Event #26: $2,620 No-Limit Hold'em Marathon

The Finish Line is in Sight; Who Will Claim Gold in the Marathon?

Can Jared Koppel retain his lead and outlast his opponents?

Throughout history, the Marathon has challenged their contestants' tenacity, inspired fear, and has been a prime contender to tick off one's bucket list. Whether it lies in its heroic origins — the Greek messenger Pheidippides dropping stone dead after running all the way from Marathon to Athens to report the victory — or the tales of modern-day champions such as the Czech locomotive Emil Zapotek and current world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, the Marathon has always been a birthing ground for inspiring stories.

Poker's equivalent of the legendary 26.2-mile distance is no different. With a $2,620 buy-in, 26,200 chips to start with and 100-minute blind levels throughout, the six remaining players are already battle-weary from five full days in the trenches. They clashed and clawed their way through Event #26: $2,620 No-Limit Hold'em Marathon, the second slowest tournament the WSOP has to offer (after the Main Event). Each of them made it through a field of 1,083, who created a total prize pool of $2,553,714. The event surely has lived up to its moniker, with 157 hands already clocked at the final table just to get from nine to six.

The lion's share of that money will be awarded today, including a jaw-dropping $477,401 payday for the champ, and it's Jared Koppel (11,700,000) who's out in front, dwarfing his nearest challenger Dong Sheng Peng (5,800,000) by nearly 2:1. Despite the lead, Koppel needs to draw on his stamina, as the 100-minute blind level structure provides plenty of play for the others to catch up and withhold him from his first bracelet.

Francis Anderson (3,695,000), Roman Korenev (3,310,000), and Joseph Liberta (2,540,000) all have more than 20 big blinds when action resumes in level 30 with blinds at 60,000/120,000 and a big blind ante of 120,000. With 53 minutes left on the clock in this level alone, there's time for them to pick a good spot to get themselves back in contention. The only one who has to make up some distance is Joe Curcio (1,540,000), but with a strong kick, anything is possible in the final stages.

Action recommences at noon local time in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and PokerNews will be back on the floor to report hand-for-hand as a new WSOP bracelet winner is crowned today. The live stream with hole cards up will kick off at 1 p.m. on CBS All Access (USA, Canada & Australia) and PokerGO (other countries). Make sure to check back regularly to see who sprints for the line to grab the gold today.

Marathon Final Table Seat Draw

SeatPlayerCountryChip CountsBig Blinds
1Joseph LibertaUnited States2,540,00021
2Roman KorenevRussia3,310,00028
3Francis AndersonUnited States3,695,00031
4Jared KoppelUnited States11,700,00098
5Joe CurcioUnited States1,540,00013
6Dong Sheng PengChina5,800,00048
Roman Korenev
Roman Korenev

Tags: Dong Sheng PengFrancis AndersonJared KoppelJoe CurcioJoseph LibertaRoman Korenev