2015 WSOP Main Event November Nine Set, Daniel Negreanu Falls Short
After a long week and a half of poker, the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event November Nine has finally been determined. 6,420 hopefuls began the tournament last weekend and now one can count the number of players remaining on two feet. This year’s final table features players from four countries: Israel, Belgium, Italy and the United States. And while most of the players are quite young – six are age 26 or younger – we also have the two oldest players ever to make the November Nine.
One player missing from the final table is fan favorite and 2014 Poker Hall of Fame inductee, Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu just missed the November Nine, struggling to maintain a chip stack on Tuesday and finally falling in 11th place.
The final nine players will return to the Rio on Sunday, November 8th, and play down to four players. Those four will continue on November 9th until their ranks are halved. The two finalists will compete heads-up for the bracelet and nearly $7.7 million on November 10th.
Every player who remains is guaranteed at least $1 million. Let’s take a quick look at who we will see on ESPN in a few months:
Seat 1: Zvi Stern — 29,800,000 chips
Zvi Stern, 36, is just the second player from Israel to make the November Nine, the last being Amir Lehavot in 2013 (he finished third). Stern spent most of Days 6 and 7 at or near the top of the leader board, so while it is never easy to make the final table, he was rarely in any real trouble. If he dresses in November like he has the last couple days, he will be easy to pick out of the crowd: his dark hoodie, shades, and scruffy beard may on the one hand be poker cliché (hell, two other guys at the table were wearing hoodies, though with the hood down), but it just gives him a bit more of a tough look that makes him stand out.
Stern has had just two cashes prior to this one in live tournaments, one coming from the 63rd place finish in the the 2008 WSOP $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout.
Seat 2: Pierre Neuville — 21,075,000 chips
Pierre Neuville, at 72 years old, is the oldest player at the final table and would be the oldest WSOP Main Event champ of all time should he go on to win in November. Johnny Moss currently holds that record, winning the 1974 Main Event at age 67.
The Belgian was the chip leader after Day 5 and was obviously able to use his large chip stack to press on to the final table. He only cashed one time this year before the Main Event, but cashed an impressive eight times in 2014. He has $2.2 million (now at least $3.3 million) in career live tournament earnings.
Neuville is an interesting guy. He founded a game and toy company in 1969, eventually selling it to Hasbro in 1982. He went on to take an executive position with the company, leading Hasbro’s European division. Because so much of the company’s financial well-being rested on his shoulders, the company required him to stop gambling (he didn’t have a gambling problem, it was just a precaution). Thus, he had to quit playing poker, a game he had enjoyed since 1957. When he retired in 2008, he took up poker once again.
Seat 3: Joshua Beckley — 11,800,000 chips
Joshua Beckley, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, will be one of the shorter stacks at the start of the final table, sitting in seventh place at the moment. Known primarily as “asdf26” online, Beckley has been racking up scores in New Jersey online tournaments with 120 total cashes and over $37,000 in winnings in the short time online poker has been alive in the Garden State. In only about a year, he has also earned $219,000 in live tournaments.
Seat 4: Max Steinberg — 20,200,000 chips
Max Steinberg, originally from Iowa and now living in California, is a professional poker and daily fantasy sports (DFS) player. The nattily-dressed Steinberg is the only player at the final table who has already won a WSOP bracelet, earning his in $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em in 2012.
He and his twin brother, Danny, run a fantasy sports strategy and advice site, dailyfantasywinners.com. He actually won his Main Event seat on the industry-leading DFS site, DraftKings.com.
Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli — 12,250,000 chips
Thomas Cannuli, a New Jersey native, is the youngest player at the final table. The 23-year-old just barely squeaked into the money last year, placing 691st when 693 cashed. That was a huge improvement from 2013, when he busted out in the second level of the first day.
Cannuli plays mostly online in New Jersey and is known as a strong cash game player in the local casinos. He doesn’t have many live tournament cashes, but that’s simply because he hasn’t played in tons of live tournaments. “I haven’t had a lot of exposure and that’s why a lot of people don’t know about me,” he told Bluff.com. “That’s the only reason why you guys haven’t heard of me – I haven’t exposed myself.”
Seat 6: Joe McKeehen — 63,100,000 chips
Joe McKeehen, 24, is a professional poker player from Pennsylvania. He could do no wrong on Tuesday, building his chip stack up to 63.1 million, more than good enough to make him the chip leader going into the November Nine. His stack is the largest to start the final table since Jamie Gold ran roughshod over everybody en route to the 2006 WSOP Main Event Championship. McKeehen’s chip stack is so large, in fact, that it is more than double that of Zvi Stern’s, the player currently in second place.
Not counting the Main Event, McKeehen has won about $2 million in live tournaments, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the WSOP Monster Stack event last year, which earned him $820,863. He was also a strong online player until Black Friday, having earned more than a million dollars in online tournaments under the nickname “dude904.”
Seat 7: Patrick Chan — 6,225,000 chips
Patrick Chan, a 24-year-old Brooklynite, had earned about half a million dollars in live tourneys before the Main Event. His resume reads like that of your classic local grinder, as most of cashes have been in low-buy-in, regional events in Atlantic City, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
Chan has four prior WSOP cashes to his credit, including a 226th place finish in the inaugural Colossus event early at the 2015 World Series. The biggest cash of Chan’s career prior to this week came back in 2012 when he won the $ 2,500 + 200 No Limit Hold’em Championship at the Borgata Fall Poker Open for $131,895.
Seat 8: Federico Butteroni — 6,200,000 chips
Federico Butteroni is the short stack of the November Nine with 6.2 million chips, though he is only 25,000 behind Patrick Chan. He can obviously play the short stack, though, as he was one of the lowest on the leader board for the last couple days. He would certainly prefer to be in Joe McKeehen’s position, but being in ninth place with nine players remaining is better than being out of the tournament.
Butteroni is the second Italian to make the November Nine. The first was Filippo Candio, who finished fourth in 2010. The 25-year-old has two previous World Series of Poker cashes, both coming this year. He came fairly close to a bracelet in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack event, finishing in 20th place.
Seat 9: Neil Blumenfield — 22,000,000 chips
Neil Blumenfield, at age 61, is the second oldest player at the final table this year behind Pierre Neuville. Were it not for Neuville, he would have actually been the oldest player in November Nine history, beating Steve Gee, who was 57 when he made the final table in 2012. Hailing from San Francisco, he has three previous WSOP cashes, one of which was in the 2012 WSOP Main Event, where he finished 285th. Blumenfield was also the very first State of Nevada Poker Champion, winning the inaugural title in 2008.