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2010 November Nine: John Racener
Most poker pros were aware of John Racener before he made the 2010 Main Event final table, but suddenly the entire world is taking note.
Racener will take his seat at the final table in November with 19 million chips and he'll have as good a chance as anyone to take down the $8.9 million first-place prize.
"If I win this tournament I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "I know I won't have to worry about anything for a long time."
The 25-year-old from Port Richey, Florida, has been playing poker all of his adult life and even a bit before that.
When he was 16 years old he asked his mother to put $50 into an online poker site for him. She agreed and about two years later Racener had run that deposit up to over $30,000.
Despite his keen interest in poker, Racener took the time to go to college and graduated with an associate of arts degree from Florida Southern.
It didn't take long before Racener was back on the online poker tables, however.
Racener celebrated his 21st birthday by making the final table of his first live tournament - the 2006 WSOPC Atlantic City Main Event.
He eventually finished third but that was good enough to net him $103,527.
The score jumpstarted his World Series of Poker Circuit career and he would go on to make some big cashes on the regional tour.
Just one year after placing third in the WSOPC Atlantic City event, Racener returned to win it all for $379,392.
As of 2010, Racener has over $2 million in combined online and live tournament earnings.
"I've been playing poker for seven years now so I'm feeling very confident heading into the final table," said Racener.
Racener nearly missed out on the final table completely when he experienced an extremely rough final-table bubble that saw him drop from 35 million chips all the way down to 19 million.
"The final-table bubble probably went the worst for me, except for the guy that busted," said Racener. "I got into some rough spots but I felt I made some good laydowns.
He will now have four months to analyze exactly what went wrong on Day 8 of the 2010 WSOP Main Event and what his play will be at the final table.
"I'm going to study all the players when it airs on TV," he said. "I'm going to look them up online. I'll have a really good feel for everyone by the final table."
Racener, who was wearing a Full Tilt patch on Day 8 of the Main Event, emphasized he is open for business over the next four months and will consider most sponsorship and media offers that come his way.
"I feel like just by making the final nine, it's going to give me opportunities to do great things," said Racener. "I'm not going to turn anything down. I would never do that. I feel like it's going to make things better for me."
Whatever happens, Racener has already achieved the biggest score of his poker career and the $8.9 million first-place prize is a distinct possibility.
"Maybe I'll buy a really nice big house or something," he said. "That would be fun."
The 2010 WSOP Main Event final table begins Nov. 6, with a winner crowned on Nov. 8.