Nov. 9: Suharto may be next Moneymaker

Darus Suharto

This is the final installment of the nine-part series taking a look at the players set to battle at the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event final table on Nov. 9. Last but not least is Darus Suharto, who has some eerie similarities to Chris Moneymaker.

Remember those "choose your own adventure" books back in the day? You know the ones where every few pages you have to choose between a number of scenarios, and they determine the direction of the book's plot?

OK, here's a choose-your-own-adventure storyline for you: You're single, smart, just won $900,000 playing in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event and have the chance to add another $8 million to that total a few months down the road.

Do you A) go back to your job as an accountant or B) tell you boss to go eff himself and proceed to tear it up like a rock star?

Darus Suharto, one of the 2008 WSOP Main Event's so-called November Nine, remarkably chose A.

"The last few months have been crazy but exciting," said Suharto. "After the tournament stopped for the final table I went straight back to work. [And now] between my demanding boss, my fans and the media I am very, very busy."

Suharto began his official second life as a card player just three years ago. And while he's done well online and had even cashed in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, there was no indication that he'd be one of the finalists at the most-hyped table in WSOP Main Event history.

He started his WSOP Main Event qualification bid online with just $80. But here Suharto is, square in the middle of the pack with $12,520,000 in chips.

Still, nobody seems more surprised, and maybe even starstruck, than Suharto.

"Oh God, my skill is way below the skill there," said Suharto of the others at the final table. "Those people are very good players. I am not going to single out anybody. They are all very, very good players. My skill level is at the bottom of the scale at that final table."

No matter how many times he characterizes himself as a donkey, Suharto is still well in the WSOP Main Event mix. And when it comes to his skill set, he's got the goods to go the distance.

Although he's not the favorite to win, Suharto is good with numbers, good with people, and he's tight enough and lucky enough to take this thing down.

Many have pointed out that there are more than a few parallels between Suharto and 2003 WSOP Main Event winner Chris Moneymaker. Both qualified for the tournament online. Both are/were accountants for the firm Delloite and Touche. Both had to extend their summer vacations because of deep runs at the WSOP Main Event.

Chris Moneymaker
The myth, the man, the legent - the Moneymaker.

"It's crazy," said Suharto. "I had a chance to talk to [Moneymaker] recently and the similarities are really crazy."

As for what Suharto is doing to prepare for the Nov. 9 WSOP final table? Well, as mentioned, he went back to work. However, he did play in a couple of events including the EPT London and the WPT North American Poker Championship.

In the EPT London Suharto said he played his game to a tee and was knocked out on the first day.

"Well, I played consistent. I played like a donkey, so at least I am consistent," Suharto laughed.

In the WPT NAPC, Suharto was actually the chip leader after Day 1 before he hit a chunk of ugly cards on Day 2 and was eventually knocked out early on Day 3.

"The first day was great but I wasn't so lucky after that and in the last hand I had my aces cracked by jacks."

Suharto is also going to work very closely with Eric Lynch. Lynch won the 2006 PokerStars $1 million guaranteed and has history at the WSOP Main Event, where he ran all the way down to 24th in 2006. That was good enough for nearly $500k. In addition to playing, Lynch now works with the poker instructional site PokerXFactor.com.

"We're doing various things (which for obvious reasons I won't discuss here) to prepare for the final table and I'm going to have the pleasure of sitting in the live audience to observe and give advice [to Darus] at the final table," wrote Lynch on his blog.

"Darus is a great person and as if the fact that he's going back for the final table this year isn't proof enough, a very good poker player."

Suharto has been a member of PokerXFactor.com for quite some time, and says the site has helped tremendously with his game. Now that Lynch will focus on him exclusively, he thinks it will be an even bigger help.

"I am a member of Poker X factor," said Suharto. "I have been a member with them for a few years and they've helped me a lot. One of the pros, Eric Lynch, is going to help me. I don't know if that is coaching. It's more like exchanging ideas. Now it is more personalized. There will be more focus on me right now."

If Suharto does get deep into the final table, though, it will be a combination of his online experience and natural feel for people that will be the main cause.

"I guess online you rely on timing and bet sizing," said Suharto. "You don't really see the tells on people. Playing online really helped me with bet sizing. How people bet and the size of the bet, I can use that information with the body language and everything. In some ways it really helps. I am very comfortable with the live structure, though. It is much slower. Online the blinds go up so quickly that you take marginal hands and go with it and gamble."

"Suharto wins WSOP Main Event." Still sounds like a subplot for the sequel to Team America, World Police.

Thus ends the nine-part November Nine series - just in time for the final table to begin play on Sunday. PokerListings will be on the scene to provide full coverage so you can see how your favorite players fare and which one will walk away the next World Champion.

For full coverage, visit the Live Tournaments section.

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