Final Table Is Set At 2018 World Series Of Poker Main Event
Action is heating up in Las Vegas as day two of final table play at the World Series of Poker Main Event kicks off Friday. In what’s been an incredibly memorable tournament thus far as some big names were sent packing early including the likes of Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu.
Ridiculous Hand Sets Stage for Incredible Finale
The field was decided by what will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the tournament’s craziest hands ever. Nicolas Manion went into the final table as chip leader after a showdown with Rich Zhu and Antoine Labat. Manion was dealt pocket Aces, while remarkably Zhu and Labat were each saddled with cowboys (pocket Kings).
In a bizarre twist of fate, Zhu and Labat bet aggressively before the flop with Zhu raising all-in for 24.7 million in chips which was matched by Manion who went all-in with a raise to 43.1 million and finally Labat, after a painstaking decision, called.
The resulting three-way showdown was full of mainly stunned expressions and disbelief as the slim chances Zhu and Labat had of beating Manion were eliminated by the flop, turn and river. That eliminated Zhu and severely decimated Labat’s stack.
“Somehow this is real life,” Manion recounted to ESPN. “When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand and I didn't even stay to see what they had. I went straight to my rail, looked up at the TV and they had set up pocket kings vs. pocket kings and my aces.”
The Final Nine
Manion, as previously mentioned entered final table play as the chip leader with 112,775,000. The Michigan native was followed by a solid field that looked like this:
- Nicolas Manion: 112,775,000
- Michael Dyer: 109,175,000
- Tony Miles: 42,750,000
- John Cynn: 37,075,000
- Alex Lynskey: 25,925,000
- Joe Cada: 23,675,000
- Aram Zobian: 18,875,000
- Artem Metalidi: 15,475,000
- Antoine Labat: 8,050,000
Each of the final table participants were guaranteed at least a prize of $1 million just by making it to the final table. With a lot of experienced title winners knocked out early it was looking like anyone’s tournament.
The most accomplished player to take a seat by far was Joe Cada who came in with two bracelets to his name and the distinct honor of becoming the youngest player to win the Main Event nine years ago. With that experience and over $10.7 million in earnings, despite his position on the leaderboard it would be tough to count him out.
“Poker, it's nine years later, that's enough said there,” Cada told ESPN. “Everyone here is really good. Everyone was good my year too -- everyone deserved to be there -- but everyone's advancing in this game.”
Metalidi was another successful player to make the cut as the Kiev native has racked up $2.9 million in lifetime earnings and had two second-place finishes in the last six years in major poker events.
Day One Trims Field to Six
At the end of Thursday, only six players remained with Dyer set up as a clear leader with his 156.5 million doubling up his closest competition.
Manion was still in the field but saw his lead quickly diminished as Dyer continued to the deliberate, dominating play that has served him well all tournament long as he’s knocked out nine other players. Dyer was initially set to be the chip leader before Manion’s wild hand catapulted him to the top, and he played like it day one. He shared his approach with ESPN after making the final table.
“I just try to make good decision. I have a dynamic separation on everybody, so it makes it kind of simpler for me to play -- I'm able to play differently than they are.”
Meanwhile, Cada is grinding it out hoping to make the most of his situation and hoping his experience comes in handy. With Labat out in ninth place, Metalidi out in eighth and Lynskey out in seventh it’s still anyone’s tournament despite Dyer’s big lead.
“I think there was a lot of pressure to get to the final table and then a lot of pressure at the start of the final table not knowing what was going to happen,” Cada said. “But now that the jabs have been thrown and we're six-handed, it's all gravy. If I go out next, I go out next. If I make a run, that'd be sweet.”
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