The 2010 World Series of Poker has wrapped for the summer, though nine players are left standing from the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship. After 56 preliminary tournaments and two weeks of the Main Event, the WSOP halted just before 6:00am on Sunday morning, July 18, with the November Nine set, aptly named as they were the final table players who were set to return to Las Vegas in November to play down to a winner just days before the ESPN air date.
It was a Main Event that attracted 7,319 players, making it the second largest in the 41-year history of the poker tournament. There were four starting days, after which two second days left the field with only 2,557 players left. Day 3 ended with 1,203 players, Day 4 with 574, Day 5 with 205, Day 6 with 78, and Day 7 with only 27 survivors. That took everyone to Day 8, the day to decide who made it and who went home with several hundred thousand dollars.
Day 8 started at noon on July 17 at a reasonable pace, finding eliminations within the first hour. But it was just before midnight when Pascal LeFrancois busted in 11th place that caution became the word of the night. It took nearly six hours before another elimination occurred, and it was finally Brandon Steven whose A-K fell to the pocket queens of Jonathan Duhamel to send Steven to the cashier cage for his tenth place reward of $635,011.
That left the November Nine celebrating and handling the throngs of media. All posed for the cameras for quite a long time as family and friends watched, and they were finally escorted to the payout room to pick up their guaranteed ninth place money of $811,823 for their performances. The names and finishing chip counts of those players were:
|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|
Their return to Vegas will be to the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio on Saturday, November 6, where the goal will be to play down to the final two, and that heads-up battle is scheduled for Monday, November 8. The corresponding ESPN television broadcast will follow on November 9. And they’ll be playing for the following prizes.
1st place: $8,944,138
2nd place: $5,545,855
3rd place: $4,129,979
4th place: $3,092,497
5th place: $2,332,960
6th place: $1,772,939
7th place: $1,356,708
8th place: $1,045,738
9th place: $811,823
One of the players is a name known to poker fans throughout the world, as Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is one of the most popular players on the live tournament circuit. But John Racener has also been a professional player for years, and the other players deserve their own recognition as well. In order to better acquaint poker fans with the November Nine, soon to be the most talked-about players in the poker world as the year finishes out, some short biographies have been put together about each player.
Jonathan Duhamel is the overwhelming chip leader going to the table in November with 65.9 million chips. Not only is he the youngest player at the table at 22 years old, but he is one of two players representing Canada. He lives in Boucherville, Quebec, and after pursuing an education in finance, the young pro began to make a living from online poker and transitioned to the life of a pro, live and online. His first small live cashes came at tournament series in Verona, but his first major cash came at the EPT Prague in 2008 with a tenth place finish. At the 2010 WSOP, he cashed in two events - 50th in the $1,500 NLHE 6-max and 15th in the $2,500 NLHE - but what he has already achieved by securing a seat at the November final table eclipses every other accomplishment thus far by a long shot.
John Dolan is one of two players from Florida but the only one second in chips with 46.2 million going into action in a few months. The Bonita Springs native adds to the youth factor at the table, being only 24 years old. But age irrelevant, he is one of the most experienced players at the table and the most recognized after Mizrachi and Racener. A former poker dealer, Dolan began his transition to player after cashing in the 2007 WSOP Casino Employee NLHE event, and his first big cash came in 2008 when he finished fourth in a Biloxi tournament for more than $26K. He cashed twice at the 2009 WSOP, but it was in 2010 that he cashed in a $1,500 NLHE at the WSOP, then final tabled a $1K NLHE event for a sixth place cash, and finally made the final table of the Main Event for the biggest cash of his career to date.
Born Saguhyon Cheong but now going by Joseph Cheong, the 24-year old full-time poker professional was born in South Korea but raised in the United States from the age of six. The member of the November Nine with 23.5 million chips, good for third place going into the action, is no stranger to studying, as he has a psychology, math, and economics degree from the University of California at San Diego. Now he studies poker for a living and has been doing so for several years. He has a number of live tournament cashes to his credit dating back to the spring of 2009, but it wasn’t until March of 2010 that he won his first event, a WSOP Circuit tournament at Harrah’s Rincon for $17,541. And it was at the 2010 WSOP that he shone the brightest, cashing in two events leading up to the Main Event, where he now has $811,823 locked up and will fight hard for the nearly $9 million set aside for the winner.
John Racener is one of the most experienced at the November Nine table, despite being one of the youngest at only 24. The Port Richey, Florida full-time poker pro was raised by card-playing parents and a family supportive of his career, and they will be cheering him on as he sits down with 19 million chips in four months. As for his previous successes, they are many and date back to 2006, when he final tabled and finished third in a WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City for more than $103K, then won a Bellagio weekly tournament for another $27K. He had three World Poker Tour cashes, one just outside of a final table, but the WSOP has been his bread and butter, with numerous cashes and several final tables through the years. But it was his 2007 win at the WSOP-C Atlantic City Main Event that garnered him the most attention…and money, as the first prize was $379,392. The 2010 WSOP was solid with three event cashes, but the seat at the Main Event final table clearly outranks the rest.
The second Canadian at the table is Matthew Jarvis, a 25-year old online poker pro who hails from Surrey, British Columbia. He’ll be taking a stack of 17.6 million chips to the final table in November, and his renewed status as a full-time poker player will allow him to focus on how to improve that stack. He started playing poker six years ago online, though he did find the ability to cash in several live events in the last two years, his best showing being at the 2009 British Columbia Poker Championships where he finished 11th for $20,237. Poker had proved more profitable than school, so he continued his education hiatus with a 2010 trip to Las Vegas, where he cashed in several Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza tournaments before making his deep run in the WSOP Main Event.
Filippo Candio is the sole representative of Europe in the nine WSOP Main Event finalists, and the 26-year old couldn’t be prouder of finding his poker way on American soil. The Calgliari, Sardinia resident has played poker for four years, and the Italian has numerous cashes, including final tables and a victory (a €140K win in the 2009 Campionato Italiano Main Event in San Remo), in his home country’s poker tournament series. He even had several EPT cashes over the past three years, but his first trip to the United States brought him to the 2010 WSOP, where he minimum-cashed in a $1,500 NLHE tournament before running deep in the Main Event. The first Italian to make the November Nine looks to represent his country well in November.
Undoubtedly the most well-known and experienced member of the November Nine is Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. The Miami, Florida resident began playing in his home state in his early 20’s and found early live tournament poker success from the Bellagio to Foxwoods as early as 2004. But the poker world got a dose of Grinder when he stormed the World Poker Tour in 2005, with a final table finish of fifth at the World Poker Open before winning the L.A. Poker Classic the following month for $1,859,909. He even finished 11th at the WPT World Championship in April of that year. In 2006, he won another WPT title, that one at the Borgata Winter Open, just 10 days after finishing second at the WPT World Poker Open. His years on the live circuit were filled with massive success, though financial troubles of late prompted speculation that his time was thin as a successful pro. But Mizrachi changed all of that by making an amazing showing at the 2010 WSOP. He not only won the $50K 8-Game Poker Players’ Championship for more than $1.5 million, but he made two more final tables before grinding his way to a spot with the November Nine.
Cuong Nguyen, who prefers to go by Soi Nguyen, is the second oldest player at the table at the age of 37. The Vietnamese-born Nguyen now lives in Santa Ana, California, and works a day job as a medical supply salesman to support his child. Mostly a recreational poker player for the past ten years, the relative amateur has only played four live tournaments, one being the 2010 WSOP Main Event with the help of backer and friend Chino Rheem. The guaranteed ninth place finish in the tournament will be the biggest score of Nguyen’s life, but he hopes to do better than ninth, despite his second lowest chip stack of 9.6 million chips going to the table in November.
The shortest stacked player of the November Nine is Jason Senti, a 25-year old pro poker player with only 7.6 million chips. Married and living in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Senti made his living as an engineer until making his way in the online poker scene and making a living at it for the past three years. Live poker has not been his forte in the past, but a 32nd place finish at the 2009 WSOP Main Event prompted him to try again in 2010, and that effort resulted in a place at the Main Event final table in November. While he continues to take the most pride in playing online poker for a living, he looks forward to trying to win the Main Event.