Chips at the WSOP main event final table: 10.175 million (eighth out of nine)
WSOP Cashes: 19
WSOP Bracelets: 0
WSOP Earnings: $127,343
Total career tournament earnings: $1,365,205
Total career tournament cashes: 63
* All stats exclude the 2016 WSOP main event
There are any number of ways to react after you make the final table of the World Series of Poker main event.
With all nine players guaranteed at least $1 million, there's generally a sense of excitement in the air as the scope of what they've just accomplished starts to set in. Exhaustion often accompanies that feeling, too, after seven grueling days of poker for upward of 10 hours a day starts to overcome and previously high levels of adrenaline that carried them past the finish line.
That was certainly the case for 34-year-old Brooklyn native Jerry Wong, who wrapped up his feelings succinctly in the immediately aftermath of clinching one of the most coveted reservations a poker player can enjoy -- a seat on the stage of the Penn & Teller Theater as a member of the 2016 edition of the November Nine.
“I’m going to nap for three months,” said Wong, when asked how he'd be preparing for the main event final table.
It was a bit of an exaggeration, of course, and he ultimately traveled to a number of events including the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and the World Poker Tour event in Durant, Oklahoma, over the course of the layoff. The long-time poker pro will enjoy the best result of his career no matter where he finishes in the WSOP main event, but for the time being he's proceeded with business as usual when it comes to playing tournaments.
Before making the biggest run of his career in the 2016 WSOP main event, Wong had one of the more impressive resumes among this class of the November Nine. Like the majority of the 2016 final table, Wong cut his teeth in the world of online poker; under the screenname "Hummylun," he has accumulated just shy of $3.3 million in career tournament earnings, including wins in the PokerStars Sunday 500 and Second Chance, as well as the $125,000 Guarantee on Full Tilt Poker.
Wong's biggest career online result actually came just before the 2016 WSOP began, as he earned $270,446 for a fourth-place finish in the $1,000, $2 million Guarantee SCOOP main event. He also had a history of some heartbreak in major PokerStars online series; Wong finished 11th in the 2012 WCOOP main event and 13th in the WCOOP main event the following year.
Wong also had his fair share of live successes as well. Prior to this run in the WSOP main event, Wong's biggest career cash was a $725,000 score for coming in third place in the 2013 PCA main event in the Bahamas. His only other live six-figure tournament cash to date was his first -- a victory in a $1,000 no-limit hold 'em event at Foxwoods in October 2008 that netted Wong $113,010.
The 2016 WSOP represented a fairly high level of tournament volume for Wong, who played in 16 events (23.2 percent of all bracelet events offered) and cashed five times prior to the main event. His $1 million (minimum) cash dwarfs his previous best result, which came in the 2012 WSOP main event when he finished in 309th place for $32,871 -- the only other time he has cashed in this event.
Wong's run in the 2016 WSOP main event started innocuously enough, as he finished Day 1C near the bottom-third of players who advanced. His next five days would go far better -- culminating in a late run on Day 5 that would ultimately net him the chip lead.
He actually had more chips at the end of the night on Day 5 than he bagged for November, but that was the result of a decline in the late stages of Day 7. At one point during that final day of the summer, he peaked around the middle of the pack.
22.425M on dinner coming back to 400k BB. Redrawing for 18
— Jerry Wong (@HumLun) July 19, 2016
It wasn't an easy path to the November Nine as a short stack, but Wong kept his cool and grinded his way there in the final hours of Day 7.
“It was nerve-wracking," Wong said of the experience, "But I played my game and didn’t worry about breaking.”
With almost two-thirds of the break already gone and some positive results in other tournaments in the meantime, Wong seems primed to wield his short stack to the best of his abilities. There's no doubting his mind is squarely on the action on the felt, rather than the limelight, as Wong shied away from a number of interviews over the course of his run to the November Nine.
He's all to aware of what winning even $1 million will do to his life, to say nothing of the $8 million first place prize.
“It’s nice to have some financial security," said Wong. "The downside is a lot more people want to be your friend.”