Know Your Nine: A Cheat Sheet For The WSOP Final Table
July 16, 2021

With the Final Table of the World Series of Poker Main Event now set, regular folks all across the world will begin talking about nine very specific poker players. 

Many of us PokerRoaders are expected to know about this kind of stuff, especially by our non-poker playing friends who assume were experts and with that in mind, we offer here, a quick crash course on the nine players we'll all be talking about for the next three and a half months:

Darvin Moon, the chip leader of the group with 58,930,000, comes to us from Oakland, Maryland.  Moon is not a professional poker player, he's a 45 year-old self-employed logger who won his way into the Main Event through a satellite tournament.  Expect media puns involving "Timber" or "chopping down the competiton."

Eric Buchman, the player in the classic stalker position with 34,800,000 in chips, is a professional poker player from New York.  Buchman has nine WSOP cashes, and this will be his 2nd WSOP final table of 2009.  According to the popular player tracking site,, Eric already has about $1 million in career tournament cashes and is now guaranteed at least another $1,263,602.

Steven Begleiter from Chappaqua, in northern Westchester, New York, is currently in third place with 29,885,000.  The 47 year-old Begleiter formerly worked in high finance at Bear Stearns.

Jeff Shulman, the editor of Card Player magazine, is fourth in chips with 19,580,000.  Shulman is highly connected with the poker world and if reports from Wicked Chops Poker are true, he is considering throwing away the Main Event bracelet if he wins it, due to his anger over the current media situation with the WSOP (PokerNews is the official tournament updates provider for the WSOP forcing sites like Card Player to only do sporadic updates).  Shulman's nickname is "Happy," which I'm guessing if this Wicked Chops story is true, is kind of like calling a bald guy, "Hairy."

Michigan's Joseph Cada, sits around the middle of the pack with 13,215,000 in chips.  At 21 years-old, Joseph is the youngest player of the November Nine but he's already had quite a bit of success, particularly online where he's even won one of the highly contested Full Tilt Poker Sunday $750K Guarantees. 

Sixth Place's Kevin Schaffel is pretty much the opposite of Cada in many ways.  Schaffel, an amateur player, enters the final nine as the oldest player at the table at 51.  He's a semi-retired printer from Coral Springs, Florida and he has 12,390,000 in chips waiting for him at the table.

In seventh with 9,765,000 is Phil Ivey of Las Vegas, Nevada.  I don't know much about him.

25 year-old Antoine Saout, is our last French player hailing from Saint Martin des Champs.  Saout, currently sitting with 9,500,000 in chips, also won his way into the Main Event through a satellite, meaning he's already guaranteed a huge return on his initial investment. Saout is a bit of an unknown factor in this event, with very little in terms of a tournament record besides one recorded 6th place finish in a EUR1,000 buy-in event on the Spanish Poker Tour for EUR5,800.

Poker pro James Akenhead rounds out the field as the short stack going into November with 6,800,000 in tournament chips.  Akenhead hails from london and already has a whole string of cashes on both sides of the pond, but until now had yet to really earn that one big score.  Look for James to search for a spot to get it in early, and then look to the media to say lots of British sounding things while talking about him, like my previous "both sides of the pond" comment.

I was just kidding about Phil Ivey of course, at 33 not only is he the most well known player at this final table he's arguably the most respected poker pro on the planet.  Ivey has thirty-five WSOP cashes and 7 bracelets which includes the two he's already won this year.  He also has 11 World Poker Tour cashes including a first at the LA Poker Classic for $1,596,100.  Overall, Ivey has earned over $10,000,000 thus far playing tournament poker (not including this event) and if he wins in November (or really just hangs on for eighth) he'll pass Jamie Gold and become the all time tournament money winner on Earth. 

Ivey is a founding member of Team Full Tilt Poker and can often be seen playing in the highest cash games available on that site where he continually crushes.  Most importantly of all though perhaps is his association with PokerRoad, where he can be both seen and heard in our popular ongoing shows The Life of Ivey and Tuesdays With Ivey.

For more information on Event #57 of the 2009 World Series of Poker- The Main Event, visit

Story by Mark Anderson

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