2013 November Nine

[YY] “Have you guys been following the World Series of Poker Main Event?” Yuri the Young Gun polled the table.

[RR] “I usually wait to watch ESPN’s shows”, Roderick the Rock answered, “but I listen to a bunch of poker podcasts, so I already know who made the final table.”

[YY] “Looks a lot like last year’s group: mostly professional poker players, majority are American, and average age around 30.”

[SS] “Like every other November Nine”,1 Stan the Stat interjected. “I was looking over all the November Nines: one to five foreigners every year (4 this year), one to three amateurs (just Jay Farber this year), and one to three players over 35 (2 this year).”

[SS] “The chip leader going in has done no worse than third (amateur Darvin Moon in 2009 to nobody’s surprise), while the winner has started as low as seventh (Pius Heinz in 2011). Two oddities: the player who started second in chips has never won, and the player who started fourth in chips has done better (average finish 3.4) than those who started second (4.8) or third (3.8).”

[SS] “This is the first time that the November Nine chip leader already owned a bracelet (J.C. Tran has two among his table-high 40 previous cashes). Amir Lehavot in second also has a bracelet, also passing Greg Merson, who last year started the final table in third place, the highest previous spot for a bracelet owner.”

[SS] “One last factoid: unless Ryan Riess, who’s 23, wins this year, we’ll crown our oldest November Nine winner. All six previous champs have been between 21 and 24 years old!”

[LL] “After Dan Harrington made his second consecutive final table in 2004, he predicted that nobody over 40 would ever win the Main Event again.2 He was barely right as the next three champions were 39, 36, and 393 years old. But since then we’ve had the six young November Nine winners despite the rest that the long break gives and the shutdown of the major online poker sites in the U.S.”

[LL] “I’m rooting for the two old men at the table, Tran is 36 and Lehavot is 38. Who do you guys like?”

[YY] “Well, then I’ll pick the young guy, Riess.”

[RR] “I want the only amateur, Jay Farber, to win it all. He has plenty of chips in fourth right now, but you have to consider him a big underdog because of his lack of experience.”

[SS] “It’s hard to bet against the chip leader, but I’d also be happy if any of the other Americans won. If Farber is a big underdog, Mark Newhouse and David Benefield are play-in game winners. The lowest player to come back to win was Pius Heinz (seventh in 2011), but he had 40% of the chip leader’s stack. Newhouse and Benefield are both under 20%.”

Footnotes:

  1. In 2012, the group was technically the October Nine, but it doesn’t seem to bother people too much that March Madness finishes in April every year.
  2. Harrington is quoted in Grantland’s “When We Held Kings” article: “‘No one over 40 is ever going to win this tournament again.’ It’s become an endurance contest”.
  3. The 2005 to 2007 winners were Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold, and Jerry Yang.
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