The World Series of Poker $10,000 World Championship Main Event crowned Scott Blumstein as the newest champ late Saturday night. The Final Table was the first in a decade to ditch the November Nine concept and audiences got a raw and emotional three days of poker, but what if an ace hit the river or a flush got filled on Day 6 or 7?
Available On Demand exclusively on PokerGO, the world could have had an entirely different Final Table of top players. Here are the 2017 Nearly Niners:
Michael Ruane – 10th place, $825,001
Ruane got so close he could taste it with his tenth-place finish. He joined the conversation for best back-to-back runs in Main Event history with Dan Harrington (‘03 & ‘04) and Mark Newhouse (‘13 & ‘14). Ruane’s 4th and 10th place finishes earned him $3.4 million, but with his ’16 FT experience who knows how he could have controlled the table?
Scott Stewart – 13th place, $535,000
Scott Stewart was as easy to cheer for as apple pie and hot dogs. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
A burly beard, an American flag bandana and smile from ear-to-ear, Scott Stewart was easy to root for in the late stages of the Main Event. He’s carved out a living on the WSOP Circuit with 30 cashes the last couple years
Christian Pham – 19th place, $263,532
Pham was fearless to borderline reckless late on Day 6 when he rose to the overnight chip lead with 31 million. Pham’s Day 7 saw him go from chip leader to out before the final two tables and if any of those key pots had gone the other way, Pham could have charged into the Final Table with a Jamie Gold-esque lead over the table.
Marcel Luske – 23rd place, $263,532
The Flying Dutchman returned to poker in a big way in 2017 after landing a sponsorship with partypoker. Luske charmed audiences in the Moneymaker Boom with his penchant to break out in song mid-hand; Luske and John Hesp could have made magic with an international audience tuning in.
Jake Bazeley – 25th place, $263,532
Jake Bazeley represented MGM National Harbor at the Main Event. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
The Cincinnati pro earned $3.7 million over his career and made some big final tables, but he’s still looking for his first bracelet. Bazeley’s BCP friends would have formed an army of a rail that would challenge any British rail in terms in rowdiness and almost certainly one of the Massey brothers would have been kicked out of the Brasilia Room.
Chris Wallace – 32nd place, $214,913
The “Poker Fox” made an incredible 52 final tables over his career, he won the 2014 HORSE Championship bracelet and a final table cash would have guaranteed him at least third place in Minnesota’s all-time money list behind Lyle Berman and Blake Bohn.
Matt Bond – 35th place, $214,913
The Texas native has been a fixture on the Mid-Major Circuit for a few years and is poised for a big break soon. He’s earned nearly $850,000 in just four years in buy-ins that rarely tick above the $1,600 mark.
Brandon Meyers – 42nd place, $176,399
Brandon Meyers challenged Brandon Adams for best hair at the WSOP in 2017. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
A fixture in some of Las Vegas’ juiciest cash games, Brandon Meyers also has tournament chops that’s earned him $1.2 million. Surprisingly, his run this year is his largest tournament cash to-date but as a married father of two small children Meyers has little reason to travel for action when he cleans up at the Bellagio weekly.
Dario Sammartino – 43rd place, $176,399
It’s hard to find a player that had a better overall summer than Dario Sammartino at the Rio – Player of the Year points system aside. The Italian pro kicked off his summer with a third-place finish in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop, available On Demand exclusively on PokerGO, and then cashed seven more times – and only once in an event under a $10,000 buy-in for a $2.1 million summer.