The World Series of Poker’s main event narrowed its field to the final nine players, who will compete in November for the $8.7 million top prize.
The “November Nine” is made up of players from seven countries -- three from the U.S. and one each from Ireland, Belize, Ukraine, Germany, England and the Czech Republic.
The leader is Martin Staszko, a 35-year-old Czech poker professional who has almost 40.2 million in chips, according to the tournament’s website. Second in chips, with more than 33.9 million, is Ireland’s Eoghan O’Dea, 26. O’Dea’s father, Donnacha, won a World Series tournament title in 1998.
Also returning to Las Vegas on Nov. 5 to play in the final table are Americans Matt Giannetti (24.8 million in chips), Phil Collins (23.9 million) and Ben Lamb (20.9 million); Badih Bounahra of Belize (19.7 million); Pius Heinz of Germany (16.4 million); Anton Makiievskyi of Ukraine (13.8 million); and Sam Holden of England (12.4 million).
Lamb, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a win and second-place finish at the 58-event World Series this year.
The final two players will go head-to-head on Nov. 7, with the winner earning $8.7 million and the champion’s bracelet, and the runner-up taking $5.4 million. Each of the final nine is guaranteed to make at least $782,115.
The main event, officially known as the No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship, began with 6,865 entrants, making it the third largest live event in poker history.