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WSOP November Nine preview
The WSOP’s November Nine experiment has entered its second year, and by the looks of things, it is yet to accomplish the goal its creators had in mind when the idea first came up.
The first crew that ever made it to the Main Event’s delayed final table was made up of relatively unknown players. Scott Montgomery, Dennis Phillips, Peter Eastgate, Darius Suhato, David Rheem, Kelly Kim, Ylon Schwartz, Craig Marquis and Ivan Demidov may not seem unknown now, but one has to bear in mind that most of them gained a degree of notoriety through their November Nine presence, so it is safe to say they had been relatively unknown before the event. The industry and the poker world in general had no peculiar expectations of this motley crew of players and in line with that, they’ve performed well.
Eastgate is not a bad champion and I think it’s safe to say that unlike Jerry Yang, he isn’t a champ to pull a disappearing trick after his win. Still though, the poker world needs a little bit of a shakeup, and these guys weren’t the crew to deliver that or even to ignite a process that would lead to any kind of significant change.

The 2008 November Nine had some chemistry though. The middle class, “succeed through hard work” player was represented by Dennis Phillips. Ivan Demidov was there to represent the growing Russian market and Ylon Schwartz has been the protagonist of many top level tournament battles since then. He’s definitely not afraid to put his money into harm’s way either, but everything considered, we’re glad to see this group step down and the 2009 November Nine take its place. It isn’t so much the fact that we’re getting rid of them that excites us, it’s rather that the upcoming group has so much more potential. Given the right kind of circumstances, this new group, highlighted by the presence of Phil Ivey, will possibly bring about some long overdue changes in the world of online and offline poker. That’s right. We’re talking about a possible repeal of the UIGEA here. The poker industry has long been waiting for a WSOP champ capable of bringing about a change of this magnitude, and Phil Ivey may just be the man for the job. Sure, he’s not exactly a spotlight-hog, and I have to admit it is kind of difficult to picture him in a heated debate with a Capitol Hill veteran about the skill based nature of poker, but if push does come to shove and if he does win, he’ll have some serious arguments on his side.
The fact that a newcomer, a no-name amateur can win a WSOP Main Event is no novelty. Chris Moneymaker’s win in 2003 was exactly this sort of win, and it did indeed ignite the biggest popularity boom in the history of poker. Times are different now though, and these different times call for radically different measures. The victory of a well-known and respected professional player would provide rock-solid proof towards the skill based nature of the game. This wouldn’t only serve to re-assure players that hard work is indeed rewarded in poker, it would provide a solid point of reference in the anti UIGEA battle as well.

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