Jonathan Duhamel
Jonathan Duhamel
John Racener
John Racener

With the entire poker world watching their every move, after 4 long months of waiting, the November Nine took their seats at this year’s WSOP Main Event Final table. After a grueling 13-hour session, 2 professional poker players, Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener, emerged from the milieu, and will reconvene on Monday November 8th to play heads-up for the title.

That’s right, from a starting field of 7,317 players, we’re down to a 23-year-old from Quebec and a 24-year-old from Florida, one of whom will walk away with close to $9 million and the most coveted bracelet in poker.

Following the action via a live poker blog (thank you Andrew Feldman), the action was SO sick – I literally felt like I was right there watching the cards and chips fly across the felt.

Soi Nguyen surprised nobody in particular; the lone amateur finished in 9th place after Jason Senti, the shortest stack entering the final table, eliminated him. So after 4 months of waiting, he’ll have to settle for the $812,000 he already received way back in July…

Mathew Jarvis, probably the player everyone at the table enjoyed having most sitting there, was the victim of the cruelest board I’ve EVER seen. After moving all-in with 99 and getting called by Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi’s AQ, Jarvis was staring defeat squarely in the face after a QQ8 flop. The poker gods seemed to smile down at Jarvis, hitting a 2 outer 9 on the turn. But they giveth and then taketh away, with an ace on the river sealing Jarvis’ fate for 8th place. As soon as that hand airs on ESPN, it will become an instant classic… Poor Jarvis.

Jason Senti and John Dolan were then eliminated in (relatively) quick succession. Senti’s play was praiseworthy in particular, as he managed to move up 2 spots from having startedthe table as the short stack, thus guaranteeing himself an additional half million dollars. Dolan was mostly card-dead throughout the session and really couldn’t get anything going. With $1.7 million for his 6th place finish, things can’t be TOO bad for Dolan though…

The Grinder Gets Ground Down

Having “ground” his way up to the chip lead from being in 7th place entering the final table, and with over 60 million in chips at some point, Michael Mizrachi was poised to take down the table for his 2nd bracelet of 2010. Unfortunately, he ran into an “on tilt” Jonathan Duhamel, who strangely called a Grinder all-in with a weak ace. Fortunately for the Quebecer, his paired ace was able to overcome Grinder’s pocket 3s on the flop. It was downhill from then on for the Miami native. After a seemingly endless succession of questionable plays and moves, Mizrahi found himself all-in and drawing thin to Joseph Cheong’s AA, which eliminated him in 5th place. Though practically the entire world of poker fans out there was rooting for him to take down the title, in interviews following his elimination, Grinder didn’t seem TOO disappointed with his play and 5th place finish. He earned $2.3 million for his performance.

The unpredictable and incredibly fun to watch Filippo Candio was eliminated next in 4th place. Now the all-time Italian money-leader at the WSOP with over $3 million, Candio’s antics will not soon be forgotten by anyone who’s watched the ESOP broadcasts this year.

Choeng Blows It

Down to just 3 players, John Racener seemed to be facing insurmountable odds against a deep stacked Joseph Cheong, who had played almost perfect poker the whole day, and Jonathan Duhamel, who had entered the day with the chip lead.

In one of the most debatable moves of the tournament, however, Cheong chose to 6-bet A-7 all in, and Duhamel called, immediately flipping over pocket queens. The queens ended up holding up, giving Duhamel a massive chip lead and decimating any hopes Cheong had had of winning. Indeed, Cheong was eliminated soon thereafter (much to Racener’s delight), and received $4.13 million.

Duhamel will enter heads-up play with 189 million, while Racener could be said to “have some work to do”, with just 31 million.

Stay tuned to CardPlayerLifeStyle for a recap of the 2010 WSOP Main Event’s conclusion. The final table broadcast will be aired on Tuesday night on ESPN. I can’t wait to watch it!

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