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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008

World Series of Poker Final Table Preview

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The 39th World Series of Poker Main Event final table “Nine” will reconvene on November 9th to duke it out for the top prize of $9,119,338, the second highest payout in WSOP history.  The four month delay between deciding the final table and playing the final table is the first delay in the history of the event, and that decision has sparked some controversy.  The main problem with the decision is that the players of the final table will have four months to improve their game, including possible coaching from top pros.  It also means that any possible reads they had on each other go down the drain, as the players are sure to bring an entirely different game to the final table with them.  

Some proponents of the new format have said that it could be a better brand of poker because each player will bring their “A game.”  Any fatigue they had en route to making the final table will surely be gone after four months of rest.  Regardless of our opinions, the nine people at the final table have already had a life changing experience, and they will continue to ride that dream until November 11th, when the champion will be crowned.  The final nine players still chasing that dream are as follows.

Dennis Phillips (Cottage Hill, IL, USA) 26,295,000 Chips, Seat 2

Dennis Phillips’ live poker career consists of cashing in two $500 dollar buy-in tournaments for a combined $4,578 dollars.  He’ll be leaving with at least $900,670, but seeing as he is the current chip leader, there is a chance he’ll be leaving with much more.  The accounts manager for a trucking company in St. Louis, Missouri, he won his way into the Main Event by winning a $200 satellite at Harrah’s Casino.  Phillips has also announced that he will be donating one percent of his winnings to the "Bad Beat on Cancer" foundation.  Since 2003, founders of "Bad Beat on Cancer," poker pros Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst have asked fellow poker players to donate just one percent of their winnings at the WSOP.  To date, the organization has raised over two million dollars for cancer research.

Ivan Demidov (Moscow, Russia) 24,400,000 Chips, Seat 8

Ivan Demidov is an example of a player riding momentum into the Main Event.  In the $1,000 rebuy event at this year’s WSOP, Demidov finished 11th winning just under $40,000.  Another player that had success at the WSOP before winning the Main Event in the same year was Joe Hachem, a feat Demidov would love to match.  Demidov has also had a decent cash, finishing 3rd in a $1,000 buy-in event in December of 2007, winning $21,710.  

Scott Montgomery (Perth, Ontario, Canada) 19,690,000 Chips, Seat 5

This 26 year old is one of the more recognizable faces of the bunch, having finished 5th in a World Poker Tour Event, the L.A. Poker Classic.  That score netted him $296,860.  Montgomery has also had success in the WSOP, cashing in three events this year, totaling near $75,000.  Also, during his four month hiatus he has continued to cash in events.  Shortly after making the final table he finished 3rd at a $3,000 No Limit Event at the Bellagio winning over $36,000 and in August he cashed for nearly 10k more in the 2008 Legends of Poker in Los Angeles.  If any player seems to be peaking at the right time for his chance to win the Main Event, it’s him.

Peter Eastgate (Odense, Denmark) 18,375,000 Chips, Seat 10

Eastgate jumped from the middle of the pack to near the top when he eliminated Tiffany “Hot Chips” Michelle, the final woman in the Main Event.  At 22 years old Eastgate is looking to make history himself by becoming the youngest Main Event champion in history, knocking Phil Hellmuth, 24 at the time, off his perch.  Despite his young age, Eastgate has already found success, finishing ninth for $46,714, at the Irish Open in 2007.  He has also cashed at a European Poker Tour Event.  On top of his live success, he is considered one of the top online pros in the world, where he specializes at short-handed and heads-up cash games in the $200/$400 blind range.  Eastgate has been compared to poker pro Gus Hanson - good company.  Despite his young age, the prospect of playing for this amount of money won’t faze Eastgate.

Ylon Schwartz (Brooklyn, NY) 12,525,000 Chips, Seat 4

Thirty-eight year old Ylon Schwartz made the switch from professional chess player to poker because it offered more money.  Good decision.  Schwartz has had 30 cashes in tournaments, with his biggest being at a World Poker Tour event in 2005, where he finished 3rd for just under $50,000.  The bright lights of the WSOP are nothing new to him, as he has cashed in 12 events there.  Gambling is nothing new for Schwartz, who first started playing chess games for money in Washington Square Park in NYC, legendary for its chess games.  Schwartz has also dabbled in other forms of gambling, including darts, pool, and horse betting.  Finally focusing his attention on poker is most likely the best financial decision he’ll ever make.

Darus Suharto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) 12,520,000 Chips, Seat 6

Suharto, 39, is looking to follow the footsteps of Chris Moneymaker in more ways than one.  He wants to win the Main Event, but that’s only the beginning of the comparisons.  Suharto earned his seat to the final table via a satellite, turning $80 into at least $900,000.  He is also an accountant, just like Moneymaker, a job that will come in handy after the amount of money he’s about to bring into his life.  Finally, just like Moneymaker, they each had one previous cash, finishing 448th in the 2006 WSOP Main Event.  Suharto is a self professed donkey, saying he was a donkey in 2006, and he’ll still be a donkey at the final table in November.  Suharto had only played poker for fun until he finally discovered what the WSOP was in 2005, after he heard his friends talking about it.  One satellite later he is sitting in the middle of the pack, with a great chance to leave a multi-millionaire.

David Rheem (Los Angeles, CA) 10,230,000 Chips, Seat 7

The most recognizable name of the bunch is that of David “Chino” Rheem.  Rheem has 6 WSOP money finishes, including second place to Allan Cunningham in the $1,000 rebuy event in 2006, a score that gave him $327,981.  In this year’s event he showed his continued skill by finishing 9th for $25,700 in the $5,000 Limit/No Limit event.  However, since his final table appearance at this year’s Main Event, a reporter in Florida uncovered facts about Rheem’s past-life, one which included arrests for trespassing and stolen property.  Representatives of Rheem say that all those matters are cleared up, and unlike any other athlete in any other sport, he should be given a second chance.  The WSOP organizers are aware of these reports, and have defended Rheem and his right to a second chance.  Rheem, despite being on the bottom half of the chip stacks, has been labeled by Vegas oddsmakers as one of the favorites to win the event.  

Craig Marquis (Arlington, TX) 10,210,000 Chips, Seat 3

Like Peter Eastgate, if 23 year old Craig Marquis can comeback from second to last in chips to win the Main Event, he’ll become the youngest player to secure the bracelet.  Also like Eastgate, Marquis is no stranger to high limit action.  Marquis has made a name for himself playing $200/$400 limit online.  Marquis’s only cashes have come at the WSOP, but that’s only because those are the only live tournaments he really plays.  This year he said he played in 17 WSOP events, cashing in only one.  He said he needed to cash in this year’s Main Event just to break even.  It’s clear he’s done that, with a little extra to spare.  This heads-up specialist is expected to gamble early in an attempt to double up.  If he does get a decent stack going, he will be very hard to eliminate.

Kelly Kim (Whitter, CA) 2,620,000 Chips, Seat 9

There is good news and bad news for Kelly Kim.  The bad news is he limps into the final table with only about 10 big blinds left, and an overwhelming long shot.  However, with 38 live cashes, the most of the bunch, he has certainly been in short stack situations before.  His biggest cash to date was at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic where he finished 3rd for $62,000.  Kim is also one of the more consistent winners, routinely picking up prizes between $20K-$40K, not bad work if you can get it.  With 18 people remaining in the tournament Kim was near the chip lead, but a few bad breaks saw him plummet to the bottom.  With a few double-ups he can possibly achieve a second chance to see what he can do with a big chip stack.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

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