Poker enthusiasts are gearing up for the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table, otherwise known as November Nine, who'll return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino November 8-10 to play to a winner.
Each player is guaranteed more than $1 million for making it this far, with the winner being awarded a mammoth $7,680,021, a coveted gold bracelet, and the prestige of being declared WSOP Main Event champ.
Italy's Federico Butteroni becomes the country's first final table participant since Filippo Candio famously finished fourth in the 2010 WSOP Main Event.
Butteroni has his work cut out for him, currently sitting in ninth place with 6.2 million chips, or just 16 big-blinds. This is less than one-tenth of the chip-stack of chip leader Joseph McKeehen, who has 63.1 million chips.
To help Butteroni prepare, the Italian has enlisted the coaching services of none other than 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. The "Poker Brat," who needs no introduction, has been one of poker's top names in the game for decades with $19,310,197 in lifetime earnings according to The Hendon Mob. He famously catapulted himself into the poker spotlight in 1989 when he beat Johnny Chan heads-up in that year's WSOP Main Event to win $755,000 and to become poker's youngest champion at the time.
Butteroni plans to fly out to New York City from November 1-5 to spend five action-packed days with Hellmuth in order to prepare himself for the biggest poker game of his life.
"I’m really looking forward to it," said Hellmuth. "I think Federico… 16 blinds, doesn’t have a lot of chips, but he thinks a lot like I do. He has a great story and let’s see what happens. I need Federico to run it up. November Niner coaching, let’s do this!"
As you can see from the video below, Hellmuth is excited by the opportunity to coach Butteroni. He admits that Butteroni has his work cut out for him, but as we have seen in previous years, anything can happen at the final table. It just takes one double for Butteroni to be in the thick of things and back in contention.
Coming into the WSOP Main Event, Butteroni cashed for just over $100,000 in live tournament earnings with most of that coming this past summer. His biggest cash previous to the Main Event was finishing in 20th place in the WSOP Event #28 - $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Monster Stack for $45,633. Butteroni also had a big payday this summer when he won the top prize of $31,756 after being the last man standing in a $235 buy-in Rio Daily Deepstacks tournament.