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August 27, 2014

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Final table set for World Series of Poker

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Associated Press

The final nine players who will go on to the final table wait with their chips following the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 15, 2009.

2009 WSOP Final Table

Players who made the final table of the World Series of Poker pose for a photograph at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 15, 2009. They are from left, James Akenhead, Jeff Shulman, Phil Ivey, Antoine Saout, Darvin Moon, Joseph Cada, Steven Begleiter, Kevin Schaffel and Eric Buchman. Launch slideshow »

Chip Count

  • Darvin Moon — 58,930,000
  • Eric Buchman — 34,800,000
  • Steven Begleiter — 29,885,000
  • Jeff Shulman — 19,580,000
  • Joe Cada — 13,215,000
  • Kevin Schaffel — 12,390,000
  • Phil Ivey — 9,765,000
  • Antoine Saout - 9,500,000
  • James Akenhead — 6,800,000

The 2009 "November Nine" is officially set.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, Darvin Moon knocked out Jordan Smith with a pocket pair of aces — completing the 40th annual World Series of Poker main event's final table.

Smith, a 27-year-old poker player from College Station, Texas, was eliminated when Darvin Moon, a 45-year-old self-employed logger from Oakland, Md., called his all-in bet on a board with an eight, two and four and flipped over pocket eights for a set.

Smith did not improve when the dealer revealed the final two cards, and was eliminated in 10th place. He won $896,730.

"I was trying to look weak," Smith said. "It just didn't work."

Moon joins top poker pro Phil Ivey, 51-year-old Kevin Schaffel of Coral Springs, Fla.; Antoine "Tonio" Saout, 25, of Saint Martin des Champs, France; Joseph Cada, 21, of Shelby Township, Mich., Steven Begleiter, 47, of Chappaqua, N.Y.; James Akenhead, 26, of London; Eric Buchman, 29, of Valley Stream, N.Y.; and Jeff Shulman, 34, of Las Vegas for the final table that reconvenes at the Rio Nov. 7.

All nine players are as instant millionaires (and will be paid $1.26 million on Thursday, ninth-place money) — emerging from a crop of 6,494 entrants that started play July 3, when each player bought in for $10,000 and were given 30,000 starting chips.

The 45-year-old Moon built his leading chip stack to nearly 60 million by winning the hand, putting him 23 million chips ahead of his next closest competitor, tournament poker player Eric Buchman.

"Everyone at this table is way better than I am," Moon said. "Something is helping me."

Moon said he never risked his entire chip stack during eight sessions of play during the tournament.

"The dealers — I love 'em all," he said. "It's great to have a run like that.

Moon said he planned to fly back home soon and return to everyday life.

"As soon as I go home, I go back into the woods," Moon said. "When it's time to come out — I'll come out."

Phil Ivey, a seven-time gold bracelet winner at the series who is widely considered the best poker player alive today, survived to move on even though he ended up with fewer chips than he started with after the nearly eight-hour session.

"You have no idea, I can taste it now," Ivey said. "I'm here and today was a very tough day for me. I lost a lot of tough hands early and I grinded back — now I'm right in the hunt."

Ivey will start the final table with the second shortest stack among the players left in the tournament.

Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the private casino operator that owns the tournament, will put the rest of the prize money into a conservative interest-bearing account until the day before the final table starts Nov. 7.

That will push the prizes for the first through eighth-place finishers even higher. Top prize right now is $8.55 million.

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