In front of the packed, 1500-seat Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, this year’s November Nine looked to bring resolution to what began 123 days ago at the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event when 6,494 participants each put up $10,000 to claim their share of a $61 million dollar prize pool and a shot of becoming the World Series of Poker Main Event World Champion.
As World Series of Poker Tournament director, Jack Effel addressed the ruckus crowd, a showing of nationalism broke out as supporters of James Akenhead erupted in display of British pride from atop the mezzanine. Darvin Moon’s American contingent, a similarly sizeable group, responded with a booming “USA! USA!” in retort. The Brits were not to be outdone, as they began crooning their national anthem impressively in synch.
In fact, the energy could be felt from each of the groups on hand to support their November Niner. During Joe Cada’s introduction, his supporters shouted “Joey! Joey! Joey! The first of many “Begs! Begs! Begs!” from Steven Begleiter’s following began. Kevin Schaffel’s friends and family shouted an amendment to Effel’s declaration to “Shuffle Up and Deal!” a clever, “Schaffel Up and Deal!”
At about 1 pm, play resumed where it left off 115 days ago at level 34 with blinds at $150,000-$300,000 and a $40,000 ante. Jeff Shulman took down the first hand of the final table after a pre-flop raise to 1.25 million. Much of the action during the first couple of hours of play was limited to before the flop.
James Akenhead of London, England was the first of the November nine to be eliminated. Akenhead was in survival mode for most of the day, coming into the table last in chips. Earlier, he survived an all-in showdown with vs. the Ah Ks of Eric Buchman. With only three queens left in the deck, Akenhead rivered one of his few remaining outs to stay alive. Later in the day, Akenhead wasn’t as lucky however after moving all-in with his remaining 4.45 million in chips. Kevin Schaffel made the call with and Akenhead could only hope for a little luck as he tabled .
The board did not improve Akenhead’s hand when a river nine sealed the former train operator’s fate as the ninth place finisher of the World Series of Poker Main Event Final table. Akenhead takes home $1,263,602 for his efforts.
About twenty minutes later, Schaffel himself was the next November Niner whose championship hopes were stifled. After moving all-in for his tournament life pre flop with pocket aces versus the kings of Eric Buchman, Schaffel seemed in decent shape until a king showed on the flop. A fourth king on the turn gave Buchman quads and sent the 52-year old from Coral Springs, FL to the rail. For his eighth place finish, Schaffel will take home just over $1.3 million. Buchman is now at the top of the leader board with just over $51 million in chips just below Darvin Moon who sits at $59 million. Joe Cada, looking to become the youngest WSOP champion in history is on the ropes right now with only $7.9 million remaining.
Final table play resumed as the remaining seven battle on with the following chip counts:
Phil Ivey - $9,750,000
Steven Begleiter - $26,375,000
Eric Buchman - $51,975,000
Joe Cada - $7,900,000
Antoine Saout - $23,150,000
Jeff Shulman - $16,825,000
Darvin Moon - $59,025,000
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