The field is set for the final table of the 44th annual World Series of Poker Main Event, and the biggest name has the biggest chip stack.
J.C. Tran opened as a 9/5 favorite as the world's biggest poker event was whittled down to nine players this week. The American pro has a considerable advantage of chips as he tries to claim a whopping pot totalling nearly $8.5 million.
More than 6,300 players paid $10,000 to play, and only nine will venture back to Las Vegas in November and battle for the big payoff, the gold bracelet and everlasting poker glory.
With nearly 38 million chips, the Sacramento native has a nine million-chip lead over Israeli Amir Lehavot, who finished in the money of three other WSOP events this year. He was sitting at 9/2 odds early Wednesday.
The only Canadian in the group boasts the third biggest stack and is a 5/1 pick to win it all. Marc McLaughlin has finished in the Top 100 of this event three times in five years, evolving his game expertly from his days playing online poker.
The final nine (in order of chips remaining) is comprised of Tran; Lehavot; McLaughlin of Quebec; Las Vegas club host Jay Farber; WSOP rookie Ryan Riess of Las Vegas; Frenchman Sylvain Loosli; Michiel Brummelhuis of Amsterdam; Mark Newhouse of Chapel Hill, NC; and David Benefield of Fort Worth, Texas.
Six of the final nine players are under 30 years of age; Riess is the youngest at 23. Each of the November Nine is already guaranteed a payout of $700,000.
Carlos Mortensen was the last former main event champion to be eliminated, when Tran and his 7-8 drew a straight against Mortensen's A-9 early Tuesday morning. There had been WSOP odds posted earlier on whether a former Main Event champ would make it to November and it had been a 7/1 underdog position.
Others biting the dust over the weekend included defending main event champion Greg Merson, poker legend Doyle Brunson, Mike Mizrachi and the last woman standing, Jackie Glazier.
ESPN will provide the live television coverage starting Nov. 4.
2013 WSOP - Odds to win the Main Event via bodog:
J.C. Tran (38, 000, 000) 9/5
Amir Lehavot (29, 700, 000) 9/2
Marc McLaughlin (26,525,000) 5/1
Ryan Riess (25,875,000) 6/1
Jay Farber (25,975,000) 15/2
Sylvain Loosli (19,600,000) 8/1
Michiel Brummelhuis (11,275,000) 12/1
Mark Newhouse (7,350,000) 15/1
David Benefield (6,375,000) 15/1
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