2015 WSOP November Nine Commences Sunday

You know you have been in the poker industry too long when the calendar page turns to November and you immediately think, “The November Nine is coming.”

Yes, it is that time. The final table of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event has arrived. When we last left the tournament in mid-July, Alex Turyansky had been eliminated in tenth place, arguably one of the most painful “bubble boy” experiences one can have in poker, to setup the official table and the November Nine.

2015 WSOP November Nine Image Credit: Joe Giron/WSOP

2015 WSOP November Nine
Image Credit: Joe Giron/WSOP

The fortunate and skilled group of players will meet up to do battle in the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, November 8th. The proceedings will begin at 5:00pm Pacific time and will continue until four players remain. That quartet will return on Monday, November 9th until they are just a duo and the heads-up match for all the marbles will take place on Tuesday, November 10th. Tournament officials do have some leeway on Sunday and Monday as to when to call it a night, as nobody knows exactly how long it will take to reach the desired cut-off points. It is entirely possible that it could take so long to get to four players on Sunday (likely Monday morning, really), that five or six players will need to come back on Monday.

Each of the nine remaining players has already won at least $1 million, but certainly, they all want more plus the accolades that come from winning the most desired piece of jewelry in poker. Every run up the payout ladder is significant, but things really start getting serious (as if a million bucks isn’t serious) at around sixth place. From sixth to fifth is a jump of about half a million dollars and it keeps escalating from there, with the top prize being $7,683,346.

Joe McKeehen Rules All

Joe McKeehen goes into the final table with a gigandor lead, holding 63.1 million chips. His closest competitor is Zvi Stern with an impressive but not impressive stack of 29.8 million chips. Naturally, he is also the favorite to win the tournament, listed at 33/20 on Ladbrokes. Here is a look at Ladbrokes’ odds for each player at the final table:

Joseph McKeehen – 33/20
Zvi Stern – 5/1
Neil Blumenfield – 7/1
Max Steinberg – 7/1
Pierre Neuville – 7/1
Joshua Beckley – 16/1
Thomas Cannuli – 16/1
Patrick Chan – 28/1
Federico Butteroni – 28/1

As is usually the case, the odds follow the order of chip stacks. Blumenfield, Steinberg, and Neuville’s chip counts are all very close, hence their grouping at 7/1. Similarly, Beckley and Cannuli are very close together and Chan and Butteroni are the two shortest stacks with almost identical chip counts. Don’t take my word for it, though, so for reference (well, you’re technically taking my word for it, but just trust that I didn’t invent these numbers out of thin air):

Joe McKeehen — 63,100,000
Zvi Stern — 29,800,000
Neil Blumenfield — 22,000,000
Pierre Neuville — 21,075,000
Max Steinberg — 20,200,000
Thomas Cannuli — 12,250,000
Joshua Beckley — 11,800,000
Patrick Chan — 6,225,000
Federico Butteroni — 6,200,000

Speaking of betting on the final table (which seems weird in and of itself: gambling on gambling), Ladbrokes has just a silly number of prop bets listed for the November Nine. You can literally bet on what the last turn and/or river card will be. An exact match bet (say, for instance, you think the turn card on the final hand will be the four of clubs) pays off at 45/1, but if you aren’t quite so bold, you could just bet on the card being a four at 11/1. There are odds for what the winning hand will be, what the winner’s hole cards will be, and what the suits of the final cards will be.

We’re Witnessing History by Default

Part of the fun of poker and the World Series of Poker Main Event final table in particular is that you never know what’s going to happen, what sort of amazing hand will go down, or what kind of history will be made. We do know, however, that at least one record will be broken. At age 72, Pierre Neuville will become the oldest player in November Nine history, besting Steve Gee’s mark of 57 in 2012. Neuville is also the first Belgian to reach the November Nine. Interestingly, Neil Blumenfield, at age 61, will also break Gee’s record, though he will have to settle for being the second oldest November Niner of all time.

The final table broadcast will be “semi-live” on ESPN starting at 8:30pm ET on Sunday. On Monday, it will shift to ESPN2 at 8:00pm ET so as not to preempt “Monday Night Football,” and will then return to ESPN-proper for the heads-up match on Tuesday at 9:30pm ET.

Be sure to set your DVRs to not only end recording as late as possible, but perhaps also record several hours of shows after the WSOP, as we have no idea how long into the morning the tournament will last.

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