The year of the Brit continues as HitSquad member and UK poker wonderkid James Akenhead has defied the odds to make the November Nine. He now joins Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman at the most lucrative final table in poker as we wait for 4 months to let the hype machine do its stuff.
It couldn't have started worse for Akenhead, who must have believed he was snake bit at the business end of WSOP finals. He sat down late at his table to immediately run pocket kings into pocket aces to take a massive hit. This run of bad luck seemed to be the order of the day for Akenhead, who continually had lumps knocked out of him but he managed to grind along with the short stack and found a few hands when he really needed them. With the elimination of Jordan Smith in 10th place he had made the final, guaranteed at least $1.2 million and now has 4 months to enjoy the hype that comes with this prestigious final.
Akenhead is at a big disadvantage, with ten times less chips than the chip leader Darvin Moon and the smallest stack at the table. But whatever happens at the table, this could set Akenhead up for life with endorsement deals as it did most of last years final table. It helps of course that he is such a highly respected player on the UK circuit and part of the HitSquad - one of the most popular and successful poker groups in Europe - the marketing should take care of itself.
This is also a massive coup for UK poker and we are really hoping that Akenhead is the ideal poster boy to give the game bigger exposure in the mainstream press. We for one will certainly be championing the young star over the coming months (and beyond) because we know that his first major title is not a case of if, but merely a case of when.
Good luck and well done to James Akenhead, we are all genuinely very excited for you. The November Nine looks like this:
Seat 1: Darvin Moon - 58,930,000
Seat 2: James Akenhead - 6,800,000
Seat 3: Phil Ivey - 9,765,000
Seat 4: Kevin Schaffel - 12,390,000
Seat 5: Steven Begleiter - 29,885,000
Seat 6: Eric Buchman - 34,800,000
Seat 7: Joe Cada - 13,215,000
Seat 8: Antoine Saout - 9,500,000
Seat 9: Jeff Shulman - 19,580,000