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The November Nine are the final nine contestants, or final table, at the Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The WSOP is the "the oldest, largest, most prestigious, and most media-hyped gaming competition in the world". For the past 40 years, it has been held every summer in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of the WSOP Main Event is considered to be the World Champion of Poker. Prior to 2008, the entire Main Event was played without interruption.

Starting in 2008, in an effort to build excitement in the WSOP and increase ratings for the tape delayed televised shows, Harrah's Entertainment and ESPN decided to delay the final table until shortly before its scheduled broadcast. The reason for the delay was so that ESPN could cover the rest of the tournament leading up to the final table without everybody knowing in advance who won it.

In previous years, the winner of the Main Event received the bulk of the media coverage. Because the final table was delayed, media outlets had four months to cover nine potential poker World Champions. "The winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event has always become an instant celebrity," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack in 2008. "This year [and subsequent], all nine players who make the final table will become household names - and are guaranteed life-changing prize money to go with their fame and place in poker history."

Reception and criticism

Immediately after the announcement was made to delay the final table, concerns arose as to how the delay would affect the tournament. Players including Ylon Schwartz, a 2008 November Nine participant, criticized the four-month delay by saying, "It ruins the integrity of the tournament. The purity of old-time Las Vegas is gone. The antiquity and purity of the tournament have been liquidated into pure greed and capitalism." However, ESPN's Senior Director of Programming and Acquisition, Doug White, indicated that "the movement of the final table has definitely helped in terms of creating buzz."

When the 2008 November Nine was broadcast "almost live," ESPN received criticism because the network showed the winner's name prior to the broadcast. Poker journalist Dan Skolosky, wrote, "It turned out to be a difficult task to avoid hearing the results. Especially since... ESPN scrolled the winner on its sports ticker long before the broadcast aired." Nonetheless, coverage of the 2008 Final Table had more than a 50 percent increase in the number of viewers and the number of households that watched it, and the broadcast later received an Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Live Event Turnaround."

Key

Name Name of the player. (Listed in order of starting chip stack.)
Starting chip count The starting chip stack at the start of the final table.
WSOP
bracelets
The number of WSOP bracelets at the time the November Nine was determined.
WSOP
cashes
The number of WSOP cashes at the time the November Nine was determined.
WSOP
earnings
The total of WSOP earnings at the time the November Nine was determined.
Final
place
The place in which the player finished the tournament.
Prize The prize money awarded to that player for their finish at that years Main Event.


2008

Original field: 6,844

Total prize pool: $64,431,779

Final table minimum prize: $900,670

Final table maximum prize: $9,152,416

Final table total prize pool: $32,633,446

Reference:

Name Starting chip count WSOP
bracelets
WSOP
cashes
WSOP
earnings
Final
place
Prize
26,295,000 0 2 $186,180 3 $4,517,773
24,400,000 0 1 $39,854 2 $5,809,595
19,690,000 0 3 $73,700 5 $3,096,768
18,375,000 0 0 $0 1 $9,152,416
12,525,000 0 11 $124,580 4 $3,774,974
12,520,000 0 1 $26,389 6 $2,418,562
10,230,000 0 5 $474,863 7 $1,772,650
10,210,000 0 3 $35,759 9 $900,670
2,620,000 0 3 $45,191 8 $1,288,217


The 2008 November Nine included one of the oldest (53-year-old Dennis Phillips) and youngest (22-year-old Peter Eastgate) players to ever make it to the final table. Phillips was an account manager for a commercial trucking company while Eastgate, from Denmark, was one of only two non-North American players to make it to the final table (Russian Ivan Demidov was the other). Ylon Schwartz was a former professional chess hustler in New York Citymarker parks. Two players, accountant Darus Suharto and poker professional Scott Montgomery, were originally from Canada. By making the final table, Eastgate and 23-year-old Craig Marquis threatened Phil Hellmuth's 19-year record as youngest person to ever win the WSOP Main Event; Eastgate's victory gave him that distinction. Kelly Kim, the short stack entering the final table, was an established pro who cashed in numerous events but never won a major tournament.

2009

Original field: 6,494

Total prize pool: $61,043,600

Final table minimum prize: $1,263,602

Final table maximum prize: $8,546,435

Final table total prize pool: $32,633,446

Reference:

Name Starting chip count WSOP
bracelets
WSOP
cashes
WSOP
earnings
Final
place
Prize
58,930,000 0 0 $0 2 $5,182,928
34,800,000 0 9 $320,893 4 $2,502,890
29,885,000 0 0 $0 6 $1,587,160
19,580,000 0 15 $289,551 5 $1,953,452
13,215,000 0 2 $28,214 1 $8,547,042
12,390,000 0 2 $92,166 8 $1,300,231
9,765,000 7 38 $3,843,018 7 $1,404,014
9,500,000 0 0 $0 3 $3,479,670
6,800,000 0 2 $525,867 9 $1,263,602


The final table's "rags to riches" story was Darvin Moon, a logger from Maryland. Moon entered the Main Event after winning a $130 satellite tournament in Wheeling, West Virginiamarker.

Jeff Shulman, who entered the final table in fourth place, is the president for Card Player Magazine. Shulman openly stated that, if he won the bracelet, he would throw it away. Some initially speculated that this announcement stemmed from the fact that Harrah's Casino has partnered with Cardplayer Magazine's main competitor, Bluff Magazine. However, an article on the Cardplayer web site indicated that Shulman's supposed disdain for Harrah's Casino is not based on its partnership with Bluff Magazine. “My comments have nothing to do with that, and everything to do with my disappointment in how the World Series is run," said Shulman. "It used to be run by people who loved and really cared about poker, and had the players in mind, first and foremost. That mission's been derailed by a few executives who now head the Series." He also indicated that, if he won the bracelet, he would not throw it in the trash, but instead would pursue one of four options: hold an auction and donate the money to charity, hold a tournament for the players shut out of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, give it away as part of a promotion on SpadeClub.com (an online poker site sponsored by Cardplayer), or give it to television personality Stephen Colbert.

Other notable finalists included seven-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey and former Bear Stearns senior executive Steven Begleiter.

At age 21, Joe Cada became the youngest player to ever win the WSOP Main Event.

Notes

 The number of bracelets, cashes, and earnings of the players is determined at the time they qualified for the final table of the Main Event. It does not represent any results from subsequent WSOP events including the WSOP-Europe which occurs between the time the November Nine are determined and the time the final table is seated.


 After qualifying for the 2008 WSOP Main Event Final Table, Ivan Demidov made it to the 2008 WSOPE Main Event Final Table where he won £334,850. This meant that while Demidov was playing at the final table of the WSOPE Main Event, he was also seated at the final table of the 2008 WSOP Main Event. James Akenhead and Antoine Saout achieved this feat in 2009 also.


 Jeff Shulman made the 2009 WSOP Main Event Final Table and his father Barry Shulman made the Final Table at the 2009 WSOPE Main Event, becoming the first father and son to make the Final Table at WSOP and WSOPE in the same year.


References




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