Over the weekend, 2011 World Series of Poker November Niner Matt Giannetti won World Poker Tour Malta, taking home $276,457. After his win, we got to thinking how success during the off months leading up to the WSOP November Nine translates into success on poker's biggest stage in early November. We started digging around and here's what we found out.
Each year since the "November Nine" concept was instituted, the nine players who make the WSOP Main Event final table have performed well during the off months leading up to their big dance. The first year, in 2008, four players had notable results. None were larger than Ivan Demidov's third-place finish at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for £334,850, but Peter Eastgate, Dennis Phillips and Kelly Kim all recorded some notable results.
One year later, four players from that November Nine class played in tournaments during their time off and performed a bit better than the previous year's group. Antoine Saout, who finished third in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, had the most results and was very successful in the off months. He finished in fourth place in a Barriere Poker Tour No-Limit Hold'em event, 30th in the Partouche Poker Tour for €17,400, 13th €1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event at the Spanish Poker Tour Vilamoura, seventh at the WSOPE Main Event for £114,228, 40th at WPT Marrakech and third at the Barriere Poker Tour Grand Final High Roller for €17,600.
Steven Begleiter and James Akenhead took ninth place in the WPT Legends of Poker and the WSOPE Main Event, respectively, but Kevin Schaffel won the most money out of the bunch with his second-place finish in the WPT Legends of Poker for $471,670 and a 19th at EPT London for £17,000.
In 2010, John Racener, Joseph Cheong, John Dolan, Matt Jarvis and Soi Nguyen all netted results and Jarvis became the first WSOP November Niner to win an event during the off months when he took down the Canadian Poker Championships C$4,600 No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up Championship for C$100,000. He also won an event at Festa al Lago for $71,895, but Cheong has him pipped on money won. Cheong took second in the EPT London High Roller Turbo for £162,280 and then won an event of his own at Festa al Lago for $142,635.
What does this mean for Giannetti? Since the inception of the November Nine concept, no eventual champion of the WSOP Main Event has had great success in his off months. That spells bad news for Giannetti, but it looks like he has a run at one of the top three spots, that is if history is any indication. Demidov was the best off-month performer in 2008 and took second in the WSOP Main Event in November. In 2009, Saout had a few very nice results and took third in the Main Event and Schaffel took eighth after his runner-up WPT finish. In 2010, Cheong was the best of the bunch and finished third in the Main Event behind Duhamel and Racener.
Taking a look at this year's November Niners, along with Giannetti, chip leader Martin Staszko has earned a result and so has Pius Heinz — both coming at EPT Barcelona. Staszko took 11th in a side event and Heinz won a side event. Even so, Giannetti's victory far tops the rest of the group and is sure to give him confidence heading into November.
Although winning a large event during the off months isn't something the eventual WSOP champion has ever done, the better performers in the off months seem to be the ones who go into the final table feeling the best and on everyone's radar. There's also a first time for everything, and Giannetti could easily become the first champion to also earn a title during his time leading up to the November Final Table. PokerNews will also be on the lookout for any results coming from this batch of November Niners during the upcoming month of October, which is jam-packed with events. First is EPT London, followed by WSOPE in Cannes, WPT World Poker Finals and then EPT San Remo.
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