Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 WSOP Main Event November Nine Features Phil Ivey, by Earl Burton - Poker News Daily - 16th July 2009

After 56 events and 13 days of play in the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the final table of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event was determined.

A total of 27 players came back to the Amazon Room at Noon on Wednesday with dreams of being at the final table of the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. Everyone remaining would receive $352,832, but the true focus was on making the final table, which once again will be delayed until November. Leading the pack was newcomer Darvin Moon, a logger from Maryland, who held slightly over 20 million chips as play began.

Leo Margets, who came to the start of play on Wednesday as one of the shorter stacks in the room, was the first to depart in 27th place. She was followed by notable players including Antonio Esfandiari (24th place for his largest WSOP cash ever) and Day Six leader Warren Zackey, who dropped from the tournament in 22nd place after his pocket deuces were out-raced by Ian Tavelli’s Qs-Js.

Tavelli’s aggressive play eventually caught up with him after he ran pocket nines into Steven Begleiter’s pocket kings. After the board didn’t bring him either of his two outs, the 21-year old Tavelli was eliminated in 17th place ($500,557). Almost immediately after Tavelli’s departure, one of France’s top professional players, Ludovic Lacay, was defeated by Jeff Shulman in 16th place. After Lacay’s elimination, everyone at the tables was guaranteed $633,022.

As the field continued to dwindle down, both Moon and Begleiter used their chips to climb to astronomical levels at the tables. Moon never seemed to be in jeopardy during play on Wednesday and Begleiter, using the chips he had earned from Tavelli, continued his march up the leaderboard. For all of their work, however, most of the eyes in the Amazon Room followed poker professional Phil Ivey.

The perennial pick by ESPN commentator Norm Chad to win the Main Event, Ivey had come to the 2009 WSOP with his skills at their highest point ever. He captured two bracelets during the six weeks of preliminary tournaments and had been at or around the top of the Main Event leaderboard since it began. Starting the day with over 11 million in chips, Ivey seemed content to sit back and maintain his stack, scouting potential opponents should they reach the November Nine final table.

After over 11 hours of battle, the final table of the Main Event was determined. The unlucky Bubble Boy was pro player Jordan Smith, who fell in tenth place ($896,730) at the hands of Moon. Facing a raise to 650,000 from Eric Buchman and a call from Moon, Smith popped a 2.6 million bet into the pot, which was called by Moon after Buchman folded. The seemingly innocent flop of

8 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, 2 Diamonds

hit the table, at which time the fireworks went off. Smith checked his option to Moon, who put four million chips out, and Smith moved all-in over the top. Moon called and tabled pocket eights for top set; Smith dejectedly turned up

Ace Hearts, Ace Diamonds.

After the turn and river failed to come an ace, the November Nine was determined.

These are the nine players who will gather at the Rio in November to determine the next WSOP Main Event Champion:

Darvin Moon (Oakland, Maryland) – 58,930,000
Eric Buchman (Valley Stream, New York) – 34,800,000
Steve Begleiter (Chappaqua, New York) – 29,885,000
Jeff Shulman (Las Vegas, Nevada) – 19,580,000
Joe Cada (Shelby Township, Michigan) – 13,215,000
Kevin Schaffel (Coral Springs, Florida) – 12,390,000
Phil Ivey (Las Vegas, Nevada) – 9,765,000
Antione Saout (Paris, France) – 9,500,000
James Ankenhead (London, England) – 6,800,000

With such professional players as Ivey, Shulman (Editor of CardPlayer Magazine), and Ankenhead in the mix, some are concluding that this will be one of the strongest Main Event final tables of the past few years.

Play will pause on the Las Vegas leg of this year’s WSOP, but there are still four events to go. The 2009 WSOP Europe, which will be held in London beginning in September, will offer a chance for the survivors of the Main Event to tune up their games. The November Nine then will emerge from their respite. All are now millionaires, but the eventual winner takes the $8.5 million first place prize. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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