The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event final table will start on November 6th, at 12:00 noon, in the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio Hotel & Casino. The nine finalists will start the day playing with blinds of 250,000/500,000 and antes of 50,000. The average chip stack is just under 24 million. Action will be broadcast on a five minute delay, without hole cameras, on ESPN3. When it gets down to heads-up, the action will be suspended. The final two players will then return at 8:00 pm on November 8 and play until a winner is crowned. ESPN will air the final table on November 9.
Here are the seat assignments (and chip counts) for the final table:
Seat 1: Jason Senti (7,625,000)
Seat 2: Joseph Cheong (23,525,000)
Seat 3: John Dolan (46,250,000)
Seat 4: Jonathan Duhamel (65,975,000)
Seat 5: Michael Mizrachi (14,450,000)
Seat 6: Matthew Jarvis (16,700,000)
Seat 7: John Racener (19,050,000)
Seat 8: Filippo Candio (16,400,000)
Seat 9: Soi Nguyen (9,650,000)
Here’s a quick rundown on the final nine which includes three Floridians, two Canadians and only one player over thirty.
In Seat 1 is Jason Senti, a 25-year-old online pro who plays under the name PBJaxx and works as a poker instructor at BlueFirePoker. He goes into the final table as the short stack, with just fifteen big blinds left. But he’s been down before and battled back. He had just 15 big blinds on Day 6, finished 69 out of 78, was all in on Day 7 after losing half his starting stack, then went on a tear. His stack ballooned to fourth place, before being ground down during the long Day 8.
Unlike most at the final table who heeded poker’s call early, Senti graduated from college (the University of North Dakota) with a degree in engineering before turning pro. Not surprisingly, he credits being good at math with much of his poker success, as well as “understanding psychology.” He’s concentrates mostly on cash games, but did have one other WSOP cash in the event just before the big one, he finished 32nd in the $10K NLHE Head’s-Up event. But he recently tweeted that he was under the weather. This would not be an opportune time to be sick!
Seat 2 begins the murderer’s row of big stacks. Joseph Cheong is the third in chips, but is one of the best, most experience, most feared players at the table. He had two prior cashes in this year’s WSOP, a 24th in $1500 six-handed event and 29th in the $5,000 six-handed event. As the table shrinks, he can use this experience to his advantage. And Cheong has been on a roll, with two cashes in the European Poker Tour, since making the November Nine. He had a 24th place finish and was runner up in the High Roller Turbo event. He also recently won the Festa al Lago at the Bellagio.
Like Senti, he’s a college graduate, having earned a combined psychology, economics and math degree from UC San Diego. Cheong’s, whose first name is Saguhyon, was born in Seoul, South Korea, but now makes La Mirada, California his home. He plays online under the name “subiime” and won a mini FTOPS last year earning $55,000.
In Seat 3 is John Dolan, second in chips. He plays live tournaments and online under the name JRD312. The 23-year-old Floridian dropped out of Florida State University to concentrate on poker full time. He’s done pretty well for himself, with $216,556 in live tournament cashes, including a 6th place finish in one of the $1K NLHE events at this year’s WSOP for $82,804. He’s also cashed for over $1.1 million dollars on FullTiltPoker and PokerStars.
Dolan will be in the unenviable position of having the massive chip leader to his left, and has Cheong, to his right. So it will be interesting to see how this, and his relative lack of experience compared with some, leads him to handle such a substantial starting stack. This is especially true when you consider he began Day 8 in 24th place out of the remaining 27 and yet managed to surge to second in chips. He has played in the big tournaments since the WSOP — the WSOP Europe and the EPT — and had just one cash, at the EPT, outlasting fellow November Niner Filippo Candio.
Seat 4 will be hard to see behind his massive stack of chips. But Jonathan Duhamel will likely make his presence known, continuing the aggressive play that put him on top. While the rest feared the bubble, he went on a rampage, tearing up for the last five hours before the tenth place finisher was knocked out. The French-Canadian Duhamel dropped out of college where he was studying finance to focus on poker full time, a decision that right now looks brilliant. But what’s interesting is, if you watched all of the ESPN coverage of the main event, Duhamel almost didn’t make it to the end.
Duhamel shoved for his last 1.715 and was in a race AhKc against the pocket sixes of Robert Pisano. The flop was a blank, 7d3cJh, and the 5c turn left him with just six outs to stave off elimination. But the dealer showed a near-miraculous Kh and Duhamel was still alive and sitting on about 3.5 million. He survived another all in about an hour later and now is the monster chip leader. Will he sail to the end, or will some other short stack get lucky against him and start chipping away at his lead? Time will tell.
Seat 5 is the best known player at the table, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Known earlier in the year for an unfortunate tax problem, he rewrote his own 2010 by first winning the $50K Players Championship then helming Team Mizrachi which saw all four brothers cash in the main event this year. If Mizrachi wins the main event, he ties Frank Kasela for Player of the Year and basically rewrites the WSOP record book.
He was nearly down so many times during the main event, you wonder how he could bounce back. But there is something to being a seasoned pro, and something to the power of having your family supporting you. He brings all of that, if not an impressive chip stack, to the final table. I wouldn’t count him out.
In Seat 6 is Matthew Jarvis and I hate to admit it but after having written about him twice, I still have to look him up. It’s only when I remember he’s the Ginger of the group that I can at all recall his play over the previous eight days. Jarvis is of the lesser known players, whose hands were not covered extensively by ESPN, and this may work to his advantage. He is the second Canadian at the final table, living in Surrey, British Columbia. He is 25 and his father is a golf pro who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
He had the chip lead when it was down to the last 15, but his stack spiraled downward from then. But he was the one who dealt the fatal blow, knocking out Brandon Steven in 10th place. Since making the final table he has won the Canadian Open Poker championship in Calgary for just under $100K, came in 40th place at a WSOP-Europe event, and won the Festa al Lago $1,000 buy-in NLHE event at Bellagio earlier this month.
Seat 7 has John Racener who, based on what I’ve seen of him during the ESPN coverage, would make an excellent model for art students. Or a corpse for a very long CSI episode. The guy doesn’t move. He gives away nothing. He is the anti-Filippo Candio (see below). I doubt he has a pulse. Even though he’s under the chip average and behind the massive stacks of Duhamel and Dolan), I like Racener’s chances to go all the way.
The twenty-four-year-old Florida native John Racener may be young, but he already has an impressive poker resume. He had four cashes and one final table in last year’s World Series of Poker and three cashes in this year’s WSOP preliminary events including one in PLO and another in 7-Card Stud. He also came in 5th at a PLO event at the WSOP-Europe.
Seat 8 has the fiery Italian, Filippo Candio. First noticed on the ESPN broadcast for an exuberant celebration after winning an all-in that landed him in poker time out, he was later part of that insane hand against Joseph Cheong. Candio has made himself known and whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen. He wears his heart and other internal organs on his striped sleeve and will be the most entertaining of the final nine.
What is interesting about Candio’s run is the fact that he finished Day 1 second in chips. It is a rare feat for someone who peaked early to stay around till the end. He was involved in a number of questionable hands, including one apparent slow roll and another hand where he pushed chips forward then tried to pull them back (the floor was brought in and it was ruled a call; he lost the hand). The native of the tiny island of Sardinia chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a lawyer, but to try poker. He is already guaranteed a nice payday even if it all ends on the first hand. But this unpredictable player may have staying power.
The last seat is occupied by Cuong “Soi” Nguyen, this year’s Darvin Moon. The untested amateur is going in with just under twenty big blinds, but also with low expectations and less known about him than some of the other players. All this will work to his advantage. The old man at the table at 37, he plays mostly at local LA clubs including Bicycle and Commerce. But he will have help along the way as our “amateur” counts among his friends such poker luminaries as Tuan Le, Nam Le, JC Tran, Chino Rheem, and Steve Sung.
Born in Vietnam and currently residing in Santa Ana where he works as a manager for a medical supply company, Nguyen developed a reputation during the main event as an aggressive player and also made some good reads down the road. At one point during Day 7, he was in the chip lead after calling pro Theo Jorgensen with just top pair. His read was accurate, Jorgensen was just on a draw, and when the board ran out safe, Nguyen was out on top. To get back there, he’ll need a little luck in addition to his aggression and good reads.