Maria Ho Leads Final 12 of World Series of Poker Europe Main Event
9 November 2017
PokerBrave (3284 articles)

Only 12 players remain in contention to become the ninth Main Event winner in the history of World Series of Poker Europe.

While strong contenders like Anthony Zinno, Kristen Bicknell, Rainer Kempe, Mike Leah, David Peters and 888poker Ambassador Parker Talbot hit the rail, the small field doesn’t lack for good storylines heading into the penultimate day.

First, there’s Maria Ho. She bagged the chip lead with 3,850,000 at the close of Day 4 play, which ended a bit early as the eliminations piled up to whittle the field down further than may have been expected.

As more and more observers in the poker world eagerly await and root for the success of women in the game, Ho has long been a player tabbed for a breakout bracelet win. She has plenty of accomplishments to point to — over $2 million in live cashes and a handful of final tables — but she hasn’t yet obtained that first bracelet. It’s almost become a yearly tradition for a number of PokerNews’ own to predict her first win.

She’s now in prime position to get it, and in a very prestigious event at that.

Day 4 Storylines

Ho’s ascent up the chip counts came about in a bit of a roundabout fashion, as much of the talk early on was about a hand she chose to fold. After flopping middle set of tens on an all-heart flop in a massive, four-way three-bet pot, Ho elected to fold to preflop raiser Niall Farrell’s overbet shove. As it turned out, he had a big combo draw, so that pot could have either propelled Ho to an even more massive lead or left her heading to payouts way back in 28th place.

Instead, it was a different pot that failed to get to showdown that boosted her to the top. She continuation-bet two-tone flop with two fives on the felt and saw a big check-raise from the small blind and a cold call from the big. Ho jammed over and induced two pained folds, then won mostly smaller pots to conclude the night.

Perhaps the biggest story coming into the day was the strong showing of Kevin MacPhee in his attempt to win a second consecutive WSOPE Main Event after having taken it down when Berlin hosted in 2015. MacPhee scored an elimination early on with pocket kings against pocket eights, but other than that just seemed to be grinding peacefully and keeping himself out of trouble.

He wound up putting 1,060,000 in the bag, putting him second-to-last on the leaderboard, but the two-time bracelet winner still has some room to maneuver as blinds get set to head to 20,000/40,000/5,000 with the 90-minute levels providing additional cushion.

Finally, Farrell himself sits second in the counts with 3,575,000. The Scotsman became the first from his homeland to win a bracelet when he shipped the €25K High Roller just a few days ago for a handsome payday of €745,287.

Farrell humbly noted himself to be in the top third or so of that super-strong field, but many will be rating him as highly as almost any contender in any event if he pulls off this unlikely double. With nearly 90 big blinds, he’s well-positioned to do so.

All three of these stories and more will converge at noon on Thursday. Everyone will have an eye on the €1,115,207 top prize, but they’ll first be playing down to a final table and then six final-day competitors. Tune in to PokerNews to find out who those six will be.

2017 WSOPE Main Event Day 5 Seat Assignments

Table Seat Player Country Chip Count Big Blinds
40 1 Gianluca Speranza Italy 1,070,000 27
40 2 Jack Salter United Kingdom 2,125,000 53
40 4 Robert Bickley United Kingdom 2,885,000 72
40 6 Luis Rodriguez Spain 2,020,000 51
40 7 Andrei Boghean Romania 1,900,000 48
40 8 Mathijs Jonkers Netherlands 1,850,000 46
41 2 Marc MacDonnell Ireland 505,000 13
41 4 Marti Roca De Torres Spain 3,260,000 82
41 5 Kevin MacPhee United States 1,060,000 27
41 6 Maria Ho United States 3,850,000 96
41 7 Stepan Osinovski Russia 2,360,000 59
41 8 Niall Farrell United Kingdom 3,575,000 89