The WSOP National Championship presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof has reached the final table.Following two consecutive 12-hour days of tournament action here in New Orleans, the official final table was reached at about midnight when Pavlin Karakikov, from Harwood Heights, IL exited in tenth place. However, the Day Two session went just a bit longer than usual based on the decision to begin filming the televised final table once eight players were set.Once Austin Apicella from Fair Oaks Ranch, TX was eliminated in ninth place, that left what you could call the "May Eight." Players will return to action on Friday, starting at 2 pm CST to play for this year's national title. The finale takes place at Harrah's New Orleans.
All players to this point are guaranteed to collect at least $38,570 -- a handsome some given that some of the finalists are WSOP Circuit grinders. However, none of the eight remaining players will be satisfied with that payout at this point. Everyone's eye is on the top prize, which goes with becoming only the third WSOP National Champion in history.
When the day began, there were 62 players still in the running for this bracelet, but the field quickly winnowed down to half that size in the matter of just two hours. Play hit the 16-person money bubble around dinner break with Stephen Hesse busting in 17th place shortly thereafter.
Other notables in the money include the youngest player in the field, Sam Panzica (16th), Ashly Butler (12th), and Rex Clinkscales (11th). The winner receives $355,600 in prize money, plus the much-cherished WSOP gold bracelet. He'll also take a place in history alongside San Barnhart and Ryan Eriquezzo, the previous two winners.Here's the seating order for the "May Eight:"SEAT 1 -- Joe Tehan is a 32-year-old professional poker player from Carpinteria, CA. He's earned more than $4 million in tournament poker, including huge cashes at WPT Mandalay Bay and NAPT Bicycle Casino. He's a proud father of a 13-month-old son, who loves golf and gambling -- and sometimes gambling on golf. Chip Count -- 177,000 (WSOP POY Qualifier)
SEAT 2 -- Max J. Steinberg is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Fairfield, IA. He owns a WSOP gold bracelet and has in excess of $1.5 million in tournament earnings. Chip Count -- 738,000 (WSOP POY Qualifier)
SEAT 3 -- Tim Bowman is a 30-year-old roofer from Hickory, NE. He earned his way into this championship by winning the first WSOP Circuit Main Event held at Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina. Incredibly, this is only his third live tournament ever. He's married to his high school sweetheart and has a two-year-old son. Chip Count -- 118,000 (Circuit Main Event Qualifier)
SEAT 4 -- Jono Hilton is a 23-year-old professional poker player from Chattanooga, TN. He barely missed winning a WSOP gold bracelet last year, coming in second. He has a few WSOP final table appearances and many previous online poker cashes. Hilton wishes to acknowledge his strong religious faith and family for making him who he is today. Chip Count -- 587,000 (At large Qualifier)
SEAT 5 -- Nicolas Vaca-Rondon is 25-year-old professional poker player who used to be a dealer. He's originally from Bogota, Columbia. Vaca-Rondon loves Latin American soccer, especially his native team, Columbia. He plans to attend the World Cup next year in Brazil. Vaca-Rondon comes to this event at the Casino Champion from Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina. Chip Count -- 223,,000 (At large Qualifier)SEAT 6 -- Brock Parker is a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. He's a 31-year-old professional poker player from Silver Spring, MD. Parker had seven cashes at last year's WSOP and has nearly $1.5 million in career earnings. He's just as successful as a pro on the Magic the Gathering tour. Chip Count -- 825,000 (WSOP POY Player)SEAT 7 -- Jeremy Ausmus is a 33-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV. He is the only player at this final table who's made it to the Main Event final table. Ausmus accomplished the feat just last year, coming into the final table as the short stack, but exiting in fifth place. Ausmus now has nine WSOP cashes. He is married with two children. Chip Count -- 799,000 (WSOP POY Player)SEAT 8 -- Bob Panitch is a 62-year-old retiree from Northbrook, IL. He posted several cashes on the WSOP Circuit this season. Chip Count -- 338,000 (At large Qualifier)Once again, action resumes on Friday at 2 pm. Live updates will be available here at WSOP.com. The 2013 WSOP National Championship presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof will also be filmed for broadcast on ESPN.. The show will air in late July.