In this day and age, making the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With more than 6,000 players each year, the fields are so large, the competition so tough, that to get down to the November Nine at all is an accomplishment most will never achieve.
No one understands that more than the handful of players alive on Day 7 with just a few eliminations to go in tonight's coverage of the WSOP Main Event on ESPN. Case in point: Ryan Riess' Tweet from just a couple of days ago:
Rapper Eminem knows and Riess knows that these shots are hard to come by. That is, unless you are Carlos Mortensen. The man known as The Matador already won poker's most coveted title in 2001. Now he has a chance to become the first winner since Dan Harrington in 2005 to return to the final table. We've never seen a previous champ return to the final table in the November Nine era. We have had one player, Jeff Shulman, return to the final table after making it back in 2000, but we've not even seen a past winner get close until tonight.
Tonight, Mortensen tangles with bracelet winners like Amir Lehavot and JC Tran, top European players like Michiel Brummelhuis, and players like Riess, who know this is more than likely going to be their one shot at poker glory and an almost $9 million payday.
Tonight on ESPN, we find out just who makes the November Nine and next week, we will see these nine men compete on poker's biggest stage live on Monday November 4th and Tuesday November 5th. But for half of the 18 players remaining, tonight is the end of the road. Who will make it and who will miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity? Tune in tonight at 9pm ET on ESPN and find out. In the meantime, here is a little preview of what to expect on tonight's coverage: