November Nine Preview – The Inbetweeners

In last Thursday’s preview of the WSOP final table we looked at the three outsiders. Today we’ll be looking at three players with middling stacks – Pius Heinz, Matt Giannetti and Phil Collins – the “inbetweeners”. Yes, I know two of those have got more chips than Ben Lamb – but I’m classing Ben Lamb as a “heavyweight” and we’ll be looking at his chances in the last of this series on Thursday.

As before, the nine finalists and their chip stacks are as follows (Paddy Power odds in brackets):

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

Pius Heinz is 22 and comes from Cologne. He is the first German to ever make the final table of the main event and judging from the videos on Youtube, he speaks perfect English. Actually I should qualify that – he speaks English like a German who has watched thousands of hours of American TV programs. For example:

“Being the first Geman is defnitely kind of cool”

So clearly not very good American TV programs. Everything is “cool” with Pius – he says it every eight words or thereabouts, so get ready for some Germanic coolness if this boy wins.

He was criticised for shoving all in with K-J for 8 million over a 650k raise on day 8.  His opponent John Hewitt called with AK but Heinz rivered a straight. Hmmm yes, I can’t say I would have been too happy if I was John Hewitt either – especially after raising under the gun.  So perhaps we can expect some crackpot moves like that again from the German. It should keep things interesting anyway.

Onto Matt Giannetti then, a 26 year old poker professional from Texas. He is something of a cash game specialist, having left University and moved to Las Vegas to play live cash games.  In fact he doesn’t really play that many tournaments at all, with his biggest live cash being $66k. As the final table approached he was in danger of bubbling out in 10th as the short stack. But he found pocket jacks twice and got paid off both times. At that point he probably felt he was freerolling given he had been so close to the exit door. But I dare say that feeling, insofar as it ever existed, has completely dissipated over the four month break. He’s got a solid chance here.

In one interesting hand late on Pius Heinz raised to 1.1m and Ben Lamb re-raised to 3.1m with K9o.  Matt Gianetti found pocket jacks and shoved all in and Ben Lamb, deciding he was pot committed, called.  The board ran out 10h-6d-3h-7h-As and Giannetti won. But crucially for Matt Giannetti, with all that action in front of him and a seat at the final table in reach, Badih Bounahra folded pocket queens.  So in a way Matt Giannetti owes his place at the final table to Ben Lamb’s 3-bet (and to Badih Bounah’s fold I suppose!) Happily they all made it to the final table anyway.

Matt Giannetti has kept his eye in by winning the EPT in Malta in September, continuing the great record of November Niners in events leading up to the big one.

The last of the three “inbetweeners” is the brilliantly named Phil Collins. I used up my quota of Phil Collins jokes in July so I won’t repeat them here.

I watched an interview with Phil Collins – who by the way doesn’t appear to have at all grown bored with the whole name thing – and I was so impressed with him that I thought about backing him to win the event.  Then I realised there are so many other great players at the final table I decided not to. Also, consider this fact:

for it is amazing – I mean freakishly amazing in statistical terms:

Phil Collins has won over $3 million in online tournaments. But he has never cashed for $100k or more.  He has done the whole $3 million in bits and bobs under $100k. That is an awful lot of final tables! Should he get eighth place or better he will have just skipped the six figure payouts and moved straight to seven figures!

He seems sensible, humble and level headed and, already married at 26, he spoke about how he blew a lot of his early winnings and how he regretted being reckless.

I think that with his new found respect for money he will be tempted to ladder up the pay scale rather than playing all out for the win.  That said, I expect a lot of the others will do too.

If this was played online I would strongly fancy backing Phil Collins, fourth in chips and millions of hands experience under his belt, at 11/2. But it isn’t!

(On Thursday we will look at the “Heavyweight Division” – Martin Staszko, Ben Lamb, and of course, Paddy Power’s very own Eoghan O’Dea)

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