Most people receiving an invite to a big dance in November will probably explain that they grew out of bonfire night year’s ago. That’s outside of the world of live poker. Everyone taking part in the World Series of Poker 2011 Main Event would have started 13 days ago with the hope of making the elite eleventh month of the year. There are only nine golden tickets to poker’s version of Willy Wonka’s Factory up for grabs. Now that the field of 6,865 has been whittled down to nine, lets look at those who are returning on November 5th.
Martin Staszko (Chip Count: 40,475,000)
Hailing from Trinec in the Czech Republic, he’s the first countryman to make the final table of a WSOP Main Event. With all his four WSOP cashes at this year’s tournament, you wouldn’t be churlish to back him making it five.
Eoghan O’Dea (29,400,000)
The 26-year-old Irishman is no stranger to live poker having grown up as son of 1998 bracelet winner Donnacha. Don’t discount him as a son trading on the family name though. Eoghan’s live earnings have reached $732,511 and the one time WPT and Poker Million runner up will be as big a threat as any at the final table.
Matt Giannetti (24,850,000)
On home turf in Sin City, the American has WSOP cashes going as far back as 2006 numbering ten in total. His highest finish in the tournament was fourth in a 2009 event and he will look to eclipse that here.
Phil Collins (21,425,000)
Don’t be fooled by the fact that he shares his name with a British pop icon. There’s more to him than being the perfect front for a tribute act. In his six year career he has amassed over $3million in online earnings and since switching to live poker has already gained $124,984. He’ll be hoping that there’s something in the air come November.
Ben Lamb (20,725,000)
Arguably the most experienced of those still in the field, the Oklahoman is the only finalist to hold a WSOP bracelet. That came in this year’s event and saw him take home a bounty of $814,436. Add to his record of at least three cashes at the last three WSOPs and you can see why the rest of the field will be fearful. The American will be out to prove his play isn’t just mutton dressed as lamb.
Badih Bounahra (19,950,000)
As an owner and operator of his own card room back in Belize, he will enter November with his second WSOP cash already in the bag. Badih is no stranger to winning live finals with a win at the PokerStars LAPT back in 2008.
Pius Heinz (16,475,000)
Germany’s final representative is the only man from his country to reach the November Nine since its inception. A relative live poker newcomer, his first ever live cash came at this year’s WSOP – $17,005.
Anton Makievskyi (15,325,000)
His country, Ukraine, has had some WSOP in 2011. Four players have already taken bracelets to this corner of Eastern Europe and Dnipropetrovsk’s finest may make it five in November.
Sam Holden (13,725,000)
Britain’s sole representative at the final table hails from Sussex and is another young pretender. His live experience comes from three cashes on the UKIPT, one a title, and a victory here would boost in live earnings no end.
Come November only one of them can take home the $8,711,956 prize on offer. We’ll have the coverage right here on the tablog. So join us from November 5th!