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Final Nine Set For 2016 World Series Of Poker Main Event

Remaining Players Will Reconvene This Fall In Las Vegas


The 2016 World Series Of Poker November Nine was finalized late Monday evening, as the remaining competitors will take a months-long break before battling it out for the $8 million top prize and the coveted main event bracelet.

The finalists are chip leader and two-time bracelet winner Cliff Josephy (74,600,000), Qui Nguyen (67,925,000), Gordon Vayo (49,375,000), Kenny Hallaert (43,325,000), Michael Ruane (31,600,000), Vojtech Ruzicka (27,300,000), Griffin Benger (26,175,000), Jerry Wong (10,175,000) and Fernando Pons (6,150,000). They are each guaranteed a seven-figure payday. Below is a detailed look at the card players.

10th place finisher Josh WeissThe final table bubble was Josh Weiss, who entered 10-handed play with just a handful of blinds. It didn’t take long before Weiss was gone and the finalists started celebrating.

The main event this year had a prize pool of $63,327,800, of which roughly $25.5 million will be awarded to the final nine players.

The 6,737-player starting field was the most the main event has had in five years. A total of 1,011 players made the money, the most in the history of the event. The WSOP gave each player a starting stack of 50,000, up from 30,000 in previous years. There are more than 336 million chips in play.

Eighty countries were represented in the main event, and the average player age was just above 40. The final table’s average age is just over 35 years.

Notable eliminations on day 7 included 2009 November Niner Antoine Saout (25th for $269,430), eight-time WSOP Circuit champion Valentin Vornicu (23rd for $269,430), high-stakes cash game player Jared Bleznick (16th for $338,288), 2010 Card Player POY winner Tom Marchese (14th for $427,930) and Australian poker pro James Obst (13th for $427,930).

Marchese, who has more than $13 million in lifetime tournament earnings, was the best player entering day 7 and was looking for his first WSOP bracelet. After exiting the feature table stage, Marchese was met by Phil Hellmuth, who told him that he’d “be back here again.”

Tom Marchese“All you can do is try to pay attention to the action, and get some reads on your opponents,” Marchese said of playing against so many unfamiliar faces in the no-limit hold’em championship. “Obviously you can generalize with a bunch of players based on where they are from or what they look like. All I could do was make the best decisions based on the information I had.”

Even though there was $8 million up top, Marchese said the main event was basically just another day in the office. He has five seven-figure scores to his name. “I’ve played for a lot of money in a bunch of [tournaments] and this wasn’t really any different. I was fortunate enough to go as far as I did, but at the end unfortunate to not go further. It is what it is.”

Here’s a deeper look at the 2016 November Nine:

Seat: 1 — Griffin Benger

Chip Count: 26,175,000
Location: Toronto, ON
Age: 31
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $1,386,295
Biggest Poker Score: 2013 EPT Berlin High Roller — 1st Place ($562,343)

Seat: 2 — Vojtech Ruzicka

Chip Count: 27,450,000 (6th)
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Age: 36
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $1,149,027
Biggest Poker Score: 2013 EPT Deauville High Roller — 3rd Place ($426,907)

Seat: 3 — Fernando Pons

Chip Count: 6,225,000 (9th)
Location: Palma, Spain
Age: 37
Profession: Account Manager
Lifetime Earnings: $20,653
Biggest Poker Score: 2012 Campeonato de España de Poker — 2nd Place ($19,127)

Seat: 4 — Qui Nguyen

Chip Count: 68,075,000 (2nd)
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Age: 39
Profession: Gambler
Lifetime Earnings: $52,986
Biggest Poker Score: 2013 Aria $125 Nightly — 1st Place ($3,220)

Seat: 5 — Cliff Josephy

Chip Count: 75,000,000 (1st)
Location: Muttontown, NY
Age: 50
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $2,641,620
Biggest Poker Score: 2006 Aruba Poker Classic — 2nd Place ($446,975)

Seat: 6 — Michael Ruane

Chip Count: 29,800,000 (5th)
Location: Maywood, NJ
Age: 28
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $44,962
Biggest Poker Score: 2012 EPT Campione Main Event — 30th Place ($17,244)

Seat: 7 — Gordon Vayo

Chip Count: 50,450,000 (3rd)
Location: San Francisco, CA
Age: 27
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $974,714
Biggest Poker Score: 2014 WSOP $3,000 NLH — 2nd Place ($314,535)

Seat: 8 — Kenny Hallaert

Chip Count: 43,325,000 (4th)
Location: Hansbeke, Belgium
Age: 37
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $1,714,610
Biggest Poker Score: 2011 EPT Deauville Main Event — 6th Place ($210,962)

Seat: 9 — Jerry Wong

Chip Count: 10,325,000 (8th)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 34
Profession: Poker Player
Lifetime Earnings: $1,317,539
Biggest Poker Score: 2013 PCA Main Event — 3rd Place ($725,000)

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2016 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.