for hours and hours. After just the second day of action in the main event, Brunson said that he felt “like a truck ran over me.”

The entire room, which contained about 400 entrants left in contention for the $8.3 million first-place prize, gave Brunson a standing ovation as he made his exit.

The 79-year-old said earlier this year he wasn’t going to play any WSOP events, but he wound up deciding to enter the $50,000 Players Championship and the main event.

Jackie Glazier: The Last Woman Standing In 2013

The World Series of Poker will have to wait another year for the first female finalist since Barbara Enright final tabled the 1995 main event. The year 2012 looked promising, as two women were alive at the final two tables of the event, but neither Elizabeth Hille nor Gaelle Baumann ending up making poker history.

This year it looked like Annette Obrestad would have a great chance at making the final table, as she held a stack late in the event. However, she eventually fizzled out in 89th.

All the pressure was then on Australian Jackie Glazier. Glazier, an accomplished pro with 21 career cashes and nearly $1 million in total earnings, was short for most of Day 6, and she eventually hit the rail in 31st place. She earned more than $220,000 for her efforts.

Her last hand started with an opponent making it 200,000 preflop. Glazier shoved for just under 2 million and was called by pocket tens. Glazier tabled the AHeart Suit QSpade Suit.

The board ran out 9-9-9-5-K and she was out.

A total of 298 female poker players — or 4.7 percent of the field — comprised this year’s no-limit hold’em championship field, which was up from 211 entries last year. ♠

The November Nine Profiles

Note: Players listed by seat position.

1. Sylvain Loosli – 19,600,000

It seems like every main event final table has at least one player with scant live tournament experience. Loosli sounds like he fits the mold.

Loosli is a 26-year-old poker player, originally from Toulon, France He now lives in London, England. The business school graduate had zero career WSOP cashes and only $3,198 in recorded earnings worldwide. However, according to the WSOP, Loosli considers himself an online poker cash game shark, with more than $1 million in winnings there.

2. Michiel Brummelhuis – 11,275,000

Brummelhuis is one of the online poker pros who made the final table. He is a 32-year-old poker grinder hailing from Amsterdam, Netherlands. The 2012 WSOP marks his fourth time playing the main event, and first time since 2008. He never cashed in his previous attempts in the no-limit hold’em championship. Brummelhuis has seven previous WSOP cashes for $174,170 in earnings and more than $1.2 million in career poker tournament winnings worldwide.

Over his online career, Brummelhuis notched three six-figure scores on the web. He has won six tournaments in his career, after cashing a total of 64 times. He knows how to play.

His performance might not just be for himself. This marks the first time a Dutch player has made the WSOP main event final table, securing the country’s highest finish since Marcel Luske finished 10th in 2004. Brummelhuis is also expecting his first child in September

3. Mark Newhouse – 7,350,000

Newhouse is back.

The 28-year-old professional poker player had not cashed in a major live tournament in nearly two years, but the 2013 WSOP turned out to be his return to the poker spotlight.

Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Newhouse is now a Los Angeles, California-based pro, making it out every year to the WSOP main event. The highlight of his career up until making the main event final table was winning $1.5 million in a 2006 World Poker Tour event.

At the WSOP, he had $152,725 in earnings, including a 207th-place finish in the 2011 WSOP main event for $47,107. His career live poker tournament winnings are more than $2 million, not including whatever he makes from the final table coming up in November.

4. Ryan Riess – 25,875,000

Riess is a 23-year-old poker professional, hailing from East Lansing, Michigan, but now residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, grinding out a living on the felt. Riess went to Michigan State University and graduated with a degree in business.

The largest score of his career prior to this main event was at the 2012 WSOP Circuit main event at Horseshoe Hammond in Chicago, where he finished in second place for $239,063.

This was Riess’ first time entering the WSOP’s $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em championship. He had cashed three other times during the 2013 Series. As a result, he has $309,478 in career live poker tournament winnings. Riess is the youngest player remaining at this final table.

5. Amir Lehavot – 29,700,000

Lehavot, hailing from Weston, Florida, is one of the more experienced pros at the table. Lehavot won a WSOP gold bracelet in 2011, in the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha world championship. Lehavot considers himself a poker professional. His track record at the WSOP is strong, as he has accumulated more than $800,000 in winnings (not including this main event).

His career poker tournament earnings total more than $1.5 million. Amir is the oldest player remaining in the field, at 38 years old. He also holds an engineering degree from the University of Texas.

6. Marc McLaughlin – 26,525,000

McLaughlin comes from Brossard, Quebec, Canada. He is a 25-year-old tattoo artist and a talented online cash game grinder who plays under the screen name “Go_Irish_Go.”

The year 2013 marks his fifth consecutive year playing the main event, and he is no stranger to making deep runs, finishing 30th in 2009 and 86th in 2011. McLaughlin can become the second French Canadian world champion, following in the footsteps of 2010 WSOP main event champion Jonathan Duhamel. McLaughlin’s WSOP record includes six previous cashes and a whopping $639,168 in earnings.

7. JC Tran – 38,000,000

Tran is one of the few players in poker who needs little introduction.

As the chip leader, the 36-year-old poker professional from Sacramento, California will be really tough to beat. He is one of poker’s all-time best, and has tons of WSOP results.

Tran had 44 previous WSOP cashes, two bracelets, and a WSOP Circuit ring. All those accolades amounted to $1,843,946 in WSOP earnings. He has nearly $9 million in total to his name.

“I really do owe it to my family and friends, and especially my wife,” Tran said. “She has been taking care of our two-year-old son every day while I play, prepping food for me and all that stuff. I owe it to them. I’m not playing for myself anymore. I am playing for everyone at home and my friends sweating me online. The support is really great.”

8. David Benefield – 6,375,000

He may have the short stack, but Benefield is a force to be reckoned with.

Benefield used to be a regular in the online poker high-stakes cash game world, before eventually deciding to focus on other things in his life. These days he is studying political science and Chinese at Columbia University. Fortunately for him, he decided to make it to Las Vegas this summer for the no-limit hold’em championship.

He is a 27-year-old, originally from Fort Worth, Texas. Benefield has a dozen previous WSOP cashes for $455,713 and career live poker tournament earnings of $633,243. He made a deep run in the main event in 2008, finishing in 73rd place for $77,200.
9. Jay Farber – 25,975,000

Loosli actually isn’t the most inexperienced tournament player at the table.

Farber is a 28-year-old Las Vegas nightclub host hailing from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This is his second time playing the WSOP main event, having entered it for the first time last year. He is not a poker professional by any stretch of the imagination, but he does have the likes of Ben Lamb in his corner. Expect Farber to have a wild rail come November.

Farber has never cashed in a WSOP event before, or anywhere in the world for that matter.
Farber graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in business.