In between excruciating periods of nothing happening, the 2009 WSOP Main Event final table like no other on Saturday. It’s overall length and the gut punch of Phil Ivey’s elimination were hard to watch live… but it will make ridiculously good TV, regardless of how the heads-up match goes between Joe Cada and Darvin Moon.
Anyway, here are our final thoughts on the final table (a Q&A of sorts) before heads-up play on Monday night begins.
:: Who *should* be playing heads-up for the title? So who played the best yesterday? Of course we won’t completely know the answer to this until we see some hands on TV, but an argument that Phil Ivey and especially Antoine Saout (trust us, KILLS us to admit that) deserve to be playing for the 2009 WSOP Main Event title. Ivey picked his spots well. He nearly doubled his stack at one point. Had he either won his race with A-8 vs. Joe Cada’s 4-4, or won his A-K vs. Darvin Moon’s A-Q, Ivey would’ve been a force. You could tell Ivey was grinding away at this and really wanted this. As for Saout, had his pocket Queens not been cracked by Joe Cada’s ducks, he’d likely have the chip lead going into heads-up play. From what we saw, Saout didn’t make one misstep along the way.
:: Who *shouldn’t* be playing heads-up? Not really hard to make the argument that Darvin Moon played the worst out of the final table-ists. He made a few questionable plays, including a donk-off of his stack when he literally hit nothing of a flop against Antoine Saout. Not sure if someone gave him advice to be more of a bully with his stack, but Moon doesn’t play enough or have the skills yet to make those kinds of reads/play.
So while Moon played the worst, Joe Cada was DEFINITELY the luckiest. Cada ran like Moon did pre-November NineTM. He literally hit every card he needed and won every race. Cada was down to 2M chips at one point, super short-stacked, but basically won every pot he played after that. It was sick. Not that Cada is a bad player. To the contrary he is very good. He was just once-in-a-lifetime lucky yesterday.
Anyway, for an interview with the lucky-to-be-there Cada and Moon from USA Today, where Cada was humble enough to admit that we all have permission to hit him if he ever bitches about a bad beat again in his life, go here.
:: Who is this year’s Dan Nassif? Dan Nassif finished 9th in the 2006 WSOP Main Event. Never heard from him since. Gut is that probably will be Steven Begleiter this year. Just a feeling we won’t see much of him in the future.
:: Who is this year’s Michael Binger? If you’re looking for a guy at this final table to go under-the-radar and keep cashing and making a decent living with little fanfare, that would be Eric Buchman. He was already doing that anyway. He might not exactly be the cult of personality, but dude can play.
:: Who is this year’s Tuan Lam? In case you forgot, and there’s a good chance you did, Lam finished second to Jerry Yang in the biggest turd of a WSOP ME final table ever back in 2007. If Darvin Moon does NOT win tomorrow (and we don’t think he will), you’ll never hear from Moon again (and he’s probably OK with that).
:: Will Phil Ivey ever make the WSOP ME final table again? Lots of talk about this among the so-called poker “media” and on forums. Our general take is this: Ivey is 32. He’s made 4 top 25 WSOP ME finishes this decade. He’s better than everyone else. He’ll be back. Doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll win one, but he’ll be back sometime in the next 20 years.