WSOP 2014: All to be decided as Main Event approaches conclusion
After six days of play, spread out across ten days, the World Series of Poker Main Event has reached its final day. Of course we all know that there will be no winner today, and no actual conclusion to the drama that has filled the Amazon Room for so long. But that which transpires today will determine who of the 6,683 who started this event will have the chance of winning $10 million.
For the 27 players returning it has been a time of nervous mornings, keeping to the same winning routine, and no doubt some disturbed sleep. Sleep is unlikely to be any better tonight as either great joy or desolation lurks in the hallways.
For regardless of how long it takes the Main Event plays down to nine today, the November Nine. Nine men who will suddenly find themselves plunged into an often ice cold world of interviews, publicity, photo shoots and of course speculation.
But while this day is about the players, it's also about much more.
It's about the personalities, it's about which countries will be represented, it's about which railbirds shout the loudest, and about the families anxiously awaiting news from the tournament floor. At stake for them is the happiness of a loved one or maybe the chance for a trip back to Vegas in November, with 30 other guys in identical shirts.
As play began today it was Martin Jacobson who led the field. The Main Event may at times by US-centric, but Jacobson is poised to make his mark on this side of the Atlantic.
One of the triumphs of the European Poker Tour, Jacobson, from Sweden, has a string of EPT final tables, including two runner-up places. It's a resume that speaks of some frustration, all of which you suspect would be forgotten should he fulfil his potential today.
There are other familiar names with similar ambitions. They include Craig McCrokill from the United Kingdom, Andrey Zaichenko of Russia, Dan Smith and Eddy Sabat of the United States, Jorryt van Hoof of the Netherlands, and Yorane Kerignard of France. All are guaranteed a minimum pay-out of $286,900, but somehow it will feel disappointing if it's handed over too early.
Just one more day of Las Vegas summer left.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter. Photos by Joe Giron and Jayne Furman/Poker Photo Archive