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July 29, 2014

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Eight players have shot at $1.5 million on final day of Poker Players Championship

Combination of new and old standouts advance to $50,000 buy-in final table

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Steve Marcus

Poker players compete in the $50,000 World Series of Poker’s Players’ Championship on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at the Rio. The Final Table begins Thursday.

Players Compete for Seat at WSOP 50K Final Table

Poker players compete in the $50,000 World Series of Poker's Players' Championship on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at the Rio. The Final Table begins Thursday. Launch slideshow »

WSOP Poker Players Championship payouts and results

  • 1st: $1,517,767
  • 2nd: $937,975
  • 3rd: $594,570
  • 4th: $402,696
  • 5th: $286,122
  • 6th: $212,829
  • 7th: $165,435
  • 8th: $134,101
  • Scott Seiver (9th): $115,447
  • James Obst (10th): $115,447
  • Todd Brunson (11th) $115,447
  • Matt Glantz (12th): $99,388
  • Jonathan Duhamel (13th): $99,388
  • Robert Mizrachi (14th): $99,388

WSOP Poker Player's Championship winners

  • 2013: Matt Ashton ($1.77 million)
  • 2012: Michael Mizrachi ($1.45 million)
  • 2011: Brian Rast ($1.72 million)
  • 2010: Michael Mizrachi ($1.55 million)
  • 2009: David Bach ($1.28 million)
  • 2008: Scotty Nguyen ($1.99 million)
  • 2007: Freddy Deeb ($2.28 million)
  • 2006: Chip Reese ($1.78 million)

Note: Chip counts and bios of the final eight players available at the bottom of the page.

Frank Kassela captivated the poker universe four years ago when he won $1.2 million, two bracelets and the World Series of Poker Player of the Year award in one summer.

He’s been a fixture at the Rio ever since the 2010 tear, but has never sniffed the same level of success. Until now.

The Memphis businessman turned Las Vegas cardplayer, and potential politician, will go into the Poker Players Championship final table with a healthy stack of 2.5 million chips at 2 p.m. today.

Kassela sits in third place with a field of 102 entrants trimmed to eight vying for the $1.51 million first-place prize and the right to get their name etched into the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy.

Kassela’s competition includes a pair who surely mixed it up with the late Reese, a legendary cash-game player who passed away shortly after winning the inaugural $50,000 buy-in event in 2006, in the high-stakes Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio.

Abe Mosseri, second in chips, and John Hennigan, fourth in chips, have been known regulars in some of the largest cash games in Las Vegas for more than a decade.

Mosseri specifically will draw much attention at the final table. A victory would yield Mosseri around $900,000 extra through side bets with other high-stakes professionals, according to a report on WSOP.com.

Mosseri didn’t name anyone he booked wagers with but he regularly plays cash games with notorious prop bettors such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Eli Elezra.

All of the game’s biggest names entered the tournament that features eight different poker variants, but most fizzled out over the previous four days of action. Mosseri and Hennigan will represent the old guard, but a couple of newcomers have proven just as formidable.

Brandon Shack-Harris was a virtual unknown before this summer, but burst onto the scene with a victory in a pot-limit Omaha tournament worth $205,634 and now sits second in the WSOP Player of the Year race. Shack-Harris is the current chip leader with more than a quarter of the chips remaining in play.

Hardly anyone had heard of Melissa Burr before this summer either. But Burr has advanced to three final tables in the last month before the Poker Players Championship, where she became the first woman to ever finish in the money.

With less than 1 million chips, Burr will need some help to further her bid at history. Chun Lei Zhou, fifth in chips, is another unforeseen contender to make it this far. Zhou plays high-stakes cash game in Macau but comes in as one of the largest losers in the history of online poker with a deficit approaching $10 million, according to PokerNews.

WSOP.com will stream the Poker Players Championship final table starting this afternoon, though the broadcast will not include hole cards.

Check below for a full listing of players remaining in the tournament along with their bios.

Seat 1: Frank Kassela (2,507,000 million chips)

Age: 46 From: Las Vegas

WSOP bracelets: 2; Career tournament earnings: $2,425,393

Seat 2: John Hennigan (1,878,000 chips)

Age: 44 From: Philadelphia

WSOP bracelets: 2; Career tournament earnings: $4,750,934

Seat 3: Allen Kessler (439,000 chips)

Age: 43 From: Las Vegas

WSOP bracelets: 0; Career tournament earnings: $2,830,973

Seat 4: Abe Mosseri (3,485,000 chips)

Age: 40 From: New York

WSOP bracelets: 1; Career tournament earnings: $1,149,500

Seat 5: Chun Lei Zhou (1,389,000 chips)

Age: Unknown Residence: Macau

WSOP bracelets: 0; Career tournament earnings: $41,011

Seat 6: Melissa Burr (661,000 chips)

Age: 30 Residence: Mount Laurel, N.J.

WSOP bracelets: 0; Career earnings: $151,368

Seat 7: Brandon Shack-Harris (4,101,000 chips)

Age: 33 Residence: Chicago

WSOP bracelets: 1; Career earnings: $611,679

Seat 8: Jesse Martin (840,000 chips)

Age: 33 Residence: Shrewsbury, Mass.

WSOP bracelets: 1; Career earnings: $1,396,380

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

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