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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008

WSOP November Nine - A Look at the PokerStars Pros

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The 2008 World Series of Poker main event final table is right around the corner, and the nine finalists have waited several months for the opportunity to play for the $9.1 million first prize. Six of those final table players signed sponsorship deals with PokerStars and will wear gear that indicates their affiliation when they take their seats on November 9, 2008.

Several of the past years’ WSOP main event champions have been PokerStars sponsored players, like Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and Joe Hachem. With six out of nine players at the 2008 final table, chances are the popular online poker site will add another champion to its long-term roster. And each of the six players with PokerStars hats and jackets hopes he will be that one.

Dennis Phillips, United States
Chip count: 26,295,000

Dennis is the chip leader going into the final table, as well as the eldest of the nine finalists. Originally from Cottage Hills, Illinois, the 53-year old accounts manager for a commercial trucking company now lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.

His journey to the WSOP final table was nearly as humble as one can get. He won his entry to the $10,000 buy-in main event through a $200 satellite tournament at the Harrah’s casino in St. Louis. Only having taken up the game of poker four years ago as a recreational activity, his experience with tournaments has been limited. Two cashes in live tournaments are the only credits on his database records, both from WSOP Circuit events in Tunica in the fall of 2007, and both final table finishes in $500 no-limit hold’em tournaments. His collective earnings thus far in his poker career total $4,498, though he was awarded, as were his competitors, ninth place money ($900,670) when he left the WSOP in July.

Since the summer and his incredible run at the WSOP, Dennis has affiliated himself with numerous charities. He signed an agreement to donate 1% of his WSOP winnings to Bad Beat on Cancer, and he has vowed to give more of his cash prize to a multiple sclerosis charity, as his brother suffers from MS and the cause is close to his heart. He has also donated $10,000 to the Albert Pujols Foundation and played in various charity tournaments in the past few months.

Ivan Demidov, Russia
Chip count: 24,400,000

Ivan is second in chips going to the final table, less than two million behind the chip leader. The 27-year old is a professional poker player from Moscow, Russia, and usually makes his living playing online poker rather than live poker.

He does have some solid tournament cashes under his belt, however. He made the final table of the pot-limit Omaha tournament at the 2006 Russian Poker Championships in Moscow, which was worth just over $3,500. In 2007, he finished third in a no-limit hold’em event during the Five Diamond World Poker Classic series in Las Vegas.

But 2008 has been Ivan’s year, and the WSOP has been his gold mine. Not only did he finish 11th in the $1000 NLHE rebuy event at the 2008 WSOP for nearly $40K, but he final tabled the main event, the results of which are yet to be determined. He then traveled to London for the WSOP Europe where he made the final table of the £10,000 NLHE main event. Ultimately, he finished in third place and took home more than $608K for the achievement.

Peter Eastgate, Denmark
Chip count: 18,375,000

Peter is a native of Odense, Denmark and will be seated at the WSOP final table with the fourth largest chip count of all nine players. At the young age of 22, the professional poker player has been involved in poker for three years and is the youngest competitor at the table.

He began his career playing online poker after high school graduation and quickly moved to a professional level where he was able to make a living on the lower limit cash tables. But it was in 2006 that he began to play tournaments in Europe, where his age was not an issue, and quickly made a name for himself by competing on the Poker Million V that was televised on Sky Sports. In 2007, he cashed for more than $46K at the Paddy Power Irish Open where he finished the no-limit hold’em freezeout event in ninth place.

Peter’s placement at the WSOP final table is clearly the biggest score of his career thus far, but his youthfulness dictates that this could just be the beginning of a much longer stint in poker. Since making the final table in July, he has also cashed in the EPT London tournament in 18th place for almost $30,000 to add to his ever-growing bankroll.

Ylon Schwartz, United States
Chip count: 12,525,000

Ylon is in the middle of the WSOP final table pack as fifth on the nine-player leaderboard. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the 38-year old is a former professional chess player who transitioned to poker several years ago.

His list of tournament accomplishments is impressive, with a steady stream of cashes, including final tables, that date back to 2004. His first WSOP in-the-money finishes were in 2005 but it wasn’t until 2008 that he made a WSOP final table, and it just happened to be in the $10K main event. To date, he has taken home more than $258K in tournament earnings, which doesn’t count the $900,670 awarded him in July for making the biggest final table of his life.

As a chess champion who made his way into poker, Ylon has something to prove to himself, as he has yet to secure a major tournament win from all of his cashes. The WSOP final table is his shot at the poker championship title that beats them all, and he hopes to take that one to the bank.

Darus Suharto, Canada
Chip count: 12,520,000

Darus will go to the final table with just about half the chips of the chip leader. The 39-year old accountant born in Indonesia but currently residing in Toronto, Ontario is the second oldest player at the final table.

As one of the few players still in the 2008 WSOP who doesn’t play poker on a full-time basis, it was online poker for three years that occupied his spare time. While not working as an accountant or volunteering his time for worthy causes, he honed his poker skills online. Thus, the only cash on his record prior to the 2008 WSOP was the 2006 WSOP main event, where he cashed in 448th place for little more than twice his buy-in. He won his 2008 main event buy-in through an online satellite and has parlayed that into a guaranteed payday of nearly $1 million.

The well-timed and patient play from Darus gives him the potential to accumulate chips at the final table. But no matter the outcome, he’ll know how to manage the money he walks away with and be able to decide if he will return to his desk job or go the way of the last accountant to win the WSOP - Chris Moneymaker.

David “Chino” Rheem, United States
Chip count: 10,230,000

Chino, as he is known to friends, is seventh in chips at the final table but clearly has the most experience of any of his opponents. At the age of 28-years old, he has been a professional poker player for ten years and currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Having begun his career in Florida alongside the Mizrachi brothers at low-limit cash game tables, he gradually pushed his way to higher stakes and onto the tournament circuit. His first recorded tournament cash was in 2005 at a preliminary event at the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo, where he final tabled the €300 no-limit hold’em event and finished third for more than $10K. Over the last few years, he has accumulated more than $700K in tournament earnings, not including his $900,670 take-home from the 2008 WSOP main event in July.

All in all, Chino has six WSOP cashes to his credit, three of which were final tables (including the upcoming November 9th event). At the 2008 WSOP, he placed fifth in the $5,000 mixed hold’em event, then went on to make the final table of the main event. He has surrounded himself with numerous well-known poker players and improved his game through those associations.

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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