Posts Tagged ‘November’

WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

 WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

When it was announced a decade ago that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table would be moved to November, rather than directly following the preceding days of the tournament, many jaws in the poker community dropped. To many, it was an intriguing idea, meant to allow ESPN to build up the excitement leading up to the final table, but to others, it was sacrilege. We have grown accustomed to the November Nine, though, which is why it may come as a shock to hear that it is no more. Starting this year, the Main Event final table will be contested in July following a two day break once the composition of the final table is determined.

This sudden change is the result of a deal between ESPN and Poker Central which sees Poker Central acquiring both the television broadcast and digital media rights to the World Series of Poker. ESPN will air the WSOP Main Event semi-live with a 30-minute delay, including the final table. Before this deal, the only portion of the Main Event that ESPN broadcast live was the final table in November. The rest of the Main Event was shown in weekly edited episodes leading up to the November Nine.

ESPN will also air a number of “original episodes” during the year.

“ESPN has been our home since 2002 and we’re delighted to extend the relationship into the next decade,” said Ty Stewart, the executive director of the WSOP. “Having every day live coverage of the WSOP Main Event is truly a huge commitment on behalf of ESPN and Poker Central and we look forward to delivering to our faithful audience wall-to-wall action from the outset for the very first time.”

The bulk of the WSOP Main Event will remain the same. Days 1A, 1B, and 1C will be July 8th through July 10th. The survivors of Day 1A will participate in Day 2A on July 11th; likewise, the Day 1B survivors will meet on July 11th for Day 2B, though in a separate field from those in Day 2A. Day 2C will be on July 12th. Starting July 13th, the remaining field will be unified through Day 7 on July 17th.

For the last decade, the tournament was paused at that point and then taken up again in November. No more. The November Nine is gone. Now there will be just a two-day break to allow the final table members to get some rest (and presumably do some interviews). The final table will then begin on July 20th and play down to six players. Those six will play down to three on July 21st and the champion will be determined on July 22nd.

Just like it did for the November Nine, ESPN will broadcast the entire final table semi-live. The rest of the live coverage of the Main Event will only be a few hours each day on ESPN and ESPN2.

Coverage that ESPN does not broadcast on television will be streamed by Poker Central online.

Poker News Daily

2016 WSOP November Nine Down to Three: Nguyen, Vayo, Josephy

 2016 WSOP November Nine Down to Three: Nguyen, Vayo, Josephy

Qui Nguyen continued his domination of the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table Monday, as the field was given a haircut from five to three. Nguyen began the day as the chip leader with 128.625 million chips, slightly more than the next two players combined. He finished with almost 200 million, significantly more than his remaining competitors, Gordon Vayo and Cliff Josephy. The November Nine began Sunday and tonight we will know the identity of the newest poker world champion.

Here was how the stacks looked to begin action last night:

1.    Qui Nguyen – 128,625,000
2.    Cliff Josephy – 63,850,000
3.    Vojtech Ruzicka – 62,250,000
4.    Gordon Vayo – 58,200,000
5.    Michael Ruane – 23,700,000

Nguyen actually lost his chip lead in fewer than two orbits Monday. On the fourth hand, he doubled-up Michael Ruane and on the sixth hand of play – Hand 104 of the final table – Vayo took the lead in what was arguably the turning point of the final table. Vayo raised to 2.3 million pre-flop and Vojtech Ruzicka re-raised to 8.15 million. Vayo called and the two saw a flop of Q-8-3. Ruzicka bet 6.15 million and Vayo called again. The turn was a 7 (suits had little bearing on this hand), prompting Ruzicka to bet 11.4 million chips, earning another call from Vayo. When the 5 was dealt on the river, Ruzicka moved all-in for 27.85 million and Vayo called. Ruzicka had Vayo slightly covered, so Vayo was in danger of being eliminated.

Ruzicka, as it turned out, was on a pure bluff, showing A-K. Vayo had pocket Eights for a flopped set. He doubled-up to become the chip leader and Ruzicka was crippled and eliminated on the next hand, looking all the while like he had no idea what he had just done.

Nguyen took the lead back a few hands later with some solid aggression, giving both he and Vayo stacks of over 100 million chips.

In the meantime, Michael Ruane couldn’t find much traction and, aside from a short time when Vayo regained the lead, Nguyen kept grabbing pots from his opponents to gradually build his stack. Josephy wasn’t having a much better time of it than was Ruane, but it was Ruane who eventually succumbed.

On Hand 155 of the final table, Nguyen raised to 2.7 million pre-flop with A-J and Ruane moved all-in with K-Q of hearts for his final 15.7 million. The flop of 9-9-2 didn’t help, but a Jack on the turn at least gave him a gut-shot draw for a few more outs. It was an 8 on the river that did him in, giving Nguyen the pot and sending Ruane home in fourth place.

Play continued for a little while longer, allowing Nguyen to add another 20 million or so to his stack to put a lot of distance between himself and the other two men.

The final day of the 2016 WSOP Main Event is Tuesday; play begins at 5:00pm local time (8:00pm ET). Every hand, with hole cards, will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, plus Watch ESPN, starting a half-hour later. Play will continue until someone is crowned the champ and is awarded $ 8 million.

2016 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1.    Qui Nguyen – 197,600,000
2.    Gordon Vayo – 89,000,000
3.    Cliff Josephy – 50,000,000

Poker News Daily

Qui Nguyen Takes Gigandor Lead into Second Day of WSOP “November Nine” Main Even Final Table

 Qui Nguyen Takes Gigandor Lead into Second Day of WSOP “November Nine” Main Even Final Table

After three and a half months of waiting, the final table of the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event – the November Nine, if you will – got underway Sunday night. Of course, Sunday night was October 30th, not November, which could be confusing, but that is because the U.S. Presidential Election is next Tuesday, the week the final table would normally take place, and thus the WSOP pushed the November Nine ahead a week. With the October shift plus having the final table broadcast opposite NFL’s Sunday Night Football and Major League Baseball’s historic World Series, it will be interesting to see if anyone actually watched.

Those who did watch saw Qui Nguyen build a spectacular chip lead heading into the second day of final table action. Let’s first take a look at what the chip counts looked like before play started last night:

1.    Cliff Josephy – 74,600,000
2.    Qui Nguyen – 67,925,000
3.    Gordon Vayo – 49,375,000
4.    Kenny Hallaert – 43,325,000
5.    Michael Ruane – 31,600,000
6.    Vojtech Ruzicka – 27,300,000
7.    Griffin Benger – 26,175,000
8.    Jerry Wong – 10,175,000
9.    Fernando Pons – 6,150,000

Nguyen grabbed the lead on the very first hand of the night, getting into a raising battle with Cliff Josephy. A 1.25 million chip raise by Nguyen was followed by a 3.2 million chip three-bet by Josephy, but it was Nguyen’s 8.25 million chip four-bet that got Josephy to fold.

Fernando Pons, the amateur who essentially entered the Main Event on a whim, was the first to go, a not unexpected elimination, considering he was the short stack. On Hand 16 of the final table, he moved all-in for 4.625 million with A-6 and was called by Josephy, who had K-J. Josephy flopped a King and rivered another to knock out Pons in ninth place and regain the chip lead.

That left Jerry Wong as the short stack and guess what? He was the next to go. Wong did double-up once, but on Hand 60, his fate was sealed. Vojtech Ruzicka and Gordon Vayo both raised pre-flop before Wong moved all-in over the top for 8.5 million. Ruzicka raised again to 13.5 million, forcing Vayo out of the hand and setting up a showdown with Wong. Wong was nearly dead from the start, facing Ruzicka’s Queens with his own Jacks. And sure enough, there were no Jacks to come for Wong and he was eliminated in eight place.

Eight hands later, Vayo raised to 2.2 million pre-flop and Griffin Benger shoved for 7.325 with A-9 suited. Vayo called, flipping over pocket Tens. Benger did pair his 9 on the flop, but that was it as he was sent home in seventh place with one and a quarter million dollars. It was a hard luck final table for Benger, as he won just a single hand (when he moved all-in and got no callers) and admitted later that he had gone completely card dead.

Nguyen, in the meantime, even if he wasn’t always in the lead, was generally holding strong in the 70-90 million chip range. What got him his huge advantage was the last hand of the night. Kenny Hallaert raised to 2.3 million under-the-gun pre-flop and Nguyen re-raised to 5.7 million. Everyone folded to Hallaert who, perhaps surprisingly, went all-in for 35.625 million. Nguyen insta-called, revealing pocket Aces to Hallaert’s A-Q.

In the “thank you Captain Obvious” statement of the night, Tournament Director Jack Effel announced, “This is not a good spot for Kenny.”

Hallaert was able to flop top pair, giving him a little bit of a chance, but the next two cards were low, dashing any slight hopes he may have had as he hit the rail in sixth place. It was the largest pot of the Main Event, one which firmly established Nguyen as the man to beat today.

The second day of the November Nine will begin at 4:30pm ET and will conclude when just two players remain. Television coverage will begin at 5:00pm (30-minute delay) on ESPN2.

2016 World Series of Poker Main Event – November Nine Day 2 Chip Counts

1.    Qui Nguyen – 128,625,000
2.    Cliff Josephy – 63,850,000
3.    Vojtech Ruzicka – 62,250,000
4.    Gordon Vayo – 58,200,000
5.    Michael Ruane – 23,700,000

Poker News Daily

Previewing the 2016 WSOP Championship Event “November Nine,” Part Three: Who Will Be The “Last Man Standing?”

 Previewing the 2016 WSOP Championship Event “November Nine,” Part Three: Who Will Be The “Last Man Standing?”

OK, we know how we got to this point and we know how the men will line up on the felt. When the cards hit the air this afternoon at the Penn & Teller Theater in the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event will draw closer to a conclusion.

For most of the United States and Europe, the final table play will take place after dark. Beginning at 8PM (Eastern time U. S.), the players will open action on the tournament. At 8:30PM, the cameras of ESPN will come to life to bring poker aficionados the play of the final table in a “plausibly live” setting (something that has been very popular with ESPN, WSOP officials and fans alike). The ESPN broadcast will last until 11PM, at which point it will switch over to ESPN2 until most likely the final six players are determined.

Monday’s action will pick up where Sunday’s concludes, with the broadcast beginning at 8PM and being shown exclusively on ESPN2 (yes, Monday Night Football takes priority over the WSOP Championship Event) and through its WatchESPN app. Play will continue until the final three players are determined, at which point the play will stop again. The conclusion will play out on Tuesday night starting at 9PM on ESPN.

Now that we know the television schedule for the next few nights, it’s time to peer into the Crystal Ball and see just what plays out for the “November Nine” final table. Remember, these picks are for entertainment only but, if we get them all right, we’re heading out for a batch of lottery tickets!

Ninth Place – Jerry Wong

Wong is in the unfortunate place that he will be under the gun for the very first hand of play and will be in the blinds on the next two hands. He’s got an M of 6.8 and is sitting on 10,175,000 (20bb), arguably putting him most at risk in the remaining 30 minutes of the level. As such, he’s going to have to get active quick, otherwise the big stacks around him – Gordon Vayo, Kenny Hallaert, Griffin Benger and Vojtech Ruzicka – are going to chew him up.

Why do I think that Wong will go before the short stack Fernando Pons? Because I believe that Pons will be hanging on by his fingernails, looking for that next step on the pay ladder rather than playing to win the tournament. I expect that Wong is going to try to bring himself back to viability in the early going and, as such, he’ll be taking more risks. If Wong can double up and get some ammunition, the rest of the table might want to beware.

Eighth Place – Fernando Pons

If Wong is to depart in ninth place, look for Pons to be very happy to go next. With only 6.15 million to start the action on Sunday, he’s in worse shape that Wong but also understands that people are EXPECTING him to push his stack. Thus, if he can hold on for dear life for at least a couple of rotations (using up 1.45 million chips per rotation), he might be able to outlast Wong or another big clash at the table. Hey, he’s in Vegas, he’s having fun…Pons will want to get another $ 100,000 for his efforts.

Seventh Place – Vojtech Ruzicka

Whatever the order of the first two – be it Wong then Pons or vice versa (and who takes them out will be important – I see Vayo knocking off Wong and Nguyen taking down Pons) – it will be quite some time before the next elimination. Not only will the play conclude for the night with the knockout (and nobody wants that dubious honor), it will also be the last mini-jump in pay. The $ 1.25 million the seventh-place player receives will be but a pittance to the $ 2.574 million the fourth-place finisher on Monday night will get.

The Crystal Ball is a bit fuzzy on this, but Ruzicka is the name it keeps bringing up for this spot. Without Pons as a buffer between him and Nguyen and facing Benger (who I see slowly chipping up, looking for the endgame) on his right, there’s going to come a point when he challenges one or the other (don’t forget that Hallaert and Vayo will also be lurking when he’s in the blinds). Ruzicka is a solid player so I don’t see him making a mistake, but I do see a bad beat potentially sending him home.

Sixth Place – Michael Ruane

For some reason, I just don’t see Ruane gaining much traction through the play on Sunday and, come the opening of action on Monday, it looks like he’ll be the next to go. Josephy will be merciless on him (and, if he isn’t, then Nguyen will be) and the constant pushing by the big stacks could force him into a mistake. Should he finish here, Ruane has nothing to be glum about, he’s played a hell of a tournament.

Fifth Place – Gordon Vayo

Much like with Ruzicka, I don’t see Vayo making a big mistake that will doom his tournament life, I see a bad beat that will either decimate his stack or send him home. After making it through the carnage of Sunday, Vayo will run into some brutal cards that don’t leave him many opportunities to act on anything and he’ll suffer the slow bleed of the blinds and antes rather than a strategic attack from another player.

Fourth Place – Qui Nguyen

This one will be the surprise as, with the second-place stack to start the action on Sunday, Nguyen will be leaving before heads up play. Throughout the broadcasts on ESPN and following the action online, Nguyen strikes me as an aggressive player that can be prone to a mistake here or there. The big question is will all his chips go at once or will he ship them off equally between the final three contenders? The answer to that question could be the difference maker in who wins the WSOP Championship Event.

Third Place – Griffin Benger

If he’s not the benefactor of knocking out Nguyen or taking a big portion of his chips, I can see Benger being the first man out on Tuesday night. He also has played a great tournament, but the two gentlemen left with him have a vast amount of experience that will EVENTUALLY thwart Benger. That $ 3.45 million-plus payday will help salve the wounds.

Heads Up – Kenny Hallaert vs. Cliff Josephy

By the time we’ve reached heads up action I expect that Josephy has the chip lead, probably from eliminating Nguyen but also through steady building in the previous two days with strategic attacks and no one wanting to go against the chip leader. Hallaert could be a thorn in Josephy’s side, however, as he will be a formidable opponent in what will be an epic struggle between two men who, either way it goes, will be a marvelous World Champion of poker and an ambassador of the game.

Recapping, this is the way they’ll finish in the WSOP Championship Event:

1. Cliff Josephy
2. Kenny Hallaert
3. Griffin Benger
4. Qui Nguyen
5. Gordon Vayo
6. Michael Ruane
7. Vojtech Ruzicka
8. Fernando Pons
9. Jerry Wong

Be sure to begin watching tonight at 8:30PM on ESPN (or through the WatchESPN app) and we’ll see if the Crystal Ball is in fine working order or we need to send it back to Merlin for repairs!

Poker News Daily

Previewing the 2016 WSOP Championship Event “November Nine,” Part Two: How They’ll Line Up

 Previewing the 2016 WSOP Championship Event “November Nine,” Part Two: How They’ll Line Up

Tomorrow afternoon the nine men who constitute the “November Nine” will reconvene at the Penn & Teller Theater inside the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to begin the work of determining poker’s next “World Champion.” The World Series of Poker Championship Event is the “holy grail” of anyone who has ever picked up two cards in Texas Hold’em and, as such, there is a great deal of attention (and will be from Sunday until a victor is crowned Tuesday) as to who will be the eventual champion. In the second part of this three-part series, we’ll look at how the players will line up and offer a bit of a scouting report on each player, giving perhaps some clues as to who will be the “last man standing.”

When the tournament resumes on Sunday, there will be 35:50 left in Level 35, with the blinds at 250,000/500,000 and a 75,000 ante. Here’s how they’ll come to the table:

Seat 1:  Jerry Wong, 10,175,000 chips (8th place)

Wong has quietly made his way to this final table, but he’s going to have to catch fire if he is going to go deep in the tournament. He’s a very experienced tournament player with over $ 2.3 million in career earnings, counting the $ 1 million that he and the other “November Niners” have already received. Prior to this, his best cashes were a victory in 2008 in a preliminary event at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods and a third-place finish at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event in 2013 (a $ 750,000 payday). With the lack of ammunition – he has two big stacks in Gordon Vayo and Kenny Hallaert on his immediate right and Griffin Benger on his immediate left – he’s going to have to see some good cards quick or find the fortitude to push on those big stacks around him.

Seat 2:  Griffin Benger, 26,175,000 (7th place)

It’s been a pretty good year for Benger. After being tapped to do the commentary for the Global Poker League, Benger has made an outstanding run at the WSOP Championship Event. The work he’s done with the GPL, Benger admits, was important in giving him some insight into how the top pros play and helping him to advance to this level. It seems to have worked well as Benger has been around the top of the leaderboard for most of the last couple of days.

Benger’s work has gone across both the live and online poker worlds and at a very successful level. As a live player, Benger has earned almost $ 3.4 million, including a High Roller win on the European Poker Tour stage in 2013 for a $ 562,343 windfall, and he’s cashed an astounding 1323 times online for over $ 6.5 million in earnings. To say that this isn’t Benger’s first rodeo would be an understatement and he should be considered a “dark horse” for those with a chance to win from those at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Seat 3:  Vojtech Ruzicka, 27,300,000 (6th place)

Fans in the United States might not know much about Ruzicka, but he’s been a staple of the European circuit for the past six years. The first player from the Czech Republic to make the “November Nine” since Martin Staszko in 2011, Ruzicka has amassed over $ 2.2 million in career earnings. When you add in his online performance (150 recorded cashes) and his $ 2.3 million in winnings there (which include a runner-up finish in the 2011 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event at PokerStars), it is easy to see that Ruzicka has a wealth of talent jammed into a very silent package on the felt.

Seat 4:  Fernando Pons, 6,150,000 (9th place)

If you’re looking for someone who is having a hell of a time with their ride to the “November Nine,” this year it is Fernando Pons. He’s also one of the less experienced players in the live game in the tournament, having only 10 cashes in his career that, prior to the million-dollar payout earlier this year, barely had earned him $ 14,000 ($ 14,091, to be exact). Pons is not going to have many chances at this table, stuck between Ruzicka and the big stacks on his left (Qui Nguyen and Cliff Josephy), so he better make the most of any shot he takes. You should figure that, if Pons could make the next cash level in eighth and get something for his return trip to the Rio, that he’d be happy with himself.

Seat 5:  Qui Nguyen, 67,925,000 (2nd place)

At any other tournament, Nguyen’s chip stack would be a dominant force at the tables. As it is, Nguyen sits in second place when the tournament restarts on Sunday and, on his immediate left, will be the chip leader, Josephy. But Nguyen has shown a very astute knowledge of the game and its psychology, knowing when to spring an attack and when to glide and watch the proceedings. Those will be tools that will get him far in this event.

Prior to the 2016 WSOP Championship Event, Nguyen was a recreational player working the Vegas to Southern California area. His biggest cash prior to this was at the WSOP in 2009 (a 54th place finish in a $ 1500 No Limit Hold’em tournament) and in 2007 at a preliminary event on the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic (for $ 8655). A player with the stack of Nguyen can’t be ignored, however, but it will be interesting to see if he directly attacks Josephy or is more apt to try to take down some of the smaller stacks trying to attack him from his right.

Seat 6:  Cliff Josephy, 74,600,000 (1st place)

Josephy is arguably the most notable, most experienced and most likely contender to take down this year’s title, especially with the chip stack he has amassed. Josephy has been a part of the poker world, either online or live, since 2004, garnering accolades for his abilities in teaching others to play the game. Josephy has also made some nice coin as a “backer” for a stable of players, arguably making more from the staking of players than what he has officially earned in his tournament poker career ($ 3.6 million roughly).

Don’t think that “old man” doesn’t have game, though. Josephy just doesn’t make mistakes when the tournament is on the line and, as such, he is going to be very difficult to root out of the top slot in the tournament. If he continues the roll he’s enjoyed up to this point, it will be surprising to see if anyone can take him down.

Seat 7:  Michael Ruane, 31,600,000 (5th place)

If there’s something that Ruane and the two men to his left, Gordon Vayo and Kenny Hallaert, have going for them, they all have chip stacks that will prevent Josephy and Nguyen from trying to mess with them too much. Of that trio, however, Ruane is the least experienced of the bunch with only five cashes prior to this year’s WSOP and four of those cashes having come in 2011 and 2012 at the Las Vegas event. In the middle of the pack, Ruane could be a huge spoiler for someone, however, especially if he can get some more ammunition under his belt. If that ammunition comes from either Vayo or Hallaert, then he could give them some headaches.

Seat 8:  Gordon Vayo, 49,375,000 (3rd place)

Vayo is one of those players who has knocked around the tournament poker world for some time, just on the precipice of making a name for himself but coming up just short on many occasions. He’s been playing poker – and making a living for himself – since he was 17 and earned more money playing online than his parents did in their jobs. Vayo has also been active since the “November Nine” was determined, taking down a nice chunk of change ($ 587,120) in winning the Winstar Casino “The River Series” Main Event (a $ 2500 tournament) in Oklahoma back in September.

In his career, Vayo has earned slightly more than $ 2.5 million, but he’s looking for that championship that will establish him on the poker map. If he’s able to work his way around a very heavy end of the table (between Seat 6 through Seat 9, almost 200,000,000 chips are sitting, almost two-thirds of the chips in play) and increase his stack, Vayo has potential to be a force on the biggest stage in poker.

Seat 9:  Kenny Hallaert, 43,325,000 (4th place)

Arguably one of the most liked players on the table, Hallaert has been around the block in the tournament poker world. He finished in fifth place in the “Colossus” event at last year’s WSOP and has earned more than $ 2.3 million in his career. Like Vayo, he is searching for his breakthrough victory and he would like nothing more than to beat his countryman Pierre Neuville’s seventh place finish from last year at the minimum.

Hallaert is a very patient player but he can also be a very tricky one. That combination makes him a contender, especially if he can attack the short stacks of Wong and Benger in front of him.

In our final segment tomorrow, we dust off the Crystal Ball and see just what the 2016 WSOP Championship Event has in store for the fans. Will there be surprises? Preliminary glances towards the Ball have said that…well, you’ll just have to come back tomorrow.

Poker News Daily



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