Of all the World Series of Poker Main Event champions in the last 15 years since the tournament exploded in popularity, Joe Cada has proven to be one of the most successful.
The Shelby Township, Mich., native never slowed down after becoming poker’s world champion in the 2009 Main Event. He’s gone on to win two more WSOP championship bracelets, including one earlier this summer, and pushed his career tournament earnings to more than $10 million.
Cada has a chance to further separate himself and pull off one of the greatest feats in World Series of Poker history today at the Rio. The 30 year old was one of 26 players remaining out of a starting field of 7,874 in this year’s $10,000 buy-in Main Event when play wrapped up at around 1 a.m. this morning.
The tournament will resume at noon on Wednesday and continue until a final table of nine players emerges. PokerGo will stream the action until 6:30 p.m., when ESPN2 picks up coverage and airs the rest.
Cada is looking to become the first former champion to return to the final table since 2004, when 1995 winner Dan Harrington finished fourth. A final-table appearance comes with a guaranteed payout of $1 million, while the eventual winner will make $8.8 million — $300,000 more than Cada’s prize nine years ago.
Cada will by no means have an easy route to the final table. He currently sits 19th in chips with 8.85 million, and blind levels are at a costly 1 million-2 million with a 300,000 ante.
And although he’s the most famous survivor through nearly 64 hours of play, he’s far from the only notable. Four other bracelet winners are still in the field — Yueqi Zhu, Eric Froehlich, Ivan Luca and Barry Hutter — along with another player who’s also made a Main Event final table in Sylvian Loosli, who finished fourth in 2013.
Froehlich, a two-time bracelet winner, figures to command considerable attention. The longtime professional is the lone local left in the field, and has an above-average stack of 15.28 million to put him in 10th place.
Aram Zobian, who’s from Cranston, Rhode Island, currently sits atop the leaderboard with 41.56 million chips. Zobian’s previous highest cash at the World Series of Poker was for $4,324 two years ago.
All 26 remaining players in the Main Event will earn at least $282,630 with pay jumps increasing significantly every few spots. Eleven nations are still represented, though 14 players are American. France and China each have two players remaining.
ESPN will show the entirety of the final table beginning at 6 p.m. each night from Thursday to Saturday. It’s every poker players’ dream to reach that point of the Main Event.
Cada, and Loosli, are close to realizing it for a second time.
Check below for full chip counts heading into the final day of play.
1. Aram Zobian, Cranston, R.I. — 41,585,000
2. Artem Metalidi, Kiev, Ukraine — 30,845,000
3. Antoine Labat, Vincenna, France — 28,445,000
4. Michael Dyer, Houston — 26,515,000
5. Alex Lynskey, Brisbane, Australia — 22,045,000
6. Yueqi Zhu, Benxi, China — 19,245,000
7. Kao Saechao, Portland, Ore. — 18,985,000
8. Matijn Gerrits, Netherlands — 17,790,000
9. Nicolas Manion, Muskegon, Mich. — 17,630,000
10. Eric Froehlich, Las Vegas — 15,285,000
11. Paulo Goncalves, Brazil — 15,230,000
12. Tony Miles, Jacksonville, Fla. — 14,945,000
13. John Cynn, Indianapolis — 14,750,000
14. Alexander Haro, Claremont, Calif. — 12,940,000
15. Hari Bercovici, Beer Sheva, Israel — 12,775,000
16. Frederik Jensen, Copehagen, Denmark — 12,100,000
17. Sylvain Loosli, Toulon, France — 11,635,000
18. Ryan Phan — Omaha, Neb. — 9,545,000
19. Joe Cada — Shelby Township, Mich. — 8,850,000
20. Ivan Luca — Purta Alta, Argentina — 8,820,000
21. Konstantin Beylin — St. Louis —8,305,000
22. Ming Xi, China — 7,550,000
23. Jeff Trudeau, Orlando, Fla. — 5,090,000
24. Nirath Rean, Jacksonville, Fla. — 4,950,000
25. Bart Lybaert, Miehlen, Germany — 3,825,000
26. Barry Hutter, Hollywood, Fla. — 2,250,000