888poker already has its logos on the table felt and around “the Mothership” at the World Series of Poker and when the Main Event final table commences on Oct. 30, the world’s second largest online poker site will have its patches displayed on one-third of the November Nine members.
Having already signed Griffin Benger and Fernando Pons, who both qualified for the 2016 WSOP Main Event via online satellites run at the site, 888poker has pounced to obtain the signature of Belgium’s Kenny Hallaert, at least for the duration of the WSOP Main Event final table.
The signing of Hallaert was unexpected because he only recently became the tournament director for Unibet, but Hallaert is a good signing nonetheless because of his standing in the community and the fact he is sure to be one of the better supported players competing for the $8 million first-place prize in Las Vegas.
Hallaert currently has $2,317,530 in live tournament winnings, including the $1,000,000 he is guaranteed for reaching the WSOP Main Event final table, per The Hendon Mob. This impressive sum is enough to rank Hallaert third in Belgium’s all-time money listings behind former November Niner Pierre Neuville ($3,862,736) and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Davidi Kitai ($7,619,543).
Despite his success in the live poker arena, Hallaert considers himself to be a recreational player who uses poker to supplement the living he makes from the poker industry where he works as both the Unibet tournament director and an organizer of poker events, such as the Unibet Belgian Poker Championship and Belgium Poker Challenge.
The popular Belgian was down to as few as 10 big blinds during Day 5 of the WSOP Main Event, but recovered extraordinarily well to finish with 10,050,000 chips, enough to place him third from the 80 remaining players. By the time the curtain came down on the action on Day 7 and the final table was set, Hallaert had amassed a total of 43,325,000 chips and now returns to the fray fourth from nine in terms of chips.
Even though he has the chance to win $8 million, Hallaert told PokerNews that he is not thinking about the monetary aspect of the final table; instead he is focusing on playing fearlessly and going for the win.
“I’m not going to dream already of eight million and a bracelet,” he said. “I don’t look at the money. It sounds stupid, but I know I made $1 million now. Obviously, that’s a lot of money. I’ve never in my life played for this kind of money and I probably never will again.”