20 July 2017 (Las Vegas) Scott Blumstein is dominating the 2017 WSOP Main Event final table. There's no other way to describe his performance thus far. Blumstein (pictured right) entered the final table with the chip lead, and only one other player -- the UK's John Hesp -- was even close. Now, after the first of three sessions of final table play, Blumstein has extended his lead, and he holds nearly half the chips on the table with seven players remaining, and his closest competitor is over 100 million chips behind.

The other big story from Thursday night was the downfall of John Hesp. He started the day on Blumstein's heels, with about 2.5 times as many chips as the third-place player. But a key hand sent his fortunes tumbling, and gave Blumstein a massive lead. Blumstein held pocket aces against Hesp’s A-10. The board read A-7-5-10 on the turn, and two big stacks got all their chips in the middle. When the dust settled, Blumstein was back in the lead with 157,000,000, already nearly half the chips in play, and Hesp had fallen back to the pack in fifth.

Scott Blumstein (l) and John Hesp (r)
shake hands after their big confrontation.

The final table began Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Scott Blumstein held the chip lead to start the day, followed by John Hesp. Blumstein and Hesp held a big lead over the rest of the field. Here’s how the players stacked up:

1 - Scott Blumstein – 97,250,000
2 - John Hesp – 85,700,000
3 - Benjamin Pollak – 35,175,000
4 - Bryan Piccioli – 33,800,000
5 - Daniel Ott – 2,475,000
6 - Damian Salas – 22,175,000
7 - Antoine Saout – 21,750,000
8 - Jack Sinclair – 20,200,000
9 - Ben Lamb – 18,050,000


The entire final table will be broadcast live (on a 30-minute delay due to gaming regulations on ESPN or ESPN2). Here’s the schedule for the remaining sessions:

  • Friday, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT – ESPN
  • Saturday, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT – ESPN

Thursday was the eighth day of the Main Event. Day 7 had ended Monday night with 1:07:01 left in Level 37, with blinds at 400,000/800,000 and a 100,000 ante. 

The final table got off to a furious start. On the first hand, amateur John Hesp won with a bluff, showing K-9 on a 10-8-2 flop. Hesp – who has become a fan favorite over the past week – won the next two hands as well.

Then the first bustout of the day came on just the fourth hand of the final table. Ben Lamb was eliminated in ninth place, earning $1,000,000. Lamb and Jack Sinclair started the day in the bottom two spots on the leaderboard, and they got into an all-in confrontation preflop. Sinclair held the lead with A-Q against Lamb’s A-9. The board offered Lamb no help, and he was eliminated. This is the second time in Lamb’s career he’s made the Main Event final table. The first was in 2011, when he finished in third place.

Ben Lamb

By the time Level 38 started, Blumstein and Hesp had pulled even further ahead of the rest of the field with over 100,000,000 each. The third place player (Benjamin Pollak) had 37,775,000. Hesp jumped into the lead on the first hand of the level, and Blumstein was still close behind.

On the other end of the spectrum, Antoine Saout had dropped to the short stack with 9,400,000 in chips (the big blind at this point was 1,000,000). Damian Salas was only slightly ahead of him with 14,475,000. But just a few hands into the new level, Saout doubled through Jack Sinclair, jumping up to fifth place on the leaderboard and giving himself a little breathing room. A few hands later, Daniel Ott followed suit with a double up of his own, putting himself third in chips, though still well behind Hesp and Blumstein. 

For most of the first couple hours, Hesp and Blumstein remained well ahead of their competition, and the other six players traded spots three through eight on the leaderboard. But soon after the first official break, Pollak beat Ott in a hand to break the 50,000,000-chip mark. He was the first player other than Hesp or Blumstein to do so, and he established himself in third place. Soon after, he won a big hand against Hesp get up to 73,000,000, and just like that he was on Blumstein’s heels. At the time, the next closest player had only about 27,000,000, and it was still a tightly grouped pack in places four through eight.

Pretty soon, though, Blumstein pulled well ahead of Pollak. This was the key moment of the night, the aforementioned big hand when Blumstein doubled through Hesp. Afterwards, Hesp held a huge lead, and Pollak was now in second with 72,000,000. No other player had more than 28,000,000. Hesp was down to 24,000,000.

After about an hour with very little major movement, there was another bustout. Jack Sinclair became the eighth-place finisher when he moved all in and ran into Bryan Piccioli’s pocket aces. Piccioli’s hand held up, and Sinclair was eliminated, earning $1,200,000.

After about another 30 minutes, play was halted for the night, Blumstein still held a commanding lead. Pollak is the next closest player, and he has less than half Blumstein's stack. There is currently 56:01 remaining in Level 39, with blinds at 600,000/1,200,000 and a 200,000 ante.

Play resumes Friday at 5:30 p.m. PDT., and coverage on ESPN starts at 6:00. Here are how the players stack up heading into Friday:

1 - Scott Blumstein - 178,200,000
2 - Benjamin Pollak - 77,525,000
3 - Bryan Piccioli - 35,850,000
4 - John Hesp - 22,625,000
5 - Daniel Ott - 16,350,000
6 - Damian Salas - 15,475,000
7 - Antoine Saout - 14,550,000