A few years ago, the World Series of Poker and ESPN came together to form the idea that later became known as the November Nine. The concept was that they would have the final table for the Main Event play out live on television several months after the rest of the tournament had already happened. The point was that they would be able to build momentum and interest for the final table by playing their normal coverage of the WSOP after July, and this would lead up to the end of the Main Event that would be played out in November.
Winding Down Play
With online poker still working hard to make a comeback and daily fantasy sports being the new favorite of final table player Max Steinberg, the only player in the November Nine who already had a WSOP bracelet, ESPN and the WSOP needed to do something to get more attention on the game. They borrowed from the concept that the final table of play makes for good television, and they upped the ante by having players pushing chips for millions of dollars with live play at the end of the biggest event of the biggest tournament of the year.
The final players were decided on Monday with Joe McKeehen, strong chip leader from the beginning, staying in the top spot with a majority of the chips in play. Ofer Zvi Stern was trailing behind him with about one-third of McKeehen's stack size. Also in play were the previously-mentioned Max Steinberg and another American player Neil Blumenfield. Joshua Beckley and Thomas Cannuli, both players from the same state of New Jersey, one of the states that has regulated online poker in this post-UIGEA , were also in.
Cannuli was knocked out by Steinberg in sixth place. Ofer Stern was out in fifth. Max Steinberg came in fourth place for a $2.6 million payday as the last elimination before the final day of play for the WSOP Main Event final table.
Overall, the November Nine garnered a lot of attention this year, and with Main Event attendance getting back up to peak levels, it's easy to see that things are picking up for poker. If this keeps up, then we could see yet another poker boom inside of the next few years.