For the first time in almost a decade, poker will have a World Champion by the end of July this year.
After 9 years of modest success the WSOP announced last week the time had come to mothball the November Nine and the 4-month wait to play out the Main Event final table.
Denmark’s Peter Eastgate was the first WSOP champion to win the trophy in November back in 2008 but, as much attention as the event got then, the concept of the November Nine was never universally embraced.
Although there were undisputed advantages for players who made the final table a case could be made – and usually was – that the tournament lost momentum and just wasn’t the same when play resumed.
At the recent 888Live festival in Barcelona we asked nine pros – 3 of them former November Niners themselves – from six different countries one question: “Is the decision to get rid of the November Nine good or bad, and why?”
The results were not unanimous, but still pretty clear.
Bruno Politano, Brazil
I have two answers – first, it’s great for poker. It’s great for the tournament to get finished, it’s good for TV and the audience at home because they want to keep watching. It’s a good decision for poker in general.
But for the players who’re there at the final table, it’s not good because they’re missing the best three months of their lives. If you are one of these nine players, you’ll have the most intense time ever.
Everything you do is bigger than usual, trips, time with your family, the preparations, everything.
Kara Scott, Canada
It’s a good decision because they now can keep the momentum going and that’s what you want to do in a poker tournament.
Sofia Lövgren, Sweden
I think it’s a great idea because everybody is already there and the tournament is on. Everybody who’s railing is there, too, so it’s great for them to just stay on.
Alec Torelli, US
My personal view is that it’s sort of bad. Obviously, there’s a ton of upsides, like less traveling, no visa issues and a bunch of other things.
The thing I don’t like is that there’s now not a lot of time for outside sponsors to get excited about it. When players who reach the final table want to work out a deal with someone, this now removes some of the opportunity for the network, the WSOP and also for the players.
But other than that it’s totally reasonable.
Michael Mizrachi, US
I support that. It’s good because no one can train for three or four months, the pressure’s on right there.
Also, I think that for more players it’s like, if you’re hot, you want to go with the ride instead of wait for several months and get ice cold.
Patrik Antonius, Finland
I think it’s a very good decision. If I was in this tournament I wouldn’t want to go away and come back much later.
Also, I don’t think it has fulfilled the expectations to get the main event final hyped up and get more attention. It’s good to change, and it’s time for a change.
Cate Hall, US
If I were to make the final table I’d rather have the November Nine but for everybody outside the last table it’s a good decision. I’d prefer to have three months where I could prepare and train and adjust all the time. There’s so much money on the line that it would be dumb not to do that.
William Kassouf, UK
It’s a good decision. I don’t mind having a break of two or three days before the final but the tournament is in July and it should be finished in July. The flow of the tournament shouldn’t be interrupted.
Jesse Sylvia, US
I’m very conflicted. I think it’s kind of bad. I really liked the hype they were creating around it and how it built up to the final. It’s so special and it means so much.
On the other hand it’s a completely different tournament when the players come back three months later. Not only because everybody had time to get coaching and prepare – I spoke a lot with Vanessa Selbst – but also because of the length of the Main Event.
On Day 6 players start doing absolutely crazy stuff and the reason is simply because they’re exhausted. They see there are still 50 players and they need to win more chips so they start doing things they usually wouldn’t.
But this craziness is also part of the Main Event.
And so it’ll be.
For the first time since 2008 there won’t be a November Nine. But if our pros know what they’re talking about, the Main Event will create the biggest buzz since Jerry Yang lifted the trophy in 2007.
Here’s a list of all 80 WSOP November 9ers ranked by results. Tune in to our WSOP news section here on PokerListings for all the latest as things get underway in just days!
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