LAS VEGAS (AP) — For nine poker players, among them one Israeli, the dream is just beginning after they outlasted 6,411 others in days of near marathon-length games to advance to the final table of the World Series of Poker’s main event in November.
Alex Turyansky of Germany was the last player eliminated shortly before 1:30 a.m. Las Vegas time Wednesday when he put the last of his chips on the line with an ace, king but faced a pair of queens held by chip-leader Joe McKeehen.
That left the final nine players guaranteed at least $1 million each in winnings and a bid to return to the World Series of Poker’s no-limit Texas Hold ’em main event in November for a chance at $7.7 million and the event’s coveted gold bracelet.
McKeehen leads far and away in chips with 64.1 million. Zvi Stern, 36, of Israel is in second with 29.8 million. Behind him, 61-year-old Neil Blumenfield of San Francisco, Max Steinberg of California, Thomas Cannuli and Joshua Beckley of New Jersey, Patrick Chan of New York and Federico Butteroni of Italy will all surround the table one last time November 8-9.
The favorite among fans watching in person and at home to win the World Series of Poker’s ultimate championship fell short.
Poker pro Daniel Negreanu, a six-time bracelet winner nicknamed “Kid Poker,” who has gotten close but never close enough to making the final table, ended his run in 11th place, the same place he landed in 2001 when he tried against a field of 613 entries.
Negreanu gambled the last of his chips on an ace, four and appeared to be in the clear when chip-leader Joe McKeehan called showing a jack, three. But McKeehan slowly but surely amassed a straight as the cards on the table were flipped one by one. It was the last one, a queen, that did Negreanu in, sending him tumbling to the floor with his hands covering his face.
The battle started with 6,420 players each paying $10,000 each to enter.
The World Series of Poker has been crowning a champion since 1970, when it was by invite-only at Binion’s Horseshoe and the players voted on the ultimate winner. Since then, only four players have won the main event more than once.
The series started May 27 and includes 68 events culminating with the main event.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.