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January 22, 2018

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Local nightlife industry veteran Jay Farber energizes WSOP November Nine

Bracelet winners J.C. Tran, Amir Lehavot have most chips at Main Event final table


Steve Marcus

Jay Farber of Las Vegas during the seventh day of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em at the Rio Monday, July 15, 2013.

Meet the 2013 November Nine

The November Nine reach for the championship bracelet held by tournament director Jack Effel, center, during the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at the Rio Tuesday morning, July 16, 2013. Players from left are: Sylvain Loosli, Michiel Brummelhuis, Mark Newhouse, Ryan Riess, Amir Lehavot, Marc McLaughlin, JC Tran, David Benefield and Jay Farber. Launch slideshow »

2013 Final Table Is Set For WSOP

Carlos Mortensen of Spain, 2001 main event winner, competes during the seventh day of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at the Rio Monday, July 15, 2013. Launch slideshow »

November Nine chip counts

  • J.C. Tran 38,000,000
  • Amir Lehavot 29,700,000
  • Marc McLaughlin 26,525,000
  • Jay Farber 25,975,000
  • Ryan Riess 25,875,000
  • Sylvain Loosli 19,600,000
  • Michiel Brummelhuis 11,275,000
  • Mark Newhouse 7,350,000
  • David Benefield 6,375,000
  • Blinds at 200,000-400,000 with 50,000 ante.

2013 WSOP Main Event final table payouts

  • 1st: $8,359,531
  • 2nd: $5,173,170
  • 3rd: $3,727,023
  • 4th: $2,791,983
  • 5th: $2,106,526
  • 6th: $1,600,792
  • 7th: $1,225,224
  • 8th: $944,593
  • 9th: $733,224

Ryan Riess held on to a yawn longer than it takes some poker hands to play out.

Amir Lehavot wobbled away from the table and stretched like he was getting out of bed. The bags under Mark Newhouse’s eyes were as pronounced as the glare of a card player tilted from a bad beat.

As a whole, the nine members of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event final table looked more like test subjects from a sleep-deprivation study than finalists for the most prestigious title in their field early Tuesday morning at the Rio.

There was one noticeable exception in lively 28-year-old Jay Farber. Above a burly frame and heavily tattooed arms, Farber flashed a smile so wide that he joked it began to hurt his face.

“We’re all going to the Rhino,” proclaimed the local who bagged the fourth-most chips in poker’s world championship with 25.9 million.

A celebration seemed in order to Farber, who like the other eight players as part of this year’s “November Nine” earned ninth-place money of $733,244 Tuesday with the chance at $8.35 million four months from now.

As a five-year veteran of Las Vegas’ nightlife industry, Farber is accustomed to long nights and erratic schedules. One final 15-hour poker session Tuesday to cap off 70 hours in the last week didn’t slow him.

Spearmint Rhino, one of the valley’s preeminent gentlemen’s clubs, was an obvious choice for the after-party because it’s one of the establishments Farber works with closely in his full-time job as a VIP host.

“When I moved out here, I didn’t have a gig lined up and all my friends were promoters and hosts,” Farber said. “I kind of asked them if they could get me a job and I fell into it.”

Farber’s business might take a hit now that he’s exploded onto the poker scene in the game’s most prestigious event. The UC Santa Barbara graduate had never cashed in a WSOP event before this year's Main Event and only logged $2,155 in live tournament winnings.

But he negotiated the ups and downs of the tournament arguably better than any of the 6,351 players who paid the $10,000 to enter.

Farber, who usually sticks to cash games, encountered an early bad beat on the river Tuesday to give him one of the smallest stacks in the tournament. But drawing inspiration from an emphatic cheering section — which included fellow Hakkasan hosts, poker buddies and Spearmint Rhino entertainers — Farber kept himself together and chipped right back up.

“I was just playing my style of poker and it seems to have been working out really well for me,” he said.

When the Main Event got down to 10 players, Farber refused to tighten up and wait for one more elimination and a near $200,000 pay jump. He went right after the best player at the table with the most chips.

Farber and J.C. Tran, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, built a 14-million chip pot on a 10-queen-7-8 board. When a 6 landed on the river, both checked and Farber showed down king-queen to best Tran’s queen-jack.

Regardless, Tran goes into November’s final table with the most chips at 38 million. The other previous bracelet winner at the table, Lehavot who’s from Israel, is right behind at 29.7 million.

The third well-recognized professional, online poker millionaire turned Columbia University student David Benefield, has the fewest chips at 6.3 million.

“We’ve all been lucky to make it this far,” the 27-year-old Benefield said, “but I think everyone here plays pretty well.”

Newhouse, another cash-game grinder, already has a seven-figure score on his résumé as well with a $1.5 million prize for winning a 2006 World Poker Tour event. Canada’s Marc McLaughlin, France’s Sylvain Loosli and the Netherlands’ Michiel Brummelhuis bring the total number of nations represented at the final table to five.

Farber was the only Las Vegan to make it through this year, a fact made apparent by the lengthy rail of supporters he attracted to watch his breakthrough moment.

“Everybody that I’ve gotten to know from living here over the years came out to sweat me today,” Farber said. “It was so awesome. I’m so happy I can make it for them, even more than me.”

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

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