After twelve days and over 65 hours of poker play, nine men are left standing in the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. While some names may be more familiar than others, members of the poker media are suggesting this could be one of the more talented final tables the WSOP has seen in several years. With the presence of known pros James Akenhead, Jeff Shulman and – most notably – Phil Ivey, the suggestion this is one of the toughest final tables in recent memory does not seem that far-fetched.
While Ivey stands out above the rest as a talented and well-respected player, he is certainly not the only contender at this year’s final table. Darvin Moon, an amateur poker player and professional logger from Maryland established himself as a force to be reckoned with on Day Six when he took the tournament chip lead. While Moon laid low during Day Seven of play, he nonetheless went on a rush to end the night as tournament chip leader once again. The third time appeared to be the charm for Moon on Wednesday, as he is the overwhelming chip leader heading into the final table.
Moon, who told reporters that the Rio casino houses more people than his hometown, seemed undaunted by the bright lights of Las Vegas and the pressure that comes with a deep run in the Main Event. He spent his final day of play before the four month break calm and collected as he knocked out several players as the field shrank from 18 to 9. Moon eliminated Andrew Lichtenberger in 18th place, knocked out one of the other big stacks, Billy Kopp, in 12th place, and put an end to the action on the day when he knocked out 2009 WSOP bracelet winner Jordan “scarface_79” Smith in 10th place. With Moon’s help, this became one of the shorter play-down days in recent memory as the field went from 27 to 9 in just eleven hours, including a 90-minute dinner break. As a result of his efforts, Moon will have 58 million chips waiting for him when they return to play down to a champion.
To put just how many chips Moon has in perspective: his stack is essentially twice that of Steven Begleiter, who is second in the leaderboard with just over 29 million. It is also more than the sum total of chips of the five shortest stacks left in play. In other words, it is pretty massive. What some of the other players lack in chips they make up for in experience though. Ivey is a seven-time WSOP bracelet winner, though none of those have come in No Limit Hold’em. Jeff Shulman, the editor of Card Player Magazine, made the final table of the Main Event in 2000 ultimately finishing in 7th place after holding a massive chip lead himself. James Akenhead is another player to watch out for, even though he is the shortest stack with just 6.8 million. He is a mainstay on the European poker circuit with plenty of prior WSOP experience.
All nine players will return to the Rio on Thursday to pick up the prize money for ninth place and conduct interviews with the various poker media outlets. Then, they will have a four month break before returning from November 7th-10th to determine the new World Champion.
Here is the final table, complete with chip counts, for this year’s Main Event:
Seat 1: Darvin Moon – 58,930,000
Seat 2: James Akenhead – 6,800,000
Seat 3: Phil Ivey – 9,765,000
Seat 4: Kevin Schaffel – 12,390,000
Seat 5: Steven Begleiter – 29,885,000
Seat 6: Eric Buchman – 34,800,000
Seat 7: Joe Cada – 13,215,000
Seat 8: Antoine Saout – 9,500,000
Seat 9: Jeff Shulman – 19,580,000

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.