More WSOP Wrap-up (Main Event)

by , Jul 16, 2008 | 5:18 am

It’s Nolan Dalla’s job to feed us media types official information for use in our presumably unique WSOP coverages. And in doing so, he puts in more hours at the World Series than even Pauly. (Sorry dude, it’s true.) When Nolan checked out last night, he said a few goodbyes as he walked from his crow’s nest in the pressbox and made some final announcement saying his last report would be forthcoming, and looking semi-exhaused, with heartfelt sincerity, yadda yadda. The thanks and adieus from the remaining poker journos — it was past 4 am — turned into applause … he smiled, turned and walked across the dark open floor of the broken-down Amazon room to the light of the final table stage.

Below is the last email he sent out, which tells you better than I can the official take on what went down over the past few days and what lies ahead.


2008 World Series of Poker

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

Las Vegas, Nevada


Official Report 

Event #54                                                                         

World Championship

No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-In:  $ 10,000

Number of Entries:  6,844

Total Net Prize Pool:  $64,333,600

Number of Places Paid:  666

First Place Prize:  $9,119,517

Total Players Remaining:  9

July 3 – November 10, 2008



NEWS FLASH:  The WSOP “November Nine” is Set!


Tournament Notes from Day Seven:


  • Eleven days ago, the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event began on Thursday, July 3rd.  The official Day Seven was played on Monday, July 14th.


  • This is the 47th and final day of a 47-day span which comprises the vast majority of the 2008 WSOP schedule (not including WSOP-Europe, which takes place September 19th through October 2nd and the Main Event final table to be played November 9-10).


  • The day began with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, who assembled the final 27 players together and provided some basic information which will be applicable to the nine survivors.  Pollack stated that the WSOP management team will maintain its close association with the surviving players during the 117-day interim period between the close of the WSOP and commencement of the Final Table, which is to be played in November.   


  • Play on Day Seven began with the “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement at 12:30 pm PST.


  • The number of players who started Day Seven was 27.  Play continued until 18 players were eliminated, and the final nine players were determined.


  • The average stack at the start of the day was 5,070,000 in chips.


  • The average stack at the end of the day was 15.1 million in chips.


  • The chip leader at the start of Day Seven was Dennis Phillips (St. Louis, MO).  He maintained his chip lead and now has the biggest stack going into the final table.


  • Craig Marquis (Arlington, TX) started the day in second place.  He made it to the final table, but is now ranked eighth in chips.


  • Scott Montgomery (Perth, Ontario – Canada) made the greatest move up the chip ladder during the course of the day.  He started off in 16th place and rocketed up to 4th place by day’s end.


  • Tiffany Michelle (Los Angeles, CA) suffered the greatest setback of any player of the final 27.  She started the day ranked third in chips but ended up busting out in 17th place.


  • Day Seven started with only one female player still alive in the tournament.  Tiffany Michelle came in ranked third in the chip count.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to establish the momentum necessary to propel her to the final table.  She ended up finishing in 17th place, worth $334,534 in prize money.  Michelle’s performance is the best by a female in the Main Event since Annie Duke’s 10th-place showing in 2000.  The year before, Susie Isaacs also finished in 10th place.  The best finish ever by a woman in the WSOP Main Event was by Barbara Enright, who finished 5th in 1995.  Michelle’s earnings – at slightly more than one-third of a million dollars – is the most ever won by a female in the WSOP Main Event.   


  • Only two former WSOP gold bracelet winners were still in contention when play resumed, including – Phi Nguyen and Brandon Cantu.  Both former champions were eliminated early in the day.


  •  Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Phi Nguyen (Hawaiian Gardens, CA) finished in 26th place.  This was his second time to cash in the Main Event (164th place in 2006) and 14th career in-the-money finish at the WSOP.


  • Former WSOP gold bracelet winner Brandon Cantu finished in 20th place.  Cantu was expected to be a wild card in the group, since he has a reputation for playing hyper-aggressive poker.  One fellow poker pro predicted that Cantu would either bust out early or would end up at the final table as the chip leader.  Unfortunately, he had to settle for the former – which meant the last of the former champions was gone.


  • All players who started play on Day Seven were guaranteed at least $257,334 in prize money.  All players who made it to the final table are now guaranteed at least $900,670.  Players are to be paid the guaranteed prize money on July 15th, which is the day after the November Nine had been determined.


  • Tim Loecke, from Highland Park, IL ended up as the 22nd-place finisher.  Most interesting is the fact that this was Loecke’s first-ever live poker tournament.  He qualified to play in this event by winning a $63 satellite.  His win amounted to $257,334.


  • Nations still alive in the Main Event include:  United States (5 players), Canada (2), Denmark (1), and Russia (1).


  • A Russian poker player has now made it to the final table in each of the last two years.  Ivan Demidov follows in the footsteps of Alex Kravchenko, who finished in fourth place last year.


  • A Canadian poker player has now made it to the final table in each of the last two years.  Two Canadians, Darus Suharto and Scott Montgomery follow in the footsteps of Tuan Lam, who finished in second place last year.


  • Players from several different nations were represented in the top 100 of the Main Event for the first time ever.  Brazil enjoyed its highest world championship finish ever as Rafael Caiaffa, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil took 55th place.


  • Argentina enjoyed its highest world championship finish ever in this event as Jose Barbero, from Buenos Aires, Argentina took 89th place.


  • Venezuela enjoyed its highest world championship finish ever in this event as Jamal Kunbuz from Valencia, Venezuela took 33rd place.


  • Romania enjoyed its highest world championship finish ever in this event as Toni Judet was Bucharest, Romania took 22nd place.  Note:  Judet had previously been misidentified as “Judet Toni Cristian.  It should be noted that he prefers to be called “Toni” and his last name is “Judet.”    


  • Play was suspended with 21:50 remaining in Level 33.  Day Seven concluded at 3:29 am PST, about 15 hours after play began.


  • Day Eight begins Sunday, November 9th at 10:00 am.  The final table will be played at the Rio Las Vegas.  The venue will be announced later.


  • This is one of the younger final table fields in WSOP history.  The youngest player remaining is 22.  The oldest player remaining is 53.  The average age of the surviving players is 31.8 years.  Five of the final nine are in their 20s.


  • When Phil Hellmuth won the WSOP in 1989, he was the youngest world champion in history – at age 24 years, 10 months, and 5 days.  Should either Peter Eastgate or Craig Marquis win this year’s Main Event, the record for youngest champion would be broken.


  • Here is a list of the final nine players, along with some basic biographical information:


Ivan Demidov (Moscow, Russia)

— Age 27

— Professional Poker Player

— Single

— Enjoys skiing and scuba diving

— Playing at the WSOP for the first time, this year

— Finished 11th place in Event #44


Peter Eastgate (Odense, Denmark)

— Age 22

— Professional Poker Player

— High school graduate, no college

— Paid cash to enter


Kelly Kim (Whittier, CA)

— Age 31

— Professional Poker Player

— Born in Korea

— Used to work as a business analyst

— Earned his college degree from the UC-San Diego

— Paid cash to enter

— Had three WSOP cashes, all last year


Scott Montgomery (Perth, Ontario – Canada)

— Age 26

— Professional Poker Player

— Has been playing poker for about four years

— Paid cash to enter


Craig Marquis (Arlington, TX)

— Age 23

— College Student

— Has been playing poker for only about 18 months

— Plays the guitar

— Plans to buy his family a swimming pool with the prize money

— Paid cash to enter


Dennis Phillips (St. Louis, MO)

— Age 53

— Account manager for a commercial trucking company

— Actually lives in suburban town of Cottage Hills, IL – but calls St. Louis his home

— Gained entry by winning a WSOP satellite held at Harrahs Casino in St. Louis

— Nickname is “Fordman”

— Earned B.A. college degree


David “Chino” Rheem (Los Angeles, CA)

— Age 28

— Professional Poker Player

— Paid cash to enter

— Has been playing poker for about ten years


Ylon Schwartz (Brooklyn, NY)

— Age 38

— Former professional chess player, who hustled games in New York City’s public parks for money

— Discovered he could make a far better living playing poker, and has been doing so the last several years

— 12th time to cash at the WSOP (more than any other finalist); best previous finish was 15th place in the $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event this year


Darus Suharto (Toronto, Ontario – Canada)

— Age 39

— Accountant

— Born in Indonesia

— Earned MBA from Indiana University

— Won satellite entry into the Main Event


  • Seats were re-drawn on three separate occasions.  When the 27-player mark, 18-player mark, and 10-player mark were reached, survivors were reconfigured into different tables and seats.  Play was consolidated from three tables down to two about mid-way through the second level of the day (or just three hours into Day Seven).  The rate of bust outs was much quicker than had been anticipated. 


  • Late on Day Seven, although ten players actually sat at a single table, only the nine surviving players constitute the official “final table,” in standard poker reporting and official WSOP records.


  • The tenth-place money spot is now referred to as the “TV bubble.”  This is because the player will not partake in the three-month publicity built-up to the final table, nor the actual play of the November Nine,” which will be shown on ESPN.  Dean Hamrick ended up as the tenth-place finisher.  His sorrows will be soothed somewhat by collecting $591,869 in prize money.


  • When play resumes, the finalists are scheduled to play from nine down to two on November 9th, and two down to a single winner on November 10th.


  • The nine finalists are to be paid 9th-place prize money at this time ($900,670).  That will leave approximately $24 million up for grabs in November.  Since the interest in $24 million for a 117-day period is substantial, Harrahs Entertainment will place the prize money into an interest-bearing account.  The additional funds earned from the account will be added to the prize pool amongst the remaining nine players.  Hence, each player is expected to collect a bit more in prize money than the figures which have previously been announced.


  • When play resumes, Level 33 will continue with blinds set at 120,000-240,000 and antes at 30,000.


  • An interesting side note:  The tournament has now reached the point where a single ante represents 1.5 player buy-ins for the Main Event.  Players started this tournament with 20,000 in chips.  Antes are now 30,000.


  • ESPN’s broadcasts of this year’s WSOP begin on July 22nd from 8-10 pm EST.  New programs of various tournaments, including the Main Event, will debut each week.


  • ESPN will broadcast the final table on November 10th and 11th, just hours after play is expected to end on the previous days/nights.


  • The final table will be played just five days after the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election.


  • Players who have made it to the “November Nine” have now played a total of 65.5 tournament hours, not counting breaks or end of day recesses.


  • In the 39-year history of the WSOP, champions were citizens of the following nations at the time of victory:  United States (35), England (1), Ireland (1), Australia (1), Spain (1)


  • Past WSOP champions were born in the following nations:  United States (31), Iran (2), Ireland (1), Lebanon (1), Ecuador (1), Laos (1), Vietnam (1), and China (1) 


  • This is the largest World Series of Poker in history.  A grand total of 58,720 players entered into 55 gold bracelet events surpassed last year’s number of entries, which was 54,288.  These figures represent an 8 percent increase over 2007.


  • This was the richest World Series of Poker in history.  A grand total of $180,676,248 in prize money awarded in 2008 makes this the richest event in all of sports.  Note:  This figure does not include the upcoming four events to be played at WSOP-Europe.  These figures represent an increase of 13 percent over 2007.


  • This ranks as the second-largest live poker tournament in history.  This year’s turnout surpassed 2007 attendance (6,358) by 7.4 percent.  Only the 2006 WSOP Main Event was larger than this tournament — with 8,773 entrants.


  • This is the second-largest tournament prize pool in history.  The total prize pool amounts to $64,333,600.  The top 666 finishers will collect prize money.


  • There were at least 118 different nations and territories represented by all players who entered the 2008 Main Event.  By contrast, there were 87 different countries present last year.   This represents a 36 percent increase in international participation.


  • The 2008 WSOP Main Event winner will collect $9,119,517 in prize money.  The minimum payout is $21,230. 


  • The full payout list for the Main Event (all places) is as follows: 































































One Comment to “More WSOP Wrap-up (Main Event)”

  1. edbucks

    “Players who have made it to the “November Nine” have now played a total of 65.5 tournament hours, not counting breaks or end of day recesses.”

    If they used their Harrah’s card, they earned a dollar per hour towards food and hotel. Go ahead and add $65.50 to the prize pool.