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October 25, 2014

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WSOP Main Event live blog: November Nine final table set with J.C. Tran leading

Carlos Mortensen meets his demise one short of the final table

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Steve Marcus

The November Nine reach for the championship bracelet held by tournament director Jack Effel, center, during the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em at the Rio Tuesday morning, July 16, 2013. Players from left are: Sylvain Loosli, Michiel Brummelhuis, Mark Newhouse, Ryan Riess, Amir Lehavot, Marc McLaughlin, JC Tran, David Benefield and Jay Farber.

Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 4:23 a.m.

Meet the 2013 November Nine

The November Nine reach for the championship bracelet held by tournament director Jack Effel, center, during the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at the Rio Tuesday morning, July 16, 2013. Players from left are: Sylvain Loosli, Michiel Brummelhuis, Mark Newhouse, Ryan Riess, Amir Lehavot, Marc McLaughlin, JC Tran, David Benefield and Jay Farber. Launch slideshow »

2013 Final Table Is Set For WSOP

Carlos Mortensen of Spain, 2001 main event winner, competes during the seventh day of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at the Rio Monday, July 15, 2013. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Carlos Mortensen of Spain, 2001 main event winner, competes during the seventh day of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at the Rio Monday, July 15, 2013.

Chip counts/payouts

  • J.C. Tran 38,000,000
  • Amir Lehavot 29,700,000
  • Marc McLaughlin 26,525,000
  • Jay Farber 25,975,000
  • Ryan Riess 25,875,000
  • Sylvain Loosli 19,600,000
  • Michiel Brummelhuis 11,275,000
  • Mark Newhouse 7,350,000
  • David Benefield 6,375,000
  • Carlos Mortensen 10th for $573,204
  • Matt Reed 11th for $573,204
  • Rep Porter 12th for $573,204
  • Alex Livingston 13th for $451,398
  • Sergio Castelluccio 14th for $451,398
  • Bruno Kawauti 15th for $451,398
  • Chris Lindh 16th for $357,655
  • Fabian Ortiz 17th for $357,655
  • Jan Nakladal 18th for $357,655
  • James Alexander 19th for $285,408
  • Anton Morgenstern 20th for $285,408
  • Maxx Coleman 21st for $285,408
  • Yevgeniy Timoshenko 22nd for $285,408
  • Clement Tripodi 23rd for $285,408
  • Steve Gee 24th for $285,408
  • Jason Mann 25th for $285,408
  • Jorn Walthaus 26th for $285,408
  • Benjamin Pollak 27th for $285,408
  • Blinds at 200,000-400,000 with 50,000 ante.

2013 WSOP Main Event final table payouts

  • 1st: $8,359,531
  • 2nd: $5,173,170
  • 3rd: $3,727,023
  • 4th: $2,791,983
  • 5th: $2,106,526
  • 6th: $1,600,792
  • 7th: $1,225,224
  • 8th: $944,593
  • 9th: $733,224

The World Series of Poker Main Event may have somehow pulled off landing both its most talented and eclectic final table since going to the November Nine format five years ago.

The group that played their way into the last session of poker’s $10,000 buy-in world championship early Tuesday morning at the Rio includes two former bracelet winners and an online legend.

J.C. Tran is the clear headliner. Tran knocked out Carlos Mortensen, who was looking to become only the fifth player ever to win more than one Main Event title, on the final table bubble when he turned a straight against Mortensen's pair and flush draw.

Tran owns two previous WSOP bracelets. He’s cashed in the Main Event in six of the past 10 years and sat 32nd on the all-time tournament money list before play began more than a week ago.

He can now add $733,224 to his total, as all players were paid out ninth-place money to hold them over until they compete for the near $8.36 million prize in November.

Tran enters the final table with the chip lead, as a tear over the last two days helped him build his stack to 38 million.

The final table’s other bracelet winner, Amir Lehavot, is in prime position with 29 million chips.

David Benefield, who made millions online before he was eligible to play in the WSOP as a 21-year-old, is the short stack with 6 million.

Despite the big names, a couple unknowns also made it through the 6,352-player gauntlet. Neither Sylvain Loosli nor Jay Farber had ever made the money in a WSOP tournament before this year’s Main Event.

Check back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of the November Nine in a few hours. In the meantime, check out the chip counts and results to the side.

The Final 10

With 10 players remaining, the unofficial final table is under way at the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

Tournament staff is re-drawing seats for the final 10 players at the moment after J.C. Tran took care of the last two-table elimination.

Tran looked down at pocket Queens after Matt Reed went all in with king-4 of clubs. The highest community card was a 9 with no flush possibility.

Reed takes home $573,204 for 11th place, while Tran's November Nine dream looks close to secure. The Sacramento, Calif., professional has the chip lead with nearly 40 million.

David Benefield and Mark Newhouse are the players looking for double-ups. Newhouse barely has enough to pay for 10 big blinds, while Benefield is about to slip below 7 million.

Riess The Beast

A new name has crept near the top of the chip counts.

As his fan section chants, it's "Riess the beast." Ryan Riess just eliminated two-time bracelet winner Rep Porter in 12th, making a tough call with pocket 9s after an all-in that turned out to be correct and beneficial.

Porter had king-jack, meaning there was close to a 50/50 chance he would double up. But the 4-8-queen-7-5 board offered no help.

The Michigan State graduate's fans have perked up and are now the loudest in the room. Riess is close to 17 million after toiling with short stack all day.

Lots of aces for Loosli

With an assist to the dealers for dishing out premium hands, they're falling fast now.

Alex Livingston just became the third player knocked out of the Main Event in the last 20 minutes. He snagged the last $451,398 payout in a hand he couldn't have possibly gotten away from.

Livingston, down to less than 5 million for the last several hours, was happy to commit himself with ace-queen. But the unbelievable card run in favor of Sylvain Loosli continued, as the France native awoke with pocket Aces.

The final ace in the deck spiked on the flop, meaning Livingston's long shot now had no shot. With 12 players remaining, the final three to go out tonight will receive $573,204.

Sergio Castellucio's stack shipped to Amir Lehavot

The international presence at the WSOP Main Event has taken a serious hit since the dinner break.

The lone Italian left standing joined the final Brazilian, Argentinian, and Czech on the outside looking in. Getting short on chips, action folded around to Sergio Castelluccio on the button.

He glanced at ace-5 off-suited and announced he was all-in. Unfortunate timing.

Amir Lehavot looked down at pocket Kings and made the easy call. The board provided no sweat, showing two Queens and two Deuces, for Lehavot.

Six nations are now represented in the final 13 players, with Israel's Lehavot the new leader.

Amazon Room suddenly quiet

A fan watching from the stands yelled a message at Rep Porter after he recently put a bad beat on Bruno Kawauti to eliminate the Brazilian.

"Way to go Rep," he yelled. "That's how you make it quieter in here."

Kawauti had the loudest set of supporters for the last several days, but they were silenced by the come-from-behind they just witnessed. Down to around 3 million chips, Kawauti shoved all-in and found a caller in two-time bracelet winner Rep Porter.

The Brazilians amped up their energy when Kawauti showed pocket 10s against Porter's pocket 7s. Porter, who's been near the bottom of chip counts all day, found salvation in a 4-5-7 flop to take the lead.

Ensuing queens on the turn and river sent Kawauti walking through the tunnel at the back of the ESPN while his friends shouted what was thought to be one last song. They then, however, accompanied Kawauti to the payout line for one last celebration before exiting for good.

Chris Lindh's elimination ushers in pay jump

Lindh-sanity is over.

Local pro Chris Lindh bowed out from the Main Event in 16th place moments ago on the secondary table. Lindh entered the day with one of the three biggest chip stacks, but steadily fell down the ladder as the hours matched on.

He eventually shoved his chips in the middle with 9-10 out of desperation. Mark McLaughlin called with ace-9, including one diamond, and the board ran out four diamonds to give him a flush.

Lindh gets $357,655 for his seven-day effort and sends the rest of the field up to a minimum payout of $451,398.

So long, Argentina

J.C. Tran just showed why many regard him as the best player left in the WSOP Main Event, even better than former world champion Carlos Mortensen.

The veteran took out Argentinian Fabian Ortiz with a river call that was equal parts gutsy and astute. Ortiz raised before the flop on Tran's big blind and fired a continuation bet on a King-9-7 board.

When Tran called, Ortiz slowed down and checked behind on a 4 turn. He tried to get creative on the river, going all-in for more than the pot with $2.8 million chips.

Tran thought about it for a while, but eventually made the call with 8-9 for a pair of 9s. Ortiz, on the other hand, had nothing — showing down Ace-Queen.

One more elimination is needed before a pay jump to $451,398.

One gone in quick fashion after returning from break

There's nothing like a cooler to welcome the WSOP Main Event back from dinner break.

Slightly below average in chips, Jan Nakladal was dealt a hand he couldn't possibly get away from within 15 minutes of the field getting re-drawn to two tables. Nakadal moved all-in with a fourth bet before the flop with pocket Queens.

Matt Reed had no decision to make as he had the best starting hand in no-limit hold'em, pocket Aces. Nakladal's third-best starting hand wouldn't convert on its 20 percent opportunity this time as the community cards came out 4-8-2-5-9.

James Alexander's exit sends the rest of the field on dinner break

The 18 players left in the WSOP Main Event received a gift just before the 90-minute dinner break — a near $75,000 pay jump.

James Alexander, one of the chip leaders with 19 million just an hour ago, imploded with 13 minutes left in the current level to send the players off to an early dinner break while they re-draw to two tables. The Edinburg, Texas bar owner's erratic play finally caught up to him.

He re-raised Amir Lehavot with his stack of around 3 million chips. Lehavot may not have called against other players, but witnessing first-hand how loose Alexander had played, he had no choice.

Sure enough, Lehavot had a huge advantage with ace-10 against ace-7. The board ran out 10-king-4-9-jack to spring Lehavot towards the top of the leaderboard.

Collapse completed

At the beginning of the day, Anton Morgenstern sat in front of the largest stack of chips.

Now he has none at all, losing nearly 30 million in the span of four hours to bust out of the Main Event. The final hit came when he committed his last couple minutes with ace-jack before the flop.

Argentina's Fabian Ortiz called immediately and showed pocket Aces. The 4-3-2 flop gave Morgenstern some hope to chop the pot if a 5 appeared for a straight.

But Ortiz's hand held up, and Morgenstern was forced to shake hands and say his goodbyes. It's a stunning early exit from the German professional who had the best odds to reach the November Nine final table as recently as earlier this afternoon.

Former chip leader taken out

Maxx Coleman will look back upon his 2013 Main Event run fondly but it won't the culminate in a final table or a seven-figure score.

The Day 3 chip leader from Wichita, Kan., just became the seventh player eliminated this afternoon in a hand against David Benefield.

The short stack since the beginning of this level, Coleman found himself with queen-jack of hearts in the big blind and called Benefield's all-in raise from the small.

Benefield had ace-3 off-suit for a slight lead before the community cards were dealt. The dealer flipped over an uneventful 2-4-10-5-7 board to send Coleman on his way.

After two more eliminations, the players will re-draw to form two tables.

Las Vegans Mark Newhouse, Jay Farber going in right direction on featured table

Two hours have passed since the last elimination in the Main Event.

The slow in pace is not for the lack of short stacks or players gambling with all their chips. It's just that everyone is surviving when they need it.

The last five players to put themselves at risk with an all-in move won the hand, including a couple in dramatic fashion by hitting the river card. On the ESPN featured table, Las Vegas native Jay Farber just went all-in with Ace-10 after a flop of 3-5-2.

Fabian Ortiz debated his options before putting in enough chips to call with pocket 9s. He looked safe when another 2 hit the turn, but a 10 on the river got Farber's fans to uncover their faces in nervousness and start cheering in celebration.

Farber is above average for the first time all day, while fellow local Mark Newhouse leads the way with 22 million chips. Newhouse flopped a full-house with pocket 2s on a 2-ace-ace flop. Long-time chip leader Anton Morgenstern doubled Newhouse up by calling his all-in with ace-jack.

Yevgeniy Timoshenko's run ends with a $285,408 payout

Another one of the stars has fallen.

Joining Steve Gee on the rail at the Rio is Yevgeniy Timoshenko, the online phenom turned successful circuit pro who had more than $9 million career earnings combined between live and Internet winnings. The 24-year-old Timoshenko seemed to never pick up a hand or catch any breaks after briefly capturing the chip lead early during Saturday's play.

The trend continued on the final day of play in the summer. After losing a couple pots, Timoshenko was down to less than 3 million chips and shoved all-in with Ace-8 of clubs pre-flop.

Jan Nakladal had him dominated with ace-jack and improved to a full house as the dealer spread the five community cards. He embraced and congratulated Timoshenko as he made his way out of the playing area and to the payout line.

Fifth elimination of the day

Sylvian Loosli is officially the last Frenchman left in the Main Event.

France started the day with three players still in the running, but Clement Tripoldi just became the latest to bust out. He finished in 23rd for $285,408, the same payout everyone will receive until there are 18 players left.

The short-stacked Tripoldi must have been happy to look down at ace-queen off-suit pre-flop. Unfortunately for him, Brazilian Bruno Kawauti — who's on a hot streak today — found pocket Kings and immediately called.

No ace or anything else funky came on the board, as Kawauti raked in the pot of more than 3 million chips. That should make for a loud rest of the day, as Kawauti's rail of his patriotic Brazilian friends have been vocal for the last few sessions.

No more Gee

There will be no November Nine repeat for another year.

Steve Gee, who finished ninth in 2012, just met his demise a few minutes before the first break of the day in the Main Event. Getting short on chips, Gee went all-in over the top of a re-raise from chi-leader Anton Morgenstern.

When Morgenstern called immediately, Gee shook his head and knew he was in trouble. Morgenstern, sure enough, flipped up pocket 8s against Gee's 10-7 of diamonds.

The board ran out 8-queen-2-ace-3 to give Morgenstern three of a kind.

Morgenstern now has nearly twice as many chips as anyone else in the field.

Down to 24

The declaration from the dealer on the outer table echoed demonstratively throughout the Amazon Room — "all in."

A few moments later, another player was headed to the payout line. Canada's Jason Mann is the latest to collect a check for $285,408.

Mann went out in 25th place, no doubt a disappointment after he was in the top five for most of the day Friday and the top 10 yesterday. He shipped all of his chips into the middle after a flop of queen-5-5.

Chris Lindh called and showed queen-9 for top pair, which was in good shape against Mann's pocket 10s. The final two community cards — an 8 and a 6 — ensured the elimination.

Two players check out within a matter of minutes

The first announcement of a bustout and ensuing round of applause came within 15 minutes of action getting under way.

The second came a few minutes later. Benjamin Pollak, one of three players left from France at the beginning of the day, and Jorn Walthaus, one of two representing Amsterdam, were the unfortunate early exits.

Pollak can at least claim to have gotten his chips in with the best hand. Maxx Coleman re-raised Pollak all-in with Ace-4 of clubs from the big blind. Pollak thought for several minutes before committing his stack with pocket 9s.

The jack-2-3 flop gave Coleman a straight draw that he converted on the river with a 5.

Walthaus and Steve Gee, two short stacks, tangled here at the ESPN stage. Walthaus shoved his chips in the middle first and Gee called behind him.

Gee had a major advantage with ace-king to Walthaus' ace-9, which grew when a king hit the flop. Gee moved up a couple places on the leaderboard now that he has 5 million chips.

Both Walthaus and Pollak earned $285,408, as will the next six eliminated players.

Pre-game

The Rio’s Amazon Room was so full of poker players a week ago that anyone who wanted to walk through the maze of tables had to emulate a gymnast on a balance beam.

Two other areas in the Rio convention center — the cavernous Pavilion Room and the claustrophobics’ nightmare Brasilia Room — combined with Amazon to host thousands of players competing in the biggest tournament of the year.

The World Series of Poker Main Event looks much different today. The $10,000 buy-in world championship is down to three tables spaced out neatly as to accommodate the ESPN cameras in the Amazon Room.

It’s an accomplishment for each of the 27 players remaining to make it this far. That, combined with the $285,408 guaranteed payout, is the good news.

The part they might not want to hear is that two tables worth of players remaining will be ultimately forgotten. In order for a player to secure his — everyone left is male — legacy, he needs to reach the final table.

He needs to come back in four months to the Penn & Teller Theater to play as part of the November Nine. Today is when that can be secured, as action will continue until there’s nine players left standing.

One of the final 27 players has improbably been there before, as 2012 ninth-place finisher Steve Gee is seeking his second straight final table appearance.

He could become the first player in the November Nine era, which started in 2008, to twice make it that far. Although his chip stack is dwindling, Gee is used to the pressure to double-up.

He’s worked with a below-average stack for each of the last two days and reached this point last year in roughly the same position. Gee was 22nd in chips going into 2012’s Day 7, while he’s 23rd today.

Gee has built a profile for himself in the poker world based on last year’s success, but there are three players left who are even more known than him.

Carlos Mortensen looks to do something many have regarded as impossible at this day and age of the WSOP and win the Main Event for the second time. “The Matador” originally won the world championship in 2001 for $1.5 million.

If the prize pool isn’t clue enough to how much the event has changed since then, consider Mortensen beat out 612 opponents for the gold bracelet that year.

This year, he was up against 6,351.

J.C. Tran and Yevgeniy Timoshenko are the two other big-name professionals to survive this long. They’re both aggressive players who will look to make the more inexperienced hopefuls uncomfortable today.

They’ve done a good job so far, but all that matters now is the final table.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com all day for a live blog as the WSOP Main Event plays down to nine players. We’ll update every time a player gets knocked out and keep the chip counts to the right as current as possible.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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