Reigning WSOP champ handicaps November Nine

Peter Eastgate
The champ rates the number one contenders.

Last November he shocked the world becoming the youngest Main Event champion in World Series of Poker history.

But this weekend, as the latest edition of the November Nine plays out, Peter Eastgate's reign as World Champion will come to a close.

"You can never stop the clock; there will always be a new world champion," Eastgate told PokerListings. "Why should I have any sad emotions about that? I'll just be the ex-world champion. Nothing is being taken away from me, maybe a bit of the attention, but nothing else."

Eastgate defended his title well, making it deep again this summer before busting out 78th.

He remembers playing with both Joe Cada and Kevin Schaffel and appeared particularly impressed with the player who could replace him as the youngest champion in Main Event history.

"I have always been impressed by the young guys in poker," he said. "I like their spirit. I like the way they develop their skills by playing a lot online. That's how I have developed my own skills, so I feel like I'm part of the same breed as them - The young online community going into the live arena.

"I think this group of young players has an advantage and even though I only have a small experience of playing against Cada, I've been impressed. He certainly belongs to that group."

All eyes at the final table will likely be on the man widely considered the best player on the planet.

And although Eastgate has very little experience playing against Phil Ivey, he will be no different.

Joseph Cada
Peter's pick.

"It's very easy, if you go by the stats, to rule him as the best player as he has the best results," Eastgate said. "Everyone who's played with him says he's the best. I've only played with him for one orbit of the EPT High Roller in London in Season 5, but he wouldn't remember that.

"It lasted for like 30 minutes, so I don't really have any experience, but everyone says he's the best, so he probably is."

Eastgate took advantage last November as chip leader Dennis Phillips saw his stack eroded, eventually busting out third.

As a result, he's not sure how much of an advantage the chip lead will give Maryland logger Darvin Moon this time around.

"Obviously he has the chip advantage, but I don't know how he's going to manage that," he said. "From the way he's conducted himself, he seems like a pretty fearless guy, so I assume he would put the pressure on his opponents and try to take advantage of the prize jumps."

Eastgate said he hasn't met Eric Buchman, Steven Begleiter, Jeff Shulman, Antoine Saout or James Akenhead.

But the UK resident said there seems to be a lot of respect in the poker community for Akenhead.

However, if he were a betting man, there's only one person Eastgate would bet on.

"Darvin's the favorite, Ivey is the best player, but I'd go for Cada, if I was betting on it," he said.

To follow all the action at the final table until a new World Champion is crowned, tune into PokerListings 2009 WSOP Main Event Live Coverage beginning at 12 p.m. PT Saturday, Nov. 7.

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