The November Nine of the WSOP Main Event Begins on Sunday Night

The November Nine is set for a live broadcast this Sunday night on ESPN. The November Nine is the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event, which began back in July.

The boardcast team of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad provide the commentary in the live broadcast, which takes place over Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evening on ESPN and ESPN2. Viewers can watch the November Nine on the WatchESPN app, too.

ESPN Broadcast Teams

McEachern and Chad’s fellow broadcast team members are sideline reporter Kara Scott, along with poker professionals and broadcast analysts Phil Hellmuth Jr., Daniel Negreanu, and Antonio Esfandiari.

Cliff Josephy and Qui Nguyen

The November Nine this year includes 5 Americans and 4 international players, including competitors from Canada, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Belgium. Those holding the top three spots in the chip stack totals at the moment are Cliff Josephy of Muttontown, New York in 1st place with 75,000,000 chips, Qui Nguyen of Las Vegas in 2nd place with 68,075,000 chips, Gordon Vayo of San Francisco in third with 50,450,000 chips.

Those in the middle three positions are Kenny Hallaert of Belgium in 4th place with 43,325,000 chips, Michael Ruane of Maywood, New Jersey in 5th with 29,800,000 chips, and Vojtech Rujicka of Prague in 6th place with 27,450,000 chips. The three players most in danger of busting out are Griffin Bengar of Toronto in 7th place with 26,175,000 chips, Jerry Wong of Brooklyn in 8th place with 10,325,000 chips, and Fernando Pons of Parma, Spain in 9th place with 6,225,000.

$8 Million to the Winner

The winner of the WSOP Main Event collects $8 million in winnings, while the 9th place finisher wins $1,000,000. Each step in-between wins more cash, with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winning $4.6 million, $3.4 million, and $2.5 million apiece. Places 5 through 8 each win between $1 million and $2 million. With the plateaus in winning, getting to the final four places is much better from a cash standpoint.

Winning the top prize is almost twice as good as winning the second prize, so winning the Main Event nets an immediate windfall. It also assures special status in poker history, along with countless promotional opportunities. Winning the WSOP Main Event is the most prestigious feat in professional poker.

Rules of the November Nine

The November Nine resumes play with 32 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in level 35. The blinds for level 35 are 250,000-500,000 with a 75,000 ante. The average chip stack has 74 big blinds in it, while Fernando Pons has only 12 big blinds in his stack.

The player with the biggest career winnings is Cliff Josephy, the chip leader. Mr. Josephy is also the oldest player remaining. At 50 years of age, he is 11 years older than the next-nearest competitor, the 39-year old Qui Nguyen, who sits in second place. Of the remaining players, 5 are in their 30s and two are in their 20s.

Gordon Vayo and Michael Ruane

The youngest players are 27-year old Gordon Vayo and 28-year old Michael Ruane, who sit in 3rd and 5th place, respectively. Despite his relative youth, Gordon Vayo has $974,714 in career earnings, including $314,535 which was won for 2nd place in a No-Limit Hold’em event in the 2014 World Series of Poker. Michael Ruane only has $44,962 in career earnings. Only 37-year old Fernando Pons ($20,653) and 39-year old Qui Nguyen ($52,986) have comparably small career winnings totals.

If past WSOP Main Event final tables are an indication, then one player is likely to bust out fairly quickly after play resumes. Several times over the past 13 years, one player entered the final table with such a huge chip stack that he rolled over the competition on the way to final victory. That is not the case in 2016, as only a few million chips separate the 1st and 2nd place chip leaders

That means any player is going to face jeopardy if they decide to make all-in calls against certain players at the table. The lack of a dominant leader might lead chip leaders to play a little more conservatively than they other would. In many instances in the past, the chip stack leader dominates the players with a relative handful of chips, while others try to survive in order to maximize their payouts.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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