2010 November Nine Preview
It doesn't seem like too long ago that we were reporting Harrah's intent to hold the final table of the 2008 Main Event in November. The concept, dubbed the 'November Nine', is now onto its third year. Let's preview the lucky nine who will be playing for a first place prize of just under $9 million at this year's final table.
In this preview, we've included each player's percentage of chips in play as well as their odds to win (at the time this article was written) as listed by PinnacleSports.com. Bear in mind that any opinions expressed regarding these betting lines is merely for fun. We're probably not actually going to put any real money on it, and you'd probably be wise not to either.
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However, as far as betting on the November Nine goes, one can expect to find some potentially interesting lines any time there is a marque pro at the final table. Last year, bettors were graced with the presence of one Phil Ivey which made everyone else at the table more of a longshot in the betting markets. I decided to make an "Ivey fade" by putting some money on Joe Cada and proceeded to run hotter than the sun en route to a nice score (I believe Cada had something like a 1% chance to survive all of the all-ins he encountered at the final table). This year's final table once again includes a well-known pro, Michael Mizrachi, who is helping to make the price to bet on any of his 8 opponents cheaper than it would probably be if a no-name was in Mizrachi's seat.
Jonathan Duhamel - 30% - +237
This cocky 22 year old (though he looks 30) is in solid position to become the first-ever World Champion from Canada. From Montreal, Duhamel's English is not so great, but his poker game seems pretty sharp. He showed a lot of gamble as the field was dwindled down to nine players and has a good chance to become the first final table chip leader to actually win the tournament since Jamie Gold did it in 2006. Like Gold, Duhamel should be ready to have some haters in the event that he wins. Unlike Gold, he'll probably be around to put up strong results for years to come.
Verdict: Not many people will likely be rooting for this guy to win, but if you feel like giving yourself a reason to root for him, +237 is probably not such a bad bet. He needs just a 29.7% chance to win in order for that bet to be +EV which might not be too unreasonable to expect given that he has 30% of the chips in play.
John Dolan - 21% - +361
Dolan is the token 20-something American online poker player of this year's final table. Uninteresting as that may be, token American online poker players have a knack for winning big live tournaments. Dolan, 24 and a native of Tallahassee, Florida, showed a lot of heart playing down to the final table; at one point, he was 24th out of 27 remaining players. On the final table bubble, he used relentless aggression to put himself in a position to win the whole thing. One thing's for sure: this guy can play.
Verdict: Dolan as World Champion could very easily happen which is a bit of a bummer for poker. There's just nothing especially interesting about him so don't expect a Dolan-triggered poker boom. At +361, he needs a 21.7% chance to win for that to be a good bet. With 21% of the chips, that line has, at best, very thin value. Stand pat on Dolan and quietly root for him not to win.
Joseph Cheong - 10.7% - +807
A skinny Asian kid (he's 24) from California at the final table? Shocking, isn't it? By all accounts, Joseph Cheong seems like a likable guy and a good poker player. He's played a lot of live tournaments in the past year and should definitely be viewed as one of the more experienced players at the table.
Verdict: I have a weird feeling that Cheong is going to win this tournament. He's certainly got the talent to do so. It's hard to endorse betting him at +807, but if that line gets up to +850 or more at any point, Cheong could be the best bet at the final table.
John Racener - 8.6% - +816
One of just two players at the final table I had ever heard of prior to the start of the tournament, Racener is one of three 24 year olds and one of three Floridians at this final table. He has over $1.1 million in lifetime winnings from live tournaments. Racener is a cool-looking guy with a cool name. It'd be a decent break for poker if he wins the Main Event.
Verdict: Racener is not and probably never will be a good bet at this final table. But if he wins, it's a better-than-average outcome for poker.
Matthew Jarvis - 8% - +1063
Hailing from British Columbia, Matthew Jarvis will join Duhamel in vying to become the first Canadian World Champion. This event is Jarvis' first-ever cash in a WSOP tournament. Despite limited results in the live poker world, Jarvis says he is basically a full-time player.
Verdict: This guy doesn't strike me as a threat to win. I'd expect to see him play tight and go out in around 4th-6th place. At +1063, I'd pass.
Filippo Candio - 7.4% - +1063
Italian Filippo Candio is Europe's only remaining hope for winning this year's Main Event. At one point on the final day, Candio got 7-5 all-in against Cheong's pocket Aces on a 665 flop and made a runner-runner straight to stay alive. Like Duhamel, Candio is a bit of a villain-figure at this final table.
Verdict: Candio's erratic style of play should make this final table more interesting. However, I wouldn't come near +1063 with a ten-foot pole.
Michael Mizrachi - 6.5% - +768
Michael Mizrachi has a chance to become the first (and almost certainly last) player to win the $50,000 Player's Championship and the Main Event in the same year. He also has a chance to become the winningest all-time live tournament player; a third place finish or better would put him ahead of Phil Ivey on the all-time money list. Also known by his nickname "The Grinder", this 29 year old Floridian will have the largest fan-base and media coverage of any other player, and it won't be close.
Verdict: The poker world is rooting for Mizrachi to win. I dislike betting him at +768 so much that I think betting him to not win at -1125 is one of the best bets of this final table.
Soi Nguyen - 4.4% - +1600
At the ripe old age of 37, Soi Nguyen is the elder of this final table (he's actually the only player not in his 20s). This tournament is just the fourth live event the California native has played.
Verdict: Despite having Senti slightly out-chipped, I believe Nguyen should be listed as the long-shot at this final table. I might take Mizrachi at +768 sooner than I'd take Nguyen at +1600.
Jason Senti - 3.5% - +2000
In my opinion, the most likable player at this final table is Jason Senti. Unfortunately for him and anyone wanting a likable World Champion, Senti doesn't have a lot of chips. He is a training instructor on Phil Galfond's BlueFirePoker.com. There is no doubt that this guy can play, so if he can find a couple of early double-ups, watch out.
Verdict: I really want to bet on Senti, but at +2000, it can't be justified. If I could get Senti at +3000 or more, it would be my favorite bet of the final table.
Something I noticed while writing this: An astounding six of the nine players at this final table are between the ages of 24-26!