The November Nine was within reach when the day began, though not many predicted it would be eighteen hours later before the names were determined.
Those who entered the Rio Convention Center on Saturday, July 17, found themselves in somewhat of a ghost town. The Poker Kitchen and WSOP store were closed, most of the booths in the hallway were removed or in the process of dismantlement, and the quiet was almost alarming, such a difference from the past seven weeks. Even entering the Amazon Room was a bit jarring, as more than half of it was dark and empty of tables. But there was more than enough excitement in a small portion of the Amazon to make up for the emptiness elsewhere. Three tables of players remained, and a solid group of fans, friends, and family gathered to watch the action. Such was Day 8 of the long haul that was the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship at the World Series of Poker.
The 2010 Main Event was nearing its end, though not so much of an end but a set-up for the November conclusion to the biggest poker tournament on earth.
It all started on July 5 with the first of four starting days that produced a total field of 7,319 players in the event. The two second days resulted in only 2,557 players standing, and Day 3 reduced that number to only 1,203. Day 4 stopped at 574 players, Day 5 took it to 205, and Day 6 thinned that field to only 78. Day 7 then worked its way to the final 27 players in less than 12 hours. With the elimination of Bryn Kenney in 28th place, the final 27 was led by Joseph Cheong holding 24,490,000 chips, followed by Cuong (Soi) Nguyen with 23,100,000.
|Seat 1: ||Jason Senti ||7,625,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Joseph Cheong ||23,525,000 |
|Seat 3: ||John Dolan ||46,250,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Jonathan Duhamel ||65,975,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Michael Mizrachi ||14,450,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Matthew Jarvis ||16,700,000 |
|Seat 7: ||John Racener ||19,050,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Filippo Candio ||16,400,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Soi Nguyen ||9,650,000 |
Action got underway just after the scheduled noon start time, and MMA fighter and former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman did the “shuffle up and deal” honors. With that, players were ready to gamble. And it only took a few minutes to hear the first all-in and call hand.
It happened when Matt Affleck started the hand with a raise and Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden pushed his last 1.47 million all-in. Affleck considered his options and finally called with , and Lodden showed . The flop of didn’t interfere with the pocket pair, but the gave Affleck the pair of tens and the lead, which held up through the on the river. Lodden was the first player to depart Day 8, taking with him $317,161.
In the next level and a half, the following players departed in the same payout bracket:
26th place: Matthew Bucaric
25th place: Mads Wissing
24th place: Ronnie Bardah
23rd place: Robert Pisano
The last of the Team PokerStars Pros was the next up for elimination when he tried a move that simply backfired. John Dolan made the initial raise, and John Racener and Brandon Steven both called. William Thorson reraised for approximately 5 million chips. Racener was the only caller and showed , while Thorson showed only . The board of didn’t bring the necessary cards for Thorson, who left the tournament in a surprising 22nd place with $317,161.
A few others then took the same payout amount as follows:
21st place: Redmond Lee
20th place: Patrick Eskandar
19th place: Michiel Sijpkens
The final 18 players were moved, in a very hectic process considering the number of fans in the area, to the last two tables. And it was soon after that Scott Clements moved all-in for a bit more than 4.9 million from the button. Matthew Jarvis reraised all-in from the big blind, and original raiser Mizrachi folded. Clements showed for his tournament life, and Jarvis turned over an oh-so superior . The board came , and Clements was gone in 18th place with $396,967.
The new payout level, as kicked off by Clements, found other takers, and the next was David Baker, who put his chips at risk on a board of with for the flush draw. Jonathan Duhamel called with for the overpair. The turn and river cards ended it, and Baker walked away with $396,967 for the 17th place finish.
Soon after, Benjamin Statz exited in 16th, and the remaining 15 players took a 90-minute break for dinner.
Upon their return, one of the biggest pots of the tournament developed, and it turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking. Duhamel started the hand with a raise, and Affleck reraised. Duhamel then pushed it up to nearly 4 million chips, and Affleck called to see the flop. Affleck put in 5 million chips, and Duhamel check-called. That prompted the dealer to give them the on the turn. Affleck pushed all-in for 11.6 million. Duhamel thought for awhile but finally check-called with for the straight draw, but Affleck showed for his overpair. But the dramatic hit on the river to give Duhamel the straight. Affleck put his hat over his face to hide his feelings as he attempted to hide his deep disappointment, and some photographers even backed off to give him his privacy. As Duhamel scooped a pot worth nearly 51 million chips, a disillusioned Affleck departed with $500,165 for the 15th place finish.
The next to go was the perpetually short-stacked Hasan Habib, who pushed his last 1.8 million chips all-in with , but found that caller John Racener had with which to call. The board came to give Racener the better two pair, and Hasan Habib was ousted in 14th place.
After Duy Le left in 13th place, the payout level increased again. And then it was Adam Levy who decided to push his 3,945,000 stack all-in with . And Duhamel happened to wake up with . Levy was going to need a great deal of help, but the board didn’t do it. That left Levy with $635,011 for the 12th place finish.
Just before midnight, Pascal LeFrancois was eliminated in 11th place by Joseph Cheong, and the room was cleared of spectators so the redraw for the final table could happen in relative peace. The last 10 players were finally seated together. And they were seated that way for nearly six hours. There were only a handful of all-ins during that time, as play tightened up and fans and media fell asleep.
But finally, at about 5:45am, it happened. Brandon Steven pushed his last 4,475,000 all-in with , and Matthew Jarvis called with . Original raiser Jonathan Duhamel folded out of the way, and all eyes were on the dealer as he produced a board. That left Steven out in tenth place with $635,011.
With that, the November Nine was determined and listed as follows:
When the players return in November, they will be competing for the following prize money, though all were guaranteed and would walk away on July 18 with ninth place money:
Stay tuned to our coverage as we introduce you to the November Nine, write about their exploits in the coming months, and cover the conclusion of the 2010 WSOP Main Event in December.