2014 November Nine Preview: The Grinders

The 2014 WSOP November Nine is nearly upon us and it’s time to take a closer look at the players who will be competing for poker’s ultimate prize.

Today we’re taking a look at the steady grinders at the final table including Felix Stephensen, Dan Sindelar and William Tonking.

These players aren’t the flashiest at the table but they’ve managed to grind out a living from poker, which is impressive in its own right.

Of course one of these players could go from a steady grinder to a poker superstar who is potentially set for life. You can also check out our piece on The Favorites at the final table.

Here’s a closer look at some of the players you might not be familiar with at the final table.

Felix Stephensen - The Norwegian Darkhorse 

Felix Stephensen
Felix Stephensen

The unassuming Felix Stephensen from Norway actually has a fervent fanbase who firmly believe he has what it takes to become the first Norwegian to win the WSOP Main Event title.

Despite his big chip stack he's still a bit of a dark horse candidate considering the final table represents his first WSOP cash.

Stephensen is no stranger to poker, however, as he grinds out a steady living from playing PLO online.

Over the break Stephensen wasn’t particularly active but he did venture to EPT London, which wasn’t too tough considering he lives in London.

Stephensen actually made a final table £1,100 No-Limit Hold’em side event before eventually finishing in ninth place for £5,530.

He’s also been watching a fair amount of Premiership football, particularly the Manchester Derby. One assumes he’ll return to the final table with his trademark San Diego Chargers hat.

Chip Count: 32,775,000

Odds to Win: 4/1

WSOP Main Event Final Table Comparison:

Peter Eastgate. Eastgate was a steady pro who entered the final table of the 2008 WSOP Main Event as one of the big stacks with a chance to make some noise for a different poker-mad Scandinavian country. We all know how that worked out.

Good for Poker:

Norway has plenty of accomplished poker players but the country has never had a Main Event championship. Felix Stephenson might change that and it would obviously be huge for poker in Norway.

Dan Sindelar - The Consummate Pro

Dan Sindelar
Dan Sindelar

Dan Sindelar is the epitome of a steady grinder.

Sindelar has been cashing in live tournaments since 2007 and since that time he’s accrued hundreds of thousands in winnings (including 15 cashes at the WSOP) but the Main Event is by far his biggest score yet.

A very skilled online player, Sindelar (who plays as dsindy) has crushed both Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow in several noteworthy sessions.

The Lincoln, NE, native has been pretty low key since making the Main Event and hasn’t recorded a single cash in the three-month interim.

Interestingly Sindelar’s father was a powerlifting world champion and the son hopes follow in his footsteps to become another world champion.

As one of the middle stacks Sindelar is certainly a threat to win it all and has the experience to do it.

Chip Count:


Odds to Win:


November Niner Comparison:

Jeremy Ausmus. Ausmus was a dedicated US-based pro looking to make his first enormous score. Sounds familiar.

Good for Poker:

It’s tough to see a poker player from Nebraska making waves in the mainstream media but perhaps the champion powerlifter lineage angle will bring some news outlets into the fold.

William Tonking - The Unknown

William Tonking
William Tonking

So far William Tonking has been the name who most people hear and say, “Who?”

It’s understandable as the 27-year-old from New Jersey had less than $100,000 in live tournament earnings prior to the WSOP Main Event.

Despite his lack of live tournament cashes, Tonking has made a living playing online cash games so he’s not necessarily an underdog at the final table.

He’s known to frequent the Borgata so he should be familiar to a collection of New Jersey poker players.

Tonking didn’t play any major tournaments since this summer, in fact he hasn't even done that much media in general, which helped him maintain his under-the-radar status.

So far Tonking’s story is basically unwritten so it will be up to the Flemington native to make his own story at the 2014 WSOP Main Event.

Chip Count: 15,050,000

Odds to Win: 12/1

WSOP Main Event Final Table Comparison:

Jason Senti. Known by a select few but definitely coming in as a dark horse candidate.

Good for Poker:

Seems unlikely but perhaps the burgeoning poker market in the United States will get a new hero in Tonking.

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