When the November Nine format is discussed, we typically think of the World Series of Poker and the members that made the final table in Las Vegas. However, there is a different set of nine who, while they might not play for the same type of payday or international stardom, are still going to take center stage in November to play for one of the world's elite titles and a ton of cash. The Partouche Poker Tour main event reached its final table Saturday, and leading its final nine is one of the best English players in the world, Sam Trickett.
The field of 579 was reduced to 18 players after four days of play and Trickett returned to Day 5 action in 13th. His day started off on a high note, picking up aces versus kings, and from that point on, he was able to coast into the final table with the chip lead.
"I'm really excited, obviously," Trickett said. "When I came out today, I wasn't too sure if I was going to make the nine, and then when I got aces versus kings, I thought it was my time and I'm going to run good as usual. I'm pretty happy."
For the past two years, Trickett has been involved in the biggest cash and tournament games around the world. After achieving his first $1 million year in 2010, he began 2011 at the Aussie Millions, where he won the $100,000 buy-in High Roller event and then finished second to Erik Seidel in the $250,000 Super High Roller event. He also earned two WSOP cashes, an Epic 11th-place finish in August and a final table spot at the WPT Regional in Paris to place him third on the 2011 money list. With the lead and the resume to back up his ability, all eyes will be on Trickett in November.
That said, a group of talented, experienced players are eager to take down Trickett (2.6 million in chips) at the final table:
• Alexandre Coussy (2.4 million): The Frenchman earned his way into the Partouche Poker Tour main event through a satellite.
• Salman Behbehani (2.4 million): The American has more than $340,000 in lifetime earnings with cashes around the world. He finished 50th in the Partouche Poker Tour main event in 2010 and earned his first WSOP cash this summer.
• Mads Wissing (2.1 million): Wissing finished 25th in the 2010 WSOP main event and 70th in the Partouche Poker Tour main event a year ago.
• Mustpaha Kanit (2.0 million): Kanit earned his first six-figure score at the Italian Poker Tour stop in Nova Gorica in March. The Italian has earned more than half a million on the live tournament felt since 2009.
• Roger Hairabedian (1.8 million): The name may not be familiar to you, but in France, Hairabedian is one of the game's stalwarts. Fifth on France's all-time money list, he's earned $2.5 million on the tournament felt with his biggest win coming at the Grand Prix de Paris in 2008.
• Oleksii Kovalchuk (1.6 million): After winning a bracelet in this WSOP, Kovalchuk has remained on fire with a final table bubble at the Russian Poker Tour Odessa stop and a win at the IPT Nova Gorica in September. He'll be in Vegas to watch his friend Anton Makiievskyi on Nov. 5 at the WSOP final table, then head back to Partouche, where we're assuming Makiievskyi will return the favor.
• Ilan Boujenah (1.2 million): Since May 2010, Boujenah has earned more than $400,000 and is constantly traveling on the European poker circuit. The ACFPoker.fr-sponsored pro will have a huge following come the final table.
• Alexander Dovzhenko (944,000): The Ukrainian, who enters the final table as the short stack, has earned more than $1 million in tournament earnings, with a second-place finish at the 2009 EPT Kiev still in the back of his mind. Dozhenko earned four WSOP cashes this year.
Day 5 eliminations included Ludovic Lacay (11th), WPT Legends champion Will Failla (14th) and Juha Helppi (15th).
The final nine are all guaranteed 100,000 euros with the champion taking home 1 million euros on Nov. 12.
Small blinds: The World Poker Tour is back in action at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. The re-entry event completed Day 1A on Sunday with 460 players and is expecting a much larger field on Day 1B. Leaders after Day 1A include Abe Korotki, Vanessa Selbst, Will Failla (who got off the plane and headed straight to the event) and previous WPT champion Cornel Cimpan. By leading the Day 1A field, Korotki earned $5,000. ... WCOOP continues to steal the attention of the online world and recent champions include Dan Kelly (his third WCOOP title), Steve Gross and Shane Schleger. Daniel Negreanu reached the semifinals in the $10,300 heads-up event to earn $48,000. ... Full Tilt's hearing with the AGCC will take place on Monday behind closed doors. Before their meeting it was announced by EGR Gaming that the Hendon Mob ended its exclusive relationship with Full Tilt Poker. ... There were 475 entries at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Bossier City, La., for the first WSOP Circuit main event of the 2011-12 season. David Olson leads the final 27 players (first place earns $148,590). Play was suspended on Day 2 due to thunderstorms in the area, and since the tournament is being played on a riverboat, it seems like a pretty smart decision.