6,420 began but only nine players remain in the WSOP’s Championship Event
By J. Phillip Vogel
Every year, like clockwork, poker players from around the world descend on Las Vegas in droves, all with one burning thought on their mind: to win a World Series Of Poker event. Those players with the highest aspirations focus their mind on one of the loftiest goals in poker—winning the WSOP Main Event.
This year proved no exception as the monumental poker spectacle drew thousands of men and women of all ages from more than 100 different countries, all hoping to claim a seat as one of the Main Event’s “November Nine” and for one exceptional player, an eventual championship bracelet.
Some 6,420 players began the massive poker event, using all of their skills, guile and luck to battle it out for a seat at the final table. And as the dust settled, nine exceptional players remained ready to face each other in November in a quest to lay claim to the title in the 2015 world championship.
The November Nine for this year includes finalists ranging in age from 23 to 72, from four different nations, amateurs and professionals alike. Of the final nine, only poker pro Max Steinberg, from Oakland, CA has previously tasted the sweetness of a WSOP victory. He won his gold bracelet in 2012. He also has two second-place finishes at the series.
Chip leader Joe McKeehen, from North Wales, PA appears to be the player to catch at this point. With an enormous lead, McKeehen is sitting comfortably on more than 63 million—more than double the stack of his closest rival, Zvi Stern, from Israel, with close to 30 million. The 2015 edition of the November Nine by seat and chip counts are as follows:
Seat 1: Zvi Stern—29,800,000
Seat 2: Pierre Neuville—21,075,000
Seat 3: Joshua Beckley—11,800,000
Seat 4: Max Steinberg—20,200,000
Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli—12,250,000
Seat 6: Joe 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
Each of this year’s class of finalists has already become an instant millionaire, since all of the top nine finishers are guaranteed to collect $1 million each. Regardless, all eyes are on the top prize of $7,680,021 and immortality within the poker world as the new world champion, symbolized in the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.
COMING IN NOVEMBER
After an already grueling time going against poker’s best, the November Nine players will now take a well-deserved three-month breather from the intensity of playing in the biggest poker event of their lives.
On November 8th, the final nine will re-assemble once again inside the cavernous Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio, resuming play to decide once and for all who is this year’s poker champ. This year, ESPN’s prime-time television broadcast will expand from two days to three days, for the first time. Coverage starts on Sunday, November 8th at 5:30 p.m. PST. Play continues until just four players remain. Second day coverage starts on Monday, November 9th at 5 p.m. PST and continues until heads-up play is reached.
Finally, on Tuesday, November 10th at 6 p.m. PST, the heads-up duel for poker’s world championship will air and play out until the winner is determined.
In the meantime, 2015 WSOP coverage will begin airing on ESPN on September 14 running into early November. The first three weeks of programming will air on Monday nights. Then, starting October 4th, weekly shows will shift over to Sunday nights. Weekly telecasts will include two hours of coverage initially and then will expand to 2.5 hours during the last four segments.
As exciting as the 2015 WSOP has been, surely the best is yet to come. Good luck to each of the players!