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Poker News | World Poker News

November Niner Jeff Shulman Takes a Poker Coach

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November is fast approaching and with it will be the final table of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, also known as the November Nine. Taking to the felt this fall will be seven relatively unknown players and two famous faces, in the forms of Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman.

The most recognizable face in November will no doubt be Phil Ivey, who ranks among the best poker pros on the tournament circuit today. Besting a field of almost 6500 players, Ivey will be vying to add another piece of wrist bling to the seven World Series of Poker bracelets already in his treasure chest. No stranger to the spotlight, the 33 year old "Tiger Woods of Poker" is ranked sixth on the WSOP all time winners and has a World Poker Tour title, having made eight final table WPT appearances.

Ivey’s most famous opponent in November will be Jeff Shulman, who is probably best known for being the president of Card Player Media, which publishes the ever popular Card Player Magazine. But aside from his media empire, Shulman has been known in poker circles for years, both from the local poker rooms in Las Vegas and his $1.3 million in lifetime tournament winnings. Going into the final table fourth in chips, only Phil Ivey is looked upon as having more experience or success than Shulman. Having played in a number of World Series events in the last ten years, he finished seventh in the 2000 WSOP main event, and has cashed four times in the $25,000 Five-Star World Poker Classic.

Shulman had rumors flying this year when it was a given that he would be at the final table, he boldly announced that if he won the Main Event, he would “throw the main-event bracelet in the trash.”  Gossip spread like wildfire over his strong statement and to dispel any misconceptions, Card Player Magazine ran an article where Shulman stated; “Some people are reporting that I’m upset because the World Series canceled a media deal with Card Player. My comments have nothing to do with that, and everything to do with my disappointment in how the World Series is run. 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.”

Despite his issues with how the WSOP is run, Shulman is very serious about winning, with or without the coveted gold bracelet. And to prove how determined he is to take his best shot at the title, Shulman has asked 1989 World Champion and 11-time bracelet-winner Phil Hellmuth to be his poker coach for the November final table event.  But Phil Hellmuth wasn’t chosen just because he is a World Champion; in fact the two have been good friends for years, making Hellmuth the logical choice to coach Shulman.

When asked why he decided to get some coaching, Shulman said, “The simplest reason why I’m doing this — I want to win, and I think it will help. I turned on the TV and I was watching Tiger Woods or something, and I realized — every single player has a coach.” He then added, “No matter how good or bad my game is, it can always get better.”

Shulman also says that while playing in the Main Event, he noticed flaws in his game which he hopes Hellmuth can help him correct, “I’m not playing my A-game right now. I’m probably like at a solid B,” said Shulman. “I made a couple calls in the tournament that I wasn’t pleased with, and I just know that I’m not the best poker player out there.” Another reason Shulman chose Hellmuth he says, is because he thinks they have similar styles of play, “Phil just has such a way of thinking about winning that I knew he would be a great resource,” said Shulman. “We’re going to talk about final-table strategy, analyze the tapes, and work on my own play.”

Although much of Shulman’s coaching will be done online and via Skype, Hellmuth will be going to Las Vegas in October to give his student a three or four-day boot camp session.

When asked about his new poker student, Hellmuth commented, “Jeff Shulman is a first-rate businessman who runs the poker industry’s leading publication, Jeff also loves the game of poker, and he comes out only for the biggest and most prestigious poker tournaments in the world, where he has a terrific track record. I have always liked and respected Jeff, and that’s why I am coaching him for the November Nine, where he is the favorite to become the 2009 World Champion of poker.”

While Shulman may be the first of the 2009 November Nine to announce his selection of a poker coach, he admits he doesn’t intend to revamp his game; he just wants to give himself every chance he can to take down the title. Is there any advice Shulman doesn’t want from Hellmuth?
“Let’s just say I won’t take lessons from him on how to treat your opponents or how to avoid going on tilt,” said Shulman.

All the players heading to the final table in November are already winners, with each already being guaranteed over a million dollars. But you can bet the competition will be fierce as they all have their eye on the 9 Million dollar first place payday, the Championship Crown – and maybe even a gold bracelet.

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