The November Nine – Who are they?

August 23, 2008

And should we care?

I’ve been a fan of this new proposed ‘final table’ structure for the WSOP Main Event, mainly because I think it presents an opportunity for casual fans to become more interested in the game.  Which at the end of the day, is the main reason poker is a viable occupation for some people.  New blood feeds this economy and anyone that tells you different is lying.  Not to mention, the ‘rake’ being taken out of the economy by online sites, harrah’s, wsop, wpt, vegas, espn, etc needs to be replaced…you could argue some of these properties bring endorsement money value in as well, but it is such a small percentage of the total community that it is most certainly an overall net loss.  Sorry, I digress…

Originally, I was hoping the final table people would have some interesting stories (and perhaps there still are a few diamonds in the rough) but overall, there are not any super star tv personalities.  I wanted to see some 24/7 style De La Hoya type reality show…but I’m not convinced these guys have enough fire power to fuel that type of show.

So we have this cast of characters about to tee-off for the biggest single table sng of their lives…who are they:

Chip leader: Dennis Phillips – chip count: 27M – seat 1 – he’s an account manager for a trucking company.  Says that regardless of what happens in November, he isn’t going to quit his job.  We’ll see.  This is his first major poker tournament cash, and got into the WSOP ME through a satellite at his local casino.  While his chip count (and bookies) would say he has the best chance of winning…I wouldn’t bet on it.

Ivan Demidov – chip count: 24.4M – seat 7 – A fairly close second to Phillips this will be Demidov’s second cash of the 2008 WSOP as he took 11th place in Event 44 NL w Rebuys for $39,854. Demidov hails from Moscow, Russia.  He started playing poker two years ago.

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WSOP 2008 ME Final Table Delay

May 7, 2008

If you haven’t already heard, the world series of poker main event final table for 2008 will be delayed until November 9-10, 2008.  Yikes…

It certainly is an interesting concept.  The days leading up to the final table will be played the first week of July.  Is this a buzz kill?

Many of the top pros are supporting this decision by Harrah’s, and while initially I thought this was a pretty gary move I am starting to come around on the idea.  It will certainly be a buzz kill for those in Vegas during July.  But having been there the past few years myself, I can attest to the fact that the cash games dry up during the main event (especially the final few days/final table day) and people are generally on their way out of vegas. 

This leaves us to the shotty updates of the likes of cardplayer, pokernews, et al. to learn who the winner is.  There was a pay-per-view type live coverage of the final table, but that isn’t a perfect solution either since final tables take foooorreeevvveerrr in the live setting.  Then ESPN edits it down and plays it a few months later, when the poker community has long since forgotten about the wsop and cares more about who won the sunday million last week.

So the final table excitement has always been a little anti-climatic, and now this new change in format provides an opportunity for people within and outside of the poker community to discuss who will possibly win – and watch it together in a more real time setting.

Also of note – anyone making the final table in July will be paid 9th place money before they go home to practice sng’s for the rest of the summer.  Last year that was in the 9th place finisher received a little over $500k.  I’ll take it.  They will also be paid airfare and accomodations for two to come back in November.

It will be funny to watch all the degenerate scrubs who make the final table come back with a whole new swagger in November – look out new shiny shirts, shoes, and suits…papa’s got a brand new bag!

You can read the official press release here.