Wong’s time is now: WSOP final table Sunday

Maybe Jerry Wong will be the one: South Florida has had a handful of players reach the final table of the World Series of Poker main event, but none have won.

Wong, of Coconut Creek, sits in eighth place when the final nine players sit down Sunday. The WSOP began on July 9 with 6,737 players, and winnowed the field down to the final nine by July 18. ESPN has been showing the action that brought us to this point. Now the tournament resumes live at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, plays down to four for Monday’s show and the final two vie Tuesday.

Wong, who had been an online pro in Canada, has been a South Florida player since September 2012, frequenting local rooms here, and befriending such local players as Mukul Pahuja and his brother, Vinny. He says there’s a group of poker regulars who have a weekly pickup basketball game, including Matt Waxman and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tournament Director Tony Burns.

Wong has been preparing for the final table by talking over hands with his friends, and taking advice from pros Jason Mercier and Jake Schindler, who both paid part of Wong’s $10,000 main event entry fee, in return for a share of his winnings.

“I feel like I will be one of the better-prepared players going in,” Wong said. The winner gets $8 million. Everyone at the final table receives at least $1 million.

Wong, 34, has won $1,317,539 in live poker tournaments, including a $725,000 prize for coming in third place in the 2013 PCA in the Bahamas.

Past South Floridians to make the final table are David “Chino” Rheem, Kevin Schaffel, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and Bodih “Bob” Bounahra. None have even reached the final three.

Twitter: @NickSortal