Rhode Is­lan­der reaches final ta­ble at WSOP

Woonsocket Call - - REGION/OBITUARIES -

LAS VE­GAS (AP) — The final nine play­ers in the mar­quee no-limit Texas Hold ‘em main event of the World Series of Poker were sched­uled to be­gin com­pet­ing for $8.8 million late Thurs­day in Las Ve­gas af­ter best­ing thou­sands of com­peti­tors.

The men rep­re­sent­ing the U.S., Aus­tralia, France and Ukraine will take home at least $1 million. They will try to out­smart each other un­til three of them bust out ahead of an­other round of play Fri­day at the Rio All-Suite Ho­tel and Casino.

The chip leader is Nic Man­ion, a small-stakes, on­line-poker player from Muskegon, Michi­gan, whose only pre­vi­ous cash at a series event was for $5,769. He is get­ting to the final ta­ble with more than 112.7 million chips.

A three-way all-in brought the main event down to its final nine. Man­ion, a main event rookie, rode pocket aces to a pot that set him as the chip leader Wed­nes­day.

“When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand and I didn’t even stay to see what they had,” he told Pok­erNews.com. “I went straight to my rail and looked up at the TV and they had set up pocket kings and my aces. So the only way to lose the hand is a flush and luck­ily the turn card did not put a flush draw on the board, so it was all over.”

Chips have no mon­e­tary value in the tour­na­ment — each player will have to lose all his chips be­fore he is elim­i­nated from the final ta­ble.

The famed tour­na­ment drew 7,874 play­ers who ei­ther risked $10,000 or earned a seat through satel­lite com­pe­ti­tions with lower buy-ins. The series as a whole has seen more than 120,200 en­trants so far, and or­ga­niz­ers be­lieve the week­s­long event in its 49th year could go down as the largest ever.

The 2009 main event cham­pion, Joe Cada, is back at the final ta­ble with more than 23.6 million chips. He al­ready holds three series bracelets, and if he re­peats as main event cham­pion, he would be the first to do so since 1997, when Stu Un­gar won his third ti­tle.

The player with the se­cond-most chips is Michael Dyer of Hous­ton, with more than 109.1 million.

The youngest player at the ta­ble is 23-year-old Aram Zo­bian. The na­tive of Cranston, has more than 18.8 million chips.

New Jersey’s Scott Blum­stein took home the $8.1 million event prize and cham­pi­onship bracelet last year.

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