The November Nine are set in stone, and now have four months to get their poker game to its zenith.
The World Series of Poker Main Event has played down to its final nine players, setting up a final table that should provide plenty of drama this November. Joseph McKeehen has grabbed the chip lead heading into the November Nine, bagging 63.1 million chips to put him far ahead of the pack heading into the nearly four-month break before the final table will be played out.
McKeehen, a 24-year-old professional poker player from Pennsylvania, is no stranger to tournament success. He has already won two WSOP Circuit rings, and finished second in last year’s WSOP Monster Stack, part of a resume that includes nearly $2 million in career tournament earnings.
Of course, none of those accomplishments can compare to reaching the Main Event final table, let alone winning it. McKeehen will come into the November Nine with about one third of the chips in play, putting him in position to complete every poker player’s dream by becoming the 2015 World Champion.
McKeehen won’t be the only person chasing down that dream. In second place is Israeli poker player Zvi Stern, who has 29.8 million chips. Unlike McKeehen, Stern has a rather limited tournament resume, having earned just over $45,000 through tournament play in his lifetime.
Following the two leaders is Neil Blumenfield, a 61-year-old who is playing in his fifth consecutive WSOP Main Event. He had one previous cash in the Main Event, finishing 285th in 2012, and has over $130,000 in lifetime tournament cashes.
Normally, Blumenfield would be notable for his age; at 61, he was set to become the oldest final table member in the November Nine era. But he was beat out by Pierre Neuville, the 72-year-old Belgian who has the opportunity to become the oldest person ever to win the Main Event.
Neuville is a retired board game maker who has had plenty of tournament success both at the WSOP and in Europe. In total, he has nearly $2.2 million in tournament earnings, including 19 cashes at the WSOP.
Perhaps the most familiar name at the final table is that of Max Steinberg. Having won a WSOP gold bracelet in 2012, Steinberg is now a professional poker and daily fantasy sports player, and has nearly $2 million in career tournament earnings.
Compared to the players above, the smaller stacks are relatively unknown in the poker world. Tom Cannuli and Joshua Beckley both hail from New Jersey, with Beckley, who sits in seventh place with 11.8 million chips, having cashed four times at this year’s WSOP.
In eighth place is Patrick Chan, a 26-year-old professional poker player from Brooklyn, New York. Finally, the short stack belongs to Italy’s Federico Butteroni, who has one career tournament victory: a win that came earlier this summer at a $235 Daily Deepstack tournament held during the WSOP.
The November Nine almost featured a much bigger name, one that would have added enormous hype to the final table. Daniel Negreanu was alive deep into the final day of play at the Rio, managing to make it all the way to 11th place before finally bowing out.
On his final hand, Negreanu got his money all in on the flop, holding top pair against a strong combination flush and gutshot straight draw for McKeehen. Negreanu dodged danger on the turn, but a queen on the river gave McKeehen a straight, ending Negreanu’s incredible run.
Negreanu earned $526,778 for his efforts. The final player to be eliminated before the November Nine was set, Alexander Turyansky, took home $745,897, while every remaining player has already won at least $1,001,020.