The November Nine Version 2.0

11 November 2009, Created By: Daniel Skolovy
The November Nine Version 2.0

Even without the four-month break, this year's Main Event final table would have been one of the most talked about in history.

The reason behind that is obvious: Phil Ivey.

In the last two years Phil Ivey has been elevated from regular poker player to this mythical creature whose exploits don't even seem real.

When he made the final table it was guaranteed to be huge. But with the ESPN hype machine working 24/7 during the four-month break, this final table was the most anticipated ever.

Those extra months allowed Ivey and all the November Niners to do interviews and remind people to tune in and watch the WSOP final table.

All the lead up means more viewers. The numbers aren't in yet but it has to be the most watched WSOP final table in history and as far as I'm concerned the more people watching poker the better.

Even without Phil Ivey there were some great story lines at the table. You had the disgruntled Jeff Shulman claiming he would throw the bracelet away should he win. You had the logger from Maryland who ran hotter than the sun in Darvin Moon. Then you had Joe Cada, who could eclipse Peter Eastgate as the youngest Main Event champion ever.

And that's just the short list. The rest of the players all had stories of their own and they could all play poker, so it wasn't surprising that they gave us a great final table.

Some WSOP ME Final Table Highlights:



Darvin Moon's big WTF hands - This one wasn't much of a surprise but Moon had two huge blow-ups. Luckily for him he had more chips than God which allowed for a good deal of wiggle room.

The first was three-bet shoving ace high, no pair no draw on the flop against an obviously pot-committed Antoine Saout.

I mean Saout only had to call 3 million to win 18. Only a fool would fold getting like 6 to 1? Right? ... Right?

Which leads us to WTF hand two. Darvin Moon calls a three-bet OOP with KQo then check-raises the flop with no pair no draw and folds for the last 6 million in a 45-million-chip pot.

A hand that's funny enough on it's own, but becomes extremely funny when he goes over to his wife and tells her he folded queens.

No offense, but if he was trying to save face, telling her he was bluffing saves more face than telling her you folded an overpair getting almost 7 to 1.




Steven Begleiter - Begleiter definitely gets the award for being the most improved player at the final table.

He spent his four months off working with Jonathan Little and improved his game immensely.

Begleiter played very solid at the final table and was unlucky to bust 6th.



Joe Cada running hotter than the sun - Joe Cada at one point during the final table had just less than 1% of the total chips in play.

He went on a huge rush and mounted the greatest comeback in Main Event history, winning every coin flip and hitting two two-outers along the way.

Though Cada ran stupid hot he can't really be berated for playing like a donk. He played aggressive and he got lucky - a lethal combo.




Phil Ivey's tightness - We knew going in Phil Ivey was going to play tight. He felt that his post-flop skill advantage was so large that he didn't need to play big pots or risk chips unnecessarily.

But I don't think anyone could have guessed that he would come out playing that tight.

Two hands that really document how tight Phil was playing are the A 9 when he flops a gutshot and a flush draw and elects to just check-call with like 14bb, and when he folds JJ pre-flop to Saout's three-bet.

Also what you didn't see was that Ivey folded several buttons when it was folded to him. Players were playing super tight when Ivey entered and he passed up several "any two cards steal" spots.




Darvin Moon's Heads-Up Performance - You couldn't really tell from ESPN's broadcast but listening to the live audio Darvin Moon played surprisingly well HU.

Of course he didn't play perfect. The QJ suited final hand was pretty bad, but he chipped away at Joe Cada very well, even capturing the chip lead at one point.

Moon won a ton of pots without showdown and surprised a lot of people (Cada included) with his aggressive play.




Two seperate AA vs KK - AA vs KK sucks any time. At the final table of the Main Event it's really just cruel.

And it happened twice. Once with Buchman's KK making quads to bounce Kevin Schaffel; the other time with the AA holding up.



Darvin Moon turning down the sponsorship skrilla - Darvin Moon was the only one at the final table with no online advertising, which is really incredible. Phil Hellmuth told two stories on the audio broadcast.

The first was that late in the Main Event but before the money, Moon had a big chip lead and at that time he was offered $75,000 to wear a patch.

He politely declined saying he didn't want to "owe anyone anything." This was before the money and he still could have been knocked out and not made a dime!

Then again as the chip leader at the final table he was offered between $400,000 and $500,000 to wear a patch and he again politely declined.

He turned down nearly half a million dollars to go un-affiliated. Amazing.


Overall it was a pretty good final table. ESPN's second shot at the November Nine was much more successful, though if I had the option I would still go back to the days when you could order the pay-per-view with no hole cards.

It's disappointing to have the WSOP end for another year but hey, it's only like 8 more months till it starts back up again.




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smith 2009-11-12 23:27:00

I love you Daniel, but I thought it was a sh!t final table.

I've been watching the main event since 2006 and it was the worst of the bunch.

There were very few hands where any of the players demonstrated actual poker skill.

I only remember that time Cada made that genius call with a pair of 9s vs Moon's bluff.

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