Joseph Hebert will take a commanding chip lead into the live final table of the 2020 WSOP Main Event. (photo: Venetian Poker Room)

The 71 players who survived Day 1 of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event on returned to the tables on Monday to battle for a seat at the December 28 televised live final table and a shot at the $1,553,256 first-place prize.

The Final Nine

After roughly seven hours of play, only nine players remained with Louisiana’s Joseph Hebert taking a commanding chip lead into the final table. Hebert was involved in a number of key eliminations down the stretch and ended the day with 13,052,534 in chips, more than 2.5 times anyone else in the field.

New York native Shawn Stroke wrapped up the day sitting in second with 5,252,000 in chips, followed closely by New Jersey’s Ryan Hagerty in third with 5,071,572.

Ye Yuan (4,829,459), Michael Cannon (4,408,847), and Gershon Distenfeld (3,475,481) make up the middle of the pack. Southern California’s Ron Jenkins (2,476,746, Day 1 chip leader Upeshka De Silva (2,151,969) and short stack Harrison Dobin (1,581,392) complete the final table.

Final Table Chip Counts

1Joseph Hebert13,052,534
2Shawn Stroke5,252,000
3Ryan Hagerty5,071,572
4Ye Yuan4,829,459
5Michael Cannon4,408,847
6Gershon Distenfeld3,475,481
7Ron Jenkins2,476,746
8Upeshka De Silva2,151,969
9Harrison Dobin1,581,392

Early Eliminations

It didn’t take long for the bustouts to begin as mere moments after the start of Day 2 one of the shortest stacks in the field, Julian Parmann, hit the rail at the hands of Dan Zack after Parmann’s JsTs couldn’t hold against Zack’s AcKh after the Th4h3s flop. The 3c turn looked good for Parmann but the Ks on the river helped break the dam on the flood of eliminations that occurred before the final table.

Parmann wasn’t the only player to exit in the early going as he was joined by the likes of Ryan Laplante, Barry Hutter, and Farid Jattin, all of whom turned their $10K into an $18,274 payday.

Of course, the hits kept coming in the first half of the day as the dream of taking down the Main Event ended for some of the most notable names in the field. Nick Schulman (55th, $20,304), Aram Zobian (52nd, $22,334), Darren Elias (50th, $22,334), 2013 WSOP Champ Ryan Riess (47th, $22,334), and Freddy Deeb (46th, $22,334) were among those whose Day 2 was cut short.

Big Name Bustouts

Bracelet winners fell in bunches at the half-way point. After three-time WSOP bracelet winner Scott Seiver busted in 39th place for $25,718, Mohsin Charania (35th, $29,779), Joseph Cheong (33rd, $29,779), and Jason Somerville (32nd, $29,779) all exited in short order as well.

Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (23rd), Maria Ho (22nd), and Jared Griener (20th) were among those who picked up a $35,194 payday after being eliminated with three tables left.

March To The Final Table

With just two tables remaining, half of the field still needed to go broke before the final nine could celebrate. Unfortunately for WSOP bracelet winner Sean Swingruber, he would not be among them. After Stroke and Yaun flat called, Swingruber shoved his short stack from the small blind with AsTc. Stroke reshoved his stack holding KhKs and Yuan, who had everyone covered, called with his AcKc. The board ran out 9h8d4c3dJs to give the pot to Stroke and sent Swingruber home in 18th place.

Moments later Michael Hahn made his move by open-shoving his ten big blind stack with Ah6h. Dan Zack made the call from the small blind with AsQs and then Clayton Maguire, who had both covered, three-bet shoved holding AcKc. Maguire hit his king on the KdJs5s flop, but the Th let Zack hit his gutshot straight. Hahn was drawing dead to the 9d river and he fell in 17th place.

After Distenfeld opened, Keith Dovovan three-bet his final ten big blinds holding As4s only to get called by Yuan in the big blind who has AdQc. The board came Ad9d6h9s8d allowing Yaun’s kicked to play and sending Donovan home in 16th place.

It was a rough exit for Rody Collazo who got his stack in the middle with JdJc against Hebert and his TdTs. The 8s4h3c flop looked good for Collazo, but after Hebert spiked the Tc on the turn, Collazo was down to two outs. The 9h was not one of them and Collazo left in 15th place.

A huge hand when down after Stephen Graner raised nearly his entire stack holding AdTd only to be jammed on by Maguire in the small blind with AsJd. Then Hebert, the largest stack of the three, re-jammed over the top with AcKh. After Graner put the rest of his stack in, the three watched a board of Kd9h7s4c8d run out. Hebert’s big slick won the pot and eliminated both Graner (14th) and Maguire (13th) in one stroke.

Hebert wasn’t anywhere near finished. Next, he got involved in a hand with Martin Zamani where Herbert raised from early position with KsJh and Zamani defended his big blind with Js8h. The flop came TcTs9c and Zamani checked it over to Hebert who put in a bet. Zamani then check-raised all-in, which Hebert called.The turn came Ah and the river was the 6h. Both players missed, but Hebert’s ace-king high hand was good enough to take Zamani out in 12th place.

Hebert then mixed it up with WSOP bracelet winner Dan Zack. After Zack put in a raise with the Kd9d, Hebert flat called holding the KsKh. The Kc9c3c flop meant there was going to be plenty of action. Zack checked his two pair and Hebert put in a bet with his top set, which Zack called. Zack checked the Jd turn and Hebert shoved, putting Zack to the test for all his chips. Zack made the call, which ended his tournament in 11th place before the Qh hit the river.

With just 10 players left, Anthony Spinella was sitting on just two big blinds. He moved all in from the button with KdJc and Stroke put in a three-bet with As8c, allowing for the pot to be heads up. The AdTs5c flop put Stroke in the lead, but gave Spinella outs to the gutshot straight. The Js produced a few more outs for the WSOP Online bracelet winner, but the 5s was not one of them and Anthony Spinella finished in 10th place, bubbling the final table of the 2020 WSOP Main Event.

Payouts 18-10

10Anthony Spinella$77,832
11Dan Zack$77,832
12Martin Zamani$62,266
13Clayton Maguire$62,266
14Stephen Graner$50,760
15Rody Collazo$50,760
16Keith Donovan$41,962
17Michael Hahn$41,962
18Sean Swingruber$41,962

Now the final nine have two weeks to prepare, and quarantine, in preparation for the live final table that will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on December 28 where one of them will not just earn the over $1.55 million first-place prize but a date to battle the international Main Event winner in a $1 million heads-up contest that will determine who the history books will recognize at the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion.

Final Table Payouts