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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.

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Top-10 things to watch from this year's November Nine

11 Oct 2010

By Aaron Todd
The World Series of Poker's November Nine is less than four weeks away from returning to the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas to determine this year's Main Event winner. Casino City will be there to report on all the action, but in anticipation of the biggest weekend in poker, we're giving you our top-10 things to watch from this year's November Nine.

10. No eliminations in the first hour
While the average stack will have less than 50 big blinds when play resumes, and the bottom three players will have an average of just 21, expect play to start out very tight. None of the players will want to be the first one out the door, and even though the tournament isn't just starting, it will feel like it is and the players will likely be looking to just ease their way in. Plus, they'll all be looking to maximize their time on ESPN's broadcast.

9. Jason Senti won't be the first player eliminated
Jason Senti is the short stack at the table, but he won't be the first player eliminated from the November Nine. Senti played his short stack brilliantly to survive the marathon 10-handed session, and unless he ends up with an early cooler, he'll advance a few spots up the pay ladder.

8. Play will be five-handed within five hours
It may take a little while before the first player is eliminated, but after the first player is gone, they're going to start flying out the exits. Blinds will increase to 300,000/600,000 after about an hour as level 36 expires, and two hours later, they'll increase to 400,000/800,000. After a full two hours at that level, it's unlikely that the table will be playing with less than 50 big blinds in the average stack, which they would be doing if there were six or more players remaining.

7. Soi Nguyen will surprise you
Soi Nguyen hasn't read much about poker. And he doesn't seem to spend much time thinking about it. There's almost always one wild card at the final table (think Darvin Moon), and Nguyen is this year's wild card. It's hard to predict whether he'll surprise you by making a deep run, or surprise you by bluffing off all his chips with an inside straight draw, but when Soi's in a hand, you can expect the unexpected.

6. Duhamel and Cheong will be the most aggressive
If they play anything like they did in the last few days leading up to the final table, chip leader Jonathan Duhamel and Joseph Cheong will be the most aggressive players. Duhamel took advantage of his chip lead and pounded away at blinds and antes during the 10-handed bubble, and minus a bad beat early on Day 8, Cheong may have been the chip leader going into the final table. Neither player displayed any fear of mixing it up, and it's unlikely that will change much four weeks from now.

5. A large boisterous group of Italian fans
Filippo Candio was penalized for his displays of excitement and emotion during play on one of the days leading up to the final table. While he learned his lesson and was a little more subdued in an effort to stay at the table as long as possible, don't expect the same from his supporters. Candio would be Italy's first Main Event champion, and his fame would exceed that of countryman Jeffrey Lisandro.

4. Endless "Grinder" chants
Speaking of boisterous fans, at least one-third of the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio will likely be filled with Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi's friends and family. On the final day of play leading up to the November Nine, Mizrachi's crew was formidable.

"Wait until the November Nine," Grinder said when asked about the support.

3. Grinder will make heads-up play
Speaking of the Grinder, expect Mizrachi to overcome his position in seventh in chips and make it to heads-up play. He has more experience than any other player in the field, has no fear and has an intense desire to be the best. That combination (as well as the ability to make great reads on other players) will get him to heads-up.

2. Frank Kassela to look nervous
Frank Kassela really wants to win the WSOP Player of the Year race. And while he already has a share of the title, if Mizrachi wins the Main Event and ties him for the title, he will clearly be overshadowed by the guy who won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and the Main Event. Kassela will most likely be there to watch the festivities, and should Mizrachi be eliminated from the tournament, he will be presented with the trophy.

1. Joseph Cheong will win the Main Event
Joseph Cheong is calm, cool and collected. He can handle a bad beat and still play great, avoiding the dreaded tilt that can derail so many in such a pressure-packed situation. He played amazing to make his way to the final table, and even though his chip stack is only about a third as big as Duhamel's, expect to see him knock out a couple players to contend for the chip lead in the first few hours. Once he has a sizeable stack, Cheong will punish the rest of the table with his aggressive style, taking home the 2010 WSOP Main Event title.
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