It’s final table time at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. We have a ringside seat on the final day, with the winner of $10 million to be decided tonight.
FINAL TABLE UPDATES
1:20am: It’s all over
12.30am: Ensan moves clear again
Level 43: 2,000,000/4,000,000 (4,000,000 ante)
The clock has ticked past midnight in Las Vegas, and Hossein Ensan has again opened up a two-to-one chip lead over Dario Sammartino. When they return from a break to play Level 43, there are now “only” 128 big blinds in play, 87 of which are with the German. This has been a fine return to a position of dominance from Ensan, who saw his chip lead slip earlier to both Sammartino and Alex Livingston. He won the biggest pot for a little while when he raised his button to 6.5 million and Sammartino called. Sammartino had to call another 6.5 million after the 10♦5♥3♥ flop too. Ensan barrelled another 13.5 million after the Q♣ turn, and another 35 million after the 4♥ river. Sammartino called throughout, Ensan showed his Q♦10♣ and Sammartino mucked.
Quick fact: According to The Hendon Mob, Dario Sammartino has never won a live tournament with more than 30 runners. He has more than $8 million in live cashes, but his four outright wins have been in small field tournaments, with his biggest prizes coming from high-placed finishes in high roller events. Meanwhile Hossein Ensan has never lost heads-up, having won all seven times he has finished higher than third.
Stacks at 12.30am:
Hossein Ensan: 350.5 million
Dario Sammartino: 164.5 million
10.45pm: Volume rises as two sets of supporters sense glory
Level 42: 1,500,000/3,000,000 (3,000,000 ante)
The volume in the Amazon Room has become deafening as the well-refreshed supporters of both Hossein Ensan and Dario Sammartino have brought scenes reminiscent of a soccer stadium to the rarefied atmosphere of poker. Both sets of fans have reason to cheer too: the sluggers trying to keep a lid on their emotions are locked in a tense heads-up battle with stacks that have been all but even for a long time. In more recent exchanges, Ensan has pushed his stack back over 300 million, leaving Sammartino around 200 million. But that’s still 105 BBs to 66 BBs and this is far from over.
Stacks at 10.45pm:
Hossein Ensan: 316 million
Dario Sammartino: 199 million
9.20pm: Livingston busts as Sammartino soars
Level 41: 1,200,000/2,400,000 (2,400,000 ante)
What a difference an hour makes. Sixty minutes ago, Alex Livingston had nudged into the chip lead of this three-handed affair, but over the next passage of play we’ve had three chip leaders, including Dario Sammartino for the first time in the tournament.
That’s not even the headline. The buried lede is that Livingston is now out, becoming our third-place finisher and picking up $4 million. The turnaround from hero to zero was swift.
“Was I actually chip leader?” Livingston said, uncertain if his rise through the ranks had ever taken him to the summit. He was surer about the way it all went south, however, saying: “It was one big hand.”
This was the hand that doubled up Sammartino, when he cracked Livingston’s kings. It began when Sammartino called a raise in the big blind and then check-called the Q♣6♥4♥ flop when Livingston bet 5 million. The 10♣ turn brought a bet of 23 million from Livingston and Sammartino pushed his 79 million into the middle. Livingston called with his red kings, but Sammartino’s 10♠6♦ was now two pair. The river was a blank.
“I probably should have thought about it for more than half a second, considering it’s the Main Event final table, but ultimate I don’t know whether I’d have done anything different,” Livingston said. “I guess I have some regret that I didn’t think about that spot, but I guess I would have ended up calling anyway.”
When later discussing the differing styles of play among the last nine, Livingston again referenced the haste of his decision-making. “It’s possible I’m the fastest player in Main Event final table history,” he said. “The game’s more fun when you speed it up a bit.”
That hand put Sammartino right on Hossein Ensan’s shoulder, and he took the lead very soon after. But Ensan then leapt back to the top by eliminating Livingston in another cooler. Livingston open-pushed his 17 big-blind stack with A♣J♦ but Ensan found A♠Q♦ and they both hit their kicker on the flop. That was the end of that for Livingston.
“I feel like I played well overall,” Livingston said, and remembered a spot on Day 7 when he pulled off a lucky outdraw with ace-ten against ace-king. “I shouldn’t even be here. I guess it feels better than it does bad.”
Livingston’s elimination leaves Ensan and Sammartino heads up for the title, with all-but even stacks. Ensan has 279.8 million to Sammartino’s 235 million.
“The two guys left are phenomenal,” Livingston said. “Either one of them would be a great ambassador for the game. Hossein is a boss and Dario is a phenomenal player…I’m now considering him a brother.”
8.15pm: Take me to your leader
Level 41: 1,200,000/2,400,000 (2,400,000 ante)
On the face of it, it wasn’t an enormous pot. But right around 8.05pm here in the Amazon Room, Alex Livingston did something that had seemed impossible for the best part of three days: he overtook Hossein Ensan at the top of the chip counts.
The pot that took Livingston there began with his raise to 5.5 million on the button. Both his opponents called and saw a king high flop. By the time the board was out in full, only Dario Sammartino and Livingston were still involved and the full board read: 5♣K♥2♦4♦3♥. Livingston bet 21.5 million and Sammartino called, only to see the 8♣6♣ — a straight — in Livingston’s hand.
At the start of this final table, Livingston was placed fifth of nine, with 37.8 million. But after that pot, he moved to 233.2 million, nudging Ensan into second place with his 231.4 million. Livingston’s rail erupted when the counts appeared on the big screen.
There’s still a long way to go in this tournament, but so far Livingston is turning in a clinical display. He copped some flak for folding pocket queens during Sunday’s action, a hand that would have been ahead of Garry Gates’s tens and Dario Sammartino’s eights. But Gates is gone and Sammartino has only 20 big blinds now, so Livingston knows what he’s doing.
Stacks at 8.15pm:
Hossein Ensan: 233.2 million
Alex Livingston: 231.4 million
Dario Sammartino: 50.2 million
7.15pm: Evening stacks, strengthening rails
Level 40: 1,000,000/2,000,000 (2,000,000 ante)
Stacks are evening out here in the Amazon Room as Hossein Ensan is encountering resistance for the first time in maybe three days. Both Alex Livingston and Dario Sammartino have taken chips from the leader, the former when his 10♣10♠ stayed good through a board of J♠J♦7♠J♣K♥ and the latter when he rivered trip nines with 9♥7♦ and the board running J♣10♠4♠9♠9♦. Ensan was characteristically aggressive in each pot, but had the worst of it.
The rails here are in fine voice, with soccer-style chanting coming from all corners. Mustapha Kanit is rabble-rouser in chief for the Italians, while Dietrich Fast is front and centre for Ensan. Even the Canadians in Livingston’s corner are holding their own, despite the absence of a soccer-playing history in the country.
There are some superstar poker players on all of the rails, with the following all spotted:
Rooting for Sammartino: Ryan Riess, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Raffaele Sorrentino, Sylvain Loosli, Mustapha Kanit, Connor Drinan, Romain Lewis, Max Pescatori, Jen Harman, Walter Treccarichi.
Rooting for Ensan: Dominik Nitshe, Koray Aldemir, Christian Christner, Dietrich Fast, Ismael Bojang, Martin Finger, Oliver Weis, Rainer Kempe, Steffen Sontheimer, Ana Marquez.
Rooting for Livingston: Ankush Mandavia, Stevan Chew, Marc McDonnell, Annette Obrestad.
Stacks at 7.15pm:
Hossein Ensan: 235.2 million
Alex Livingston: 176.4 million
Dario Sammartino: 103.2 million
6.15pm: Sammartino scores first double
Level 40: 1,000,000/2,000,000 (2,000,000 ante)
The first major confrontation of the final phase of the final table took place at around 6.10pm, about 40 minutes after play began. Dario Sammartino scored a double-up through chip-leader Hossein Ensan to send the Italian rail (as well as a few Americans, Brits and Germans at least) into rapture.
Ensan opened the pot with 6♣6♥ on the button and Sammartino moved all in for 50 million from the small blind, holding A♠J♠. Alex Livingston thought for long enough in the big blind to make it seem as though he had a real decision (the broadcast will tell us the truth soon enough) but then folded. Ensan called.
There was drama from the outset. The dealer put the 9♥9♦8♠ flop down, immediately increasing Sammartino’s outs. The 10♣ turn gave him even more: now any seven, eight, jack, queen or ace would give him a winner.
The river was the Q♠, filling a straight, and getting the Italians chanting louder than ever before. All three players now have more than 100 million. We could be in for a very long night.
Stacks at 6.15pm:
Hossein Ensan: 286.2 million
Alex Livingston: 124.4 million
Dario Sammartino: 104.2 million
MORE FINAL TABLE COVERAGE:
Three to become one for $10m WSOP champ
Thrill-ride ends in fourth for Garry Gates
Villain Maahs busts in fifth, takes $2.2 million
Gates to fans: Support fuels me
Gates unafraid as five left
Marchington Marches out
Marchington gets early double, but Skrbic and Su depart
Garry Gates feeling good ahead of biggest day
DAY 9 RECAP
On a day when Chris Moneymaker was revealed as the latest inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame, it was going to take some story to knock him from the front pages of PokerStars’ real estate. But Garry Gates, our friend and colleague, was in the final five of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and eventually made it all the way to fourth place, winning $3 million. GG GG. The other player to be knocked out on a tense day at the Rio was Chicago’s Kevin Maahs, who took $2.2 million for fifth. It leaves three people: Hossein Ensan, Alex Livingston and Dario Sammartino in the hunt for $10 million, with Ensan in the commanding chip lead. Ensan bagged 326.8 million, nearly double the combined total of his opponents. Livingston has 120.4 million and Sammartino 67.6 million. It’s still all to play for, however, as the Italian and Canadian were the two shortest stacks going into Monday’s play. Ensan’s chip lead has seemed unimpeachable, but there have been biggest leads surrendered before. Play restarts at 5.30pm.
Final day stacks:
🇩🇪Hossein Ensan: 326.8 million
🇨🇦Alex Livingston: 120.4 million
🇮🇹Dario Sammartino: 67.6 million
$80,548,600 prize pool
1,286 places paid
Winner: $10 million
1A: 1,334, 1B: 1,914 1C: 4,877 2AB:100 2C: 344
RECENT FEATURE COVERAGE
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The German pro becomes the first EPT champion ever to make a WSOP final table.
‘Just gravy’ for Gates and Marchington on day of drama
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- Richard Seymour making most of second career
- Garry Gates, aka “GG The Rec”, riding the wave again
- What Andrew Brokos is thinking
- The WSOP reunion: Before and after
- Owen rallies poker world to offer crucial relief aid
- Pochedly bursts WSOP bubble ending late-night grind
- The WSOP bubble in focus
- Patience is key for Akkari, as UFC has to wait
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- Notable or not, Chris Moneymaker tops the WSOP bill
- Yzaguirre becomes last man to register to WSOP monster
- From Enterprise to the WSOP in two years: How Arlie Shaban did it
- In-form Aditya Agarwal back to his home-from-home
- Bowling in and bowling out of the WSOP
- Susan Faber defies the odds to win first bracelet
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- How I Survived the Great Vegas Earthquake
- ‘Special’ John Cynn sets the ball rolling
- 50 Years, 50 WSOP nuggets
- A bracelet, $1m and now a wife
RECENT WSOP CHAMPIONS
POKERSTARS AMBASSADORS’ RESULTS
Chris Moneymaker – 687th for $20,200
Aditya Agarwal – 844th for $18,535
Kalidou Sow – 915th for $17,135
Andre Akkari – eliminated on Day 3
Igor Kurganov – eliminated on Day 3
Maria Konnikova – eliminated on Day 3
Leo Fernandez – eliminated on Day 2C
Arlie Shaban – eliminated on Day 2AB
Jennifer Shahade – eliminated on Day 2AB
Liv Boeree – eliminated on Day 1A
Muskan Sethi – eliminated on Day 1A
Ramon Colillas – eliminated on Day 1C
Jason Somerville – eliminated on Day 1C
Previous Main Event winners/coverage
|2005||Joe Hachem||5,619||$7.5m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2006||Jamie Gold||8,773||$12m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2007||Jerry Yang||6,358||$8.25m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2008||Peter Eastgate||6,844||$9.15m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2009||Joe Cada||6,494||$8.55m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2010||Jonathan Duhamel||7,319||$8.94m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2011||Pius Heinz||6,865||$8.72m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2012||Greg Merson||6,598||$8.53m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2013||Ryan Riess||6,352||$8.36m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2014||Martin Jacobson||6,683||$10m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2015||Joe McKeehen||6,420||$7.68m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2016||Qui Nguyen||6,737||$8m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2017||Scott Blumstein||7,221||$8.15m||BLOG REPORTS|
|2018||John Cynn||7,874||$8.8m||BLOG REPORTS|
WSOP photos by Poker Photo Archive