Anyway, onto some predictions and opinions about the November Nine ... bear in mind that I haven't watched all of the available ESPN footage, so I may be missing some info about players' tendencies and capabilities.
First, I don't think Phil Ivey has nearly as good of a shot as most people seem to think (since 90% of people seem to be sure he'll win it seems).
Yes, Ivey is at least one of the best, and probably the best player in the entire world. He's clearly the best player at the final table. But with blinds soon going to 150/300k (40k) and the average stack at nearly 22 million, Phil only has 9.8 million.
He's not in panic mode or desperately shortstacked, but he doesn't have as much room to maneuver as he'd like to.
But I have to imagine that most players won't want to tangle with Phil until play gets shorthanded and they need to, so he may have an opportunity to pick up a lot of pots based on his image especially in the early stages.
I actually had the opportunity to chat with Phil (sick brag, I know) about the November 9 while we were at the same table deep in Festa al Lago last week. Phil said that he puts his odds to win at 9:1.
That's basically like saying that his chances are as good as if he had a slightly below average stack and all players had an equal skill level.
In a way, it's like saying he's automatically doubled up because he's that much better than the table. I'm not big on betting, but this or 8:1 sounds about right. If he manages to chip up a good amount his chances will definitely be great, but he's going to need to get some chips early if he's going to run the table.
The only player at the table who I think has a better shot at winning than Phil at this point is Eric Buchman.
He's a fellow AC player and Borgata regular, but the reason I give him a better chance is that he has ~35 million, putting him in 2nd overall and over 100 big blinds.
He's also a regular in the big mixed cash games at Borgata, which means that he'll probably be slightly more comfortable than the rest with the high pressure, big money situation.
Although he doesn't play many tournaments, he already had nearly $1 million in lifetime earnings before making the final table. While many of his cashes are in Stud and Omaha games, he has a 2nd place finish in the 2007 WSOP Circuit event at Harrah's in Atlantic City and won the $2,500 New England Poker Classic for $275k in 2004.
He's a well rounded player with a lot of experience and a lot of chips.
The person whose chances of winning I think are underrated the most is Joe Cada. He's the second best NL tournament player at the table after Ivey in my opinion.
He's on the shorter side with ~13 million chips right now but has probably played more NL tournaments than anyone else at the table because of his online volume. I'll definitely take him as my sleeper pick to take it down.
I'm sure a lot of people are wondering why I haven't mentioned Darvin Moon. Although he has a boatload of chips at a whopping ~59 million, he seems to play pretty tight and is clearly the most inexperienced player at the table.
Yang won because he ran the table over and ran well while doing so. Unless Darvin is getting some good training for shorthanded final table play, it's going to take a serious rush of cards for him to finish first instead of just the top four.
I'd also mention that I think James Akenhead is an exceptional player, but is even more shortstacked than Ivey at less than 7 million. If he had over 20 million he'd probably be my pick to take it down.
Obviously this is a NL tournament and anything can happen, so everyone at that final table has a chance to take it down. I don't mean to take anything away from the other players at the table by not mentioning them, because they all deserve praise just for making it to the final table of one of the biggest tournaments of all time.
I wish them all luck and will be sweating the action from my phone while I play day three of the Foxwoods WPT event!