The nine finalists in this year's World Series of Poker include six Americans, two Canadians and an Italian. The event is the globe's most prestigious and lucrative gambling event.
Now the card sharks can put away their sunglasses and good luck charms while the tournament takes a four-month break. The betting and bluffing resumes in November when one player will emerge the winner of the 9.8 million dollar top prize.
The 41st annual World Series of Poker Main Event saw players from 92 nations participate in the 10,000 dollar Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em series.
The final nine survived a field of 7,319 entrants who began play July 6 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel-Casino, and each are guaranteed winnings of at least 811,823 dollars.
Phil Hellmuth, one of history's most successful poker players, was surprised by the lack of geographic diversity among the final nine this year.
"Considering how global poker has become, I'm shocked it is so many Americans," said Hellmuth, who won the Main Event in 1989 and lost early in this year's proceedings.
The only player remaining from outside North America is Filippo Candio, 26, of Caligari, Italy, who plays professionally but says he also plans to pursue filmmaking. Candio is in sixth place with 16.4 million chips.
The field is led by 22-year-old Jonathan Duhamel of Quebec. Duhamel, who quit his studies in finance at the University of Quebec in order to play poker professionally, has about 66 million of the 210 million chips in play.
The chips themselves are not worth anything but a player must win all of them in play to emerge victorious from the tournament.
"I'm very, very tired right now," said Duhamel after the 18-hour marathon game ended early Sunday morning with the final nine being set. "I'm excited for sure but it's been a long day, a long two weeks."
Duhamel is followed in second place by John Dolan, 24, of the southern US state of Florida. He has 46.25 million chips.
The best-known poker player remaining is Michael Mizrachi of Miami, the son of an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant to the United States.
Mizrachi, who is in seventh place, has three poker-playing brothers who also won money in the Main Event, an unprecedented feat for a family.
The brothers lead a noisy cheering section for Mizrachi, a 29-year-old father of three whose career tournament winnings are greater than 2.2 million dollars.
Play resumes on November 6, when the nine finalists play down to two. Those two go head to head on November 9.
The schedule is arranged this way to provide a four-month break during which the nine finalists can promote the finale and pursue sponsorship deals.
Portions of the tournament played in July are broadcast weekly on US sports television network ESPN, so the cliffhanger is intended to increase interest in the outcome.