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The leadup to the November Nine -- the WSOP is all grown up

6 November 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The final table of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker – dubbed the November Nine since the final table was delayed until the fall in 2008 – has drastically changed the way that poker's most important tournament of the year is viewed by poker fans.

The change that affects most of those fans – those who will see the tournament on television – is the "plausibly live" coverage provided by ESPN. When the tournament airs on ESPN on Tuesday night (starting at 10 p.m. ET – check your local listings), the tournament winner will still be adjusting to the moniker "World Champion." The final two will begin play less than 24 hours earlier on Monday night.

But those who showed up at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino before play began on Saturday afternoon were witness to a spectacle that would have been unimaginable prior to 2008.

Before the doors opened to allow media, friends and family of the players into the Penn & Teller Theater, a large crowd gathered outside. The players' posses gathered to coordinate matching T-shirts, jerseys and patches, and a large Sasquatch wearing a Jack Link's Beef Jerky T-shirt strode through the crowd, posing for pictures. Once the crowd was allowed in the theater, chants filled the air even before the players entered the room. Two giant TV screens showed a replay of ESPN's Day 8 Main Event coverage.

This year, for the first time, players entered the stage accompanied by entrance music and a "seat card seductress," who led the player to the table holding a round card announcing that player seat position over her head, similar to a boxing ring girl. WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel read a brief biography of each player as they entered to raucous applause and cheers.

After the introductions, Effel gave the crowd a few instructions, including asking the crowd to turn their cell phones off or set them to vibrate. A bird's eye view of the crowd from the press box revealed that the audience was a smartphone crowd – and that they complied.

Bruce Buffer, known as the "Veteran Voice of the Octagon" for Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts, but also a poker player (Buffer cashed in this year's Main Event) provided the traditional "Shuffle up and deal" command.

"We are live from Las Vegas for the final table of the WSOP Main Event, as the gladiators of cards have now taken their seats," said Buffer. "Iiiiiiit's time! Let's shuffle up and deal!"

Lighting and sound effects amplified the message, and after a short delay for ESPN's production crew, final table play was underway. It was a slick production that could rival the beginning of any professional sporting event.

You have to wonder if Benny Binion, who is credited with dreaming up the World Series of Poker, ever thought this tournament would become what is today.

Entrance music for the November Nine
  • Jason Senti – "This is the End" by Suburban Hero (Senti's own band)
  • Joseph Cheong – "In One Ear" by Cage the Elephant
  • John Dolan – "I Made It" (Cash Money Heroes) by Kevin Rudolph
  • Jonathan Duhamel – "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys
  • Michael Mizrachi – "Out Here Grindin'" by DJ Khaled featuring Akon
  • Matt Jarvis – "Feel It" by Three 6 Mafia featuring Tiesto, Sean Kingston & Flo Rida
  • John Racener – "Forever" by Drake featuring Kanye, Lil Wayne & Eminem
  • Filippo Candio – "We No Speak Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool and DCup
  • Soi Nguyen – "All I do Is Win" by DJ Khaled
The leadup to the November Nine -- the WSOP is all grown up is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.