Look Who’s Coming To The Table: A Preview Of The WSOP November Nine

Steve Ruddock October 21, 2015 1033 Reads
WSOP November Nine preview

The World Series of Poker Main Event is the preeminent poker event of the year. Even with attendance down a bit from previous years, this year’s Main Event was still quite the spectacle, and when the final table reconvenes in a couple weeks a new poker player will have his name immortalized along with so many past Main Event champions, many of whom have gone on to become poker legends.

The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event attracted 6,420 hopefuls. After a grueling seven-day process, the field was whittled down to just nine players, the November Nine in poker parlance. As has been the case since 2009, play was halted when the field is reduced to nine, allowing the remaining players to stand up from the table, breathe for the first time in over a week, and take a much deserved three month vacation, returning to the Rio in November to finish the tournament.

This year’s November Nine is heavy on U.S. players, and even heavier on talent. However, unlike previous years, the final table isn’t a collection of Internet hotshots.

The 2015 November Nine is representative of the poker world as a whole, both in terms of age and poker experience – now if we could just get a woman or two at the final table.

Without further adieu, here is the 2015 November Nine:

  • Seat 1: Ofer Zvi Stern – 29,800,000
  • Seat 2: Pierre Neuville – 21,075,000
  • Seat 3: Josh Beckley – 11,800,000
  • Seat 4: Max Steinberg – 20,200,000
  • Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli – 12,250,000
  • Seat 6: Joseph McKeehen – 63,100,000
  • Seat 7: Patrick Chan – 6,225,000
  • Seat 8: Federico Butteroni – 6,200,000
  • Seat 9: Neil Blumenfield – 22,000,000

Joseph McKeehen – 24 years old from Pennsylvania

  • Final table chip count: 63,100,000 – 158 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 7/5
  • Career tournament earnings**: $2,997,467

McKeehen is the runaway chip leader at the final table with nearly 33 percent of the chips in play.

Since his epic WSOP run, Joe has been very visible in the poker world, appearing on several episodes of Poker Night in America and travelling the tournament circuit.

McKeehen appears to have the best position at the table. He’s on the immediate left of two of the most dangerous and aggressive players, Tommy Cannuli and Max Steinberg, and has the two short stacks on his immediate right.

Ofer Zvi Stern – 36 years old from Israel

  • Final table chip count: 29,800,000 – 74.5 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 4/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,153,838

Stern is the second Israeli to make the WSOP Main Event final table, and like his countryman, Amir Lehavot, Stern will pull up his chair with a pretty solid chip count, second to only McKeehen.

His resume is a bit light on poker accomplishments, but if Stern’s play on his way to the final table is any indication, you’re writing him off at your own peril.

Neil Blumenfield – 61 years old from California

  • Final table chip count: 22,000,000 – 55 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 6/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,170,305

In any other year the 61year old Blumenfield would be a big story. However, Blumnefield is a spry 61 when you consider his tablemate Pierre Neuville is 72!

Pierre Neuville – 72 years old from Belgium

  • Final table chip count: 21,075,000 – 53 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 6/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $3,176,174

Neuville’s age is misleading. The 72 year old is an avid online poker player whose many major tournament appearances were won in online satellites. Furthermore, Neuville isn’t some grizzled poker veteran. Although he’s played the game for some 50 years, work kept him away from the tables until the mid 2000’s.

Neuville has two EPT Main Event runner-up finishes, as well as a runner-up showing in a 2014 WSOP event, and his $3.1 million in career tournament earnings is the most of any of the 2015 November Niners.

His poker accomplishments and his work promoting poker earned Pierre the 2014 Lifetime Achievement award at the European Poker Awards.

With the exception of Max Steinberg, Pierre is also the best and hippest dresser of the remaining players.

Max Steinberg – 27 years old from California

  • Final table chip count: 20,200,000: 51 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 7/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $2,957,574

Along with Neuville, Steinberg has one of the most impressive resumes at the final table. A former WSOP bracelet winner with nearly $3 million in career tournament earnings, Steinberg has semi-retired from poker and taken to DFS over the past year.

Steinberg has arguably the worst seat at the final table, with Tommy Cannuli and Joe McKeehen on his direct left.

Thomas Cannuli – 23 years old from New Jersey

  • Final table chip count: 12,250,000 – 31 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 12/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,053,255

Cannuli is the youngest player at the final table, but he’s also one of the more experienced. The cash game pro has played plenty of hands, and has a knack for sniffing out weakness from his opponents.

Sandwiched in between two very strong players will make things difficult, as will his relatively small stack that’s too large to jam/fold and a bit too short to come over the top of a three bet with any reasonable fold equity.

Still, if Cannuli picks up some chips… watch out.

Joshua Beckley – 24 years old from New Jersey

  • Final table chip count: 11,800,000 – 29 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 12/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,246,612

Beckley is another staple in East Coast poker rooms. He has a few decent tournament scores, but his reputation far outpaces his resume.

With less than 30 big blinds, Beckley will likely be one of the people looking to make some moves early on.

Patrick Chan – 26 years old from New York

  • Final table chip count: 6,225,000 – 16 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 25/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,536,419

Chan made the move from online to live poker in the wake of Black Friday. He has had some success, with three other nice scores on his resume including a $131,895 payday for a third place finish in the 2012 Borgata Fall Poker Open Main Event, a $100,689 for finishing 12th in last year’s Millionaire Maker event at the WSOP, and a $71,449 payday earlier this year when he finished in second place in the Parx Big Stax Main Event.

Chan will have to move his chips around early and often to build a stack, but he seems to have the tournament experience to excel in short stack play.

Federico Butteroni – 25 years old from Italy

  • Final table chip count: 6,200,000 – 15.5 big blinds
  • Odds to win Main Event*: 25/1
  • Career tournament earnings**: $1,105, 938

Like Chan, Butteroni will need to get some cards early on or his day will come to a close very quickly.

Not much is known about the Italian, but he did hire Phil Hellmuth to be his poker coach, so we may not see a jam/fold strategy (even with a short stack Phil Hellmuth advocates for standard raises) from Butteroni even though he only has 15 big blinds.

Tidbits

  • For the first time in the modern WSOP era, there are two players over the age of 60 at the final table, the 72 year old Pierre Neuville and the 61 year old Neil Blumenfield.
  • Neuville is the oldest player (by a country mile) to make the November Nine. The previous record was Steve Gee who made the WSOP final table in 2012 at the age of 57.
  • If he wins, Neuville would be the oldest winner of the WSOP Main Event. The current record holder is Johnny Moss, who won his third WSOP Main Event title in 1974 at the age of 67.
  • He’d also be the first Belgian to win the title.
  • With a win, Federico Butteroni (Italy) and Ofer Zvi Stern (Israel) would also bring home their country’s first WSOP Main Event title.
  • Both players are also their respective country’s second WSOP Main Event final table participant – Amir Lehavot represented Israel in 2013 and Filippo Candio represented Italy in 2010.
  • Max Steinberg won his way into the WSOP Main Event through the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings.
  • All six US players come from states with legalized online poker, or that are considering legalizing online poker.
  • Joe McKeehen’s chip lead (nearly a third of the chips in play) is even larger than Jamie Gold’s in 2006. In fact, Gold’s seemingly insurmountable chip lead was also exceeded by Darvin Moon and Jonathan Duhamel.

*Odds will vary based on sportsbook.

**Career tournament earnings from TheHendonMob.com website

Privacy Policy