What a day of poker! If you asked anyone in the media when we got here this morning if we thought the tournament would be down to its final nine players -- the November Nine -- before 11pm, we would have laughed and challenged you to put your whole bankroll on it. Yet here we are, just shy of 11pm, with the final nine players bagging and tagging for the night.
But that's getting slightly ahead of the action. We started today at noon with 27 players. Leo Margets, the sole woman in the field, was the first elimination just twenty minutes into the day. That seemed to set the tone for play, as players got their chips into the middle with glee. Before we finished the first level of play, three more players were eliminated, including the good-for-television Antonio Esfandiari.
All through the day, players continued to be eliminated at a rapid pace. We thought there would be mini-bubbles at 19 left, 16 left, and 13 left. In fact there were no such bubbles.
The big stacks did their jobs today, as Darvin Moon, Steven Begleiter and Billy Kopp all applied relentless pressure on the short stacks. It was unfortunate for Kopp that he ran a small flush into a bigger flush and went busto in 12th place, a classic elimination that is sure to haunt Kopp for a long time.
Of course there's one other player whom everyone was watching today. Some consider him to be the greatest player in the world; all were hoping he'd make the final table. Phil Ivey started off trending dangerously downwards, but he seemed to recognize what many other players did not -- the stacks were still relatively deep and the levels were still two-hours long. No need to panic. Ivey didn't panic, and as a result he secured a spot in the November Nine.
When Jordan Smith said "Good night, Moon" and exited in tenth place, the November Nine were determined. Here they are!
Seat 1: Darvin Moon - 58,930,000
Seat 2: James Akenhead - 6,800,000
Seat 3: Phil Ivey - 9,765,000
Seat 4: Kevin Schaffel - 12,390,000
Seat 5: Steven Begleiter - 29,885,000
Seat 6: Eric Buchman - 34,800,000
Seat 7: Joe Cada - 13,215,000
Seat 8: Antoine Saout - 9,500,000
Seat 9: Jeff Shulman - 19,580,000
Moon will be the chip leader for the next four months.
Many will argue that this is the most talented Main Event final table to have been assembled in years. They'll have almost four months to argue back and forth over which player they think has the best shot. The final table festivities will take place from November 7 - 10.
It has been our great pleasure to be your source of live updates during the 2009 WSOP. We hope you'll join us throughout the rest of the year as we cover major poker tournaments around the globe. Please stop back in November for what is sure to be an exciting conclusion to the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Eric Buchman opened for 650,000, Darvin Moon flat-called from the button and Jordan Smith reraised to 2.6 million from the small blind. Buchman folded and Moon called.
The flop was . Smith checked, Moon bet 4,000,000, Smith moved all in and Moon called.
The turn was the , Smith picking up an inside straight draw to a wheel. The river, though, was the and Moon took down the pot with his set of eights, eliminating Smith and setting the 2009 "November Nine."
Moon has an estimated 59,770,000 chips. We'll post the remainder of the final table chip counts as soon as they're verified.
Master of Ceremonies Robbie Thompson just got on the mic and asked for a cocktail server to come to the final table area. All we can say to that is -- good luck. The railbirds are jammed so deep around the entrances to the final table area that we doubt a cocktail server can even get in.
Looking back at the stacks with which the 27 players started today, nine of our final ten players were situated in the top 12 when cards first went into the air about ten-and-a-half hours ago.
Indeed, the only players who were able to overcome having a lower than average stack -- 7.215 million -- to start the day to make the final ten were Joseph Cada who was in 12th to start today, and Jordan Smith who was in 19th.
Of the top ten from the start of Day 8, Billy Kopp (who began today in 2nd place), Jamie Robbins (9th), and Ben Lamb (10th) did not make it to the final ten.