The WSOP November Nine: Too Much Tanking, The Final Three, And More

November 10, 2015
The WSOP November Nine: Too Much Tanking, The Final Three, And More

The World Series of Poker main event is down to three players; here’s a look at the storylines so far in the November Nine.

The final three

The November Nine is down to just three players. One of them was certainly expected — Joe McKeehen entered the final table as the chip leader and held a commanding lead throughout the first two sessions on Sunday and Monday.

The other two in the final trio were up in the air until Max Steinberg went out in third place. Here are the chip counts heading into Tuesday’s finale

Joe McKeehen – 128,825,000
Neil Blumenfield – 40,125,000
Josh Beckley – 23,700,000

Everyone who is left has an interesting story. McKeehen is a pro with $2 million in earnings looking to go wire-to-wire. Blumenfield is an amateur whose fedora and style has captured some attention. And Beckley, who started the November Nine as a short stack, comes from New Jersey, whose online poker market could use a boost.

You can get live updates at, or watch on ESPN starting at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.

Here are the payouts they are playing for, and the payouts earned so far by eliminated players:

  1. $7,683,346
  2. $4,470,896
  3. $3,398,298
  4. Max Steinberg, $2,615,361
  5. Zvi Stern, $1,911,423
  6. Tom Cannuli, $1,426,283
  7. Pierre Neuville, $1,203,293
  8. Federico Butteroni, $1,097,056
  9. Patrick Chan, $1,001,020

The tanking problem

All everyone could talk about after day one of the November Nine was the pace of play. That was mostly due to Zvi Stern, who turned into a human rain delay and tanked in a lot of spots, including unopened pots preflop. ESPN’s commentators were taking Stern to task for taking too long to make decisions. At the start of Monday’s coverage, ESPN pointed how slowly he was playing with a couple of graphics.

Among poker players and those in the industry, the problem of Stern’s tanking — and watching the WSOP live while players take a lot of time to make a decision — was a major point of discussion (and ridicule) in social media.

To his credit, Stern played much faster on day 2, before going out in fifth place. And the overall pace of play, and the watchability of day 2 of the November Nine coverage on ESPN, improved as a result. The issue still isn’t solved after one day of televised poker — tanking still runs rampant in live poker tournaments. But at least the WSOP broadcast was more of a success than it was on Day 1.

Other WSOP November Nine nuggets

  • The player who won his spot via a qualifier at daily fantasy sports site DraftKings — Max Steinbergfinished in fourth place. Interestingly, DraftKings (which had been Steinberg’s sponsor leading up to the November Nine) recently had to pull out of Nevada because of legal issues, and is no longer featured with advertising at the final table or on ESPN’s broadcasts as a result.
  • Stats from Day 1 of the November Nine.
  • A live blog and photos from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. There were reports via social media (including from the LVRJ) about a missing card holding up play, but little else has been reported so far.
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