2009 November Nine Preview
The wait between the stoppage of play and WSOP Main Event final table is about halfway over. For these nine players, action can't resume quick enough. Here's a look at the people who will be vying for a payday worth more than $8.5 million when action resumes on November 7th:
Darvin Moon - USA - $58,930,000
The 45 year old with a little over 30% of the chips in play reminds many of last year's chip leader Dennis Phillips. Soft spoken and completely unknown to the poker world prior to this event, Moon admits to having been the benefactor of a great run of cards en route to this final table. Shockingly, Moon decided to return to his day job as a logger in Maryland during the four month wait and has mostly avoided any media attention. If he can go wire-to-wire at this final table, his first cash in a major poker tournament will be the most impressive one possible.
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Eric Buchman - USA - $34,800,000
You could make a case that 29 year old Buchman should be the favorite to win this tournament. He sits quietly 2nd in chips with one thing Moon does not have: experience. Buchman has nearly $1 million in live tournament cashes dating all the way back to 2002 including a 2nd place finish at an Atlantic City WSOP Circuit event for $208,000. He also narrowly missed winning a bracelet in 2006 after finishing 2nd in a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event. Keep an eye on this Long Islander; he is one decent-sized pot away from being the indisputable favorite to win this event.
Steven Begleiter - USA - $29,885,000
Also from New York, former investment banker Steven Begleiter is looking to cement his retirement at this final table. His cash in the Main Event was the first of his career, but he recently showed he is no one-trick pony by finishing 9th at the WPT Legends of Poker. The 47 year old won his entry into the tournament in a home game league and will split 20% of his winnings with other league members.
Jeff Schulman - USA - $19,580,000
Schulman, the editor of CardPlayer Magazine, is no stranger to this situation. He finished 7th in the 2000 Main Event after suffering a brutal bad beat at the hands of eventual-winner Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Schulman caused some controversy by telling the media he would throw away the bracelet if he wins the tournament. He has since backpedaled some on this stance stating that he was trying to convey his unhappiness with the way Harrah's has ran the WSOP in recent years.
Joe Cada - USA - $13,215,000
The youngest player at this final table is 21 year old Joe Cada. After just one year on the books, Cada has a chance to break Peter Eastgate's record as youngest Main Event champion. As he said in an interview with us, "anything less then first will be an extreme disappointment." Although just 21, Cada is likely one of the most experienced players at this final table as a result of his experience as an online poker pro over the last several years. No doubt he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Kevin Schaffel - USA - $12,390,000
The oldest player at this final table is 51 year old Kevin Schaffel. Last week, Schaffel finished 2nd in the WPT Legends of Poker. That padded a cool $471,000 onto his yearly winnings and sent the message that he's got game. The Floridian father of two has already overcome the improbable to get here: on the first day of the Main Event, he got all of his chips in with a flopped set against a flopped straight and saw the board pair on the river to keep his tournament hopes alive.
Phil Ivey - USA - $9,765,000
The only man at the final table who needs no introduction is poker legend Phil Ivey. Considered by many to be the best poker player in the world long before making this final table, Ivey will be looking to accomplish something unprecedented by winning three bracelets in one WSOP for the second time in his career. Ivey has just 5% of the chips in play but is the only player at the table who won't be letting the prize pool payouts affect his decision-making. It is believed Ivey has already won far more at this year's WSOP than the $8.5 million up for grabs in this tournament as a result of prop bets he has collected on for winning two bracelets earlier in the series.
Antoine Saout - France - $9,500,000
Saout is the only representative for those not native to the English language at this final table. Although he is low on chips, there's no questioning his abilities. Earlier this week Saout held the chip-lead in the Partouche Poker Tour on his home turf for three straight days. Mostly an online player, Saout could come from nowhere to surprise everyone this fall.
James Akenhead - England - $6,800,000
England's James Akenhead is considered the longshot at this final table to most people except himself. He won over $500,000 for finishing 2nd in a $1,500 no-limit event last year. A professional for a few years now, Akenhead has about as good of a chance as anyone could at going from short-stack to Main Event champion.