Monday, October 18, 2010

Looking Ahead: The November Nine

Have been starting to think a bit about the November Nine, which is sneaking up on us pretty quickly here. A short quiz for you: Without looking it up, how many of the nine players who made the WSOP Main Event final table can you name?

I have also been thinking some about how I’d like to be there at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to see the sucker, although as of right now I have no concrete plans to make the trip. While I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to help cover the World Series of Poker each of the last three summers, I’ve yet to see a Main Event come to its conclusion. Kinda wanting to do that, I’m realizing.

You’ll recall that the whole delayed final table ideer for the Main Event first came about in 2008. That was my first year at the WSOP. In fact, when I initially signed on to make the trip out that summer, no one knew yet that the delay was going to happen. The new schedule wasn’t announced until early May that year, just a few weeks before the WSOP was set to begin.

I remember first hearing about the decision to delay the final table. Was kind of a shocker. There had been a few rumors floating around for the previous three weeks or so. But really, the whole idea seemed kind of out there, a far-fetched plan that didn’t really feel like it was all that likely until the announcement was finally, officially made.

I was already voicing objections here even before the announcement was made. I wrote one post in April 2008 likening the delayed final table plan to a movie sequel, a kind of anticlimactic money-grab that usually mucks with the original’s integrity. Wrote something else after the announcement was made, a post titled “Nine Players in Search of a Final Table” in which I expressed a few more reservations.

I suppose I’ve come around to appreciating some of the benefits of the delayed final table, but I’m still not a great fan of the idea. And like I say, the delay has meant I’ve yet to experience first-hand the excitement of seeing the Main Event come to its conclusion.

The last two years I’ve had a full-time job that prevented me from being able to make those November trips. This year I’m no longer so constrained, and theoretically could zip out there to check it all out. However, I can’t really justify making the trip on my own dime, which I would have to do unless something changes in the near future.

Would definitely get a kick out of being there to see the champion crowned. Would also like to be there for the induction ceremony for the Poker Hall of Fame, too. I had the great honor of being able to participate in the voting this time around, and so would like to witness that process come to its conclusion. (Don’t ask me who got voted in -- I’m still waiting to hear, too!)

But like I say, it isn’t looking likely I’ll be there. I imagine most outlets have already settled on how they plan to cover the sucker, but if there are any who are still looking for help, do get in touch, as perhaps we could work something out.

So, how many of those November Niners could you name? Six? Three? One?

Not to worry. Whether I make it out there or not, I’m sure there will be plenty of folks telling us quite a lot about all nine of ’em pretty soon.

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