The WSOP resumes action this week with the iron men of the November Nine gearing up for their biggest pay day ever, and the opportunity to be the 2011 World Series of Poker Champion. From November 6th – 8th, 2011 in Las Vegas, the WSOP final table will finally be played out, and a champion will materialize.
To win the WSOP and join past greats such as Johnny Chan, Phil Helmuth and the online poker poster-boy Chris Moneymaker, is the ultimate achievement in poker. The prize for first place in the 2011 WSOP is $8,715,638. That’s cold and hard US dollars. The competitors will start up with the same amount of chips they left off with in the summer, and play in front of live TV cameras and a large audience beginning on November 6th. As the blinds increase and moves are made, inescapably one by one the warriors will be knocked out. After eight more players hit the road, the last man standing with all of the chips will be crowned the 2011 WSOP champion and begin an untold journey of fame and fortune.
The November Nine, while still being a relatively new concept in the WSOP, adds plenty of additional excitement to the final table, which is now dripping with anticipation. All 9 players are facing the opportunity to win life changing money, yet the pressure is somewhat reduced due to the face that even 9th place will take home nearly a million dollars.
So who are the lucky and skilled players who outlasted the rest to claim the name “November Nine”? Here is a list of the players and their chips counts:
1. Martin Staszko – 40,175,000
Country: Czeck Republic
2. Eoghan O’Dea – 33,925,000
3. Matt Giannetti – 24,750,000
4. Phil Collins – 23,875,000
5. Ben Lamb – 20,875,000
6. Badih Bounahra – 19,700,000
7. Pius Heinz – 16,425,000
8. Anton Makiievskyi – 13,825,000
9. Sam Holden – 12,375,000
While Martin Staszko is already the only Czeck to ever make a WSOP main event final table, he unquestionably wants more. With over 40 Million in chips, he is the outright leader going in to the first day of action. Is he the consummate favorite though? Many poker analysts suggest that while it’s obviously still anybody’s game, the 2nd place Eoghan O’Dea is potentially the most dangerous player left. He is sitting in 2nd place in chips, and his 5 previous WSOP cashes makes him the actual favorite to win it all in many people’s assessment. Donnacha O’Dea, who is regarded as one of the best poker players ever to come out of Ireland is the 26 year old Eoghan’s father.
Shockingly, his father has also made not one but two main event final tables, in 1991 and 1983. Eoghan will be looking to make his dad and the rest of Ireland proud by taking down first prize.
The WSOP is the most prestigious poker event in the world, and it’s tradition is trumped by none other. While the main event always begins in the summer time and brings out thousands of entrants, the last nine players have been coined the “November Nine” and pause play until the fall. The final table being played out in November is only a recent development in the last few years. It was done to allow time to hype up the players and their brands and to add suspense and drama to the final table.
One thing is for sure, Las Vegas and the entire poker world is buzzing about the November Nine, and anxious to finally wrap up this year’s WSOP with a final winner. What miraculous stories lay in the wait? What heroes are going to be made this time around? The only way to find out is to watch it on TV, be there live, or follow the updates here at Mac Poker Online.
Until Sunday, all we can do is use our imagination and take an educated guess as to who is going to take this thing down. Can Eoghan O’Dea get another World Series cash, this one the biggest of his life? Or will one of the other 7 players overtake the forerunner Staszko? These questions will be answered starting this Sunday, where a new poker star is guaranteed to be born in Las Vegas.