Long-time poker vet Cliff Josephy, former Counter-Strike pro Griffin Benger and Belgian pro Kenny Hallaert have all clinched their spot at an intriguing 2016 WSOP Main Event final table.
The rest of the final table is made up of four Americans in Qui Nguyen, Gordon Vayo, Jerry Wong and Michael Ruane along with Spain's Fernando Pons and the Czech Republic’s Vojtech Ruzicka.
Californian Joshua Weiss had the unfortunate distinction of busting on the final table bubble with ace-eight. He received $650,000 for his 10th-place finish.
Here’s a look at the chip counts at the final table:
- 1. Cliff Josephy - 74,500,000
- 2. Qui Nguyen - 67,925,000
- 3. Gordon Vayo - 49,375,000
- 4. Kenny Hallaert - 43,325,000
- 5. Michael Ruane - 31,600,000
- 6. Vojtech Ruzicka - 27,300,000
- 7. Griffin Benger - 26,175,000
- 8. Jerry Wong - 10,175,000
- 9. Fernando Pons - 6,150,000
$8m Showdown Set for October
With 6,728 players officially eliminated in the 2016 Main Event there are now only nine. The remaining players will return to the Rio on Oct. 30, 2016, to play out the final table and ultimately decide who goes home with $8,000,000 and the most coveted WSOP bracelet of them all.
Every player remaining as locked up at least $1m for their efforts so far.
Cliff Josephy snagged the chip lead with a commanding 74,600,000 and is likely the most experienced player at the final table. Josephy is known in the online world as JohnnyBax for staking numerous players over the years.
Qui Nguyen is second in chips with 67.9 million and substantially less established in the poker world with just $52,986 in live tournament earnings.
Gordon Vayo is more well known with over $608,136 earned at the WSOP alone. He’s third in chips with 49.3 million.
The Belgian streak is alive at the WSOP Main Event as Kenny Hallaert is the second Belgian in two years to make the WSOP final table.
Last year Pierre Neuville made the final table but this year Hallaert will bring a fourth-place stack to the final table with 43.3 million.
Michael Ruane is another of the lesser-known players at the final table with just $24k in lifetime WSOP earnings. He’ll attempt to turn his fifth-place stack of 31.6 million into $8m in November.
Vojtech Ruzicka is the first player from the Czech Republic to make the final table since Martin Staszko finished runner-up in the 2011 Main Event. He has 27.3 million, which places him in sixth.
Benger Brings Gaming Background
Former Counter-Strike pro Griffin Benger
Griffin Benger might be the most recognizable face at the final table. Benger gained considerable acclaim as a professional Counter-Strike player with the handle shaGuar. He also had considerable success playing online poker as Flush_Entity.
More recently Benger served as one of the commentators on the Global Poker League along with Sam Grafton.
Benger will bring 26.1 million chips to the final table, which puts him in 7th place.
East Coaster Jerry Wong has had considerable success on the live tournament circuit with $1.3 million in earnings. He’s eighth in chips with 10.1 million.
Spaniard Fernando Pons will be fighting from the short with just 6.1 million chips but considering he qualified for just €30 on 888poker he’s definitely headed for the biggest payout of his life regardless of what happens.
ESPN Coverage Begins September 11
All nine players will now go on a 3.5-month hiatus before the final table in late October/early November. The final table will play out in the Penn & Teller Theater with over $25,000,000 still to be distributed among the players.
Watch the drama unfold on ESPN.
When play resumes on Oct. 30 there will be 32 minutes and 50 seconds remaining in Level 35. Antes will be 75,000 and blinds 250,000 and 500,000.
Comprehensive WSOP Main Event TV coverage starts Sunday, September 11 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. Viewers can watch two-hour blocks every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. until October 2 when it moves to ESPN at 8:30 pm for 2.5 hours.
The three-night prime time Main Event Final Table live coverage will air Oct. 30- Nov. 1. Payouts for the remaining nine:
- 1st: $8,000,000
- 2nd: $4,658,452
- 3rd: $3,451,175
- 4th: $2,574,808
- 5th: $1,934,579
- 6th: $1,463,906
- 7th: $1,250,000
- 8th: $1,100,000
- 9th: $1,000,000