The November Nine is less than a month away. Prior to 2008, the $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event played out from start to finish. In 2008, the November Nine was birthed, which meant play was suspended with nine players to go.
Sure, the WSOP Main Event is the most prestigious tournament in the poker universe; but it's also an extremely lucrative television program. Play ended in July and concluded several months later in order to build up suspense. The delay allows viewers to get a chance to catch up with WSOP episodes, then watch the final table play out live at the Penn & Teller Theater in Las Vegas.
This year's November Nine almost had one of the most popular players in the game advance to the final table. Almost. Unfortunately, ESPN suits were completely bummed out when Daniel Negreanu busted in 11th place. The popular Team PokerStars Pro was picked off by final table chip leader Joseph McKeehen. Negreanu got i all-in on the flop with top pair against McKeehen's flush draw and gutshot straight draw. Although Joseph McKeehen whiffed on the flush, he rivered a Broadway straight to win the pot. Alas, Negreanu was knocked out in 11th place and TV execs wept.
The good news is that despite Negreanu's elimnation, the final table has a lot of interesting characters including a poker pro (and only bracelet winner at the final table) who won his seat through a fantasy basketball promo, the old timer from Belgium, techie from Silicon Valley, an Israeli, an Italian with a funny name, and a couple of young Americans in hoodies.
Seating assignments and chip counts for the final table
2015 WSOP November Nine – Seating Assignments and Chip Counts:
- Seat 1: Zvi Stern (Herzilya, Israel) -- 29,800,000
- Seat 2: Pierre Neuville (Knokke-Heist, Belgium) -- 21,075,000
- Seat 3: Joshua Beckley (Marlton, New Jersey) -- 11,800,000
- Seat 4: Max Steinberg (Fairfield, Iowa) -- 20,200,000
- Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli (Cape May, New Jersey) -- 12,250,000
- Seat 6: Joe McKeehen (North Wales, Pennsylvania) -- 63,100,000
- Seat 7: Patrick Chan (Brooklyn, New York) -- 6,225,000
- Seat 8: Federico Butteroni (Rome, Italy) -- 6,200,000
- Seat 9: Neil Blumenfield (San Francisco, California) -- 22,000,000
Everyone remaining is guaranteed to win at least $1 million.
2015 WSOP Main Event Payouts
2015 WSOP Main Event Payouts - November Nine:
- 1st $7,680,021
- 2nd $4,469,171
- 3rd $3,397,103
- 4th $2,614,558
- 5th $1,910,971
- 6th $1,426,072
- 7th $1,203,193
- 8th $1,097,009
- 9th $1,001,020
A few things you might not know about the November Niners
Seat 1: Zvi Stern (Herzilya, Israel) -- 29,800,000... Zvi Stern is attempting become the winningest poker player in Israel's history. He's sixth overall in career winnings and trying to finish higher than fellow countryman Amir Lehavot, who took third at the 2013 November Nine.
Seat 2: Pierre Neuville (Knokke-Heist, Belgium) -- 21,075,000... Pierre Neuville is the “old guy” at the table at age 72. If Neuville wins the Main Event, he will break Johnny Moss' record for oldest Main Event champ (Moss was 67 when he won in 1974). Neuville, a former toy and game creator, is truly a throwback and learned how to play poker almost sixty years ago. He had to wait until he retired to play poker competitively and he hasn't wasted any time. Neuville narrowly missed winning a bracelet in 2014 with a runner-up finish in a 6-handed NL event. Neuville was also a bridesmaid at two different EPT events (Vilamoura and Copenhagen). Neuville is second on the all-time Belgium money list trailing Davidi Kitai.
Seat 3: Joshua Beckley (Marlton, NJ) -- 11,800,000... Josh Beckley won a couple of regional events at Parx Casino. The kid from New Jersey is only 24. To put that in perspective, when Pierre Neuville was his age, the year was 1967... the Beatles were still a group and had just released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and man had yet to walk on the moon.
Seat 4: Max Steinberg (Fairfield, IA) -- 20,200,000... Max Steinberg has the highestpedigree at the final table. The pro, originally from Iowa, is seeking a second bracelet (he won his first in 2012). Steinberg was also a runner-up in a bracelet event at the 2013 WSOP. Despite the fact he's only fifth overall in chips, insiders consider him one of the favorites.
Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli (Cape May, NJ) -- 12,250,000... Thomas Cannuli, a 23-year old resident of Cape May, NJ, is rumored to be staked by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Pro Jeff Gross, who was once roommates with Phelps, considers Cannuli his "protege."
Seat 6: Joe McKeehen (North Wales, PA) -- 63,100,000... Joseph McKeehen, a.k.a. “the chipleader” is only 24. The Pennsylvania native has nearly $2 million in career earnings including two wins at WSOP Circuit events. Several years ago, McKeehen got first taste of the winner's circle when he shipped a side event at the 2012 PCA. McKeehen enters the final table with the largest chip advantage since Jamie Gold's final table in 2006.
Seat 7: Patrick Chan (Brooklyn, NY) -- 6,225,000... Patrick Chan was an online grinder who nearly got lost in the shuffle in the wake of Black Friday. He became one of the numerous online poker exiles who was forced overseas to play online poker. Over the last few years, Chan went deep in regional events in NJ/PA at the Borgata and Parx. Chan also narrowly missed making the final table at the 2014 WSOP Millionaire Maker event.
Seat 8: Federico Butteroni (Rome, Italy) -- 6,200,000... Federico Butteroni has an opportunity to make Italian history. If the 24-year old from Rome binks the Main Event, Butteroni will surpass Max Pescatori as the winningest player in all of Italy. That's quite a distinction.
Seat 9: Neil Blumenfield (San Francisco, CA) -- 22,000,000... Neil Blumenfield would be considered the “old guy” if it weren't for Pierre Neuville. Blumenfield is 61-years young and made a name for himself in the tech industry over the last few decades in Silicon Valley. He's the lone rep from the West Coast. Blumenfield has a few cashes in smaller events, plus a 285th place cash at the 2012 WSOP Main Event.
The November Nine final table resumes in Las Vegas on November 8, 2015 at 5:30pm local time and will end on November 10, 2015. This year's November Nine is a three-day affair. The first day of action plays down from nine to four. The second day plays down from four to two. The third and final day features the heads-up match for the championship. First place pays out almost $7.7 million. Who's gonna win it?