“November Nine” Top Total Field of 6,844 to Compete for Lion’s Share of $64 Million and WSOP Champion’s Bracelet on Poker’s Biggest Night

LAS VEGAS (July 15, 2008) – After 12 days of grueling Main Event competition at the record-setting 39th annual World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, the stage is finally set for the most prestigious night in poker history.

For the first time ever, play at a World Series of Poker tournament has been suspended prior to a champion being crowned. The unique event structure calls for the final nine of 6,844 competitors in the $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship to return to the Rio® All-Suite Hotel and Casino on November 9 to begin the battle for the Main Event title and the top prize of $9.1 million. 

Dubbed “The November Nine,” the participants will have 117 days before they return to Las Vegas, where they will vie for the title on what is literally poker’s largest stage – inside the Rio’s state-of-the-art, 1,500-seat Penn & Teller Theater. 

In descending order of chip count, The November Nine are: 

·        DENNIS PHILLIPS, 53, St. Louis, Missouri, 26,295,000
·        IVAN DEMIDOV, 27, Moscow, Russia, 24,400,000
·        SCOTT MONTGOMERY, 26, Perth, Ontario, Canada, 19,690,000
·        PETER EASTGATE, 22, Odense, Denmark, 18,375,000
·        YLON SCHWARTZ, 38, Brooklyn, New York, 12,525,000
·        DARUS SUHARTO, 39, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 12,520,000
·        DAVID RHEEM, 28, Los Angeles, California, 10,230,000
·        CRAIG MARQUIS, 23, Arlington, Texas, 10,210,000
·        KELLY KIM, 31, Whittier, California, 2,620,000

The nine will play down to two on Nov. 9; the final two competitors will then go heads up beginning at 10 p.m. PDT on Nov. 10, with the winner expected to be crowned in the early morning hours of November 11. In a World Series of Poker first, ESPN will carry same-day coverage of the victory beginning at 9 p.m. EST on Nov. 11. 

The November Nine outlasted a massive field of 6,844 who entered the $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship. This year’s total Main Event prize pool is $64,333,600. A total of 666 players will cash in the event; payout for 666th place was $21,230. 

The final nine will play for a total of $32,633,446, with the following pay schedule: 

1st Place: $9,119,517           4th Place: $3,763,515           7th Place: $1,769,174
2nd Place: $5,790,024          5th Place: $3,088,012           8th Place: $1,286,672
3rd Place: $4,503,352           6th Place: $2,412,510           9th Place: $900,670

“The winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event has always become an instant celebrity,” said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. “This year, all nine players who make the final table will become household names – and are guaranteed life-changing prize money to go with their fame and place in poker history.”

ESPN will air a one-hour special on the final nine participants Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 9 p.m. EST. The network’s high-definition coverage of the Main Event begins Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. EST; two-hour episodes will run each Tuesday until the Nov. 11 finale.

The 39th annual World Series of Poker was the largest and richest in history, attracting 58,720 competitors in its 55 events – an increase of 4,432, or 8 percent, over the previous record established in 2007. The total prize pool at this year’s World Series of Poker was $180,676,248, an increase of $20,880,030 over the previous record, also established last year. Players from a record 118 countries participated in this year’s tournaments, more than in the most recent Winter Olympics. That number is up 36 percent from the previous record of 87 countries set in 2007.

The 39th annual World Series of Poker, a compilation of 55 tournaments covering all of the game’s major variations, began May 30 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Main Event, with four start dates to accommodate its large playing field, began on July 3.


The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.  In 2008, the event attracted more than 58,000 entrants from 118 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $180 million in prize money as players competed for game’s most coveted trophy, a WSOP bracelet.  Harrah’s License Company, LLC., an affiliate of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., has owned and operated the WSOP since 2004 and over the last five years, fostered an increase in player participation by nearly 300-percent.  In addition, the WSOP has experienced groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker EuropeSM. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit our website at http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com/.


Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions, and now owns or manages casinos on four continents. The Company's properties operate primarily under the Harrah's®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names; Harrah's also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos and the World Series of Poker®. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. For more information, please visit http://www.harrahs.com/.