The biggest poker tournament in the country has come down to its key moment: the final table. While the World Series of Poker is made up of sixty-two different tournaments with sixty-two different opportunities to win prize money and a bracelet, the $10,000 No-Limit Hold 'Em Main Event is the most important event in the tournament, where several put in the necessary $10,000, but only so many finish "in the money" and ultimately, nine participants have the opportunity to compete in November at the final table. Waiting this period of time only began a few years back and it works on the condition that it's a live event and we have the opportunity to watch. This doesn't mean watching it four months after it happened.
The final nine is being lead and headlined by seasoned poker pro J.C. Tran. Tran was born in Vietnam, but came to and now resides in America. Throughout the World Series of Poker, Tran has collected two bracelets and has over $1,000,000 in winnings. He is the chip leader and the established front-runner. Whether or not he wins the tournament will be seen. The only other bracelet winner at the table is the Israeli born, American native Amir Lehavot, who won in one of the WSOP's Omaha events in 2011. At the age of 38, Lehavot is the oldest person at the table. On the contrast, finalists Jay Farber and Sylvain Loosli have not come out with a cash prize, let alone a bracelet, but anything could happen in this unpredictable main event. The other finalists include Marc McLaughlin, Ryan Riess, Michiel Brummelhuis, Mark Newhouse, and David Benefield.
In all honesty, many of these names are new to me, but it's very good for these people who have a fresh opportunity at winning it all. All of them fought hard and deserve to be in the position they're in. One thing I have been looking to see is a previous champion making a return to the final table, as well as a hot female contender. Last year, two females placed 10th and 11th (Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille, respectively). This year, it was Jackie Glazer from Australia who was the last woman standing in 31st place. With regard to previous champions, this was a better year than last. Last year, Johnny Chan was the last champion standing with a 353rd place finish. Huck Seed was the only other to finish in the money. This year, Carlos Mortensen finished in 10th place, just one person short of the final table. Also finished in the money was last year's champion, Greg Merson (in 167th) and poker legend Doyle Brunson (in 409th). Granted, the last previous champion to appear at a final table was Dan Harrington (in 2004) and the only woman to appear at the final table was Barbara Enright (in 1995). Granted, the people who appear at the final table are the ones who played the best game AND did the best at hitting the cards and making the best bets. When it came to celebrities, Ray Romano has the most memorable appearance and finish of the year.
If there was someone in particular I was rooting for this year and has crossed my path as becoming a force to be reckoned with, it's Annette Obrestad, a Norwegian poker player who started playing online before expanding her horizons into the big tournaments. Obrestad became the youngest person to win a main event at the age of 19 during the World Series of Poker Europe. In the 2013 World Series of Poker, she was in a position to break out and make a huge run in the competition, even making an appearance in the top ten, but things are just so unpredictable. You can have the chip lead one day, but be out of the competition on the next. Obrestad finished in 83rd, which is an incredible feat. I am very eager to see where she goes with her poker career and will be very interested to see her compete on live showings.
The World Series of Poker is down to the key point in the competition and it will sure be exciting to see who will take the title. The majority of people will assert that J.C. Tran is the one to beat, but if we look at the last few years, you may have a better chance of picking the winner by taking the nine names, throwing them in a hat, and placing your wagers on the person you selected. The WSOP is anybody's game and the only thing you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.