French pro Antoine Saout was one of two former November Niners who made the 2017 Main Event final table, and after Ben Lamb was eliminated in ninth place, Saout exited in fifth for $2,000,000. Saout’s inconceivable run puts him high on the list of “all time greatest Main Event performances” outlasting a total of 23,422 players across three deep runs in this event. 

On the final day of Saout’s run this year, the Morlaix native saw his stack increase significantly before it all came crumbling down. Saout started the day as the short stack, but he doubled up quickly through Blumstein who shoved on his big blind with eight-seven off suit. Saout’s king-queen of hearts held up, making him jump up to fourth place.

A few hours later Saout found himself another double up with pocket fours against the ace-queen suited of Blumstein, and for a brief moment, he took control of second place with 50 million chips. This was where Saout topped out, but his demise did not start until he saw Bryan Piccioli get sent to the rail in sixth place. 

On Saout’s final hand he called a raise to 4.2 million from the small blind with king-jack, as Blumstein raised the button with five-three of spades. The flop brought out jack-seven-six with two clubs, and both players checked. The turn brought a four of clubs, and Saout check-called 5.6 million. The jack of hearts hit on the river, and once against Saout checked. 

“I hit trips on the river, and I checked to let him bluff sometimes. Sometimes he’ll also bet worse hands for value, and it’s difficult to fold this one. I think it’s a setup the last hand, and overall the final table was good for me. I was lucky to double up a few times; it’s okay.”

Blumstein shoved on the river with his made straight, and ultimately Saout called and lost.

In reflection on this experience versus that of 2009, Saout said the following.

“When I finished third I played a great final, and I had half of the chips with three players left, and I lost a big hand to with queens against deuces for two-thirds of the chips. Here I was up to 50 million, and that was still a long way to go to 360 million.”

“I had a good chance, but in this one I never had chips. The most I had was 35 big blinds.”

Saout will now join the rail for his friend and fellow countryman Benjamin Pollak, who’s still going strong in the tournament. 

“It was fun; we support each other,” Saout said.

“We has been waiting for a long time for this. We have a lot of good players, and we’ve made some deep runs everywhere. The Main Event is just once a year, and it’s very difficult to win, but I was very close again. With five people left there were two Frenchman, and now there is one and maybe he can win.”

Antoine Saout and Benjamin Pollak
Antoine Saout and Benjamin Pollak