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2011 World Series of Poker November Nine: PokerNews Staff Predictions Part 1

2011 WSOP November Nine

The 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table is on our minds here at PokerNews HQ as we make final preparations for the big day on Nov. 6. Even with all of those preparations, we decided to take some time to make our predictions. After a series of algorithms, some right, some wrong, we've finally come up with the best formula for making the right decisions. Well, we hope at least one of us did.

Elaine Chaivarlis, Editor in Chief

1. Phil Collins
2. Badih Bounahra
3. Samuel Holden
4. Matt Giannetti
5. Eoghan O'Dea
6. Martin Staszko
7. Anton Makiievskyi
8. Ben Lamb
9. Pius Heinz

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Ben Lamb. He's experienced, and he's got the Player of the Year title in his pocket, so he'll want to try to cap off the 2011 WSOP with a win on poker's biggest stage.

Who will be the tightest?

I always feel like the short stack will want to hang on and move up the pay scale. Remember Kelly Kim in 2008? Obviously, it's a bit of a different scenario for Sam Holden because he has a few more chips than Kim did back then, but still, I think Holden will want to move up the pay scale. Doesn't everyone?

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Sunday?

We'll be there all night for sure. I can't see it ending before 3 a.m., so at least 15 hours.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

3.5 hours.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

89.

Give us a bold prediction.

Pius Heinz will use a ketchup bottle as his card protector and Phil Collins will have the largest rail in the Penn and Teller Theater. Oh, and we won't hear a single Phil Collins song. Yeah, right.

Kristy Arnett, PokerNews Producer/Hostess

1. Phil Collins
2. Matt Giannetti
3. Samuel Holden
4. Badih Bounahra
5. Eoghan O'Dea
6. Martin Staszko
7. Anton Makiievskyi
8. Pius Heinz
9. Ben Lamb

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

I think it's going to be Ben Lamb. This guy doesn't pass up on any spots. He seems to be the most confident, as well.

Who will be the tightest?

I'm predicting Badih Bounahra will play the tightest. He's the least experienced of the group and might be affected by the pressure and money at stake.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three handed play on Sunday?

Seven. Fingers crossed!

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

Two.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

65.

Give us a bold prediction.

Ben Lamb is going to going to play phenomenally, owning everyone at the beginning, but then make one decision in a polarized spot on the river against a big stack that will cost him his tournament life. He's going to hero-call off against the nuts and be eliminated from the final table first. In a vacuum, his play will be profitable one, but as people watch it, it will look like he dives off a cliff into a flaming pit of whoops-a-daisy. You asked for bold, right?

Brett Collson, Associate Editor

1. Phil Collins
2. Ben Lamb
3. Eoghan O'Dea
4. Martin Staszko
5. Matt Giannetti
6. Badih Bounahra
7. Pius Heinz
8. Samuel Holden
9. Anton Makiievskyi

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

This is a very aggressive and competent lineup, so I'm predicting an extremely active table from the get-go. With Eoghan O'Dea's stack, I think he'll be opening more than anyone. But Ben Lamb, Phil Collins and Pius Heinz won't shy away from taking the pot away with a three- or four-bet.

Who will be the tightest?

Badih Bounahra might fold every hand for the first few orbits. Sam Holden is very solid, so I can definitely see him sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the aggressive players.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Sunday?

I think this final table is going to fly compared to those in previous years, so I'm going to say 12 hours.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

It will take two hours and 12 minutes to lose our third-place finisher on Tuesday.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

If comes down to Lamb and Collins, it could last a while. Of course, that will depend on the stack sizes, but neither of these players wants to stick his chips in drawing dead. I'll say 76 hands.

Give us a bold prediction.

Anton Makiievskyi will bust out within the first orbit.

Rich Ryan, Senior Writer/Podcast Producer

1. Phil Collins
2. Matt Giannetti
3. Eoghan O'Dea
4. Badih Bounahra
5. Martin Staszko
6. Pius Heinz
7. Ben Lamb
8. Samuel Holden
9. Anton Makiievskyi

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Ben Lamb is the most confident player at the table, and rightfully so. The 2011 WSOP Player of the Year will look to impose his will on the rest of the November Niners, but I think that might get him into trouble.

Who will be the tightest?

Badih Bounahra will not get involved early unless he has a premium hand. He'll either blind out from not playing or pick up some hands and sneak into the top four. I don't think he'll be able to close against these tough players even if he accumulates early.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Sunday?

Despite being really deep, we reached the November Nine insanely fast this summer. We reached it so quickly that ESPN forced the tournament to pause so that we didn't reach an official final table before the broadcast even started. I have a feeling this is going to be quicker than you think, and I'm setting the line at 12 hours. Call me crazy, but this is an aggressive group that keeps things moving.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

Heads-up is a different story. Last year, despite being out-chipped 6-1, John Racener fought tooth and nail for nearly two hours before bowing out in second place. I am going to set the line at three and a half hours, and wouldn't be shocked if it went over.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

Heads up play will consist of 123 hands, because that's a cool number.

Give us a bold prediction.

An American will win the Main Event. You hear that, James Bord?

Sarah Grant, PokerNews Producer/Hostess

1. Eoghan O’Dea
2. Ben Lamb
3. Martin Staszko
4. Phil Collins
5. Samuel Holden
6. Matt Giannetti
7. Pius Heinz
8. Anton Makiievskyi
9. Badih Bounahra

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

Phil Collins. I can feel it coming in the air tonight.

Who will be the tightest?

Ben Lamb. He is a solid player and with mid-sized chip stack, he won't want to get into too many tough spots.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three handed play on Sunday?

In a dream world, everyone would ship it every hand, and I would be heading back to my house after a few hours of play. Unfortunately, if last year is any indication, it will take forever. And last year getting to the final nine took so long that blinds and antes were very steep already coming in.

I'm not sure what the blinds are coming back, which would definitely help me make a better prediction. But I will say until 2 a.m. So, 14 hours. I'm guessing some of the shorties will bust, some will double. And eventually there will be four to five people left who are very deep-stacked, and thus, the chips will shift back and forth forever, until the blinds catch up with some.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

Four hours. Being that they are playing for the biggest title in poker, I doubt anyone will make any rushed or frustrated mistakes. It will end in a classic race. Something big, versus a solid pocket pair.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

Ask a real professional. :)

Give us a bold prediction.

Since Eoghan O'Dea comes from a long line of poker playing Irish degenerates, and he has the luck of the Irish on his side, I predict he will take this one down. I also predict he will then go to the strip club and spend tons of dollars on booze and strippers, thus boosting the flailing Las Vegas economy.

Ben Lamb is just so solid to put him anywhere below the top three would be making a bold mistake.
I was going to say Sam Holden before Phil Collins because the British are just super hot right now. But Phil is a tricky player and has some more chips to work with, so I'm gonna give that one to Phil.

Martin Staszko is the mystery man in this final table. I put him in third because he must have something going on. Being a mechanic prior to playing poker and growing up in a post communistic environment, I think he understands the value of money and will not have any crazy melt downs. I still don't think he will be able to maintain his status as chip leader because of the experience of the other players.

Eric Ramsey, Senior Tournament Reporter

1. Phil Collins
2. Matt Giannetti
3. Eoghan O'Dea
4. Martin Staszko
5. Badih Bounahra
6. Ben Lamb
7. Pius Heinz
8. Samuel Holden
9. Anton Makiievskyi

Who will be the most active player at the final table?

I don't think Anton Makiievskyi is going to waste any time getting himself into pots and trying to find some fighting chips. And thinking back to July, Martin Staszko was probably the most active as the table played down from two tables. A few people around the action were chatting about his "reraise" button being stuck. So I'd expect that trend to continue as long as his chip stack holds out.

Who will be the tightest?

Badih Bounahra. I still haven't caught up with much of his action from the broadcasts, but I remember him being very rocky in the closing days apart from one or two big bluffs. I have a feeling that tightness might serve him well at this table, though. If he can find some chips early on, I can envision him hunkering down and picking his way to a pretty high finish. Just a hunch.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to three-handed play on Sunday?

Twelve. I think it took about 13 last year, but I might be completely wrong. Anyone remember? Regardless, I even like the under on 12 this year. I think the action will be pretty brisk considering what's at stake, and the fact that ESPN is presenting it "live" means that the entire proceedings should stay more or less on schedule. The chip math says we're going to have to play at least five levels, though.

How many hours do you think it will take to get to heads-up play?

This one's impossible. It only took 30 hands to get there last year, but it could have been much longer if not for the unrelenting aggression of Joseph Cheong. If we're left with three of the more savvy players at that stage, and if the stacks haven't gotten too shallow by that point, it could go on for a while. I'll say we get at least three full hours of three-handed play. Maybe 50 hands.

How many hands will heads-up play consist of?

If it pans out the way I'm imagining it, we'll be seeing rays of morning sun when we leave the Rio. Jonathan Duhamel had a 6:1 chip lead over John Racener when they stepped away from the table last year, and it only took 43 hands for Duhamel to finish him off two days later. That result may have factored into the new format this year, with the final three players returning Tuesday, rather than just two to get more play for television. I think this one could fall into the "be careful what you wish for" category, though. We might have a short Sunday and a long Tuesday.

Heads-up play will last 133 hands. Hours and hours. Important meetings and flights home will have to be rescheduled. Early morning business at the Starbucks outside the theater will be record-setting.

Give us a bold prediction.

Well, Ben Lamb is not going to perform as well as many people are hoping. I realize I'm not very smart to be betting against Benba, but I have a strange feeling about the other Americans at the table: Matt Giannetti and Phil Collins. And I'm trying to be bold, which sometimes borders on the dumb, so I'll leave myself open to a potential berating after the fact. I'll predict Benba doesn't make the top four, and that Giannetti and Collins both finish at least three spots higher than him.

Check back on Saturday for the remaining staff picks. Have picks of your own? Let us know below, and as always, follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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