The Essential Guide to Watching the 2017 WSOP Main Event Final Table

Bart Shirley July 18, 2017 7247 Reads
WSOP Final Table

We’re finally here. The 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event is set. After seven days of hard-fought action, only nine players remain in the quest for poker immortality. Here’s what you need to know about the WSOP final table battle for poker’s ultimate prize.

This year’s WSOP Main Event was a big one

This year’s WSOP Main Event is huge – 7,221 players entered the tournament to shoot for the bracelet. The field size is the third-largest in history, behind the 7,319 players from 2010’s event and the 8,773 players from 2006. The first WSOP Main Event to host over 1,000 players was just thirteen years ago, in 2004. Chris Moneymaker’s seminal 2003 achievement was a grand event, to be sure, but he only faced 838 other players.

The large field has, in turn, generated a large prize pool. By the time registration closed, players were competing for a total of $67,877,400. For comparison, the first WSOP Main Event had no prize pool at all and featured a whopping seven entrants playing a marathon cash game.

The prize for first place did not reach $1 million until 1991, and it stayed at that level until 2000. Now, for the second year in a row, all nine final table players are guaranteed at least a million-dollar payout, and the winner will take home $8,150,000.

Johnny Moss won the first two WSOP Main Events. The second event – the first to feature a prize pool – paid out $30,000 to the champion. This year, a player eliminated in 414th place would receive a larger payout than Moss received.

The 2017 WSOP Main Event final nine

Player Seat Chips Nationality
Scott Blumstein 2 97,250,000 United States
John Hesp 1 85,700,000 United Kingdom
Benjamin Pollak 4 35,175,000 France
Bryan Piccioli 8 33,800,000 United States
Dan Ott 9 26,475,000 United States
Damian Salas 6 22,175,000 Argentina
Antoine Saout 3 21,750,000 France
Jack Sinclair 5 20,200,000 United Kingdom
Ben Lamb 7 18,050,000 United States

*Blinds will be at 400000/800000 with a 100000 ante when play resumes.

WSOP Final Table story lines to watch

The John Hesp show  

John Hesp and Kara Scott

The second-biggest stack at the final table belongs to a 64-year-old British recreational player with a penchant for fancifully-colored suits. A win would make him one of the oldest players to ever win the World Series of Poker Main Event and the oldest since the poker boom in 2003. He would also be the first British champion since Mansour Matloubi in 1990.

A trio of foreign firsts

Three players have a chance to become the first of their countrymen to win the WSOP Main Event. Either Benjamin Pollak and Antoine Saout could be the first French champion. Damian Salas could not only be the first Argentine champion – he could be the first champion from South America, and only the second from the Southern Hemisphere (along with Joe Hachem).

Two players have booked return engagements

We’ve got two, yes you read that right, two former WSOP November Niners that are looking to go add to their WSOP legacy this year. Both Ben Lamb and Antoine Saout have tasted the final table before, and it’s possible that the experience gives them a leg up this year. However, both are two of the shorter stacks, so they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to reach poker’s tournament pinnacle.

How to watch the WSOP Final Table

ESPN Final Table

The November Nine is no longer, and we don’t need to wait months in order to crown a WSOP winner. In fact, the final table will commence on July 20, and run for three consecutive nights. Each night will conclude according to the number of players remaining, as follows:

  • July 20 – Play down to 6 players.
  • July 21 – Play down to 3 players.
  • July 22 – Determine the winner.

PokerGO has been the exclusive provider of live streaming for most of the Main Event this year. The exception has been during prime time hours when the coverage has shifted to simulcasting via live stream and television on ESPN or ESPN2 (depending on the night).

For the WSOP final table, all TV and streaming coverage will shift to the ESPN family. ESPN2 will begin coverage of the final table at 9 p.m. ET on July 20. The final two nights will air on ESPN also starting at 9 p.m. ET. If you’re away from your TV, catch the live stream over at WatchESPN all three nights.

As required by Nevada gaming regulations, all coverage will be delayed by 30 minutes.

ESPN2 will also feature a final table preview show on July 19 at 10 p.m. ET.

If you need to catch up on the action before the final table begins,  PokerGO has replays so you can see how the final nine made it to the featured table. Just remember, PokerGo is behind a paywall.

Other options to keep track of WSOP Final Table

If you can’t be near a television or a live stream, then WSOP.com is your best bet for WSOP live updates and chip counts powered by PokerNews. In fact, if you want up-to-the-minute coverage, then the this is your best bet, due to the television delay.

For viewers who want a more interactive experience, many Twitter accounts will be live-tweeting the final table. Notable accounts to watch are:

The WSOP final table participants with Twitter accounts (that we could confirm)

Other solid WSOP final table follows for analysis and insight

Doug Polk:  Doug Polk is an affable and successful poker professional who won the Big One for One Drop this year and was visible during a couple of days of live coverage in the Main Event this year. As a bonus, Polk offers a piece of his profits for following him on various social media accounts.

Daniel Negreanu:  Daniel Negreanu is the all-time money winner in live tournaments, and is known for his friendliness almost as much as for his skills at the table. He has hosted a video blog for the entire main event this year and will be commentating off-and-on for ESPN as the tournament winds down.

Kara Scott:  Kara Scott is a poker commentator and player who is a familiar face at televised poker events. She is as connected to what’s happening as anyone and is a solid follow on social media even outside of the WSOP.

Phil Hellmuth:  Phil Hellmuth is, by his own account, the greatest poker player in the world. He is very good, though, and he has a flair for the dramatic and a sense of the moment to boot. It’s almost obligatory to follow his feed during the Main Event.

The relevant numbers

WSOP chips

Though the WSOP has flattened out the pay schedule considerably in recent years, the final table players can count on a significant chunk of the almost $68 million prize pool. Combined, the final table will earn a combined $26,250,000, or 38.67% of the overall WSOP Main Event prize pool.

The winner’s share alone is over 12% of the whole pot. The rest of the final table places drop precipitously, and (only) a million dollars separates the prize for ninth place and the prize for fifth place.

Here are the payouts for the final table, along with their percentages of the prize pool:

Place Payout Percentage of Prizepool
1 $8,150,000 12.01%
2 $4,700,000 6.92%
3 $3,500,000 5.16%
4 $2,600,000 3.83%
5 $2,000,000 2.95%
6 $1,675,000 2.47%
7 $1,425,000 2.10%
8 $1,200,000 1.77%
9 $1,000,000 1.47%
Total $26,250,000 38.67%

A list of past WSOP Main Event winners

This year’s World Series of Poker Main Event will crown a world champion for the 46th time. In that time, 40 men have ascended to the apex of the game. Only four have ever won more than once – Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, and Johnny Chan.

Given the expansion of the field, it is not likely to see another two-time champion, but there’s always a chance (just not this year). Dan Harrington, the 1995 world champion, has made the final table three other times, including back-to-back final tables in 2003 and 2004, which were the first two years that saw massively increased field sizes.

Regardless, on July 22, one player will join the ranks of these 40, and be forever immortalized. Here are the players he will join:

Player Name Year
Johnny Moss 1970
Johnny Moss 1971
Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston 1972
Walter “Puggy” Pearson 1973
Johnny Moss 1974
Brian “Sailor” Roberts 1975
Doyle Brunson 1976
Doyle Brunson 1977
Bobby Baldwin 1978
Hal Fowler 1979
Stu Ungar 1980
Stu Ungar 1981
Jack “Treetop” Straus 1982
Tom McEvoy 1983
Jack Keller 1984
Bill Smith 1985
Berry Johnston 1986
Johnny Chan 1987
Johnny Chan 1988
Phil Hellmuth 1989
Mansour Matloubi 1990
Brad Daugherty 1991
Hamid Dastmalchi 1992
Jim Bechtel 1993
Russ Hamilton 1994
Dan Harrington 1995
Huck Seed 1996
Stu Ungar 1997
Scotty Nguyen 1998
Noel Furlong 1999
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson 2000
Carlos Mortensen 2001
Robert Varkonyi 2002
Chris Moneymaker 2003
Greg Raymer 2004
Joe Hachem 2005
Jamie Gold 2006
Jerry Yang 2007
Peter Eastgate 2008
Joe Cada 2009
Jonathan Duhamel 2010
Pius Heinz 2011
Greg Merson 2012
Ryan Riess 2013
Martin Jacobson 2014
Joe McKeehen 2015
Qui Nguyen 2016
??? 2017

Lead Image courtesy of Jamie Thomson/WSOP

Images inside story courtesy of Jessica Welman

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