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WSOP10 Main Event - Day 8
CEO "Rocket Boy" 18 July 2010

The 10-handed final table of this year's Main Event

Pain for Everybody

Day 8 was bracketed with masterful play by Hasan Habib and Michael Mizrachi from the beginning, and by Brandon Steven at the end, as they endured the ever-so-special pain of short-stack torture. And, unfortunately for Joseph Cheong and Matt Affleck, the day also featured grotesque aces-cracked beats.

In fact, day 8 was full of pain of some kind for nearly everyone in the room. There was the pain of the 18 players who didn't make the November Nine, especially Brandon Steven who was eliminated on the bubble in 10th. Then there was the pain of the Rio WSOP staff, ESPN TV crew, and media and bloggers, most of whom had worked 51 grueling day and nights. They had already covered tens of thousands of hands and bustouts and recorded dozens of interviews and 56 bracelet ceremonies.

And finally there was the pain of spectators railing the action standing on the floor or on the "mezzanine" behind the grandstands. For some reason, standing is far more painful and fatiguing than walking for the same amount of time. No chairs were allowed on that platform, so those of us up there got to experience that form of torture. Until 5:40 am, when Steven busted in 10th place and we had reached the November Nine.

But it was worth the 18 hours of pain. This is the Main Event. The one everybody wants to win. It will produce poker's unofficial worldwide "ambassador" for 2010-2011 and the $8.94 million top prize will create a new poker-made millionaire if the winner isn't already one. So everyone alternately ignored, endured, and forgot the pain as we experienced the biggest and best show in poker.

Grinder chats with his very large and very loud rooting section.

Year of The Grinder

Win or lose in November, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is already the 2010 WSOP's biggest story. His $50K Players Championship win last month proved that he can beat the world's elite players in a vast range of poker games. To win the Players Championship and make the November Nine in the same year, or even in an entire career, is a near impossibility. To win both would be a feat that will likely never be repeated.

Was this the year of the woman? Not so much. We love women, we love women who play poker, and we would love to see women win more WSOP bracelets. But it just didn't happen. Breeze Zuckerman was the last woman standing in this year's Main Event, making a deep run to 121st place. And only one woman was awarded a WSOP bracelet. For winning the Ladies' No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

So what happened to Annette Obrestad? Did she make a big splash in her first year of WSOP eligibility? Negative. She cashed a few times and ruffled a few feathers and not a whole lot more. Annette is tremendously talented and has great potential. She's crushed games online, has appeared on TV several times, and already has a WSOP Europe Main Event bracelet. But at this year's WSOP she was just another above-average rookie.

Filippo Candio put one of the day's huge bad beats on Joseph Cheong.

Filippo and the Aces

Filippo Candio's personal day 8 highlight reel would no doubt include two hands featuring the pocket rockets. The first of which is probably already in Joseph Cheong's nightmares. Details of the hand have been posted by the WSOP live update team, but we'll go over the main actions once more. Candio raised preflop, Cheong 3-bet, and Candio called. The flop came 566, Cheong bet out, Candio raised, Cheong tanked then shoved. Candio tanked, then called all-in. The pot was over 25 million and would determine the chip lead.

Cheong, of course, had AA for aces up. Candio rolled 75 for 6s and 5s with a 7 kicker. WTF?

Seeing what he had gotten himself into, Candio literally ran off and hid. He cowered in the shadows yards behind media row. A FML moment if there ever was one. Until the turn card was dealt. An 8 peeled off, giving Candio an open ended straight draw. And he got there on the river when a 4 came out.

Everyone in the Amazon room (and possibly even people outside) heard the rail explode with shocked groans followed by "Italia! Italia! Italia!" from Candio's supporters. Candio raced back onto the stage, madly gesturing, screaming and hugging his buddies on the rail. The security guard rushed over just in case things got out of hand. Candio had taken the chip lead, and Cheong had taken the worst beat we've witnessed at any WSOP event for such huge stakes.

Here are the players' win odds, according to FlopCruncher:

    Cheong Candio
  preflop 79.2% 20.5%
  flop 86.8% 13.2%
  turn 76.5% 23.5%

Hours later, Candio was dealt AA himself and doubled through John Racener. This more or less guaranteed Candio a spot in the November Nine. We should mention that Racener held AK on that hand. More on ace-king later.

Joseph Cheong in a rare hood-down moment. He recovered well from the aces-cracked beat Filippo put on him.

The Aces of Doom

As bad as Cheong must have felt after doubling up Candio, we're certain that Matt Affleck felt far worse when his pocket rockets blew up. We didn't see it, but we heard that Jonathan Duhamel's JJ flopped a gutshot, turned an open-ender, then Duhamel and Affleck got it all in the middle. And once again, aces went down to a straight on the river.

But this time the player went down with them. Affleck was apparently visibly heartbroken after being punished for getting it in good so close to the November Nine, in two consecutive years. So although in mathematical terms this beat wasn't as horrendously bad as the Candio vs. Cheong hand, the result was far more consequential. Affleck was out in 15th place, and Duhamel vaulted into the lead with more thant 50 million chips. (See the WSOP live update for all the details.)

John Racener enjoys a moment of levity.

Ace-King ad Nauseam

AK sealed many players' fates on day 7, and the sealing continued in full force on day 8. This is true in many if not all tournaments, but Big Slick popped up on far more all-in showdowns and bustouts than normal. Just going through our tweets from the rail, we see quite a few decisive ace-king hands.

In reverse chronological order: Steven held AK when he was knocked out in 10th by Jarvis' QQ, Filippo's double-up with AA was through Racener's AK, Steven and Racener chopped an all-in pot when they each held AK, Steven doubled with AK through Senti's KT, Habib was knocked out by Racener's AK, Jarvis' AK busted Clements' AQ, Jarvis' AK doubled up Affleck's AA, and Habib doubled up with AK through Baker's 99.

Scott Clements made a deep run to 18th place. He busted with AQ against (what else?) the AK of Matthew Jarvis.

Benjamin Statz' Ah5h drawing dead on the river. AIPF, Matthew Jarvis' KQ flopped a boat, rivered quads.

Matthew Jarvis celebrates with his friends after making quad kings to bust Statz.

Grinder's KK held up to double him through John Raceners' KJ.

Brandon Steven and Jason Senti sweating Steven's all-in. Steven (standing) doubled with AK vs. Senti's KT.

Candio did a lot of celebrating on day 8. Here he is after doubling with AA through John Racener's AK.

Grinder consoles 10th place bubble boy Brandon Steven. Steven's AK failed to improve against Jarvis' QQ.

Grinder visits his family and friends on the rail after locking up a seat in November.

The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event November Nine

Your November Nine

Last year, the average M of the November Nine was 34.4 at the start of play. This year it will be only 20.3. Why? Because they played down to nine at only level 33 last year (30k/120k/240k). This year the tenacious play of the short stacks caused the blinds to ramp up to level 36 (50k/250k/500k) before we reached the November Nine.

Here are your 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event November Nine, courtesy of WSOP.com:

  Rank Stack Player
  1st 65,975,000 Jonathan Duhamel
  2nd 46,250,000 John Dolan
  3rd 23,525,000 Joseph Cheong
  4th 19,050,000 John Racener
  5th 16,700,000 Matthew Jarvis
  6th 16,400,000 Filippo Candio
  7th 14,450,000 Michael Mizrachi
  8th   9,650,000 Soi Nguyen
  9th   7,625,000 Jason Senti

We know little about 8 of the 9 players, and in the coming months ESPN and the WSOP management are sure to fill us all in. But once again a name pro has a shot at winning the biggest event in poker. Congratulations to the 2010 November Nine!

Next: Random WSOP10 Photos Part 2...

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