Surviving a field of 6,494 player, 9 players will reconvene at the final table in November for a shot at $8.5 Million and the most illustrious prize in Poker History, a Main Event Championship Bracelet. Here are the final 9 Players, their Chip Counts, and their World Series of Poker Experience:
Darvin Moon – (58,930,000) CHIP LEADER – The beneficiary of two gigantic pots late, Moon has soared to the chip lead. He busted Bill Kopp in 11th place by flopping a better flush with Qd-Jd to Kopp’s 5d-3d, and won a pot worth about 45k. Then, he eliminated Jordan Smith in 10th place with 88 vs AA by flopping a set of 8’s, and getting Smith all in on the flop. This is Moon’s first ever tournament cash at the WSOP, and he's set himself up nicely to run very deep with almost twice as many chips as then closest player at the final table.
Eric Buchman – (34,800,000) – This makes double digit cashes for Eric Buchman as he has 9 previous WSOP Cashes, totaling $320,893 in tournament winnings. He also has 1 Circuit cash to the tune of $208,666. He is no stranger to final tables with 3 already under his belt (1 being that circuit event, the $5,000 buy in Atlantic City where he finished 2nd). He finished runner up in the 2006 WSOP in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event, and 6th in this year’s $2,500 buy in Omaha/Seven Card Stud HL/8 or better event. Eric is a professional poker player, and a force to be reckoned with as he sits 2nd in chips. He is very experienced.
Steven Begleiter – (29,885,000) – Another unknown in poker, Begleiter has also made this his first ever WSOP Cash. With just under 30 million chips, Steven is poised to make a very deep run.
Jeff Shulman – (19,580,000) - ‘Happy’ Shulman is another experienced player who is no stranger to the cash in the WSOP. With 15 career WSOP Tournament Cashes, and $289,551 in career earnings at the WSOP, Shulman is an experienced player. He was 4 other final table’s in the WSOP, but never finished better than 3rd. In 2000, he made only $500 in the Charity No Limit Hold’em event for that 3rd place finish. His biggest cash to date was that same year where he made the final table of the Main Event, but was eliminated in 7th place for $146,700. Things have changed at the main event since ‘Happy’ last took part in a final table, but look for him to use his prior experience to accumulate chips.
Joseph Cada – (13,215,000) – Cada had his first, second, and only cashes at this year’s WSOP. He placed 64th in Event 13 (the No Limit Hold’em $2,500 buy-in event) for $6,681, and he placed 17th in Event 34 (the $1,500 buy in No-Limit Hold’em) for $21,533. Joseph is being railed by the pro’s at Ultimate Bet, so expect names like Hellmuth, Duke, and Tiffany Michelle to be names along the rail if Joe is able to run deep.
Kevin Schaffel – (12,390,000) – This is Kevin’s second career WSOP cash, with the other coming in as a 324th place finish in last year’s Main Event. Schaffel picked up a payday of $32,166 for that performance.
Phil Ivey – (9,765,000) – The best player at this table is probably the best player in the world. Ivey is the 7 time bracelet winning monster that NO player at this table wants to get involved with. Despite the fact that he’s shorter on chips, the professional poker player is a regular to all high stakes games. He was the youngest player ever to attain 5 WSOP bracelets, and of his 7 previous victories, none have come in No Limit Hold’em. He has 35 WSOP Cashes, 22 of which came at Final Tables. Despite the fact that Ivey holds more than $3.4 million in career WSOP Tournament winnings, this will be his largest WSOP cash. Of the 6,494 players that entered the tournament, Ivey is considered one of the favorites by most, and at this final table, he has to be counted a favorite regardless of his chip size. Expect Ivey to use his experience to take some uncontested pots, simply because other players want to avoid him.
Antoine Saout – (9,500,000) – The Frenchman of the field is one of two non US players. Saout has made this final table his first WSOP cash, and hopes to make it the year that an international player takes it away from the Yanks. He’s got a long road to hoe if that’s the case as he’s sitting 8th of the 9 remaining players.
James Akenhead – (6,800,000) – The Brit comes into the Final Table with the fewest chips of the November 9, but is not without his WSOP final table experience. Akenhead has 2 other WSOP cashes to his credit, including a runner up in last year’s $1,500 buy in No Limit Hold’em Event #2. His 2nd place finish netted the Brit a sum of $520,219. Later that season at the WSOPE, James also placed 39th in the E1500 buy in event netting him 3075 Euro’s. Make no mistake, James is an excellent player, and very capable of doubling his stack to make this very competitive.
All 9 players are capable of putting together a run, and winning it all. It’s almost a shame that we have to wait till November to see who will be crowned the next champion. I’ll have a piece on each of the players with a little bit more bio information as we approach the main event. But for now, that’s all on the main event till November. Cheers, P