Jacksonville player reaches final table at World Series of Poker – The Florida Times-Union

The 2018 World Series of Poker began in Las Vegas last week with 7,874 entrants, the second-highest total in the event’s history.

Only nine remained to compete in the final table, all guaranteed at least $1 million.

One of the nine was Jacksonville’s Tony Miles, who began the final table on Thursday night at the Rio with the third-highest number of chips (42,750,000), and was in position to make a run at the $8.8 million top prize.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Miles, 32, who attended the University of North Florida. “This is why I started playing poker.”

Miles has never experienced this kind of poker success before. Before this month, his most lucrative finish was third in a 2011 Jacksonville Summer Series WPT Regional at bestbet Jacksonville, when he won $18,000. His fortunes turned when he won his $10,000 buy-in for the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event by finishing 10th in the Grand Poker Series $570 No Limit Hold’em event in Las Vegas on July 1.

Miles nearly busted out several times during the first seven days of the main event, but managed to stay afloat. After Day 3, he was in 700th place out of 1,182 remaining players, then moved up to 183rd the following day.

“I got off to a pretty slow start,” Miles said on Day 1. “But as players know, this tournament is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Even after he made the grueling cut to the final 10 players, Miles still faced long odds. He had the shortest stack, and at that point, no player wants to be the last one to bust out before making the final table.

Then came the hand that changed everything for Miles Wednesday night. He went in with Jack-9, but was up against pocket aces

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