(This week I will be previewing the final Table of the WSOP Main Event)
The final table of the 2011 has been set and the great news is that a Paddy Power Poker player has made the “November Nine”.
Eoghan O’Dea will be back to join the eight other finalists on 5 November to contest poker’s richest prize. Each player has already won a minimum of $782,115 and this year the first prize is $8.7 million.
Eoghan’s achievement means that one record has already been set: for the first time ever a father and son have made the final table of the main event. Eoghan’s father Donnacha O’Dea came 6th in the 1983 main event and 9th in 1991 and he was also the first member of the European Poker Players Hall of Fame.
Paddy Power has priced up the event and here are the runners and chip counts, with their odds and nationalities.
Seat 1 – Eoghan O’Dea – 33,925,000 (5-1) – Ireland
Seat 2 – Martin Staszko – 40,175,000 (4-1) – Czech Republic
Seat 3 – Ben Lamb – 20,875,000 (5-1) – USA
Seat 4 – Phil Collins – 23,875,000 (11-2) – USA
Seat 5 – Pius Heinz – 16,425,000 (15-2) – Germany
Seat 6 – Anton Makiievskyi – 13,825,000 (9-1) – Ukraine
Seat 7 – Samuel Holden – 12,375,000 (10-1) – England
Seat 8 – Badih Bounahra – 19,700,000 (12-1) – Belize
Seat 9 – Matt Giannetti – 24,750,000 (6-1) – USA
Eoghan has drawn seat one, which is my joint least favouritie seat, along with seat 10. The dealer sits in the “box” in the middle with seat 1 to his left and seat 10 to his right so when you sit in seat 1 it isn’t easy to get a good look at seats 9 and 10 because the dealer is in the way! This makes it mildly inconvenient when you are playing a hand with someone in seat 9 or seat 10.
It’s only a small point but there’s another hidden danger with seats 1 and 10. Dealers often collect up the folded cards quite rapidly and if they are on auto-pilot they can scoop up the player’s cards in seat 1 and 10 even when they are live. It’s easily done because they are just lying there within easy reach. This is obviously a total disaster when you get KK or AA and look back to discover the dealer is throwing them into the muck.
It sounds unlikely I know, but I played live poker for three months in Las Vegas and I reckon I saw this happen about a dozen times. And every time the irate player asked for a ruling the floor supervisor would say the same thing: “it is the players’ responsibility to protect their cards at all times”. Basically “tough luck”. It’s probably a longshot to happen at a WSOP final table but a chip protector is probably in order all the same.
Actually this reminds me of a story about TJ Cloutier. Asked what most memorable ever hand was he described a situation exactly like this. He was holding the nuts one minute (in pot limit omaha) and when he looked back he didn’t have any cards because the dealer had scooped them up and mucked them. And he’d already invested about $8,000 in the pot! Knowing full well that complaining would do him no good he cupped his hands where his cards should have been, pretending to “hide them” and he bet the pot. He stared down his opponent, with no cards and a 100% losing “hand”…….and his opponent folded! He says this was his best ever hand and for sheer thinking on your feet this takes some beating.
Back on the subject of nationalities, it is conspicuous that the year the major US poker sites are closed down coincides with the year the most different nationalities are present in the “November Nine”. There are 7 different nationalities represented at this year’s final table, which is easily the most I can ever remember. Usually there are 7 or 8 Americans and one or two others but this year there are just three Americans.
Could the Black Friday effect be responsible for this demographic change I wonder? And could this be a permanent feature? Do we have a genuine “World” Series now as opposed to an American “World Series” like in baseball?
Or is it more likely just a big coincidence?
(to be continued on Thursday)