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World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Preview

The November Nine Begin their March to the World Championship on Saturday


November NineThe Main Event Final Table has begun. Follow along with the action in live updates all day with Card Player’s live reporting team.

The November Nine are about to return to decide the 2010 world champion! Play begins at the final table at noon PST on Saturday, Nov. 6 as the final nine shrink to the final two. Those final two will then return at 8 p.m. PST on Monday, Nov. 8 to decide who will walk away as the world champion.

Jonathan Duhamel heads into the final table with the chip lead and he holds 65,975,000. Michael Mizrachi has provided drama at both ends of the 41st WSOP. He won the $50,000 Players Championship during the first week of the summer and now he is a member of the November Nine in seventh chip-position with 14,450,000. Joining Mizrachi as a headliner at the final table is John Racener, who holds 19,050,000.

The inclusion of the Grinder at the final table leaves the winner of the WSOP Player of the Year award in question. Mizrachi can steal the title from 2010 double-bracelet winner Frank Kassela, but only if he becomes the first professional in the post-poker boom era to claim the title of world champion.

In addition to the title of world champion there is also the $8,944,138 top prize to chase after, and that will be the ultimate goal for every man listed below. The wait now ends for November. You can follow along with all of the action on Card Player throughout the final table, as will bring you live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos from poker’s most anticipated event of the year. Here are the seating chart and chip counts for the final table:

Seat 1: Jason Senti — 7,625,000
Seat 2: Joseph Cheong — 23,525,000
Seat 3: John Dolan — 46,250,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Duhamel — 65,975,000
Seat 5: Michael Mizrachi — 14,450,000
Seat 6: Matt Jarvis — 16,700,000
Seat 7: John Racener — 19,050,000
Seat 8: Filippo Candio — 16,400,000
Seat 9: Soi Nguyen — 9,650,000

Here is a look at each of the final contenders, with background information from the WSOP media staff. Check out each contender and decide who you think will walk away with close to $9 million.

Jason SentiSeat 1: Jason Senti

Hometown: St. Louis Park, MN (USA)
Chip Count: 7,625,000 (Last in chips)

Senti is 26 years-old. Senti is pronounced Cent-eye. Senti was born and grew up in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Senti attended and graduated from the University of North Dakota. He earned a degree in engineering.

Senti spent six months backpacking around Europe when he was 19-years-old.

Senti lives in St. Louis Park, MN, which is in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Senti is a professional poker player. Prior to playing, he was an electrical engineer for three years.

Senti is married with no children. This is the third year Senti has attended the WSOP.

Senti has one previous WSOP in-the-money finish. He made it to the third round of the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em heads-up championship (Event #29). His finish paid $17,987.

Joseph CheongSeat 2: Joseph Cheong

Hometown: La Mirada, California
Chip Count: 23,525,000 (3rd overall)

Cheong turned 24 in June. Cheong was born in Seoul, South Korea. He immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of six.

Cheong attended the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Last year, he graduated with a degree in psychology. Cheong now lives in La Mirada, CA. But he also has a temporary apartment in Las Vegas. He plans to spend more time in Las Vegas in the months ahead.

Cheong won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego) in April. He pocketed $17,541 for first place.

This marks Cheong’s third time to cash at the WSOP in Las Vegas.

Cheong entered 19 tournaments this year. He cashed in two events – taking 24th and 29th place in two six-handed no-limit hold’em tournaments.

John DolanSeat 3: John Dolan

Hometown: Bonita Springs, FL (USA)
Chip Count: 46,250,000 (2nd overall)

Dolan turned 24 in January. Dolan was born in New Jersey. But he grew up in Florida. John is a junior. His dad is John Dolan, Sr. His mother’s name is Kathy.

Dolan played football and baseball in high school. He was a shortstop at Bishop Verot High School as well as the quarterback on the football team.

Dolan was a student at Florida State University for almost two years. He was studying business. But he left school because he was uncertain about a career path. Dolan considered returning to school and finishing his degree, and still may do so. John’s younger brother Jason is a medical student at FSU, and his younger sister Jessica is a freshman at FSU.

Dolan is a professional poker player. Dolan is single. Dolan began playing poker for fun with friends after graduating from high school. He then played some in some of the low-limit games at casinos in South Florida. Dolan played a bit of poker while in college and then started to really take the game seriously when he discovered his ability to beat the game as an online player.

Dolan won a tournament at last year’s Bayou Winter Poker Challenge, at Harrah’s New Orleans, which is classified as a WSOP Satellite event. He won the $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event and collected $31,874.

Dolan’s overall career tournament earnings total more than $200,000, not counting his finish in this year’s main event.

Dolan credits Brian Hawkins (a.k.a. “Snowman”) with helping him improve his game. Dolan cashed in the WSOP casino employees championship back in 2007. He finished 91st. This marks Dolan’s sixth time to cash at the WSOP, and third in-the-money finish this year.

Dolan admits he has endured a few rough years at the WSOP prior to this showing. He went through a 20-tourament stretch over two years where he did not cash one time.

Jonathan DuhamelSeat 4: Jonathan Duhamel

Hometown: Boucherville, Quebec (Canada)
Chip Count: 65,975,000 (1st overall)

Duhamel is 23 years-old and is the youngest player remaining. Duhamel was born in Boucherville, Quebec (Canada).

Duhamel still lives in Boucherville, Quebec – which is in the Montreal area. Duhamel lives in a condominium.

Duhamel is pronounced “Doo-ahh-mel.” Duhamel is fluent in both English and French languages. Duhamel is a professional poker player. He mostly plays online.

Duhamel has been playing full-time for about two years. Before he transitioned successfully to poker playing, he worked off and on at a series of what he called “bad jobs”. Among those jobs was working in a factory.

Duhamel attended college at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, otherwise known as UQUAM. He majored in finance, but left school during his second year of studies.

Duhamel prefers to play cash games, rather than tournaments. Duhamel had two cashes at this year’s WSOP. He finished 15th in the $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament (Event #56). He also cashed in 50th place in the six-handed no-limit hold’em tournament (Event #16). His combined WSOP earnings prior to this event amounted to $43,000. His best live tournament finish in a major tournament was 9th place at a tournament held in New York State, three years ago.

Michael MizrachiSeat 5: Michael Mizrachi

Hometown: Miami, FL (USA)
Chip Count: 14,450,000 (7th in chips)

Mizrachi turned 29 in January. Mizrachi was born in North Miami Beach, Florida. Mizrachi now lives in Miramar, FL – which is north of Miami. Mizrachi’s father immigrated to the United States from Iraq. He and many members of his family are fluent in Hebrew. “Mizrachi” means “east” in Hebrew. The term is often used in reference to Jewish people from Iraq and Syria.

Mizrachi is a professional poker player. He has been playing full-time since 2004. Prior to playing poker, Mizrachi was a college student. He was studying to become a doctor, but decided instead to pursue a poker career. All four Mizrachi Brothers – Michael, Robert, Danny, and Eric – cashed in this year’s main event. This was a WSOP first.
Mizrachi is married. He has three children. Mizrachi won his first WSOP gold bracelet earlier this year in the ultra-prestigious Players Championship (Event #2) that had a $50,000 entry fee. He collected $1,559,046 in addition to the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy. Prior to his win in the Players Championship, Mizrachi had won just about every title in poker except a WSOP gold bracelet.

Mizrachi was Card Player Magazine’s “Player of the Year” in 2006. Mizrachi’s first recorded tournament cash took place in March, 2004. According to official records – not including this main event — Mizrachi now has 23 cashes, six final-table appearances, and one win. His career WSOP earnings now total $2,271,327.

Mizrachi is called “the Grinder” due to his never-give-up mentality. He plays a short stack as well as anyone in the game. However, Mizrachi certainly does not fit the mold of the traditional poker grinder. The term is usually meant to describe a tight player. Mizrachi is actually one of the most aggressive and unpredictable tournament pros. Other members of the immediate Mizrachi family have adopted the “Grinder” moniker. He is married to Mrs. Grinder. His mother is known as Mama Grinder. His children each have been called Baby Grinder at various times.

Mizrachi is the younger brother of fellow tournament pro Robert Mizrachi, a former WSOP gold bracelet winner. In fact, Robert was the first member of the family to earn a WSOP victory. Two of the Mizrachi brothers (Michael and Robert) reached the final table in the Poker Players Championship. It was only the third time in WSOP history that two close family members had made it together to a final table. They become the highest-finishing family duo in history, eclipsing the 1995 feat by brother-sister combo Annie Duke (6th) and Howard Lederer (9th) in a pot-limit hold’em event. The other duo to make a final table was brothers Ross Boatman and Barney Boatman in the 2002 pot-limit Omaha competition. The only other brothers to both hold WSOP gold bracelets are Grant Hinkle and Blair Hinkle, from the Kansas City, MO area.

Mizrachi remains very much in contention for the 2010 WSOP Player of the Year title. He must win the main event in order to tie Frank Kassela for first place. If both players tie, they will be co-WSOP Players of the Year. With this guaranteed in-the-money finish, Mizrachi has earned more than $10,000,000 overall in worldwide poker tournaments.

MattJarvisSeat 6: Matt Jarvis

Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia (Canada)
Chip Count: 16,700,000 (5th in chips)

Jarvis turned 26 in September. Jarvis was born in Richmond, British Columbia (Canada). Jarvis now lives in Surrey, BC – which is in the Vancouver area.

Jarvis’ father Norm was a professional golfer and recently competed on the Champions Tour. Jarvis’ dad was diagnosed with cancer, shortly before the 2010 WSOP. Jarvis was not going to come to this year’s WSOP as a result, but his dad insisted he go. Jarvis’ mother was a school teacher. Jarvis is very close to his parents, talking to them up to six times a day.

Jarvis was quite competitive from an early age. He played several sports while in school. Jarvis was previously a college student studying business. Jarvis has previously worked various odd jobs. He once worked in sales. He also worked in a lumber mill, earning $21 per hour. Jarvis worked 12 hours per night on the graveyard shift. He eventually discovered he could make a living playing online poker.

Jarvis plays poker full-time, but does not consider himself a professional poker player. He is not sure that he wants to make poker his vocation. He remains uncommitted about his future plans, at least prior to the final table outcome. Jarvis has been playing poker seriously for about two years. He had a major breakthrough when he cashed in a few big online tournaments. His biggest win to date is slightly more than $100,000. This is Jarvis’ first time to cash at the WSOP. Prior to this tournament, Jarvis entered six other events, without success. Jarvis is close friends with fellow Canadian Zach Fellows, who won a gold bracelet in last year’s $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament. If Jarvis wins, he would become the first Canadian world poker champion.

John RacenerSeat 7: John Racener

Hometown: Port Richey, Florida
Chip Count: 19,050,000 (4th overall)

Racener is 24 years old and will turn 25 in December. Racener is pronounced “Race-ner.”

Racener was born in Dunedin, Florida. Racener grew up in and now lives in Port Richey, FL. He graduated from Ridgewood High School.

Racener was involved in sports from an early age. He had ambitions of being an athlete. He played sports year around – including baseball, basketball, tennis and soccer. When he was about 20-years-old, Racener turned to poker to satisfy his competitive instincts.

Racener started out playing poker at an early age with family, including his mother and father. He enjoyed playing for fun with his family. Later, Racener was introduced to online poker by a close friend. He initially began with a $50 investment and turned his bankroll into $30,000 over a year’s time.

Racener is now a professional poker player. He has never held a regular, full-time job – other than playing poker.

Racener began playing in major tournaments around the country when he turned 21. A few days after his 21st birthday, he entered the WSOP Circuit main event championship at Harrah’s Atlantic City. The top three finishers made a deal and split up the money.

The following year, Racener won the WSOP Circuit main event championship at Harrah’s Atlantic City. First place paid $379,392.

Racener has $701,165 in combined WSOP and WSOP Circuit earnings – not counting his cash.

Filippo CandioSeat 8: Filippo Candio

Hometown: Cagliari, Sardinia (Italy)
Chip Count: 16,400,000 (6th in chips)

Candio turned 26 years-old in March. Candio is from Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy.

Candio is 100 percent fluent in Italian and about 85 percent fluent in English. He also studied Latin in college.

Candio learned most of his English by watching American movies.

Candio attended college and studied classical literature. His favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Candio also considered becoming a lawyer. He took many classes in law.

Candio’s breakthrough victory occurred last year in the Italian Poker Tour championship. He earned more than 140,000 Euros for that win. Candio has only one previous WSOP in-the-money finish. He cashed in 157th place in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #11) this year.

Candio is the first Italian player ever to make it to the WSOP main event final table.

Soi NguyenSeat 9: Soi Nguyen

Hometown: Santa Ana, CA (USA)
Chip Count: 9,650,000 (8th place)

Nguyen turned 37 in March. Nguyen was born in what was formally Saigon, South Vietnam. One of Nguyen’s relatives worked for the United States Government in South Vietnam. When Saigon fell in 1975, Nguyen’s family fled their homeland and immigrated to the U.S. After spending a few years in Pennsylvania, the Nguyen family settled down in Southern California.

Nguyen’s legal first name is Cuong. But he goes by the nickname, “Soi.” The name was given to him because he always liked soy sauce as a child. When he became older, he began spelling his name S-O-I so his name would be a bit different, since he had friends who were also named “Soy.”

Nguyen currently lives in Santa Ana, California. Nguyen is single. He has one son, aged 12. Nguyen is the only player among the final nine who is not a full-time professional poker player.

Nguyen initially wanted to become an attorney. He says he wanted to practice law, because he enjoys debates and arguments. Nguyen has attended college. But he did not graduate. Nguyen worked various jobs in business. He considered going back to school to earn his degree. But as Nguyen was promoted in various jobs, he often supervised college graduates and decided it was not worth his time to go back and get his degree. Nguyen works as a manager for a major company that makes and distributes products related to orthopedic surgery, and patients’ recovery from surgery.

Nguyen previously cashed at last year’s L.A. Poker Classic. He has no other major cashes. This marks Nguyen’s first time to cash in a WSOP event. Incredibly, Nguyen admits that he actually plays very little poker – either live or online. If Nguyen wins the WSOP main event, he will instantly surpass two other famous poker players named Nguyen in lifetime earnings. Scotty Nguyen won the 1998 world championship. Men “the Master” Nguyen currently has seven WSOP gold bracelets. Nguyen goes into the Main Event final table ranked eighth in chips out of nine players.