2008 Main Event Final Table

The following is an article found at poker listings for all interested in this famous event.

POP! That was the sound of the largest final-table bubble in poker history bursting. Ladies and gentlemen, after 6,844 hopefuls started out, only nine still have their dreams of Main Event glory intact.

Those players whose nerves, stamina and fortunes held through the grueling 11-day schedule of the Main Event will now become the most famous nine men in poker – for four months at least.

The chosen few will reconvene at the Rio, Las Vegas on November 9 to play out the final table, and as WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack commented astutely, “The excitement and interest that will surround our final nine players will be unprecedented.”

With $9,119,517 the juicy prize for first place and eight millionaires in the making, there will be a frenzy surrounding these players as momentum builds toward the final.

Here are those history-making men, dubbed by the media the “November Nine,” along with their stacks.

1. Dennis Phillips – $26,295,000
Teaching the young guns a thing or two.

Dennis Phillips hails from St. Louis, Missouri and at 53 is the oldest participant remaining in play. Age has proved no obstacle for the down-to-earth American, though, as he will return with the largest stack and possibly the best chance of picking up the bracelet. By profession, Dennis sells trucks of all shapes and sizes and although he has a few live cashes, the payout he gets from this event, wherever he finishes, will of course massively eclipse his previous wins by a large margin.

2. Ivan Demidov – $24,400,000
From Russia with chips.

Hailing from Moscow, Russia, Ivan is one of only two players at the final table who is of neither Canadian nor American descent. The namesake of a famous Russian politician, Ivan comes into the final well chipped up in second place and will spend the next four months dreaming of what might be. An avid fan of skiing and scuba diving, he has already picked up one cash this Series, an 11th-place finish in the $1,000 Rebuy event. He was pleased with this result but with a minimum of $900,670 awaiting him in November, this has been one summer the young Russian will never forget.

3. Scott Montgomery – $19,690,000

Great Scott!

Scott Montgomery may not have had a live cash of note prior to 2008, but this has been an outstanding year for the Canadian – he has already picked up a fifth-place finish at the WPT LA Poker Classic for over a quarter of a million dollars. The 26-year-old traveled from his hometown of Perth, Ontario to play at the World Series and it proved a worthwhile trip, with three cashes already and a massive further payday awaiting him in November.

4. Peter Eastgate – $18,375,000
Dangerous Dane!

Dane Peter Eastgate will be leading the charge to bring home the WSOP Main Event bracelet to Europe. Best known for leading EPT Copenhagen for some time before eventually succumbing in a slightly disappointing 32nd spot, Eastgate has put that disappointment behind him in style. In fourth spot coming into the home stretch, the Dane has every chance to put a cat among the pigeons by taking home the title. If he does so, he will single-handedly eclipse Gus Hansen as Denmark’s top tournament money winner.

5. Ylon Schwartz – $12,525,000
It’s up to you, New York, New York!

Thirty-eight-year-old Ylon Schwartz is one of the most colorful characters at the final table, and the happy-go-lucky New Yorker has much to be merry about, as he will return in November in the middle of the pack, set for glory. A seasoned gambler of 25 years, he says he respects fellow finalist David Rheem’s fierce play a lot and when asked about his plans between now and November, he told us in typical jovial fashion, “I’m going to get a hammock and a bottle of tequila and that’ll be that.”

6. Darus Suharto – $12,520,000
Maple-y he can bring it home to Canada?

The second Canadian to have battled through to the final table, Darus cashed once before in the WSOP Main Event but the paltry-looking $26,389 he won back in 2006 pales in comparison to the big score he is destined to pick up in November. Like fellow countryman Scott Montgomery, he is also one of Ontario’s finest and when the players pick up arms again in four months, he’ll be going hell for leather to work his stack up into one that is capable of challenging for the title.

7. David Rheem – $10,230,000

Chino: A man to watch.

Perhaps the best known of the players to have final tabled, player David “Chino” Rheem is a pro from Los Angeles. He had already made one final table this Series, coming in fifth in the $5,000 Mixed event, and came close to a bracelet in the 2006 WSOP, where he finished second in the $1,000 NLHE event for his biggest payday so far of $327,9891. He’s smashed that figure already, of course. Known for his fearless, aggressive style, he’ll be a handful for the other players, especially if he can bolster his stack size early on.

8. Craig Marquis – $10,210,000

Marquis won’t be “sade” with his performance (groan).

Twenty-three-year-old student Craig Marquis may be young and one of the shorter stacks when the final recommences but with friends like David “Raptor” Benefield, his roommate during this Series, to help guide him, he is highly capable of causing carnage at the felt. Hailing from Texas, Marquis had two minor cashes at last year’s WSOP and already had one cash under his belt this year before making this monumental final table.

9. Kelly Kim – $2,620,000
Chip and a chair.

Californian Kim will join the other eight players very short-stacked in ninth spot, but harboring
dreams of an early double-up and shot at the title. With a long and impressive list of cashes to his name stretching over a four-year period, Kim, who plays poker with a big grin on his face most of the time, could pose a challenge if he can somehow get hold of his chips. Even if he has the shortest stack, he has the next four months to enjoy his moment in the spotlight and plan a strategy for attack.

* * * * * * * * * * *

All the players now have four months off to breathe a sigh of relief at making what will be an incredibly high-profile final table. They can negotiate sponsorship deals, get themselves into great shape for the event and of course brush up their poker skills and techniques in preparation for the nail-biting climax to what has been the biggest World Series of all time.


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