November 9 preview #4 – the unknown contenders

The final table of the World Series of Poker is drawing ever-closer and there are still four men in contention who I haven’t mentioned.

Eric Buchman

Of the four, the individual with perhaps the best chance of victory is Eric Buchman.

Eric Buchman is in second place with over 34 million in chips

The 30-year-old pro from New York is making his second final-table appearance of the series after finishing 6th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event, an event won by none other than fellow November Niner Phil Ivey.

And an impressive array of live cashes over the course of his career, coupled with the second-highest chipstack at the table, makes Buchman a force to be reckoned with.

Steve Begleiter

Few people would show any ill-will towards someone who has bounced back from losing their job to go on a deep run in a tournament like this.

But when you consider that Steve Begleiter was the head of corporate strategy at Bear Stearns bank, you can see why a number of casual poker fans might hold a grudge against the 47-year-old.

Some people have been eager to point the finger at the New Yorker, as he has been catapulted into the public eye by his poker success and can be tangibly linked to the bank collapse which cost many average joes a lot of money.

When you add to this some of the questionable plays that have helped propel Begleiter to the final table with the third-highest chipstack, it is clear to see that ‘Begs’ is not most people’s first choice to win.

Kevin Schaffel

At 52 years of age, Kevin Schaffel is the oldest player remaining in the main event, but he has some pedigree at this level.

You may remember the Floridian from 2004, when he finished 42nd in Greg Raymer’s victory year (you can see him here – blink and you’ll miss it), and Schaffel also cashed in last year’s main event.

Kevin Schaffel moved from Florida to Las Vegas to take poker 'more seriously'

He also looks to be one of the form players coming into the final table, after cashing in an EPT event and finishing runner-up to Prahlad Friedman in August’s WPT Legends of Poker.

But Schaffel remains a casual player in truth, and a win for him would be a big surprise. But this is the World Series of Poker and anything could happen.

Joe Cada

The final player in the field is Joe Cada, who starts the final table in 5th position, marginally ahead of Schaffel.

Cada is the only player left who is capable of breaking Peter Eastgate’s record and becoming the youngest ever world champion. He is only 21 years old, and consequently this is his first ever World Series of Poker.

Joe Cada is looking to break Peter Eastgate's record only a year after the Dane's victory

He has taken to the live game well, cashing in two No Limit Hold ‘Em events for just under $30,000 before the main event, but the online game is where he has had the most success.

Known as jcada99, he has reeled off a series of notable results, includ first place finishes in a WCOOP event on Pokerstars and in the Full Tilt Poker $750,000 guaranteed, both of which earned him comfortably over $100,000.

These victories show that Cada is more than capable of doing well at the business end of big tournaments, but it remains to be seen whether he can make it happen on the biggest stage of all.

So close you can almost touch it.

As I write this, play at the final table is less than an hour away. Can you feel the excitement? I know I can.


1 Response to “November 9 preview #4 – the unknown contenders”

  1. 1 Tom
    November 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    For those of you who are interested, I have started a blog on issues in journalism. Visit it at http://tomvictor.wordpress.com

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Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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