Today is a fairly barren sports day, but don’t worry, we have an oddly spicy poker highlight for you. The World Series of Poker’s main event, called the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, began earlier this month, and a field that started out with 7,874 poker players was whittled down to its final nine on Wednesday night. The last hand of the evening locked in the final table, and it was as thrilling as a highlight featuring a bunch of guys in gaudy poker pro costumes can be.
The man of the hour here is Nicolas Manion, who was among the leaders for a spot at the final table when he got dealt a pair of pocket aces. The aces were a tremendous stroke of luck, but what was even better was that Rich Zhu and Antoine Labat were both dealt pocket kings. Confident in their hands, Zhu and Labat got aggressive, only to watch Manion swoop in and destroy them with his aces. Labat squirming and fiddling with his hoodie before deciding to match Manion was a tense-as-hell moment, matched only by the blue hoodie guy double-fisting while staring at the table in awe.
Labat entered the hand with the third biggest stack of chips, and he makes the final table with a paltry $8.05 million. Zhu was not so lucky, and he was the last cut before the final table, though he does get more than $800K. Manion said he didn’t even realize how nutty the scenario truly was at first, as he flipped his cards and dropped the mic:
“Somehow this is real life. When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand and I didn’t even stay to see what they had. I went straight to my rail, looked up at the TV and they had set up pocket kings vs. pocket kings and my aces.”
Manion now holds a healthy lead over a final table field that includes former WSOP main event champion Joe Cada and 2016's 11th-place finisher John Cynn. The last three days of the main event start tonight.