[RR] “Did you guys watch the Main Event final table?” Roderick the Rock inquired, although he already knew the answer.
[LL] “Of course”, Leroy the Lion confirmed. “Although I’m afraid it wasn’t very exciting this year.”
[SS] “Yeah, that was only the second time the November Nine chip leader ended up winning, after Jonathan Duhamel in 2010”, Stan the Stat added. “It’s definitely more interesting when one of the underdogs pulls off the upset.”
[RR] “Too bad Negreanu didn’t make the final table to spice things up.”
[LL] “The whole lot of them were pretty boring and tight, I thought.”
[RR] “Several of them looked like they just wanted to move a couple places up the pay scale.”
[LL] “Well, certainly not Patrick Chan!1”
[SS] “He and Federico Butteroni were pretty short stacked. Chan took the aggressive approach, while the Italian tried to sit back and get lucky.”
[RR] “Neither way worked.”
[SS] “Amazingly, Butteroni (8th), Pierre Neuville (7th), Zvi Stern (5th), and Max Steinberg (4th), all busted with Ace-Jack! Butteroni, Stern, and Steinberg couldn’t catch up to bigger Aces,2 while Neuville got very unlucky when Joe McKeehen backdoored a flush with the dominated J♥6♥.”
[LL] “The sixth place finisher was even unluckier than Neuville. Thomas Cannuli’s A♠A♣ were sent to the rail when Steinberg’s T♥T♦ flopped a set of Tens.”
[SS] “Yep. Neuville was just over a 70% favorite, while Cannuli was 80% to win his hand.”
[RR] “Once it got to three-way, McKeehen had such a big chip lead with about two-thirds of the chips, that I thought both Josh Beckley and Neil Blumenfield should play for second.”
[LL] “I think the money jumps kept them from doing that. It was only $1.07 million more for second but $3.21 million more for first.”
[RR] “It helped that Beckley’s Queens took out Blumenfield’s Deuces to consolidate the two short stacks, but it hardly mattered.”
[LL] “Right. Heads up play lasted what, twelve hands?”
[SS] “Correct. With under a fifth of the chips, Beckley didn’t have much room to manuever. At least he got it all in good with Fours against Ace-Ten offsuit, but a Ten on the flop gave the superior player the bracelet.
I should also note that:
- Neuville’s seventh place finish was the worst for a November Niner starting fourth.
- The final four were all Americans (McKeehen, Beckley, Blumenfield, and Steinberg). The only other time that was true for the November Nine was in 2012 when Andras Koroknai of Hungary busted out in 6th place and left five Americans to battle for the bracelet.
- The final three included two of the three youngest and one of the two oldest of the November Nine.
- Beckley’s second place finish was the second best for a November Niner starting seventh (Pius Heinz won in 2011).
- McKeehen became chip leader of the event way back on Day 4 (second on Day 3) and led the final table wire to wire, knocking out five of the other eight players.
- All eight November Nine champions have been in their 20s.