The final table for the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event was set at around 2am Saturday morning at the Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. Each of the nine players, the last from a 8,569-entry field, are now guaranteed $1 million minimum and possibly up to $10 million. The total prize pool for the tournament was $80,548,600.
The nine players represent six nationalities and will play to a winner over three days, starting Sunday night. Introducing your finalists (with thanks to Seth Palansky and the WSOP media team):
Seat 1 – Hossein Ensan, Germany – 177 million
Hossein Ensan is a 55-year-old German poker pro who has enjoyed increasing success on the global poker scene in recent years. Ensan emigrated from his native Iran to Germany in 1990 and began traveling and competing in poker tournaments around 2004, though it wasn’t until 2013 that he began booking significant cashes. He still describes himself as a poker amateur, just as he once described himself as a “simple painter,” his former occupation, following his breakthrough performances earlier this decade. Ensan has one daughter and travels frequently to his native Iran. Ensan’s career-best performance is a victory for €754,510 (around $825,000), which he earned for victory at EPT Prague in 2015. He has made two other EPT main event final tables, and is the first EPT champion to make a WSOP Main Event final. Also of note is Ensan’s win at the 2017-18 WSOP International Circuit stop at Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, where he topped a 672-entry main event field to collect €184,812 ($220,000). Of his remarkable WSOP run, he said: “I’m having fun.”
Seat 2 – Nick Marchington, UK – 20.1 million
Nick Marchington is a 21-year old poker professional from Hornchurch, Essex, in the UK. He dropped out of a computer science degree to play poker full time, and is having a dream run on his first ever poker-playing trip to Las Vegas. He said he has fired 33 tournament bullets during this WSOP, but cashed on only one previous occasion ($12,415 for finishing 18th in the $800 NLHE Deepstack), so this is a spectacular way to end his trip. Chip leader coming into Day 7, he had dwindled in the counts until securing a late double-up through Dario Sammartino to make his way to the final.
Seat 3 – Dario Sammartino, Italy – 33.4 million
Dario Sammartino is a 32-year old poker professional with $3,446,357 in career WSOP tournament winnings, from more than $8 million overall. He has 38 WSOP cashes, his biggest cash coming from the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop in 2017. He won $1,608,295. Sammartino has three third-place finishes in WSOP events and his best Main Event finish was in 2017, when he finished 43rd. His online game is equally as sharp and, as “Secret_M0d3” he has won numerous major title on PokerStars. The most recent was a SCOOP title in the 6+ event in May. In January, he won two High Roller Club titles in a single day. Sammartino learned poker after his grandfather passed away. His father taught him as a way to help him cope with the loss. He is a former Starcraft player and a regular on the poker high-roller scene, and a very familiar figure in Europe.
Seat 4 – Kevin Maahs, United States – 43 million
Chicago’s Kevin Maahs is a relatively new player on the WSOP scene, but he’s making a big imprint on the Series in one of his first poker trips to Las Vegas. The 27-year-old Maahs had logged only one prior WSOP cash before his deep run here, a 169th-place finish for $1,230 in a big-field, multi-flight WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond (Indiana) event in February 2019. Maahs, though, is an increasing poker presence on the Midwest poker scene, having logged a live-career best $20,625 cash last September.
Seat 5 – Timothy Su, United States – 20.2 million
Timothy Su is a 25-year-old software engineer from Boston, MA. Before this year’s WSOP, Su had two cashes for $1,540. This is his first Main Event and he was the chip leader of his Day 2 flight as well as at the end of Day 5. Originally from Allentown, PA, Su is a fan of Philadelphia sports teams. He is currently working as part of a 15-person startup in Boston called Canopy. He plays three instruments, the piano, the violin, and the oboe. He loves Tchaikovsky and enjoys playing classical music. Su said, “There are a lot of parallels between music, poker and software in terms of taking liberties in choosing what you think is correct.” He says his proudest moment is completing a 100-mile bike ride.
Seat 6 – Zhen Cai, United States – 60.6 million
Florida’s Zhen Cai is a full-time pot-limit Omaha cash-game pro who only occasionally finds time to participate in tournaments, though his 2019 run may change that. Cai, a former casino employee, is usually found in Florida’s plentiful cardrooms, though he makes occasional poker trips elsewhere, such as the WSOP. The 35-year-old is a resident of Lake Worth, Florida, and has logged occasional WSOP cashes dating from 2010. Cai is also a WSOP Circuit ring winner, having won Event #5: $565 No-Limit Hold’em, at the 2010-11 WSOP Circuit Regional Championship at Harrah’s New Orleans (Louisiana). That effort was worth $33,753, second among all his live cashes. Cai has also received mentoring from his good friend, Tony Miles, who finished second in the WSOP Main Event in 2018.
Seat 7– Garry Gates, United States – 99.3 million
PokerStars’ great hope Garry Gates has enjoyed increasing success on the felt in addition to his regular behind-the-tables career. Gates began in poker as a live reporter, quickly advanced to becoming a live-reporting manager, and for the past several years has worked as an events manager and senior consultant for player affairs for PokerStars, where he has become friends not only with his colleagues but with players at all levels of experience. The 37-year-old Gates lives in Henderson, Nevada when not traveling the globe. Gates is also a survivor of the horrific 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas in which 58 other concert-goers lost their lives. Gates, a native of Titusville, Pennsylvania, has participated in the Main Event for the past decade, having made the money in both 2011 and 2017. The 2011 cash was for a 170th-place effort worth $47,107. Most of his career cashes have come in WSOP or WSOP Circuit events, with his prior career-best payday, $64,530, earned with a fourth-place finish in Circuit event in Atlantic City in 2012. He has support from across PokerStars as well as among all the world’s high rollers, with whom he has worked at all of the company’s major events.
Seat 8 – Milos Skrbic, Serbia – 23.4 million
Serbia’s Milos Skrbic is a relative newcomer to the WSOP but has left his mark on the global live-poker scene in recent months. The 30-year-old Skrbic, who lives in Sremska Mitrovica in northwestern Serbia, has earned over $1.6 million in live poker tournaments. The vast majority of that total has come in 2018 and 2019, and in particular at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in December last year. He finished second to Dylan Linde and won $1.087 million. Skrbic broke through in a major way when he placed fifth in the Main Event at the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe, earning €241,718 (USD 275,054). He becomes the first Serbian player to make the final table of the world’s biggest tournament and will go top of the country’s money list with a fifth place finish or better.
Seat 9 – Alex Livingston, Canada – 37.8 million
Canada’s Alex Livingston is a full-time poker pro who splits his time between his native Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Las Vegas. The 32-year-old Livingston has made a deep run in the Main Event before, having finished 13th in the 2013 Main for a live-career best $451,398. This former chess champion learned poker as many do, via games with friends. He attended Tufts University in Boston, and he later acquired a pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York. Livingston, also enjoys golf and bowling and is a big fan of NBA basketball. The 32-year-old Livingston has participated at the WSOP since his early 20s and continues to proudly represent his native Canada at the tables.
WSOP photography by PokerPhotoArchive