HOLDEN AND CHEONG SEEK A SECOND FINAL TABLE WEDNESDAY ON ESPN
Making the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table at all is an incredibly difficult endeavor. Making it twice is the kind of career-defining achievement that puts you in the ranks of the best in the game. Wednesday on ESPN, the cameras will focus on Sam Holden and Joseph Cheong as they try to be the latest player to join the elite ranks of those who returned to the biggest final table of the year. However, with play only on the late stages of Day 4, there is still a ways to go before a repeat appearance as an October Niner.

The last time a player was able to get a second shot at a Main Event bracelet was three years ago when Jeff Shulman made the November Nine. The poker publisher and longtime player had a brush with Main Event glory back in 2000 when he came into the final table with a commanding chip lead only to exit in seventh place while Chris Ferguson went on to claim the title of World Champion. Shulman’s second final table appearance didn’t end up much better, as he finished fifth place. Even though he didn’t win poker’s biggest event, between the two cashes Shulman did earn more than $2 million.

Before Shulman the last player to make the Main Event final table a second time was Mike Matusow, who took ninth in 2005 just four years after finishing sixth in the 2001 WSOP Main Event. These two are the only players of the post-Moneymaker era who have managed to make the final nine though. In this “modern” era of poker, a repeat appearance involves defeating thousands of contenders. Cheong is certainly accustomed to Main Event success. After finishing third in 2010, he followed it up with a 114th place showing in 2011. Between those two showings, Cheong outlasted 13,889 players. That number is certainly remarkable, but the player to survive the most number of players in back to back Main Event years is actually Stefan Mattson of Sweden, who outlasted 15,054 players in order to post a 57th place finish in 2006 and a 22nd place finish in 2007.

Will Holden and Cheong go the route of Shulman and Matusow? Or will they join the ranks of past November Niners like Dennis Phillips who came up shy of the final nine? We won’t find out on Wednesday, but we will see whether or not they can bag up chips and return for Day 5. This week will also focus on some other notables aiming to make Day 5, including outspoken poker pro Matt Marafioti, who takes center stage on the ESPN Feature Table. Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, comedian Kevin Pollak, and two women who made a real splash this summer, Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann, will also be featured in the coverage.
 
By the end of Day 4 only 282 players remained.  Which of these notables will make the cut and move one step closer to the elusive October Nine? Tune in at 8pm ET on Wednesday to find out.