Friday, October 29, 2010

November Niners’ Await Restart (With No Redraw)

A week from tomorrow and the 2010 WSOP Main Event cranks back up as the “November Nine” return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to restart the tourney after a nearly four-month hiatus. (Cool pic of the scene there at the Penn and Teller Theater during last year’s final table courtesy the great FlipChip.)

Here are the current chip stacks and seat assignments:

Seat 1: Jason Senti -- 7,625,000 (9th)
Seat 2: Joseph Cheong -- 23,525,000 (3rd)
Seat 3: John Dolan -- 46,250,000 (2nd)
Seat 4: Jonathan Duhamel -- 65,975,000 (1st)
Seat 5: Michael Mizrachi -- 14,450,000 (7th)
Seat 6: Matt Jarvis -- 16,700,000 (5th)
Seat 7: John Racener -- 19,050,000 (4th)
Seat 8: Filippo Candio -- 16,400,000 (6th)
Seat 9: Soi Nguyen -- 9,650,000 (8th)

Remember when the November Nine ideer was first brought up? And how back in 2008, once they’d played down to the final nine and play was suspended, we kept hearing people say that the plan was going to be to redraw for seats once players returned to the Rio? (No shinola.)

Was a curious phenomenon, actually. As it turned out, the seating assignments did not change between that last hand in July and the restart in November. Even if the much-repeated story -- believed by many observers and even the players themselves -- was that they would.

As generally happens at WSOP events, there had been a redraw when the tourney had gotten down to 10 players, from which point they played ten-handed until Dean Hamrick was eliminated. Talk then was that there would be a redraw, one purpose for which would be to minimize collusion, a frequently-evoked concern of critics of the November Nine idea at the time.

Many also mentioned then that the redraw would significantly affect the way players prepared, too, since they couldn’t spend four months working on how to deal with a particular player sitting on his immediate left or right.

Since redraws don’t happen in other WSOP bracelet events when the tourney goes from 10 to 9, it seemed a little strange to be hearing that there would be one for the Main Event. But the November Nine was a new and radical change, so most weren’t that surprised to be hearing about other novelties like the redraw being associated with it.

I remember hearing players interviewed back in 2008 -- right up until the last week, in fact -- and how they all seemed under the impression there would be a redraw. There was even confusion, it seemed, the day of the restart, as I wrote about here at the time. There was live audio commentary one could listen to online for the 2008 ME final table, and there the announcers were actually describing preparations being made for a redraw, but in fact none took place.

Now that we are in the third year of having the delayed final table, there doesn’t seem to be confusion, anymore, about this particular aspect of the Main Event final table. All of the players know where they’ll be sitting come a week from tomorrow, and commentators are taking seating assignments -- and players’ positions relative to one another -- into account when handicapping the FT.

What do you think? Should they redraw? What would be the pros and/or cons of doing so?

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