Steven Jones made the biggest move Sunday at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event.
The real estate broker and recreational poker player from Scottsdale, Arizona, had about 40 percent of the chips in play when action at Horseshoe Las Vegas was halted with three players remaining.
The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship continues at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Horseshoe Las Vegas and is scheduled to play down to a winner.
The three remaining players from the record field of 10,043 entrants are guaranteed at least $4 million but are fighting for the first prize of $12.1 million.
“I did some studying on the day off, and it definitely helped in a lot of smaller spots,” Jones said. “There were some big spots that pretty much played themselves out, and I was fortunate enough to have some big hands in those spots, which was nice. But I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Jones won sizable pot from Germany’s Jan-Peter Jachtmann during four-handed play to vault into the lead a few hands before Jachtmann was sent to the rail when he ran into the pocket aces of Adam Walton.
Jones finished with 238 million chips, while professional poker player Daniel Weinman was second with 199 million chips. Walton, a Henderson resident who entered the day with the lead, will have 165.5 million.
The final three players are all from the U.S. The last American champion of the Main Event was John Cynn in 2018.
“It’s a dream,” Jones said. “I think it would be good to have someone who’s not a professional win. I think it’s just good for the sport in general.”
Jones, 35, is an experienced player with 23 career WSOP cashes before this Main Event run. His biggest was for $57,425 in the 2018 “Colossus” No-limit Hold’em event when he finished ninth.
After entering the final table second in chips, Jones scored two early eliminations to jump up the leaderboard.
First, he took out Italy’s Daniel Holzner in ninth place, then he knocked out professional poker player Toby Lewis, a Las Vegas resident originally from England, in seventh place.
Weinman coasted for most of the day, avoiding any tricky spots. The 35-year-old from Atlanta won several key pots to spin up his stack and eliminated Ruslan Prydryk of Ukraine in fifth place to briefly take over the chip lead.
“I probably was on the right side of the deck,” Weinman said. ” I had a couple of big pairs hold up in some big pots. I didn’t really get put to too many tough decisions. I think I probably played on the tighter side, which is kind of expected at a big final table like this.”
Walton, primarily a low- to mid-stakes cash and tournament pro, endured an up-and-down day at the final table. He dipped below 70 million chips during five-handed play but regained what he lost on the final hand when Jachtmann went all-in with king-queen after Walton just called a raise with pocket aces.
“When you (call with) aces on the button, you’re just like, ‘Please, big blind, jam. Please, big blind, jam,’ Walton said. “And then when big blind jams like that, you’re like, ‘That is exactly what I was hoping would happen.’”
Jachtmann earned $3 million for fourth place but fell short of becoming the third German in the past five years to win the Main Event.
Dean Hutchison of Scotland was card dead for most of the final table and went out in sixth place ($1.85 million).
Spain’s Juan Maceiras, the chip leader after Day 7, couldn’t find any traction at the final table. The son of legendary online poker player Juan Antonio Maceiras lost a big pot to Jones before going out in eighth place ($1.125 million).