I can’t speak for how things are over on the other side of the pond, but here in America us Yanks are pretty well distracted by a whole heckuva lot of other stuff at the moment. Thus only a tiny percentage of the most ardent poker buffs are even checking in to see who is winning what over in London this week.
One part of the WSOPE story I was curious about from a long ways back was to see how many of the so-called “November Nine” would be making the trip over there. I wrote a post about that subject back in May around the time the WSOPE schedule was first announced. There I speculated that the WSOP Main Event final table hype machine would surely make a point to ship most if not all nine of those guys over to London to get ’em some extra publicity as we ramp up to the final table in November.
Got some inside dope shortly after I posted that, and discovered that when the WSOP made the decision to delay the Main Event final table, they hadn’t even considered that the WSOPE would be coming up in the interval and that there could be some marketing possibilities to be exploited there.
I’ve listened to a few interviews with the November Nine over the last few weeks, and most sounded as though they wished mostly to lay low during these 117 days. Heard both chip leader Dennis Phillips and Darus Suharto over on Phil Gordon’s The Poker Edge, and neither sounded too interested in playing a lot of poker in public during these four months.
Took a few moments yesterday to scan through PokerNews’ chip counts for each of the four WSOPE events to see how many November Niners appear. While not everyone who enters the events gets listed in the chip counts, I’m guessing that all nine of the final tablists -- Dennis Phillips, Ivan Demidov, Scott Montgomery, Peter Eastgate, Ylon Schwartz, Darus Suharto, David Rheem, Craig Marquis, Kelly Kim -- would have been tracked.
So with that disclaimer in mind, here’s what I’m seeing in the counts:
In Event 1, the £1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, the only November Niner to appear there was Scott Montgomery (currently 3rd place at the WSOP ME). He busted on Day 1b.
In Event 2, the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event, Kelly Kim (currently 9th place at the WSOP ME) made it to Day 2, but busted shy of the poundage.
None of those waiting to play the World Series of Poker Main Event final table appear to have registered to play Event 3, the £1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event.
Finally, six of the November Nine are shown playing in Event 4, the £10,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. Day 1a ended with two of them -- Ivan Demidov (2nd, WSOP ME) and Scott Montgomery -- in the top five. Both Peter Eastgate (4th) and Craig Marquis (8th) played that day as well, but neither made it through. Then David Rheem (7th) and Kelly Kim both made it through Day 1b. Of those four, only Ivan Demidov survived to Day 3. He was 14th out of 67 players left entering play on Tuesday.
Demidov had a good Day 3 and ended the day right in the middle of the pack with 24 players left. And he hung on through the day yesterday, too, and sits in 3rd place with nine players remaining, giving him the undeniably impressive distinction of having made the final tables of both WSOP Main Events this year.
So it looks like there wasn’t any special effort to get those guys over there, but then again, WSOP/Harrah’s maintained all along that they weren’t going to make any of those making the final table do anything they didn’t want to.
But with Ivan Demidov still alive, there’s a real opportunity here. Gotta believe WSOP officials, Harrah’s, and ESPN are going to be pulling hard for Demidov to take the sucker down today, as that would certainly spark some extra interest in the ME final table that perhaps isn’t there at present. (Having John Juanda, Scott Fischman, and Daniel Negreanu there ain’t so bad, either.)
Too bad there are no plans (of which I am aware, anyway) to show the WSOPE final table here in the States anytime soon. If somehow they could’ve managed it to air it prior to November 9th, that might’ve added some seriously needed hype to the delayed WSOP ME final table.
In any event, I’ll admit to being a bit more interested in the WSOPE final table that I would’ve been otherwise. Follow along over on PokerNews, starting at 1:00 p.m. London time (that’s 8:00 a.m. Eastern, I believe).