The final table of the 2009 Main Event has been decided and nine men have been instantly transformed into millionaires as the newest incarnation of the November Nine.
Day 8 of the Main Event played out in a fast, frenetic fashion to a backdrop of rowdy railbirds loudly cheering on their respective heroes.
There was drama, bad beats and intrigue, with every elimination ramping up the tension in the Amazon Room as the watershed moment drew closer and closer.
Finally, with 10 players left, Jordan Smith, winner of a bracelet in the $2k No-Limit Hold'em event at this year's Series, ran his aces into Darvin Moon's flopped set and filled the unwanted November Nine bubble spot.
That left nine players still cradling the dream of Main Event glory and riches and each and every one will become celebrities for the immediate future.
Here are the men who will be blinking under the media spotlight over the next four months:
"With the cards I'm getting, it's easy."
Darvin Moon - 58,930,000
Darvin Moon will return to the Rio in four months holding a large chip lead and, incredibly, the million-dollar minimum payout he receives will be his first live cash of note.
He is a recreational player who owns a small logging company in Maryland. Having played poker for three years, he won his Main Event ticket through a satellite at his local casino, Wheeling Island in West Virginia.
By his own admission, Moon has been blessed with some fantastic cards in the run-up to the final table.
"With the cards I'm getting it's easy," said Moon. "If I don't hit cards like the way I have been over the past few days, everyone at this table is a better player than I am".
His amateur roots are a far cry from some of the experienced pros still left in contention but Moon has the stack to take down the title.
"We'll see if I can do this," he said. "I'll be confident if I keep hitting cards like I have been this whole tournament."
For more information, see Darvin Moon's PokerListings bio-blog.
Eric Buchman - 34,800,000
Hailing from New York, Eric Buchman has nearly $1 million in tournament cashes behind him already, including narrowly missing out on a bracelet in 2006 when he finished runner-up in a $1,500 NLHE event.
Buchman's largest cash to date came from finishing second in the 2007 WSOPC Atlantic City main event for over $208k, but he will blow that figure away wherever he finishes come the November showdown.
Buchman is well placed for glory here at the final table, but he recognizes he has been fortunate to get this far.
"I'm happy right now but I got lucky a few times in the last few days," said Buchman. "I'm pretty tired right now - I deserve a vacation!"
He'll return mob-handed come the final, intending to bring a lot of his supporters along for the ride.
"When I come back I'll bring a lot of people with me - around 30. All the players in my local game will want to come."
For more, visit Eric Buchman's PokerListings bio-blog.
"I'm dancing between raindrops."
Steven Begleiter - 29,885,000
Steven Begleiter has been playing poker all of his life as an enthusiastic amateur and he won his entry into the Main Event through a home-game league.
The other league members will all chop 20% of whatever Begleiter wins, which resulted in some vociferous support from the rail during the run up to the final table.
Begleiter was quick to acknowledge he has dodged some bullets on his path to the Main Event final.
"'I'm dancing between raindrops in the middle of a minefield and somehow I'm still standing," he said. "I've already won. It's insane I made the final table. I'm not quite sure how I did it. My objective is to play well - so far I've played well."
Visit Steven Begleiter's PokerListings bio-blog for more information.
"I feel like everyone in the tournament was on Adderall while I was on Xanax."
Jeff Shulman - 19,580,000
Jeff Shulman is best known as the editor of CardPlayer Magazine and going into the final, he suggested to Wicked Chops Poker he would throw the bracelet into the garbage should he win.
Apparently he clarified that his disregard for the bracelet was a statement about how he feels the World Series has been managed in recent years.
Shulman's progress through to the final nine has been relatively straightforward and he was bemused by the quality of the field he has faced off against.
"There were a lot of amateurs in this tournament who don't really understand how to play a deep stacked poker," he said. "It was the easiest field I've ever seen in my life. I feel like everyone in the tournament was on Adderall while I was on Xanax."
Shulman hopes his run through to the November Nine will provide good exposure for his various interests.
"It'll be great for my business, great exposure for CardPlayer and Spade Club and maybe people who have jobs will start playing poker."
To see more on Shulman, click through to his PokerListings bio-blog.
"It's poker, I'm just going to do my best."
Joseph Cada - 13,215,000
The youngest player at November's final table will be Joseph Cada, who has just turned 21.
Known online as "jcada99", he has had several decent results on the internet, his biggest being a $50k win in the Sunday Milligan on Full Tilt in 2008.
Cada had already had two cashes at this year's WSOP coming into the Main Event, though the significance of those two small cashes will be forgotten when he lines up in November to take his shot at scooping the Main Event.
"I feel great, I'm a little tired," he said. "I've played a lot of poker over the past month or so, so I'm going to enjoy the Michigan summer now. I feel very confident, but it's poker, I'm just going to do my best with the cards I'm dealt."
For more information, visit Joseph Cada's PokerListings bio-blog.
"I'm delirious right now."
Kevin Schaffel - 12,390,000
Kevin Schaffel hails from Florida and the 51-year-old father of two is experiencing his second deep run at the Main Event, having finished 42nd 15 years ago at the 1994 WSOP.
With just $168k in tournament winnings, his final-table position here will cement his biggest payday by far and Schaffel is overjoyed to be part of the November Nine.
"I'm delirious right now," he said. "I'll come back in November and do what I can. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. It's been a great ride whatever happens. My son is on cloud nine. I can't wait to come back."
Click through to Kevin Schaffel's PokerListings bio-blog for more.
Phil Ivey - 9,765,000
Phil Ivey will return as the star of the show come November, the seven-time bracelet winner the marquee name amongst the finalists.
Ivey has already snagged two bracelets at the 2009 WSOP and though he had a rocky path through to the final nine, he rode the rough patches to book his November spot.
He will return as one of the short stacks, but as you would expect, Ivey has a plan to steal the show when they return to the felt in four months.
"I may watch a few of the hands on TV and actually watch poker on TV," he said. "I'm a little short and I don't want to get in to exactly what I'm going to do, but I have some plans."
For more from Ivey and the significance of his place in the November Nine click here; an extended biography can be found by clicking through to Phil Ivey's PokerListings bio-blog.
"My friends and family back home are really proud and happy for me."
Antoine Saout - 9,500,000
Antoine Saout comes from Morlaix, France and is well-known as an MTT specialist, regularly crushing the tournaments online at Everest Poker.
His popularity on the site will have grown given his final-table berth has guaranteed himself and the other Everest qualifiers at the Main Event a slice of a $1 million bonus.
He picked up his Main Event ticket via a satellite on the site and will enter the final as the second shortest stack.
Saout's mother was initially unhappy with his choice to become a pro poker player, but he hopes his big result here will have impressed her.
"My mother was against it but she sees the results and she has to be happy now," he said. "My friends and family back home are really proud and happy for me."
For more infomation, click through to Antoine Saout's PokerListings bio-blog.
James Akenhead - 6,800,000
Londoner James Akenhead is a member of the much-vaunted "Hit Squad," a group of young poker professionals from England.
Akenhead watched a bracelet slip from his grasp at last year's WSOP when he finished runner-up in one of the $1,500 tournaments. This time though, he is keen to make amends for that near-miss, despite being the short stack.
"It's like a dream," he said. " I told a friend in January I just have a feeling that I'll run badly in the other events, but pull something out for the main. And it's happened!"
James was one of the best supported players in the run to the final nine and he was keen to pay tribute to his band of boisterous supporters on the rail.
"The support's been amazing," he said. " I feel sorry for some of the guys out there, they would win a hand and not even get a clap. The great support I got really helped."
For more on this, click through to James Akenhead's PokerListings bio-blog.
PokerListings will have comprehensive coverage of the November Nine on our Live Tournaments page beginning November 7 and news, blogs, videos and more across the site in the months leading up to the final.
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