The World Series of Poker, having raged since early June at the RIO All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, is now down to nine players.

WSOP 2017 Final Table set. Heidi May Aussie champion

Heidi May, Australian Ladies world poker champion at the WSOP. The Main Event will play down to a winner on Saturday night, Vegas time. (Image: Melissa Haereiti/WSOP.com)

The Main Event began on July 8, the culmination of a poker extravaganza that included 74 events, attracting a record 120,995 entrants from 111 different countries, all competing for a record $231,010,874 collective pool.

It was the third-biggest field for a Main Event in the WSOP’s history, with 7,221 players. But, by Tuesday night, the field had been whittled down to just nine.

No Aussies, this time: it’s a heady mix of four Americans, two Brits, two Frenchman and an Argentinian.

Incidentally, the last Australian to make the final table was Joe Hachem, back in 2005, who went on to win the whole kaboodle.

Australian Heidi May Wins Ladies Championship

But Australia has been well represented this year by the exploits of Heidi May, a 27-year-old professional poker player, who won the $10,000/$1,000 buy-in Ladies No-limit Hold ’em Championship last week.

We have a female poker world champion, which makes the Australian government’s wonky decision to ban online poker all the more ridiculous.

“It’s pretty sad,” May said of the impending prohibition. “There’s people trying to fight it at the moment, so hopefully there’ll be a good result and it will be legal to play in the future.”

Of her win, she said: “It feels really good to finally close one out, especially after having a few deep runs and not quite converting,” May said. “I think the other tournaments, I got kind of unlucky. I just got coolered a lot. This time, I ran really well.”

Biggest Prize in Poker

The remaining nine of the Main Event will reconvene on Thursday (Vegas-time, which is Friday here), and will play down to six. The following day, they’ll play down to the final three, and on Saturday night, Vegas-time, the winner will be decided.

Incredibly, two of the nine finalists have already made a Main Event final table. France’s Antoine Saout and the USA’s Ben Lamb both finished third in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The chip leader is the youngest of the final nine, 25-year-old New Jersey native Scott Blumstein, who will begin play with a handy 121.5 big blinds. Close behind is the standout eccentric and the oldest payer left in the field, the jovial 64-year-old British granddad John Hesp.

All players are guaranteed to win at least a million US dollars, but all will be scrapping for first place which will bag the winner a whopping $8.15 million ($10.2 million) first prize.

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