Then there were 16.
Months of intense action, bluffing and high-stakes poker have all come to this, the final two tables. Monday's event started early and ran throughout the day, but 27 have become 16 with everything at stake.
That 16 in Monday's final will be reduced to nine, otherwise known as the "November Nine," the fateful remnants who look to be crowned the World Champion of Poker when all is said and done, not to mention gain plenty of cash in the process.
Here is a look at the players left standing who will do battle to round out the nine before earning a much-deserved break.
|Table||Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds||Predicted Finish|
|Feature||4||Thomas Sarra Jr.||USA||12,270,000||51||--|
|Secondary||7||Jorryt van Hoof||Netherlands||18,070,000||75||4|
Want to know just how difficult the path ahead is for the remaining 16 and just how much is at stake?
Ryan Ries, last year's winner—who took home $8.4 million for his efforts—has already been eliminated from the proceedings, bowing out Thursday in a rather quiet manner.
He took to Twitter to send a farewell message to those who had hoped he would become the first repeat champion since 1988:
Thank you everyone for all the support over the last year. It has been one hell of a ride— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) July 11, 2014
One contestant to keep an eye on at the final tables? Brazil's Bruno Politano, who has run roughshod over the competition to this point and is the overall chips leader, trailed closely by the United States' Dan Sindelar.
As Jessica Welman of WSOP.com points out, though, perhaps fans will want to see Politano through to the November Nine because of the rather colorful support he has brought with him—willingly or unwillingly:
Brazilian rail has a guy dressed as Scooby Doo & just yelled louder for Politano winning a preflop pot than I did when USC won the Rose Bowl— Jessica Welman (@jesswelman) July 15, 2014
In an event that is about to turn the intensity up another notch and slow things down more than ever as the players attempt to out-think one another with so much on the line, it is nice to get a strange form of entertainment on the side.
Speaking of Sindelar, he had so far on Monday exchanged the lead with Martin Jacobson of Sweden, another major contender. He's back under $20 million at the dinner break, but considering the two are so close together on the seating chart, anything can happen.
The other most dangerous competitor in the field, who has the look of a player who will surely be at the final table in November, is Jorryt van Hoof of the Netherlands. Going into the dinner break, he blasted his way up to No. 3 overall in chip count, tripling his stake in the process.
As WSOP notes, he and Politano have had quite the day, to say the least:
After 3 hrs of play, Bruno Politano & Jorryt van Hoof have made the most progress so far today, each picking up ~ 8 mil chips #MainEvent— WSOP (@WSOP) July 14, 2014
Perhaps the American with the best chance to make the final—other than Sindelar, of course—is Christopher Greaves, although coming out of the break he appears to have a long shot at best.
Then again, anything can happen on the final two tables, and only one thing is for certain—the November Nine is set to see a variety of fresh faces thanks to the new talent that has made its way through to Monday night's thrilling finale.
Note: All info courtesy of WSOP.com unless otherwise stated.