Ben Lamb leaned against the wall, took a swig from his beer cup, and started to do the math.
“I don’t care if you’re 10 times better than the second-best player in the world,” he said. “The odds are staggering to get to the (Main Event) final table once, let alone twice in six years.”
Or, in the case of France’s Antoine Saout, what about two times in eight years?
Lamb, a Las Vegas resident, and Saout each will make their second career appearance at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table, which became official early Tuesday at the Rio Convention Center.
Michael Ruane of Hoboken, New Jersey, nearly joined the group but was eliminated in 10th place, one spot shy of reaching the Main Event final table in back-to-back years.
The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship resumes at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Rio following a two-day break.
Scott Blumstein, an online poker grinder from Morristown, New Jersey, has a commanding chip lead in his first Main Event.
All the remaining competitors are guaranteed a minimum of $1 million, with $8.15 million going to the winner.
“I think the experience factor is big, but I think it’s big with like 30 to 40 people left and like 20 left and like 15 left or so,” Lamb said. “Basically, we’re playing a single-table, sit-and-go, which I assume everyone in this field has played more of those than me. … I think everyone will play as expected. There’s some crazy people at the table.”
Lamb appeared on his way to victory in the 2011 Main Event, but ultimately finished third and took home $4,021,138. He also made a deep run in 2009 before going out in 14th place.
The 32-year-old will open the final table on the shortest chip stack with 18.05 million chips (23 big blinds).
“It’s the best video game in the world, are you kidding me?” Lamb said. “I’m having a blast.”
Saout, 33, was the first Frenchman to reach the Main Event final table when he finished third in 2009. As a side note, Lamb and Saout were seated next to each other to open Day 7 of that tournament.
Saout also finished 25th in last year’s Main Event and enters in seventh place. He is joined at the final table by countryman Benjamin Pollak.
“Before, in ‘09, I was just starting to play tournaments. I think it was my seventh tournament live,” Saout said. “Now, I have nine years of poker (and) I play a lot better, I think. I know how to do it. I prepare. Maybe some people don’t know.”
Lamb expects a rowdy scene at the Rio on Thursday, as the tournament no longer has a three-month break prior to the start of the final table.
“Most of my rail is complete drunks, for lack of a better word. No, that’s the word. They’re drunks,” Lamb said. “And a lot of them I banned the last few days, because I didn’t want a drunk, rowdy rail. I wanted to play poker. But they’re not going to listen, so I think they’re going to come in full force (Thursday). There might be some arrests.
“I think it’s going to be fun. I think there’s going to be a lot of booze, a lot of yelling and screaming.”
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WSOP Main Event final table chip counts
1. Scott Blumstein (Morristown, New Jersey), 97,250,000
2. John Hesp (Bridlington, England), 85,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak (Paris), 35,175,000
4. Bryan Piccioli (Allegany, New York), 33,800,000
5. Dan Ott (Altoona, Pennsylvania), 26,475,000
6. Damian Salas (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 22,175,000
7. Antoine Saout (Morlaix, France), 21,750,000
8. Jack Sinclair (London), 20,200,000
9. Ben Lamb (Las Vegas), 18,050,000