The massive field of 7,319 players who entered the 41st annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event has been reduced to just nine competitors who will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in November to vie for the top prize of more than $8.9 million and the most coveted prize in poker – a WSOP gold bracelet. The “November Nine” include seven professional poker players, a medical supplies salesman and a private businessman.
ESPN, the exclusive broadcast provider of the WSOP, begins televising this year’s WSOP on Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET and will capture all the final table action at the end of its 16-week run of telecasts. The worldwide leader in sports will edit the two-day final table event taking place November 6-9 and televise it in a special program from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
The $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, commonly referred to as the Main Event, is the culminating event of the 57-tournament schedule at the 2010 WSOP. The Main Event began July 5 with the second-largest playing field in history. (Only the 2006 WSOP Main Event, with 8,773 players, was larger.)
Upon making the final table, each of the November Nine received ninth place prize money of $811,823. The total final table prize money up for grabs is $29,032,637. The total Main Event prize pool was $68,798,600, with more than 700 players finishing “in the money.”
The November Nine, listed in descending chip count, are:
Jonathan Duhamel, a 22-year-old poker pro from Boucherville, Quebec, Canada. The former finance student learned to play poker from friends and has posted multiple top-20 finishes at major tournaments, including an earlier event at the 41st annual WSOP. Duhamel is the chip leader heading into the final table, boasting 65,975,000 in his stack.
John Dolan, a 24-year-old poker pro from Bonita Springs, Fla. Dolan, who is single, began playing poker in 2004. His poker ambition is “to win so much money that I only have to play when I want to.” Dolan enters the final table second in chips with 46,250,000.
Joseph Cheong is a 24-year-old poker pro from La Mirada, Calif. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Cheong earned a B.A. in psychology as well as a joint math and economics degree from the University of California at San Diego. Cheong, who moved to the United States when he was six years old, earned a major win at a WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s Rincon prior to this deep run at the Main Event. He enters the final table with 23,525,000 in chips, good for third position.
John Racener is a 24-year-old poker pro from Port Richey, Fla. Racener is a self-taught player whose parents’ interest in the game contributed to his poker education. An accomplished pro whose career includes multiple WSOP final tables and a WSOP Circuit main event win at Harrah’s Atlantic City. Racener credits his success to the support of his parents, sister and friends. He enters the final table fourth in chips, with 19,050,000.
Matthew Jarvis is an accomplished online poker pro who began playing poker with friends six years ago. The 25-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, credits his success to reading poker books and plenty of “trial and error.” His 16,700,000 in chips is good for fifth place.
Filippo Candio is a professional poker player from Cagliari, Sardinia. The 26-year-old Italian started his poker career four years ago and has notched multiple impressive finishes at several international tournaments, including a first-place finish. He is currently sixth in chips, with 16,400,000.
Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is easily the most accomplished poker player at the table. In addition to this final table appearance, Mizrachi won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship earlier in this year’s WSOP. The 29-year-old resident of Miami, Fla., already has more than $3 million in total WSOP and WSOP Circuit winnings. With a total of 18 poker titles on his resume, his total poker tournament winnings exceed $8 million. He enters the final table seventh in chips, with 14,450,000.
Cuong “Soi” Nguyen, 37, is a medical supply salesman from Santa Ana, Calif. Born in Vietnam, Nguyen’s best previous tournament finish was a cash in the 2009 L.A. Poker Classic. The single father of one began playing poker with friends 10 years ago. He is currently eighth in chips, with 9,650,000.
Jason Senti is a 25-year-old professional poker player from St. Louis Park, Minn. The married former engineer learned to play poker online in 2004. While he is proving his mettle in this No-Limit Hold’em tournament, his favorite variation of poker is Pot-Limit Omaha. He enters the final table as the short stack, with 7,625,000 in chips.
Brandon Steven, 36, of Wichita, Kansas, had the misfortune of busting in tenth position. The father of five and the 2007 National Leukemia Man of the Year missed making the Main Event final table by a single spot. He does take home $635,011 for his efforts.
In addition to the $811,823 ninth place money already paid to each member of the November Nine, the players will be looking to improve their winnings to:
8th place: $1,045,738 7th place: $1,356,708 6th place: $1,772,939
5th place: $2,332,960 4th place: $3,092,497 3rd place: $4,129,979
2nd place: $5,545,855 1st place: $8,944,138
ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 WSOP begins July 20, with Main Event coverage beginning Aug. 10. Original episodes will air weekly on Tuesdays through the Nov. 9 culmination of the Main Event. In all, the network will carry a total of 31 episodes.