Fan Favorite Garry Gates Headlines Inexperienced But Intriguing WSOP Main Event Final Table

4 min read

The second largest WSOP Main Event in history is down to its final nine players. And while most of the players at the final table don’t have much experience running deep in major poker tournaments, viewers might be in for an exciting three days of poker on ESPN starting on Sunday.

WSOP Main Event Gary Gates poker
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2019 WSOP Main Event final table. (Image:

Garry Gates, a long-time member of the poker media, has quickly become a fan favorite. His former and present colleagues have showed up in droves at the Rio to cheer him on during his quest to achieve the final table.

Gates, a survivor of the October 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, has impressed the poker community with his humbleness and positive outlook throughout his impressive run.

“I try to spin that negative into a positive,” he told ESPN during a Main Event interview regarding the Vegas massacre. “Because every day I’m here, I’m blessed.”

Garry Gates, Hossein Ensan Bring Big Stacks to Final Table

Hossein Ensan, a 55-year-old German-Iranian poker pro, bagged a massive chip lead following Day Seven. He will enter Sunday’s final table with 177 million chips, nearly double that of Garry Gates, who is in second place with 99,300,000.

When play resumes at 6:30 pm PT on Sunday (30-minute delay on ESPN2), the blinds will start at 500,000/1,000,000 with a 1,000,000 ante for the big blind.

For Ensan and Gates, the final table starting blinds aren’t much of a concern. They have plenty of chips to splash around. But the same can’t be said for the other seven players at the table, especially the bottom three stacks.

2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Chip Stacks

  1. Hossein Ensan (Germany) 177,000,000
  2. Garry Gates (United States)99,300,000
  3. Zhen Cai (United States) 60,600,000
  4. Kevin Maahs (United States) 43,000,000
  5. Alex Livingston (Canada) 37,800,000
  6. Dario Sammartino (Italy) 33,400,000
  7. Milos Skrbic (Serbia) 23,400,000
  8. Timothy Su (United States) 20,200,000
  9. Nick Marchington (United Kingdom) 20,100,000

One of these nine individuals will take home $10 million. They are all guaranteed at least $1 million. So, life-changing money is on the horizon for each of these lucky and skilled poker players. And, for the eventual winner, the added bonus of fame and poker glory.

Controversial Floor Ruling Influences Day Seven Outcome

With 11 players remaining on Friday, Tournament Director Jack Effel made perhaps his most controversial ruling ever. And some poker fans on social media argue he made the wrong call. Others, however, disagree.

With Nick Marchington holding pocket jacks, he moved all-in on the turn for 22 million. But the dealer announced the bet was 17 million. Dario Sammartino, who held pocket 10’s on a board with all under cards, hesitated before appearing to make the call.

The issue was that Sammartino called based on the size of the bet the dealer announced, not the actual bet size. After minutes of delay, Effel ruled that despite the dealer’s error, Sammartino was forced to commit the full 22 million and wasn’t given the option to fold.

Many poker players on Twitter argued there was no way Sammartino was folding an over-pair anyway. Others said that assumption is irrelevant and that Effel’s ruling was incorrect either way. And some claim Effel made the right call.

Fans in for a Treat

A valued member of the poker industry, a player who just missed the final table in 2013, a 21-year-old Brit with only one other live tournament cash, one of the top players in the world, and someone is about to win their first WSOP bracelet. Oh, and $10 million is at stake. If you don’t find that intriguing, you might not have a pulse.

Gates, who will most certainly have the biggest rail on Sunday, has gone from poker live reporter to PokerStars senior consultant to the WSOP Main Event final table.

Marchington, who is fortunate to still have chips after losing a massive pot early Friday on a failed bluff, is just 21 years old recorded his first ever live tournament cash earlier this summer in an $800 WSOP no limit hold’em deep stack event (19th for $12,415). His recent decision to drop out of college appears to have paid off. A job in computer science, the degree he was chasing, won’t pay him $1 million or more, which he is guaranteed to win this week.

Dario Sammartino is the most accomplished player at the table but he still has yet to win a bracelet. The Italian pro has been a consistent performer on the mid-stakes and high roller circuit for the past few years. He has over $8 million in career earnings.

You can catch the first day of the final table on ESPN2 in its entirety beginning at 7 pm PT.

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