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21/07/2010 No. 91
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Wed 21 Jul 2010
Who are the 'November nine'?

We now know the makeup of the final table of this year's World Series

We have a "November nine". The final table of the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSoP) has been decided; the weird new system remains in place, where the tournament will be finished five months after it started.

There is no pretending that this year's final lineup is as exciting as last year's, which featured a Brit (James Akenhead), a journalist (Jeff Shulman), a woodcutter (Darwin Moon), and the world's greatest tournament player (Phil Ivey).

The 2010 names are mostly unfamiliar, with one notable exception. Michael Mizrachi, otherwise known as "The Grinder", is a widely respected tournament pro, with one bracelet and $8.6m in tournament winnings to date. He has two famous poker-playing brothers (Eric and Robert), both of whom also cashed in this year's main event. But the most intriguing brother seems to be his third, Daniel, who is a professional magician. Shame he didn't play.

Alongside The Grinder, we've got two experienced live tournament professionals (John Dolan and John Racener), both – like Mizrachi – from Florida. The chip leader, Jonathan Duhamel from Canada, turned pro about a year ago. There are two more online pros (Jason Senti and Joseph Cheong, both American), a single European pro (Filippo Candio from Italy) and Canadian Matthew Jarvis who was a business student but recently gave that up to "concentrate on my poker career".

So far, so professional. The new, slower WSoP structure is good for poker, as it increases the skill factor against luck, but I can't help feeling wistful for those random chancers who used to fluke the final table. A corner of my heart is reserved for the sole amateur this year, Vietnamese-American Soi Nguyen, not least because several websites have described him as "the old player at the table", at an elderly 37.
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