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  • 2008 WSOP – Day 7

    By Anthony Holden

    One Dane, one Russian, two Canadians and five Americans. We have our ‘November Nine’.

    It took until 3.30 a.m. on the 11th gruelling day of the tournament for Dean Hamrick of Minnesota to be eliminated in tenth place after some 15 hours of play, which had started at noon with the last 27 of the 6,844 starters in the Main Event of the 39th World Series of Poker.

    Play was eventually suspended with 20 minutes left of Level 33, when the final nine were told by tournament director Jack Effel: ‘Players, you may now go on your 117-day break!’

    The all-male ‘November Nine’, who will return to the Rio on 9 November to fight it out for the $9.12 million first prize and the title of 2008 world champion of poker, are:

    • Seat 1: Dennis Phillips (Illinois) – 26,295,000
    • Seat 2: Craig Marquis (Texas)- 10,210,000
    • Seat 3: Ylon Schwartz (New York) – 12,525,000
    • Seat 4: Scott Montgomery (Canada) – 19,690,000
    • Seat 5: Darus Suharto (Canada) – 12,520,000
    • Seat 6: David ‘Chino’ Rheem (Florida) – 10,230,000
    • Seat 7: Ivan Demidov (Russia) – 24,400,000
    • Seat 8: Kelly Kim (California) – 2,620,000
    • Seat 9: Peter Eastgate (Denmark) – 18,375,000

    All are taking home the ninth place prize money of $900,670; the rest has been banked by Harrah’s, to earn interest until November. The prize money has been announced as follows:

    • 8th $1,286,672
    • 7th $1,769,174
    • 6th $2,412,510
    • 5th $3,088,012
    • 4th $3,763,515
    • 3rd $4,503,352
    • 2nd $5,790,024
    • 1st $9,119,517

    These nine are now frozen in time until mid-November. They have four months to seek out sponsorship deals as well as final-table coaching, expert scrutiny of ESPN’s coverage of the opposition, and (if they choose) to start doing deals.

    I suspect there will be a sense of letdown in November, compared with the frenzy that usually accompanies the final table of the main event – a tense continuation of the exhausting two-week marathon (which took a mere four days when I first played in it in 1988). Most 2008 players have already gone home, and few will return to watch the endgame, which will be broadcast on ESPN within 24 hours, after four months of build-up.

    American poker devotees who want to watch ‘as live’ will thus learn what it is like in Blighty for diehard football fans, who struggle for hours to avoid hearing the footy results before Match of the Day. The atmosphere in the Rio card-room will likely be much less crazed than usual, as the gallery is thinned down to family, friends and backers.

    The startling decision to postpone the final table was jointly made by the WSOP, ESPN, and the WSOP Players Advisory Council, who enigmatically say they ‘look forward to documenting all of the exciting stories that make the Main Event the seminal competition in all poker.’ Let’s hope all those stories are positive ones. There has been much dissent around the Rio all fortnight about this bold new twist to the climax of the WSOP.

    WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has called it an ‘experiment’, designed to broaden public interest in poker, which will be repeated only if it is deemed to have been a success. He added tonight: ‘Our intent is to provide an even stronger tournament for all players and the entire poker industry.’ Fans would now spend four months asking ‘Who will win?’ rather than ‘Who won?’ The ‘excitement and interest’ surrounding the final nine players would now be ‘unprecedented.’

    Well, the jury is out on that one, and won’t return till mid-November. But let’s all hope the gamble pays off. For now, there’s a general feeling that all this is likely to benefit ESPN more than poker.

    It cannot be denied that it’s been a vintage World Series this year. But it feels really odd to be heading home without knowing who won. Home I now go, however, to watch November’s finale from 5,000 miles away.

    ‘Six of the Nine are PokerStars players!’ Picture: Neil Stoddard
    Tony Holden and his Hat

    From left to right : Ylon Schwartz – (FTP) – Dennis Phillips – Peter Eastgate – Darus Suharto – (FTP back) – (FTP front) – Ivan Demidov – David Rheem

    The six named are PokerStars players, the other three Full Tilt players

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    Comment from Johnny Hughes
    Time: July 16, 2008, 2:00 pm

    This may be an experiment like the experiment conducted the last year Stu Ungar won. They held the final table outdoors in the middle of Fremont Street. What the experiment discovered is that, in the summer, it gets very hot in the desert. The wind also blows the cards off the board. The major discovery was that air conditioning is good for poker.

    Comment from Larry Hinden
    Time: July 17, 2008, 12:49 am

    Mr. Holden,

    As a great lover of your books and a PokerStars qualifier this year to the wsop, I was excited when my friend Howard Swains told me at the PokerStars Party(screaming above the din) that you were “somewhere here”! I even implored Mad Harper to go find you for me. But alas, the smoke, the darkness, the throng of people, and pounding noise proved too much for my wife who kept pulling me towards the door after about an hour.

    So entirely different and lovely was the party in Costa Rica for the LAPT even held there recently, that I had very high hopes for the party in Vegas. I admit I was a little disappointed, but even more so for not getting the chance to meet you. Here is a picture of me (as well as a blog) taken at the party in Costa Rica.

    So, this medium will have to suffice to pass on my kind words about your work. As I told Howard that night and many others in the past, your books are like warm cookies and milk to me. Or perhaps a warm blanket to curl up with. For me, and I imagine many poker players, you think about and do many of the things we are thinking about and doing (or maybe wishing we were doing), but your talent for writing, telling stories first person and biographical makes your work a true retreat for a poker player such as myself. I so envy those players that have not read your books as yet.

    And I know you get so much of this praise from so many sources that it all must run together. But I know good writing as great writers run in my family. Not me, but my father Stan Hinden. In my case great writing skiped a generation 😉 But he has been a lifetime journalist and writer for the Washington Post with a career spanning 60 years! Alas, he does not play poker…a flaw that I only forgive him because he is my dad. 🙂

    Anyway, thank you for your work, your inspiration and the hours of cozy reading you have given me and the poker community. I will continue to work hard to qualify for more events so that I may have the added benefit of getting to meet you along with the possibility of making a lot of money! 🙂

    Cheers from your loyal reader, Larry

    Comment from Anthony Holden
    Time: July 17, 2008, 12:57 pm

    Thanks for your very kind words, Larry, and the terrific link – which enriches our site with the kind of detail David Cox has been seeking since Day 2a (Comments)…
    Looks like you were having a VERY good time in Costa Rica, making your wife sound an even more understanding person than Howard’s entertaining account of your (truly) BAD-beat adventures.
    Sorry about missing you at the Vegas bash – but I will hope to get together with you at a PokerStars event soon. Will you be coming to London this autumn for the WSOP or ETP tourneys? I will be at both, and will be pleased to present you with a replacement baseball cap to bring you better luck ! Warmest good wishes, A.H.

    Comment from Larry Hinden
    Time: July 18, 2008, 10:14 am

    Well, I would love to go to London for some of those events. I am ashamed to say that, at 51 years old, I have never been to Europe. A condition that could be remedied by qualifying for the EPT. And, since I follow the strict HOLDEN RULE: “If I’m going to enter the event I must win the buy-in”, it’s not looking so good right now. PokerStars currently has me on a new string of killer bad beats. My current hat (from the LAPT) is in mortal danger, and my two Airedales are looking nervous. 🙂

    After winning the qualifier for the LAPT in Costa Rica, and realizing how terribly long the odds were that I would ever win another buy-in I came up with an idea. Being a “baby boomer” myself and knowing that literally millions of baby boomers are retiring every year in the US, I hypothesized that there will be a new up-and-coming force in poker. Not OLD players but Older Players. Many of these boomers have a passion for poker and the resources and the time to become the “New Force” in poker. Besides, I’m really tired of hearing about all the “young guns” and hearing Norman Chad telling everyone, ad nauseam, that poker is now a young man’s game. So I related my theory to Mad Harper, with high hopes, and suggested that perhaps PokerStars would be interested in sponsoring me at a future event as a representative of that new emerging force in Poker that is the BOOMERS! Well, you know Mad. Without missing a beat she snapped…”But Larry, ……….first you have to wiiinnn somethinggggg.” OUCH!! My wife and daughter helped me sweep up the remnants of my shattered dream and helped me to carry it back to the hotel.

    Later, in the bar back at the hotel, Mad imposed upon me to exchange our PokerStars LAPT Jackets. She had ended up getting an extra large and was lusting after my more appropriate (for her) large. Since I preferred the extra room in my outer wear I agreed. She then further endeared herself to me by exclaiming to no one in particular and quite loudly as I recall, “OH No….Now I’m tied to the Hinden forever…we’ve exchanged fleeeccceeees….”. Lord but I do love that woman.

    As it turned out, I went home and a few weeks later, while wearing her (very lucky) fleece, I qualified, against all odds, for the WSOP in the FPP qualifier. A fact which I mentioned to her at the party in Vegas before dispatching her to find you.

    Perhaps this makes me strange, but for me, hanging out with Howard and Mad and others in the poker community is almost as big a bonus as qualifying for the event itself. Like I mentioned regarding reading your books it seems such a comfortable environment for me. Would that I could shift my life so that all of that could become a large part of my year instead of such a small occurrence.

    Alas, a long (and probably boring) way of telling you that I would love to see you at one of these upcoming events…..But it’s not looking good. Not on the qualifier front nor the sponsorship front. 🙁 But I am nothing if not persistent, so I will not be dissuaded. Not by bad beats or by MAD Harpers. 🙂

    Let’s optimistically call it a date shall we?


    Comment from Anthony Holden
    Time: July 18, 2008, 5:50 pm

    Larry – I’m deeply in love with Mad, too – whatever size of fleece she is wearing. My advice is to meet up with her – wherever – and you will clearly win the next qualifiier you play in. That woman brings good vibes, which translate into LUCK !
    See you in London, I have no doubt, A.H.
    PS : Don’t talk to me about baby-boomers etc, when I’m TEN years older than you! (& still recovering from Vegas jet-lag, as I will be for some weeks yet… which doesn’t bode well for my Friday Night Game tonight with Alvarez et al. But I suppose falling asleep at the table is just another version of my habitually rock-like play?)

    Comment from rakeback
    Time: September 1, 2008, 8:03 am

    Well yeah, this experiment may end up a fiasco like the Fremont street one, but that doesnt mean Harrah’s should stop exploing possibilities to make poker and the WSOP more popular (and to make more money off it).

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