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Poker pros and media make their final table selections2 November 2009
The World Series of Poker Main Event final table begins this Saturday and, as usual, everyone has their opinions on who will win. Casino City sent out an informal poll to a number of poker professionals and members of the poker media to find out who they're picking and why.
Out of the 17 responses we received (9 members of the media, 8 poker pros), Eric Buchman was the top choice to win, getting six first-place votes. Phil Ivey was second with five votes while chipleader Darvin Moon got four. Joe Cada and Kevin Schaffel had one person each pick them to outlast the rest.
Below you will find the complete set of ballots, as well as some well-thought out analysis from some of our respondents. We thank all of you who responded. See you at the Rio on Saturday.
Casino City's Managing Editor Vin Narayanan:
Casino City's Senior Editor Gary Trask
Casino City's Associate Editor Dan Igo
Runner-up: Eric Buchman
Poker Hall of Famer and Ambassador of Poker Mike Sexton
"But if I had to bet on somebody to win, I'd have to go with Darvin Moon. I'm picking the chips more than I'm picking the player. Moon has so many chips I think an alien from outer space could come down, not knowing anything about poker and be able to hold his own.
"If Moon could win it, he'd be the new Moneymaker. But there are a lot of great players at that table. It could be one of the more dynamic final tables in WSOP history. I can't wait to see it all unfold."
2008 WSOP Main Event Champion Peter Eastgate
Poker pro and 2007 WSOP Main Event final tableist Hevad Khan
Poker pro and 2008 WSOP bracelet winner Grant Hinkle
"Now as for who I think will win, I think Eric Buchman will win and Phil Ivey is my second choice. Buchman is very underrated, yet very seasoned player. He has a strong stack to start with and knows how to use it. I think he has the best chance to take it down just strictly on his stack size and experience. I pick Ivey second just based on his lower stacksize, although if they were to get heads-up, I would probably change my mind on their order because its Phil "blanking" Ivey!"
1983 WSOP Main Event Champion Tom McEvoy
Poker pro and 2008 November Niner Scott Montgomery
2008 November Niner Darus Suharto
Veteran poker writer/editor Haley Hintze:
Runner-up: Joe Cada. Every year, one of the early short stacks makes a serious push (re: Joe Hachem, Jerry Yang). Cada's a tough young player who's demonstrated enough live chops to be a serious threat here, and he's the best of the darkhorse picks.
The Phil Ivey Finish: Call it sixth. He's far and away the best player at the final (Happy Shulman being the clear second-best), but the cards themselves don't know that. Mathematically, Ivey will need to survive each of three potential bad beats to move into a dominant chip position, and he's less than a 30% fave to survive even if he gets his chips in good three straight times. Let's assume Ivey will pick his spots like the champ he is, but then will suffer something similar to the famed Moneymaker beat that ended Ivey's dream in 2003. If fortune does smile early, then Ivey becomes the fave to take it down, but the numbers themselves are against it.
Poker pro Yuval Brohnstein
"I think Shulman will finish runner-up after an 'instant classic.' very long and grueling heads up match in which the players swap the chip lead back and forth for hours and hours and hours, and Ivey's sheer luck, 'it factor' finally prevailing.
"I predict Ivey will bust Buchman in 3rd place when both players are about even in chips, and Ivey traps Buchman to commit his stack drawing almost dead."
B.J. Nemeth, poker tournament reporter/photographer
"Having said that, I think four players have the highest likelihood of winning: Eric Buchman, Jeff Shulman, Joe Cada, and Phil Ivey. If you ran this final table 100 times, I believe they would win considerably more often than the other five, including chipleader Darvin Moon and third-in-chips Steven Begleiter.
"Moon appears to be more lucky than good, and there is still a lot of play left. If he tightens up, he'll go deep and finish in the top four, but I don't think he has what it takes to win with a structure this deep and this slow. His chip lead is less important than it would be in a lesser event with a faster final table blind structure.
"I'm going to go with my heart and pick Phil Ivey to win the WSOP Main Event. He's the best player at the table without question, and he has enough big blinds to work his magic.
"I believe Buchman, Shulman, Cada and Ivey are the most likely to make the final two. For this prediction, I'm going to pick Shulman as the runner-up finisher to Ivey. He has a strong combination of skill, starting chip stack, and preparation (with Hellmuth as his final table coach). I believe Phil Ivey will either finish in the top three places or the bottom three. If things go his way early, he'll pick up chips and be a threat to win. But if things go against him early, he will bust early. I don't see much chance of middle ground for Ivey -- no 4th, 5th, or 6th place finishes for him.
Steve Hall, PokerGossip.com
Dan Cypra from Poker News Daily
Scott Long, publisher of Ante Up Magazine
John "Johnny Quads" Wenzel, Editor, Poker Pro Magazine, Poker Pro Europe
Poker pros and media make their final table selections is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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