Well, the final "November Nine" table has been set for play on 4-5 November later this year. It was a long slug fest for the remaining players, with the clock ticking past 3am before the final table was finally set. And what a brutal ending for my one remaining horse in the race, Carlos Mortensen, who ended up bubbling the final table in 10th place. Carlos turned middle pair with the nut flush draw on a relatively dry board, but JC Tran had turned a disguised straight and the river didn't improve El Matador. To play seven long days of poker, work your way deep into the morning, get to the ultimate bubble... and then lose? Ouch. I can't imagine the disappointment. In some ways, it's worse than busting on something like Day 2, far from the money....
...Okay, maybe not. Carlos still walked away with more than half million bucks, but you have to admit it's gotta be very, very painful to know you fought to just this close to another ME final table, but came up wanting. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
Anyway, here be the chip counts of the chosen Nine:
- JC Tran. T38M. Tran is the clear the favorite to win it all. He has the stack, obviously, and is also perhaps the most accomplished tournament player of the bunch. He's also been at or near the top of the leaderboard for days now, so he's clearly playing very good poker and not just relying on heaters and cards.
- Amir Lehavot. T29.7M. Lehavot has a previous WSOP bracelet to his name, so he clearly belongs at this table. Very solid player.
- Marc LcLaughlin. T26.5M. I don't know really anything about this guy's background.
- Jay Farber. T25.9M. I watched some of this guy's play throughout the last few tables and he seems like just a solid player.
- Ryan Riess. T25.9M. Again, don't know much about this player, but he comes off as very solid, too.
- Sylvain Loosli. T19.6M. Loosli got a lot of attention over the last few days with his big run up the leader board. And his name seems to fit his style: loose and aggressive. Viva la France.
- Michiel Brummelhuis. T11.3M. This Nederlander was just a chip accumulating machine during the last few days of play. Very impressive, but with a stack this short it's gonna be a tough uphill fight.
- Mark Newhouse. T7.4M. Short stacked, but very skilled. Newhouse reportedly won a WPT title a few years ago, so he clearly has the chops to be at this table. But like I said: short stacked.
- David Benefield. T6.4M. The shortest of the short, Benefield is an online cash game specialist who recently hasn't been playing much as he focuses on finishing school. He went from essentially last place on Day 6 to the final table. If I had to pick a dark horse, Benefield is my guy.
Ya gotta luv dis time of da year...
All-in for now...