O'Dea, Lamb and Collins Star in November Nine
The November Nine at the 2011 WSOP Main Event was set early Wednesday morning, with Ben Lamb, Phil Collins and Eoghan O'Dea playing starring roles.
While they might be the biggest names left in the field, six other players will return with them in November to play for the bracelet and 8.7 million.
Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic will take a 6 million chip lead over O'Dea and the rest of the field heading into November.
Play Becomes Fast as Players Take Shot
The most surprising aspect of Day 8 play at the Main Event was the pace of play.
By the time the dinner break was reached, the field had shrunk from 22 players to just 12.
Lars Bonding was the first big name to fall when he ran pocket aces into a set of fours from Konstantinos Mamaliadis.
Chris Moore, Gionni Demers and Aleksandr Mozhnyakov hit the rail shortly thereafter.
As players combined for the final two tables play was expected to slow, but that wasn't the case.
After Kenny Shih fell in 18th, WSOP National Champion Sam Barnhart got the last of his stack in with pocket nines, only to run into pocket kings from Pius Heinz.
Barnhart couldn't catch a nine and hit the rail.
Ryan Lenaghan, Andrey Pateychuk, Scott Schwalich and Konstantinos Mamaliadis all hit the rail prior to the dinner break.
During the dinner break, Bryan Devonshire was complaining a bit via twitter about the fact that he was not allowed to dip at the final table. He even called out Tournament Director Jack Effel on the matter.
Whether Devonshire's somewhat childish antics resulted in a karma shift or not is debatable, but he went on a nosedive after the dinner break.
Khoa Nguyen crippled Devonshire after he doubled-up with Ah-7d against Kh-Qd. A bit later, he would shove his remaining 3 million and showed Kd-Qd.
Eoghan O'Dea called with Ad-Qd and his ace would hold to knock Devonshire out in 12th.
Khoa Nguyen followed Devonshire shortly thereafter when his pocket tens ran into the kings of Martin Staszko.
He couldn't catch a ten and the pseudo final table of 10 was set.
John Hewitt Becomes Main Event Bubble Boy
With 10 players left, one elimination was still needed. Sam Holden and Matt Giannetti started as the short stacks before Holden and Giannetti chipped up.
Amateur player Badih Bounahra slipped to the short stack spot and looked like the likely bubbly boy candidate. However, he found a timely double-up with pocket kings against the KcQs of John Hewitt.
After Bounahra's double-up, Hewitt was left with only 4.1 million in chips and he had to do something quickly to avoid bubbling.
A couple of hands later, he picked up pocket threes and shoved. O'Dea called with Ks-Jd and the race was on.
A flop of Qc-10d-7s gave O'Dea a ton of outs as he picked an open-ended draw. The turn ended it for Hewitt as it fell the Ah to give O'Dea broadway.
Players gathered for congratudolances for Hewitt and at the same time celebrate making the November Nine.
Lamb and Collins Highlight, Staszko Leads
Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic will enter the November Nine as the chip leader with 40,175,000.
His next nearest opponent is Irishman Eoghan O'Dea with 33,925,000.
Poker pro Matt Giannetti, once the short stack at the 10-handed table, is now third in chips with 24,750,000.
Noted pros Phil "USCphildo" Collins and Ben Lamb will start the November Nine fourth and fifth in chips.
Collins is slightly above average with 23.8 million while Lamb is slightly below average with 20.8 million.
Belize's Badih Bounahra is sixth with 19,700,000 chips and Germany's Pius Heinz sits in 7th with 16,425,000.
Youngsters Anton Makievskyi and Samuel Holden are the short stacks with 13.8 and 12.3 million respectively.
Players will return to the Rio on November 5th to play the final table. They will reach heads-up play on that day and then come back on the 7th to battle for the bracelet.
Its been a wild ride so far and we will be back in November to bring you the conclusion to the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event.
See you then!