Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener - November 9 Last Men Standing

The complete story of the WSOP November Nine 2010 up to the final two heads up stage.

Arguably one of the most electrifying competitive events in the world began yesterday with the World Series of Poker November Nine Final Table kicking off. The final table included Filippo Candio, Joseph Cheong, John Dolan, Jonathan Duhamel, Matthew Jarvis, Michael Mizrachi, Soi Nguyen, John Racener and Jason Senti. It was all set to be one of the most intense final tables in the history of the World Series of Poker.

The World Series of Poker main event started cautiously with Jason Senti and Soi Nguyen short stacked and playing a tight game to ensure they stayed in the tournament for as long as possible. It was after 28 hands when finally the duck was broken. Short stacked Senti and Nguyen came head to head when Nguyen turned over an Ace-King combination compared to Senti’s pair of Queens. It was looking ominous for Nguyen but when Senti hit a third Queen on the flop, it was all but over. Nguyen failed to hit anything he needed on the turn and river resulting in his elimination from the tournament. He earned himself a cool £811,823.

The all in win by Senti had given him some respite and the next big hand came when the big name at the table Michael ‘the Grinder’ Mizrachi called an Ace and a Queen of diamonds all in with Matthew Jarvis going in with a pair of 9s. The flop destroyed Jarvis’s tournaments hopes in on fell swoop as Mizrachi hit an extra pair of Queens to gain three of a kind and knock out the Canadian Jarvis. Michael Mizrachi showing just why he was the man to be feared at this final table by eliminating Jarvis with ease.

Senti’s final table then got a lot better as he doubled up via a win against Joseph Cheong which, in turn, brought Cheong back into the main group after he looked like breaking away. Come hand number 72 though it was looking like going the way of the Grinder. Mizrachi began to show his professional form that has earned him his nickname and $2.2m WSOP earnings as he became chip leader.

The table seemed to be in a state of stalemate as no-one wanted to take the bull by the horns and certainly no-one wanted to be eliminated. Down to the final seven, things were getting serious. It wasn’t until hand 116 that the next elimination was witnessed. It was desperately unlucky as Senti went toe to toe with Joseph Cheong. Cheong had a pair of 10s whilst Senti had an Ace and a King. Senti hit two Kings on the flop to go into the lead with a three of a kind. However, lady luck was beaming down on Cheong as he hit a Jack on the turn and a 9 on the river to grab the last minute straight and knock Senti out. Senti could be proud of his efforts on the final table though and his performance was one of the highlights thus far.

It only took another dozen hands before the next elimination came about. John Dolan, who started the final table with the second highest chip count was stunned by a crazy call from Jonathan Duhamel. Dolan goes with a risky Queen and a 5 whilst Duhamel calls with a pair of 4s. Dolan fails to hit anything he needs and exits the tournament. It was a bad call looking back and Duhamel had obviously done his homework on his opponent, but the lucrative $1.7m cash prize Dolan will take home for his 6th place finish will no doubt make defeat feel a bit easier!

As the hands passed by, Mizrachi started to lose his grip on the game and a performance that initially looked like storming the final table faded into obscurity as Mizrachi became the next man to be eliminated. Duhamel played a pair of Aces and Mizrachi, despite hitting a pair of Queens on the flop, fell right into Duhamel’s trap. Neither the turn nor the river could save Mizrachi as he bowed out in 5th place. His elimination had also gifted the WSOP Player of the Year award to Frank Kassela. It was a brave performance by Mizrachi but in the end it was a hand too far.

Only three hands later and we were down to the final four! The Italian Filippo Candio had played an exquisite final table but he came to his downfall when Cheong went with Candio on a pre-flop all in call. Candio had a reasonable King and Queen of diamonds whilst Cheong had a slightly less emphatic Ace and 3 of clubs. Lady luck was still hovering over Cheong as he hit the Ace he needed on the flop and there was no way back for Candio who finished in 4th place.

Cheong soon stretched his lead but this was cut short in a massive hand that saw Duhamel over take Cheong to become the chip leader once again. These two behemoths started exchanging blows as each hand became tit for tat. John Racener was staying out of it and keeping a low profile. Hand 213 saw Cheong and Duhamel play out the largest pot in WSOP history which exceeded 95.05 million chips. In an act which Cheong will no doubt regret, he took Duhamel on… the gamble failed. Duhamel’s pair of Queens were too good for Cheong whose luck had run out with the Ace he needed failing to show. Racener couldn’t believe his fortune. Cheong had practically self destructed and, in doing so, had almost gifted the WSOP title to Jonathan Duhamel.

Cheong battled back bravely in a desperate attempt to save his tournament life but it was too much. In the 219th hand, Joseph Cheong exited the tournament in 3rd place earning $4.13m. It was a mind blowing display by Cheong who had produced some of the highlights of the final table so far. He just didn’t have enough to push on though. Had he hit the Ace on the river against Duhamel he might well have gone on to seal victory.

That’s poker though. It’s now just down to the last two. It is between Jonathan Duhamel, who sits on 188,950,000 chips, against John Racener, who stands with just 30,750,000 chips. At first glance it looks like there is only one winner. That is the dangerous thing about poker though. The most lethal opponent is an opponent with nothing to lose. There could still be a twist in this amazing story yet.