Final table set for WSOP

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LAS VEGAS >> A Long Island poker veteran has emerged as the chip leader at the final table of nine players in the marquee Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Cliff Josephy of Syosset, New York, ended play just before midnight Monday with more than 74 million chips, said Seth Palansky, spokesman for the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament.

Josephy, 51, finished in the top 400 players in the World Series of Poker championship in 2008, and in the top 1,000 last year. He's a two-time winner of other series events, including a $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament in 2013, and a $1,500 Seven Card Stud tournament in 2005.

Poker pro Qui Nguyen, 39, of Las Vegas, has the second-largest stack of chips, at almost 70 million, followed by Gordon Vayo, 27, of San Francisco, and Kenny Hallaert, 34, from Hansbeke, Belgium.

Vayo finished second in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed event in 2014, winning almost $315,000.

Hallaert is an accomplished poker pro with more than $1.3 million in career live tournament winnings, Palansky said. He finished 123rd in the 2015 Main Event, and 323rd in 2011.

Michael Ruane, 28, of Hoboken, New Jersey, is fifth in chips, and Vojtech Ruzicka, 30, from Prague, Czech Republic, is sixth. Griffin Benger, 31, from Toronto, is seventh.

Jerry Wong, 34, of Brooklyn, New York, and Fernando Pons, 37, from Palma, Spain, round out the final table, where each of the nine players is guaranteed $1 million.

Final play begins Oct. 30, with the televised championship scheduled to be decided Nov. 1.

The top prize will be $8 million and a World Series of Poker championship bracelet. The other eight players will share about $17.4 million. Second place will earn just under $4.66 million.

Josh Weiss of La Jolla, California, finished 10th on Monday, missing a seat at the final table but taking home $650,000. He busted when he went all-in with an ace-high hand and Ruane drew two pair to win.

The 47th annual World Series of Poker championship started play July 9 with 6,737 players from 79 countries. That was the fifth-largest field in tournament history, Palansky said.

Gaelle Baumann, from Paris, was the top finisher among the 268 women this year. She placed 102nd and won a $49,108 prize. Bauman finished in 10th place in the Main Event tournament in 2012.

Poker pro Joe McKeehen of North Wales, Pennsylvania, won the Main Event bracelet last year and a $7.68 million top prize.

The Main Event caps a 2016 World Series of Poker tournament that began May 31 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino. Palansky said a record 107,833 players from 107 countries entered the 69 events, generating a total prize pool of $221 million.


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