November Nine Final Table
November Nine Final Table
Day 1 Completed

At Long Last

Joe Cada - Chip Leader
Joe Cada - Chip Leader
Eight full days of play in July. 115 days of waiting. And 17.5 hours of play today. That's how long it took to pare a starting field of 6,494 players down to our last two: Darvin Moon and Joe Cada.

If you wanted drama today, the place to be was in the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio. We had more drama than ESPN can possibly fit into one two-hour broadcast. Kings into aces? Yeah we had that. Twice. Coin-flip situations? Sure. Ask Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman. Under-pairs making sets against over-pairs? Not a problem. Joe Cada was the master of that.

In the end it seemed like it was going to come down to who ran best. There was no doubt that Joe Cada and Darvin Moon were the two players who accomplished that task. They are the last two standing after a grueling day that saw the players eliminated in the following order:

9th - James Akenhead
8th - Kevin Schaffel
7th - Phil Ivey
6th - Steve Begleiter
5th - Jeff Shulman
4th - Eric Buchman
3rd - Antoine Saout

We'd be remiss if we didn't give some attention to Ivey. He came into the final table with a short stack, and despite his best efforts to grind up a stack couldn't get much going. He seemed to be card-dead and lost a key flip against Cada when his ace-eight couldn't run down Cada's pocket fours. If Ivey had won that hand, he would have had about 24 million and Cada would have been out. Instead Cada doubled up and Ivey went out a short time later.

Cada, by the way, was down less than 3.0 million chips in the early-going. He had to survive double-up after double-up after double-up -- not exactly the least stressful way to make it to heads-up play!

Moon had his own up-and-down day. He baffled his opponents with the lines he took in hands, including a very strange line against Begleiter in which Moon check-raised from 5.0 million to 15.0 million on the flop and then folded for 6.0 million more, getting about 7.5-to-1 on a call. He started with almost 60.0 million in chips and fell all the way to 30.0 million at one point. But it worked out for Moon; he's still standing at the end of the night with 58,850,000 chips. Seven other players have none.

Everyone will take Sunday to rest up. We'll be back here in the Penn & Teller Theater at 10pm local time on Monday night to determine who will be the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champion. That's when Joe Cada, with the remaining 135,950,000 chips, will try to take Moon out and claim the last bracelet of the 2009 WSOP. See you then!

Tags: Darvin MoonJoe Cada

Antoine Saout Eliminated in 3rd Place ($3,479,670)

Antoine Saout - 3rd Place
Antoine Saout - 3rd Place
Hand #276 -

Joe Cada has the button. He opens the pot to 2.5 million, and with it comes the final betting actions of the night. Antoine Saout makes an all-in re-raise behind him, enough to quickly fold Darvin Moon and his big blind. Cada, though, wastes little time making the call with his covering stack, and we've got a serious situation on our hands. Saout is now the one at risk of elimination, and he will soon find out that he's flipping a coin for, oh, a couple million dollars:

Cada: {A-Diamonds} {K-Spades}
Saout: {8-Spades} {8-Hearts}

"Ace in the window! Ace in the window!" plead Cada's posse. Saout's fans are murmuring in French, clearly a bit nervous for their countryman.

The spectators are punchy and tired and well-lubricated with alcohol, and the noise is awfully loud considering the relatively small crowd still left here in the wee hours. As the tension mounts, the dealer finally runs out the flop: {5-Hearts} {4-Spades} {5-Clubs}. That's safe for the at-risk Saout, two cards from his double up.

The turn is safe too; the {10-Diamonds} changes nothing.

The river, though, changes quite a bit indeed. Like a bolt of thunder, the {K-Clubs} strikes the board and Cada is mobbed by a throng of yellow-shirted fans as he takes the pot with his pair of kings. Saout's side of the room falls absolutely silent as their man can only shake his head and shake the hands of the two left standing before walking off the stage.

With Antoint Saout exiting in 3rd place, the final heads-up pairing is set for Monday. Saout officially earns $3,479,670 for his remarkable efforts here in the Main Event, but his bid for poker glory has fallen just two places short.

Tags: Antoine SaoutJoe Cada

Hand #275 - Antoine Saout

Darvin Moon has the button. He folds. Small blind Joe Cada opens to 2.55 million. Big blind Antoine Saout opts to shove all in, drawing a quick fold from Cada.

Last year's final table -- including the heads-up portion -- lasted a total of 274 hands. We've now eclisped that mark.

Tags: Antoine SaoutJoe Cada

Hand #274 - Antoine Saout

Antoine Saout has the button. He makes it 2.8 million to go, and Darvin Moon comes right along with a call from the small blind.

The flop comes {K-Spades} {7-Clubs} {A-Clubs}, and Moon taps the table. Saout backs up his raise with a bet of 4,075,000, and that'll earn him the pot with ease.

Tags: Antoine Saout

Hand #273 - Joe Cada

Joe Cada has the button. He opens to 2.5 million. The new short stack, Antoine Saout folds the small blind. Darvin Moon calls from the big blind to a flop of {10-Diamonds} {k-Diamonds} {7-Clubs} and checks. Cada makes a continuation bet of 3.75 million. Moon quickly announces a raise and shoves 10.0 million in the middle. Joe Cada raises all in, and why not? He's running hotter than even Darvin Moon.

Moon usually calls quickly if he's going to call, and here he takes his time. That's a sign that he's going to fold, and sure enough he folds after about thirty seconds.

Cada's now the far-and-away chip leader at 91.9 million. Moon slips to 63.1 million.

Tags: Darvin MoonJoe Cada

Updated Chip Counts

Joseph Cada - 78,600,000
Darvin Moon - 75,775,000

Average - 64,940,000

Antoine Saout - 41,425,000

Hand #272 - Instant All In

We've got fireworks right away!

There is a dead button for this hand, the first hand back from break. To begin with, Joe Cada comes in raising to 2.55 million from the small blind. Saout then announces a three-bet to 7.3 million from the big, and action comes right back to Cada. After a minute or two, he announces, "All in," and Saout instantly makes the call with his towering stack! With Cada now at risk for his tournament life, the cards are turned up:

Cada: {2-Clubs} {2-Spades}
Saout: {Q-Hearts} {Q-Spades}

With a long pause building the suspense, the crowd again comes to life as the two opposing halves of the room yell back and forth at each other. Alternating cries of "Deuce!" and "Queen!" bombard the stage as the dealer burns a card and runs the flop:

{7-Spades} {2-Diamonds} {9-Spades}

Ecstatic celebration comes from Camp Cada as their man finds his deuce, taking an improbable and commanding lead in the hand. The turn and river come {3-Hearts} and {6-Spades} respectively, and Saout can not re-improve to tally the knockout.

Instead of being forced to watch the other two men bag up for the night, Cada is now the chip leader with 78,600,000, all courtesy of that two-out deuce, the most important card of Cada's young career!

Tags: Antoine SaoutJoe Cada

Play Resumes

Cards are finally back in the air. We need one more elimination to wrap things up for the night.

We're On a Break, Apparently

A break sprung upon us with no warning and no explanation. We've been sitting still waiting for the action to start for nearly a half hour with no signs of life. Jack Effel is back on the microphone now though, and it looks like we'll be back in action shortly.