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3 players return for World Series of Poker’s $10M

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LAS VEGAS » The World Series of Poker’s $10 million top prize for its no-limit Texas Hold ’em main event is within closer reach for three European players.

The three — Jorryt van Hoof, Martin Jacobson and Felix Stephensen — outlasted six other finalists during 12 hours of gameplay Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

They return to the studio-lit stage at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Tuesday night when the cards will be shuffled and dealt starting at 5:30 p.m.

The one player with all the chips at the end, wins the $10 million prize.

The second- and third-place finishers get $5.1 million and $3.8 million, respectively.

Van Hoof of the Netherlands has a third more chips than Jacobson of Sweden and nearly double the total of Stephensen of Norway going into the final face-off.

All are professional poker players but none of the three have ever reached the final table of the World Series of Poker’s main event.

Van Hoof’s crowd of fans sang songs Monday and Tuesday with van Hoof’s name inserted in the lyrics during gameplay such as "van Hoof, van Hoof, van Hoof is on fire." Stephensen’s fans wore light-up Viking helmets.

The overall tournament spans seven weeks in June and July and has attracted close to 80,000 people who played (and paid with hefty buy-ins) to win in 65 events.

The main event, culminating this week, is just one World Series of Poker event but certainly the most watched.

About 6,700 people paid the $10,000 entry fee to try their luck this summer to be finalists in the Texas Hold ’em main event.

The November Nine, as they’re called, returned Monday night after a four-month break.

The World Series of Poker of today is far more of a spectacle compared to its original incarnation in 1970. That’s when Benny Binion set up a single table at his Horseshoe Casino and invited players who ultimately voted on a winner at the end.

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