Monday, July 18, 2016 | 12:30 a.m.
Buzz in the poker world hinted that the remaining field in the World Series of Poker Main Event on Sunday made for the most competitive day 6 in the history of the tournament.
Monday’s final session of the summer shouldn’t be much easier. The nine players who advance to the final table late tonight or early Tuesday morning at the Rio will have more than earned their opportunity to clinch a $1 million check while still chasing the $8 million first-place prize.
Accomplished professionals are spread throughout the final 27 players who reconvene at Noon today. None of them have more chips than two-time bracelet winner Cliff Josephy, a 50-year-old from New York who currently sits in third on the leaderboard.
Josephy is known as one of the poker world’s top backers — among his successes were financing Joe Cada’s 2009 Main Event championship — but is doing the work on his own in poker’s world championship this year.
Right behind Josephy is Australian pro James Obst, who came in second-place in a $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP earlier this year. The biggest name remaining, currently sitting 10th in chips, is 2010 Card Player Player of the Year Tom Marchese.
Marchese, the world’s No. 18 ranked player according to the Global Poker Index, has $13.2 million in career earnings but has never won a WSOP bracelet.
The other recognizable contender in the top 10 is Valentin Vornicu, who’s stayed near the chip lead since day 2. Vornicu has never won a WSOP bracelet but sits second all-time with eight victories in WSOP Circuit Events, which are contested year-round across the country.
Play will continue today until nine remain no matter how long it takes, and then cease until October 30 when ESPN airs the final table live from the Penn & Teller Theater on three consecutive nights.
The only player who’s successfully navigated a day 7 in the past still remaining is Antonie Saout, who came in third in the 2009 Main Event.
Saout could join Mark Newhouse as only the second player to ever reach the final table twice since the delayed format was implemented in 2008.
Check below for the full leaderboard going into the final day of the WSOP Main Event.
Vojetch Ruzicka (26,415,000 chips)
Hometown: Liberec, Czech Republic Previous WSOP earnings: $138,585
Michael Ruane (24, 565,000 chips)
Hometown: Maywood, N.J. Previous WSOP earnings: $24,438
Cliff Josephy (23,860,000 chips)
Hometown: Muttontown, N.Y. Previous WSOP earnings: $819,358 (2 bracelets)
James Obst (19,560,000 chips)
Hometown: Adelaide, Australia Previous WSOP earnings: $746,071
Myung Mike Shin (19,345,000 chips)
Hometown: Milwaukee Previous WSOP earnings: $5,542
Valentin Vornicu (17,450,000 chips)
Hometown: San Diego Previous WSOP earnings: $76,134
Fernando Pons (17,270,000 chips)
Hometown: Spain Previous WSOP earnings: $0
Thomas Miller (17,185,000 chips)
Hometown: East Hampton, N.Y. Previous WSOP earnings: $383,003
Kenny Hallaert (15, 465,000 chips)
Hometown: Hansbeke, Belgium Previous WSOP earnings: $367,855
Tom Marchese (15,420,000 chips)
Hometown: Boonton, N.J. Previous WSOP earnings: $804,960
Matthew Moss (15,250,000 chips)
Hometown: London Previous WSOP earnings: $75,485
Kakwan Lau (15,110,000 chips)
Hometown: Sheung Shui, Hong Kong Previous WSOP earnings: $73,709
Jerry Wong (12,975,000 chips)
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y. Previous WSOP earnings: $118,156
Joshua Weiss (11,580,000 chips)
Hometown: Los Angeles Previous WSOP earnings: $118,397
Michael Niwinski (10,660,000 chips)
Hometown: Burnaby, B.C. Previous WSOP earnings: $7,467
Andrew Christoforou (9,450,000 chips)
Hometown: Potter, United Kingdom Previous WSOP earnings: $0
Gordon Vayo (8,795,000 chips)
Hometown: San Francisco Previous WSOP earnings: $608,136
Jared Bleznick (8,300,000 chips)
Hometown: New York Previous WSOP earnings: $861,854
Adam Krach (7,540,000 chips)
Hometown: Longmeadow, Mass. Previous WSOP earnings: $1,258
Griffin Benger (6,530,000 chips)
Hometown: Toronto Previous WSOP earnings: $231,201
Christopher Kusha (6,530,000 chips)
Hometown: Staten Island, N.Y. Previous WSOP earnings: $14,078
William Kassouf (6,095,000 chips)
Hometown: Rickmansworth, United Kingdom Previous WSOP earnings: $0
John Cynn (5,760,000 chips)
Hometown: Indianapolis Previous WSOP earnings: $26,345
Antoine Saout (5,525,000 chips)
Hometown: Paris Previous WSOP earnings: $3,725,955
Qui Nguyen (4,790,000 chips)
Hometown: Las Vegas Previous WSOP earnings: $9,029
Jeff Hakim (4,375,000 chips)
Hometown: Tripoli, Lebanon Previous WSOP earnings: $161,478
Philip Postma (2,225,000 chips)
Hometown: Lakewood, Ohio Previous WSOP earnings: $0