The final table of the WSOP National Championship started an hour ago and it is Matthew Ashton who is leading the way going into the day with 1.4 million in chips. Filling the other five seats at the final table are Athanasios Polychronopoulos with 937,000, Tracy Doss sitting on 546,000, Dominik Nitsche with 350,000, Christopher Bibb – 321,000, and Andrew Robinson, who is the shortest stack with 157,000 in front of him.
The WSOP National Championship started on Thursday and in many ways it serves as a great introduction to the World Series of Poker that will be taking place in Las Vegas in a couple of days. The tournament consists of 94 invitees – the best performers on the WSOP circuit and up to 100 players from the WSOP rankings. These 100 are allowed to buy-in to the tournament for $10,000. Another six spots are filled by four WSOP.com qualifiers, one Bally’s Atlantic City freeroll winner and one last-chance satellite winner.
This year, 26 eligible players decided to pay up and take part in the fun, including the current Main Event champion Ryan Riess as well as 2012 champion Greg Merson. Other notable names included Eric Baldwin, Rusell Thomas and, of course, Ashton and Nitsche. Marvin Rettenmaier was in the field as well, but he didn’t make it through to Day 2.
Fifty players returned to play down to the final table yesterday and at that point the registration closed. When the numbers were announced, it was known that the remaining players would be playing for their share of a $1,260,00 prize pool. Fifteen players were going to make the money and it was Ruslan Dykshteyn who finished in the unlucky 16th place.
Soon to follow were Merson in 15th, Campanello in 12th and, finally, Schwartz in 7th, bubbling the official final table of six. When the action was stopped, it was Ashton sitting on the biggest stack. It is interesting that he and Nitsche are the only two European players to ever make the final table of this event in its four-year history.
These six are playing for a first place prize of nearly $353,000, while the first one to leave will walk away with $65,700, so there is quite a difference, although pay jumps are not that steep. The only really big gap is between first and second – about $150,000.
Apart from the great stack, Ashton certainly has a lot of experience so not many would bet against him to win this one. On the other hand, we don’t see that many tournaments won by chip leaders at the start of the final table, but let’s not get into that.
The other five will certainly try their best to make Ashton’s way to victory as hard as possible because it is not only the money on the line, but also a very appealing title, so there will be no lack of quality poker action before the eventual champion is crowned!