Following seven full days on the felt, nine players managed to make it through the minefield that is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event to reach poker’s most prestigious final table.
Leading the way into the 2016 edition of the “November Nine” is none other than Cliff Josephy, a retired stockbroker better known to the poker community as “JohnnyBax.”
Josephy became a legend during the heady days of the poker boom, dominating the biggest online tournaments before becoming the top-ranked online tournament player at one point. Along the way, he backed up his screen name “JohnnyBax” by becoming a major player in the staking game, developing a stable of young poker talent and backing their buy-ins in a mutually beneficial partnership.
As he wielded his big stack to cruise into a final table slot, the poker world took to social media to congratulate Josephy, with many fondly recalling how his backing and support helped them embark on successful professional careers.
When the Main Event final table resumes on October 30th – broadcast live on ESPN through November 2nd – Josephy will hold the biggest chip stack in play, with his 74,600,000 putting him out in front over second-place Qui Nguyen (67,925,000). He should know how to exploit his chip advantage too, as Josephy has won a pair of WSOP gold bracelets in his live career (2005 and 2013), along with a World Poker Tour title in 2012.
In total 6,736 players ponied up the $10,000 buy-in to compete for the World Championship of Texas Hold’em, and this year pros put on quite the show.
Joining Josephy at the final table are several experienced professionals, including Gordon Vayo (3rd – 49,375,000), Kenny Hallaert (4th – 43,325,000), Vojtech Ruzicka (6th – 27,300,000), Griffin Benger (7th – 26,175,000), and Jerry Wong (8th – 10,175,000).
Among the big names to reach Day 7 – putting themselves into position to reach the November Nine before falling just short – were Valentin Vornicu (23rd place), William Kassouf (16th place), Tom Marchese (14th place), and James Obst (13th place).
Each member of the November Nine is guaranteed to earn at least $1 million for making the final table, but everybody has their sights set on the $8 million first-prize payout.
No matter what place he finishes, taking home that kind of money will truly be a momentous accomplishment for Spanish online player Fernando Pons.
Enjoying his first trip to Las Vegas, and his first WSOP tournament ever, Pons pulled off every recreational player’s dream by making the Main Event final table. Before this, Pons had amassed just two live cashes totaling a few hundred dollars each, but even as he rides the shortest stack still left in play, he’s already guaranteed to walk away a millionaire.
2016 WSOP Main Event Final Table
1) Cliff Josephy – 74,600,000
2) Qui Nguyen – 67,925,000
3) Gordon Vayo – 49,375,000
4) Kenny Hallaert – 43,325,000
5) Michael Ruane – 31,600,000
6) Vojtech Ruzicka – 27,300,000
7) Griffin Benger – 26,175,000
8) Jerry Wong – 10,175,000
9) Fernando Pons – 6,150,000