More than three months ago, nine players navigated a field of 6,352 to reach the most prestigious final table in all of poker, the World Series of Poker Main Event. Tonight, those nine players — the November Nine — will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to compete for the $8.3 million top prize, as well as the honor of joining Greg Merson, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen and others as a WSOP Main Event champion.
Two-time WSOP bracelet winner JC Tran will take the lead into this year's final table, which will take place over the next two days. Tran enters tonight's action with 38 million in chips, holding a comfortable lead over his next closest competitor, fellow bracelet winner Amir Lehavot (29.7 million). With more than $8 million already in live tournament cashes, Tran will look to double that amount and move into sixth place on poker's all-time money list — right behind former November Niner Phil Ivey.
But there will be some stiff competition in Tran's way. Including Lehavot, seven other poker pros have their eyes set on the bracelet, including Marc McLaughlin, David Benefield, Michiel Brummelhuis, Mark Newhouse, Sylvain Loosli and Ryan Riess. McLaughlin will begin play third in chips and hopes to follow the path taken by his friend and fellow Québécois Jonathan Duhamel, winner of the 2010 WSOP Main Event. McLaughlin was on hand at the Penn & Teller Theater then to rail Duhamel, and Duhamel will be returning the favor this time around.
The underdog going into the final table will be Las Vegas VIP host Jay Farber. The 28-year-old amateur player had just $2,100 in live cashes going into this year's Main Event, but he's also had a powerful support system behind him throughout his journey. Farber is close friends with November Niners Ben Lamb and Jesse Sylvia, as well as many other top talents, and says he's used their invaluable knowledge leading up to the final table.
Farber hopes to make history in more ways than one this week. He recently told PokerNews that he will probably have "loudest and most crazy rail that there's ever been at the World Series." We hope he's right.
Here's a look at look at the seat draw for the final table. Click on each player to read their November Nine profile piece:
We're expecting a loud and electric atmosphere at the Penn & Teller Theater tonight. The festivities will commence at 4:30 p.m. PT with player introductions, and the first cards are scheduled to be dealt at around 4:45 p.m. PT. Then at 5 p.m. PT, the action will get underway on ESPN2 on a 15-minute delay, with hole cards shown at the end of each hand.
Monday's action will come to a close when the final three players remain. Those three players will return Tuesday evening to play down to a champion.
PokerNews will be providing hand-for-hand coverage of the final table, as well as videos and interviews from inside the Rio. Be sure to keep your browsers locked to PokerNews.com!