Las Vegas, NV
This is the moment you've been waiting for -- the conclusion of the November Nine. Who will become the next big swinging dick in the poker world? Tonight (or if it runs late, early tomorrow morning) the next WSOP Main Event champion will be declared. Just in case you're tuning in for the first time, we're down to three players. In previous years, the final table was stopped when two players remained but this year things are a little different with three players in the hunt for a bracelet, the world championship, and $8.7M in cash (for the two Europeans in the mix, that's roughly €6.3M.)
The WSOP Main Event bracelet
Here's some quick stats:
2011 Main Event Entrants: 6,865The last few Main Event champions have been 20-somethings -- Jon Duhamel, Joe Cada, and Peter Eastgate -- all of whom were groomed courtesy of online poker. Two out of three remaining players are 20-something (Pius Heinz is 22 and Ben Lamb is 26), while the "old guy" at the table is Martin Staszko at 35 years old.
First Place: $8,711,956
Prize Pool: $64,531,000
November Nine - Final Three Chip Counts:
Pius Hienz (Cologne, Germany) - 107.8M
Ben Lamb (Las Vegas, NV) - 55.4M
Martin Staszko (Trinec, Czech Republic) - 42.7M
November Nine Final Table Payouts and Results:
1st - ? - $8,711,956
2nd - ?? - $5,430,928
3rd - ??? - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Badih "Bob" Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115
Lamb already won WSOP Player of the Year honors and after a sensational run-good at the WSOP, and as long as he doesn't have any horrendous life leaks, he'll become a mainstay on the circuit.
Meanwhile, for the two Euros... Pius Heinz is striving to become the first-ever German world champion, and Martin Staszko is attempting to become the first-ever bracelet winner from the Czech Republic. If he wins, he'll be thrust into the upper echelons of "world famous Czechs" along with one of my favorite authors Milan Kundera, hockey pros Jaromir Jagr and goalie extraordinaire Dominik Hasek, tennis greats Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova, and film director Milos Forman (he won an Oscar for
The conclusion of the November Nine will be aired on ESPN at 9pm ET (or 6pm Vegas time). The broadcast will be on a fifteen minute delay, but you'll be able to see the hole cards. I'll be providing a live blog here on Tao of Poker along with random tweets from inside the Penn & Teller Theatre. Follow @taopauly if you wish. Oh, and Michalski and I will be recording a few podcasts along the way, which I'll post as the day/evening progresses.
4:05pm... 2011 Poker Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
The Poker Hall of Fame ceremony will include the inductions of Linda Johnson and Barry Greenstein. I'm one of the Hall of Fame voters and I voted for both. Their storied careers in additions to their contributions off the felt made them obvious choices for this year's class.
Linda will become only the second female to gain entrance into the hall (Barbara Enright, the only female to make a Main Event final table is the other).
4:25pm... Mike Sexton Introduces Linda Johnson
Ty Stewart kicked off the HOF ceremony. He made a joke about being old enough to be Pius Heinz's father. He handed off the mic to Sexton, who was supposed to introduce Linda Johnson.
They had a technical malfunction and the mic emitted a weird hum. It's the same kind of sound MP's blast at Gitmo to torture Jihadists. Once the tech issue was corrected, Sexton gave an eloquent speech on why Linda Johnson deserved a nod.
Here's some notes....
- Sexton revealed that Linda was the first online poker affiliate for Party Poker.
- Sexton cracked up a couple of time. Kinda touching.
- "Everyone in poker owes Linda debt of gratitude," said Sexton.
- Linda mentioned that most people thought she was a dealer when she said she was a poker pro.
- Linda said that there were no tournament clocks -- the TD wore a kitchen timer on his lapel.
- Some quotes: "I gotten so much more than I've given"... and... "Poker taught me to have a sense of humor."
4:50pm... Doyle Brunson Introduces Barry Greenstein
Texas Dolly gave a quick, but powerful speech. He mentioned that Barry might have won the most out of all of them in high stakes cash games.
- Upon his arrival to the Las Vegas poker scene... "He became a force immediately."
- "He's the man who never runs it twice," said Brunson.
- Barry wasn't wearing a tie. I don't think I've ever seen him in one. It would just look weird.
- "As a poker player, I'm not accustomed to having things handed to me."
- Barry mentioned that he was excited about the HOF nod because he saw what happened to Erik Seidel after he was inducted last year. "I'm looking forward to some of that Hall of Fame run good."
- Barry suggested some changes specifically about "playing for high stakes" and "no mention of tournaments in criteria."
- Barry took a well-deserved shot at an inept Congress, who have been bumbling about online poker. He also felt that young players should stay in college and earn their degree before entering the poker world.
- "Another neglected group are foreign players," said Barry, who was stumping for European pros like Thor Hansen and Chris Bjorn. He also mentioned foreign-born pros such as Chau Giang and Freddy Deeb should not be overlooked. He also gave a shout-out to Eric Drache.
- Barry cracked up when he wanted to show appreciation to his partner Alexandra.
- "No matter how long you play poker, you keep learning and modifying your game."
- Barry said his father watched him host a poker game in his basement when he was 13. His old man told him he played too many hands and needed to fold more. "apparently, I folded enough hands to make it into the Hall of Fame."
5:30pm... New Tao of Pokerati Episode - Hall of Fame Ceremony
Episode 7: 2011 Hall of Fame Ceremony - Dan and Pauly chat about the 2011 Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring the new class -- Lind Johnson and Barry Greenstein. They also revealed who exactly was on their ballots.
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5:40pm... Hallway Signs and the Dancing Lamb
I popped into the hallway in the break time before the action for the final three started. A slew of Germans congregated in the hallway. They had better signs than Sunday including one that said "Pius, will you marry me?" And another sign about "Percs." I have no fucking clue what than means in German, but Percs is slang for Percosett. Shit... I gotta party with the Germans tonight, regardless of how Pius finishes up.
And then back inside the theatre, the sound system kicked on and it sounded like Personal Jesus was played. Five flashdancers took the stage and went into their routine. The guy in the lamb suit rushed over and joined the dancers. The crowd went ape shit and cheered him on. One of the dancers was not thrilled with the lamb fucking up their routine, so she gave him a nice shove. Ty Stewart rushed over and yanked the lamb off the stage. It was one of those surreal things that you only see at the WSOP.
5:50pm... Bruce Buffer's Introductions
Bruce Buffer announced the final three players. I liked how he pronounced Martin Satszko's name... Staaaaa-zzzzzz-kooooo. The largest reaction happened when he uttered Ben lamb's name. The crowd is mostly filled with Ben Lamb supporters, sporting green t-shirts.
"It's time!" screamed Buffer as he completed "Shuffle up and deal" honors.
5:52pm... Cards in the Air
We're still on level 40. Blinds are 600K/1.2M with a 200K ante.
5:55pm... First Hand; Lamb Crippled by Staszko
All in pre-flop on the first hand. Ben Lamb was racing with Kh-Jd against Martin Staszko's 7h-7s. The board ran out 10h-9s-2d-3s-10c. Lamb's fans were silenced and he was crippled to under 13M. Martin jumped up to almost 85M.
5:59pm... New Tao of Pokerai Podcast - First Hand Fireworks
Episode 8: First Hand Fireworks - Dan and Pauly had just settled in to watch the final three when they witnessed fireworks on the first hand. Ben Lamb attempted to knock out Martin Staszko, but was crippled when he lost his race.
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6:10pm... Ben Lamb Eliminated in 3rd Place ($4,019,635)
Pius Heinz and Ben Lamb
It didn't take long before Ben Lamb made a stand with his short stack. He got it all-in with Qs-6h, hoping to double up against Martin Staszko and the chips back. Alas Staszko picked up another pocket pair -- Jd-Jc. The board ran out 5h-5c-2s-2c-7s. Ben Lamb's magnificent run ended with a third place finish. He collected $4,019,635. Not too shabby. His fans were stunned, especially the guy in the lamb suit, who never thought they'd see their hero hit the rail on the 4th hand.
The Czech fans went nuts as the dealer pushed the pot to Staszko. It's down to two Europeans for the championship. Germany vs. Czech Republic.
Heinz is no longer the chip leader. He has 88.6M and trails Staszko's 117.3M big stack.
6:15pm... The Cash on the Table
Where's the guys with shotguns? Man, I miss Binions and their thick-necked goons with weapons keeping a keen eye on the cash. Action was paused while the winner's share was stacked on the table. Bricks of cash. That's what it's all about right? $3.3 million difference between first and second.
Here's what's at stake...
1st place - $8,711,956And the chippies:
2nd place- $5,430,928
Pius Heinz - 88.6M
Martin Staszko - 117.3M
6:18pm... Lamb's Bustout Interview
Ben Lamb was all class in his post-elimination interview despite the crush of media thrusting microphones and recorders in his face.
"I don't want people to cry for me... I'll be okay," said the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year as he flashed a smile.
WSOP media director Nolan Dalla asked Ben Lamb who he thought would win the heads-up match between the two Euros. "Martin has the lead," said Lamb. "But Pius has more experience and is more aggressive."
Ah, Lamb likes the German to win it all.
When asked about busting out rather quickly, Lamb responded, "I didn't think I'd bust in five hands... but I wanted to come in (playing) aggressive."
6:34pm... Pius Back in the Lead
The room was rather quiet with most of Lamb's supporters filing out of the theatre after his elimination. But, just when things seemed sedate and calm, a massive pot developed.
The board read: 9d-8d-5c-Qd-10c. Approximately 34M was in the pot. Hienz checked. Staszko bet 14.5M. Hienz check-raised all-in. Staszko folded and relinquished the lead. Heinz improved to 123M, while Staszko slipped to 83M.
Heinz's German contingency sang his theme song -- a rendition of KC and the Sunshine Band's "Give It Up" with random German lyrics switched up to fit Pius' name.
Update: Thanks to Change100 watching ESPN in our hoel room, she informed me that Heinz held 9s-8s for two pair and Sraszko had only As-8c.
7:10pm... Level 41
Not much to report over the last half hour. I told writer Michael Kaplan that the Germans and Czech could be chanting curse words and dirty limericks and no one would know because I doubt anyone manning the censors at ESPN is fluent in German and Czech.
Blinds are up. 800K/1.6M with a 200K ante. Heinz is still ahead of Staszko... approximately 132M to 75M.
7:35pm... Staszko Snags Lead
The Czechs on the rail are rowdy once again now after Martin Staszko seized the lead.
Both players limped to see a rainbow flop of Q-9-2. Heinz bet out and Staszko called. The turn was the Ks (with two spades now on the flop) and Heinz bet 4.5M while Staszko insta-called. The river was the 7s. With a flush on the board, Heinz fired out 14M or so. Staszko called and tabled Q-7 for two pair -- Queens and sevens. It was good enough to win the pot. Heinz also rivered two pair, but his 7-2 was no good. Foiled with the Hammer.
After shipping that pot, the Czech cheering section grew louder and louder. Staszko opened up a 110M to 95M lead.
8:07pm... Heinz Wins Four-Bet Battle; Then Loses Lead
Puis Heinz looked like he was about to kick it up a notch. He opened to 3.4M. Staszko raised to 9.5M, but Heinz pushed right back with a 20M four-bet. Stazsko bailed. That hand pushed Heinz over 115M and he took a 25M lead over Staszko.
On the next hand, it was Staszko's time to push around Heinz. Staszko opened to 3.5M, Heinz aggro-raised to 10M and Staszko called. The flop was 10s-7d-2h. Heinz bet 9M and Staszko called. The turn was the Ac and Heinz fired out 21M. Staszko didn't blink and shoved all-in for his entire stack of 60M or so. Heinz folded and Staszko won the pot. The two flipped-flopped chip counts. Heinz slipped to 84M, while Staszko was back on top with 122M.
Update: I got the hands -- on the 10-7-2-A board, even though Heinz bet the turn, Staszko shoved with a gutshot and K-Q and Heinz folded J-9.
8:40pm... Staszko Takes 2-1 Lead
Quick snark... los hombres at Wicked Chops Poker are dubbing Staszko the "Czech Moneymaker."
Back to the poker action... before the hand, Staszko held a 115M-90M lead. But after the hand, he surged to over 140M and had twice many chips as Heinz.
The standard opening raise has been 3.4-3.5M. Heinz raised and Staszko called. The flop was Ah-9s-3d. Staszko check-called a 3.8M bet from Heinz. The turn was the As. Staszko checked, Heinz bet 8.5M, Staszko check-raised to 18.5M, and Heinz called. The 6d fell on the river and Staszko bet 20M. A frustrated Heinz folded.
After that hand, Heinz slipped to 64M, while Staszko chipped up to 141M.
Update: Staszko held 7-6 off while Staszko turned trip Aces with Ac-9c.
Heinz picked up momentum as he stormed back to almost even in chips. Over the last 5 or 6 hands, Heinz's aggression paid off after Staszko coughed up a 2-1 edge. With about seven or eight minutes left in this level, it's almost as if Staszko needs the level to end and go on a break in order to put a momentary halt to Heinz's assault.
9:05pm... Heinz Back in Lead
Heinz trying to pull away. He's now holding 113M to Staszko's 92M.
9:15pm... New Tao of Pokerati Episode - Heads-Up Outfits
Episode 9: Heads-Up Outfits - It's been heads-up for almost three hours between Martin Staszko and Pius Heinz. Dan and Pauly discuss their outfits and lack of patches. They also decide to pick sides. Pauly is backing Heinz, while Dan is sticking with Staszko. Oh, and Dan is perplexed when he realizes that he is dressed identically to Pauly.
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9:33pm... Level 42
Blinds are up to 1M/2M with a 300K ante. Heinz has almost 117M to Staszko's 89M.
9:50pm... Staszko Back on Track
The break did wonders for Martin Staszko. He re-grouped and won 7 out of the first 9 hands after the break. He re-took the lead and now has a 125M to 80M advantage.
10:04pm... Staszko Steamrolling; Back to a 2-1 Lead
Chants from the stage echo into the back of the theatre. The Germans are screaming "Pius!" while the Czechs are belting out "Nartin!" Except where I'm sitting, it sounds like "penis" and "more meat."
Despite the "We will, we will Heinz you!" chants from the Germans, Staszko opened up more than a 2-1 lead again after winning a pot with a King-high straight. Staszko lead is now 143M to 62M.
Pius Heinz is unable to stop Martin Staszko. The Czech now has almost a 3-1 lead with a 152M to 53M advantage.
One of the Germans is holding up the "Pius, will you marry me sign?" To which someone from the peanut gallery blurted out, "So gay!"
11:01pm... Frustrated Heinz
During one hand on a board of 8-8-6-6-3, Heinz looked totally perplexed -- he couldn't get a read on Staszko. Even though he banged away at small pots to get within 124M to 80M, he could induce any action when he woke up to wired Aces. Since then, Heinz lost multiple pots and slipped under 50M. Staszko is back to a commanding 3-1 lead.
Even though the Czech fans are outnumbered 2-1, they are louder than the Germans in white hoodies on the rail. So all the cheering is up on the stage. Meanwhile, out in the actual theatre, it's rather quiet and mellow. I dunno if anyone is hanging out in the upper deck. I haven't heard any cat calls from the peanut gallery in several hours.
11:40pm... Heinz Finishes Level Strong
Well, I can say one thing about Heinz... he wasn't going to roll over and give up so easily. He picked up several pots at the end of Level 42 to trim Staszko's lead.
11:45pm... Level 43
Blinds are up to 1.2M/2.4M and a 300K ante. Staszko holds a 124M to 81M lead.
11:55pm... Huge Double Up for Heinz
On the first hands back from the break, we had finally had some action. Heinz raised from his big blind and Staszko called. The flop was Ks-10c-7c. Heinz c-bet to 8.5M, Staszko raised to 17.5M, Heinz shoved all-in, and Staszko called. Heinz only had a gutshot with Ah-Qh vs. Staszko's flush draw and Qc-9c. The turn was the 3h, and the 6s fell on the river. Heinz faded the flush and his hand held up. He doubled up to 162M. Meanwhile, Staszko sunk to 43.5M.
According to Timtern, Heinz has the biggest lead of heads-up play. He's got well over a 3-1 advantage. And yes, the Germans on the rail erupted with jubilation and launched into their rendition of "Give It Up."
12:15am... Martin Saszko Eliminated in 2nd Place ($5,430,928); Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event ($8,711,956)
The final hand... all-in preflop. Heinz went to battle with As-Kc against Staszko's 10c-7c. The board ran out 9s-5c-2d-Jh-4d. Heinz won the hand with Ace-high, thereby winning the 2011 Main Event and $8.7 million. He left into the crowd and nearly disappeared into a sea of white hoodies.
Europe is the home of a world championship once again, as Heinz becomes the first German WSOP Main Event champion. Czech Republic's Martin Staszko finished in second place, collecting $5,430,928 for his runner-up performance. Congrats to both gentlemen.
2011 November Nine Results:
1st - Pius Heinz - $8,711,956
2nd - Martin Staszko - $5,430,928
3rd - Ben Lamb - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Bob Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115
12:22am... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - The Final Hand
Episode 10: The Final Hand - Dan, Pauly, and Timtern commentate on the final hand as Pius Heinz defeats Martin Staszko to win the 2011 WSOP Main Event Championship.
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Pius Heinz - 2011 WSOP Main Event Champion
That's it for now! Thanks for following along with the Tao of Poker. I have no idea if this is my last WSOP. I'm sure it won't be, but if it is, it's been one wild ride.
Photo credit: WSOP.com (J. Boncek)