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Saturday, November 7, 2009
Updated: November 11, 8:35 AM ET
Welcome to the final table


Welcome to the 2009 WSOP final table. The information in the blog below will contain the results of the final table, so if you don't want to know what happens, it's probably a good idea not to read the following. The event will be broadcast on ESPN on Tuesday starting at 9 p.m. ET, so make sure you set your DVR accordingly so you don't miss the conclusion.

6:16 p.m. ET: Don't forget that you can go back and listen to all the Poker Edge podcasts and relive the final table from behind the scenes. Our final main event Poker Edge podcast features the newest world champion, Joe Cada, and runner-up Darvin Moon. Moon explains his decision to risk his tournament life with Q-J and sticks by his read. Was he right? We'll let you be the judge.

Poker Edge final table wrap

6 a.m. ET: The interviews with Joe Cada and Darvin Moon are finished and you'll get to hear them and see them on the Poker Edge and ESPN Inside Deal later today. Both had some great things to say and both players deserve all the respect in the world after this heads-up battle. Don't forget to watch the show Tuesday night on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET and thanks for following me over the last few days.

4:18 a.m. ET: We have a champ! Moon three-bet Cada for the first time since Cada's four-bet and all of a sudden all the chips were in the middle!

Moon called all-in for his tournament life with Q-J and was up against Cada's 9-9. The flop came 8-7-2 and Joe Cada held on after the flop. The turn was the king of hearts and Cada would need to hold on for one more card. The river was a seven, and we have a new world champion.

Joe Cada is the newest main event champion and has added $8.5 million to his bankroll!

"Cada! Cada! Cada!" filled the theater as Joe stared at the money. Fans are ecstatic. What a comeback and what a night.

4:15 a.m. ET: Another big hand and another big win for Cada. After a standard $3 million preflop raise and call, the flop of 10d-Kc-7d prompted a $5 million bet from Moon. Cada called and the turn was the 8h. Moon bet $10 million and Cada called again. The river was the 9d and both players checked. Cada showed two pair with 10-9 and Moon mucked.

"Just take a look at the look on his face," said Bluff's editor-in-chief Lance Bradley. "It's way different than what we saw 10 minutes ago."

4:13 a.m. ET: After the chip stacks changed sides, Moon has won the last two pots.

4:02 a.m. ET: Cada raised preflop and Moon called. The flop was 10c-5d-9h and both players checked. The turn was the 10d and Cada bet out and saw an immediate Darvin Moon all-in reraise. Cada thought about the situation and finally called! Moon had 8-7 versus Cada's J-9.

The river … a three! What a sick call by Cada. He doubled up and is back in the chip lead.

Cada -- $108 million
Moon -- $86 million

4:00 a.m. ET: We're on hand No. 78 of heads-up play. For all you Streak for the Cash players, that would be the "over" in the poker prop.

3:55 a.m. ET: Chip counts have switched from the start of the night. Moon in the $130 million range, while Cada sits in the $50 million range.

3:53 a.m. ET: On the very next hand, Moon raises $3 million preflop and Cada calls. The flop is 10c-9c-8d and Moon bets $5 million. Cada called to lead to a turn king. Moon bet $15 million and Cada folded once again to Moon's aggression.

3:48 a.m. ET: Cada just four-bet all-in … and after a couple minutes of thought, Moon got out of his chair, stared at Cada and folded.

3:46 a.m. ET: Cada raised $3 million preflop and Moon called. The flop was 8-10-10, Cada bet $3 million, Moon called. The turn was a 9 and both players checked. The river was a 7 and Moon checked. Cada bet $5 million and Moon called. Cada showed a 10-high straight and Moon showed two pair.

3:44 a.m. ET: Cada and Moon trading preflop pots. Cada can't handle many more reraises from Moon.

3:41 a.m. ET: Cada wins a pot preflop. It looked like he really wanted Moon to play that one.

3:38 a.m. ET: It's Moon's night. He is just in absolute control of the action right now. Cada looked strong and raised Moon's flop bet only to see Moon reraise and put another $25 million in the pot. Cada instantly mucked.

Moon -- $145 million
Cada -- $49 million

3:33 a.m. ET: Cada's emotions are definitely coming through right now. He'll need to keep his head together if he's going to get himself back in this.

3:32 a.m. ET: Another $3 million for Moon.

3:30 a.m. ET: Moon is taking control and Cada needs to adjust to Moon's aggression before he just gets chipped away $3 million at a time.

3:28 a.m. ET: Chip count update:

Moon -- $122 million
Cada -- $72 million

3:25 a.m. ET: Cada took a big hit on the last pot. Cada raised preflop and Moon called. Flop came 8d-4d-As, Moon bet $6 million and Cada called. The turn was the 7d and Cada called Moon's $8.5 million bet this time around. The river was the Jh and both players checked. Moon had a pair of eights and Cada mucked.

Darvin Moon regains the chip lead and pads his stack with another $5 million on the next hand.

3:21 a.m. ET: Cada has $99 million, Moon has $95 million. Play has resumed.

3:20 a.m. ET: As players take their seats right now, just a quick story. I ran into Steven Begleiter and Jonathan Little in the lobby and we discussed the table yesterdays. He said there is one hand that everyone says he made a mistake on that changed the rest of the final table. On the hand that Joe Cada held J-4 and was all-in against Eric Buchman's 5-4, Begs folded A-6 from the button for fear that Buchman would reraise him like he had done very often. If Begs raises there, Buchman folds and knocks out Cada with a pair of 6s.

Funny how one decision can change everything.

2:56 a.m. ET: Players are now on a 20 minute break.

Chip counts:
Cada -- $97.5
Moon -- $97.2

2:55 a.m. ET: Cada picked up about $8 million on a board of Q-3-A-4-7 when after neither player bet the flop or turn, Cada fired $4 million on the river. Moon called and mucked when Cada showed Q-7.

2:51 a.m. ET: Moon is definitely not giving any respect to Cada's first raise at this point. Why should he? Cada has been folding almost every time to a Moon reraise.

2:48 a.m. ET: Moon takes the chip lead back after the last pot. Moon raised preflop to $3 million. Cada reraised to $11 million and Moon re-reraised to $28 million. Cada went into the tank, but his body language was dictating that he would fold. His hands were on the back of his neck, his head down trying to figure out where he stood and a look of shock was on his face. He let the hand go and now the two are close in chips, but Moon has the lead.

2:44 a.m. ET: Moon three-bets preflop and takes down another pot. Seems like he's becoming more aggressive and Cada is a little hesitant. We've seen a propensity from Darvin to bet very big postflop. Cada knows that if he invests a couple million more preflop due to a Moon raise, he's going to have to figure out how to handle the $5 million-plus postflop bet.

2:38 a.m. ET: Darvin wins another pot for a few million.

2:36 a.m. ET: Chip count update:

Moon -- $83 million
Cada -- $111 million

2:35 a.m. ET: Cada raised preflop $2.5 million -- his first time away from his standard bet. Moon called, bet the flop and Cada folded.

2:32 a.m. ET: Of course the second after I write that, the action picks up. Cada's new standard preflop raise is $3 million and he acted accordingly. Moon then reraised to $8 million and Cada made the call. The flop was K-7-6 and Moon bet $5 million. The turn was a 3 and Moon moved all-in. The crowd stood up, but by the time they were out of their seats, Cada's cards were in the muck.

2:31 a.m. ET: Last few hands haven't been much but a preflop raise and fold.

2:28 a.m. ET: Moon takes down the first hand of the new level.

2:27 a.m. ET: Moon opened with a $3 million raise and Cada reraised to $8 million. Moon folded.

After that hand, the blinds are going up $600,000/$1.2M with a $200,000 ante.

2:24 a.m. ET: Cada's continuation bet of $3 million takes down another pot.

2:19 a.m. ET: Cada shows down king high to win a pot. On the next hand, Cada bets $3 million at the river on a board of 10d-Ah-3h-6c-4s. Moon raised to $10 million and Cada calls. Moon showed jack high and Cada takes down the pot with a pair of 10s (J-10).

Moon has $66 million versus Cada's $128 million.

2:15 a.m. ET: Moon chipping away. He won the last pot by raising a Cada postflop bet.

2:12 a.m. ET Moon raises preflop to $3 million. Cada called, a flop hit the board and Cada's chips hit the muck after a $5 million Moon bet.

2:10 a.m. ET: "What do you guys think? Exciting poker so far?" Answer to tournament director Jack Effel's question: Yes.

2:08 a.m. ET: Moon raises $3 million preflop and Cada calls. Flop comes Jc-4h-2d and Moon bets $4 million. Turn is the Qh and after Cada checked, Moon bet out $6 million. Then the fireworks. Cada raised to $16.75 million and Moon called. The river was the 5c and Cada bets out $35 million! After much contemplation and facial pacifying by Moon, he mucked his cards.

New chip leader. $120 million for Cada.

2:03 a.m. ET: Two pots in a row for Cada.

2:02 a.m. ET: Moon raises preflop and Cada calls. The board comes Qc-Js-7d-10h-5h and Cada finally bet $1.75 million on the river and shows a pair of tens versus Moon's 8-8.

Cada fans who spelled out C-A-D-A on their chests were just asked to put their shirts on.

2:00 a.m. ET: Moon taking control winning the last three pots. Poker Edge producer Shaun Wyman said that there's someone in the crowd with a fake chain saw.

1:55 a.m. ET: Darvin just won a big pot off of Cada. Board was 6s-5d-Jc-Qd-2h and Moon bet $7 million on the river. Cada called and mucked after Darvin showed a queen for top pair.

Darvin Moon has the chip lead, but just by a couple million.

1:52 a.m. ET:10d-Ad-3d-Jh-Ks board. Both players checked the flop and Cada bet $2.5 million on the turn. Moon called and Cada bet $3.5 million on the river. Moon called and Cada showed the flopped nuts with Kd-9d.

1:51 a.m. ET: Moon is making different preflop raises each time. I'm not sure what they mean yet since Cada has folded for anything above the $2.5 million mark.

1:49 a.m. ET: Cada takes the next pot with a small turn bet on the K-Q-K-K board.

1:47 a.m. ET: Moon picks up a sizable pot on a board of 8-6-4-A-3.

Cada: $101 million
Moon: $93 million

1:44 a.m. ET: Check that. Moon made it $3.5 million preflop and Cada folded.

1:42 a.m. ET:$2.5 million seems like the standard preflop raise at this point, but neither player wants to let their blinds go. Cada takes down the next pot with a continuation bet.

1:41 a.m. ET: Moon picks up another pot with a continuation bet.

1:37 a.m. ET: Action on hand number one. Moon limps, Cada raises $2.5 million and Moon calls. Flop is 3s-Ks-2d. Cada bets out $2.5 million and Moon raises to $10 million. Cada makes the call. The turn is the ace of diamonds and Cada checks. Moon bets $10 million and Cada calls. The river is another king and both players check. Moon shows Q-Q against Cada's 9-9 and takes down a very significant first pot.

No surprise that there would be fireworks early.

1:36 a.m. ET: Game on.

1:30 a.m. ET: "Bad Moon Rising vs. The Kid". Vince Neil doing the "Shuffle Up and Deal" tonight.

1:28 a.m. ET: Steven Begleiter and Kevin Schaffel are sitting next to each other in the audience of the final table.

1:25 a.m. ET: Darvin Moon might have just got a louder ovation than Joe Cada. Is the Moon the public's favorite?

1:22 a.m. ET: Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack is getting the crowd ready for the "heads-up battle". He's also giving the crowd the chance to applaud the rest of the November Nine. Phil Ivey got the loudest ovation by far.

1:20 a.m. ET: Tournament Director Jack Effel has the microphone and they're ready to get started with the introductions.

1:10 a..m. ET: The cheering has started! Cada's supporters are on their feet while Moon's remain seated as he signs autographs and poses for pictures.

The tournament staff is on stage organizing the money in the center of the table. The coveted bracelet sits on top of the pile of cash as photos are being taken of poker's biggest prize, but there will be only one winner tonight.

Play will begin shortly and I'll be bringing you all the action all night long from the Rio.

12:11 a.m. ET: I'm back in my seat in the Penn and Teller theater. I just saw Darvin Moon in the hallway and he's calm. He said he finally got some rest this afternoon and I get the feeling he's eager to get this underway.

"One way or another its over in a few hours," said Moon. "I'm ready. I'm good to go."

Moon told me he's scheduled for a flight out Wednesday morning, but might leave earlier depending on the results.

The orchestra area of the theater is slowly getting filled up with the public still waiting outside. The crowd to my right looks like Moon fans while Cada's supporters are on the left.

I heard some interesting plans from Cada's fans this afternoon who took offense to a radio station in Michigan saying that they ruined poker with their cheering and treated it too much like a tailgate. To that station, I'd hope they come out here and just see this environment next year. It's amazing when the fans are into it. The fact that people come and cheer during a poker tournament is simply incredible.

Hellmuth is in the house, as is the money. Almost time to get started …

11:30 p.m. ET: I had the chance to speak to the chip leader, Joe Cada, a few hours ago. He's calm and ready for heads-up play. I also spoke to Doyle Brunson and he picked Cada to take the bracelet back to Michigan.

The Poker Edge Listen

10:50 p.m. ET: You've been waiting for this one. Here's the video preview of Tuesday night's final table episode!

We also caught up with both players after play on Saturday. Here's a clip of Joe Cada reflecting on his day and Darvin Moon saying that he's ready for the battle.

10:00 p.m. ET: Before final table play began this weekend, the ESPN.com team here headed to a bunch of gatherings with the players and their fans. Here's a look at two of them:

Darvin Moon -- The Moon Bus Arrives
Steven Begleiter -- The Tao of Begs

8:55 p.m. ET: Bernard Lee takes a look at the final two and recaps his top-10 hands from the final table in his latest column.

I recently interviewed Joe Cada and Doyle Brunson for the Poker Edge podcast which will be out shortly! Also, a friendly reminder that every episode of the WSOP is available from iTunes. The complete season, including Tuesday night's episode, will be available on Wednesday.

Monday, 4 p.m. ET: We're only hours away from the final hands of the 2009 WSOP main event. Both players are rested and are currently at a news conference right now answering questions from the media. I'm answering questions too in today's WSOP chat, and then I'll be back to recap all the action as it happens starting at 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Just a few other items to take a look at before play begins tonight. First, Bernard Lee joined me for a Poker Edge podcast to react to the final table play. We speak to a number of the players who were eliminated, as well as the two remaining finalists.

Also, here's the 9-to-2 recap by Inside Deal:


Sunday, 9:10 a.m. ET: I just finished interviewing Joe Cada while Bernard Lee caught up with Darvin Moon. Both interviews will be on the Poker Edge podcast that will be released in a few hours.

Cada will enter heads-up play with $135 million and has a solid chip lead over Moon, who has $58 million.

Thanks for staying with me during the past 18 hours. The final two will go heads-up Monday night starting at 10 p.m. PT, and you can catch all the action right here on ESPN.com.

8:51 a.m. ET: Antoine Saout's friends are chanting for an eight. The flop is 5-4-5, and Saout stayed ahead. The turn came the 10d, and Cada would need to hit an ace or king to end the night.

The river … a KING! Cada is mauled by his friends as he eliminates Saout in third place by hitting the six-outer on the river.

A chant of "Saout! Saout! Saout!" fills the theater while high fives are everywhere for those in the maize shirts.

8:50 a.m. ET: A race for the top two is about to take place. Joe Cada called Antoine Saout's all-in reraise. Saout showed 8-8 and will need to hold up against Cada's A-K.

8:42 a.m. ET: Apparently playing conservative is out the window. Joe Cada and Darvin Moon just locked up again. Cada raised preflop, and Moon called. The flop came K-10-7, and Moon checked. Cada bet out, Moon raised to $10 million and Cada moved all-in.

Moon took his time and then folded. Cada is now at more than $90 million.

On another note, this has become the longest WSOP main event final table in history.

8:37 a.m. ET: Cada is the chip leader at $78 million. Moon is second with $75 million, and Saout third with $41 million.

8:34 a.m. ET: The turn is a 3. Saout needs a queen and doesn't get it with a 6 on the river. Wow. Cada has hit two sets after going all-in way behind. I'm shocked. I'm trying to compare the luck factor between Darvin Moon and Cada, and honestly, it's pretty comparable.

8:33 a.m. ET: This place just erupted. The flop came 7-2-9, and Cada hit his set.

8:32 a.m. ET: We could be done right now. Cada is all-in with 2-2 versus Saout's Q-Q.

8:30 a.m. ET: Play restarted after a few announcements. Cada is the short stack with 39 big blinds.

8:20 a.m. ET: Only three remain. Eric Buchman just said in his exit interviews that he thinks three-handed play could last a couple of hours.

Here's a look at the chip counts:

Saout -- $80 million
Moon -- $75 million
Cada -- $39 million

8 a.m. ET: Check that. Buchman was all-in again on the very next hand. This time he went in ahead, but his cards couldn't hold up as Darvin Moon's run continued.

Buchman had A-5 and was up against Moon's K-J. After a flop of Q-9-2, Moon landed a king on the turn to eliminate the most experienced player left.

Now, we're three-handed, and only one more needs to be eliminated before the night is over.

7:55 a.m. ET: Eric Buchman moved all-in, and Darvin Moon called. Buchman showed K-10 and is behind Moon's A-7. He wasn't behind for long.

Buchman spiked a king on the flop and another on the turn to seal the deal and put himself back in the game with $22 million.

Sleep is definitely optional at this point.

7:50 a.m. ET: Antoine Saout and Darvin Moon just got involved in one of the few confrontations they've had at this final table. Saout opened the pot $2.5 million, and Moon reraised to $6.5. Saout took some time and called. The flop came Jd-8c-4d, and Saout checked. Moon bet $10 million, and Saout folded.

Chip counts: Saout -- $82 million
Moon -- $61 million
Cada -- $41 million
Buchman -- $11 million

7:45 a.m. ET: Just wanted to say good morning to everyone on the East Coast. Yes, this final table is still going.

7:35 a.m. ET: Eric Buchman raised $2.5 million from the button, and Saout reraised from the big blind to $8.5 million. Buchman moved all-in and Saout, after nearly five full minutes, made the call. Buchman showed A-Q and was dominated by Saout's A-K.

The flop came K-10-7, giving Saout top pair and Buchman a gut shot straight draw. Another king on the turn didn't change anything. Buchman needed a jack and only a jack to win the pot and the river, but a led to a huge ovation by the French contingent and a devastated look on Buchman's face.

Buchman is down to $9.8 million. Saout is up to $89.2 million. Wow.

7:15 a.m. ET: Eric Buchman and Antoine Saout mixed it up once again. It started off small enough with a $1.9 million preflop raise by Saout, and Buchman, in the small blind, called. After a flop of 2s-10h-3c, the action picked up. Saout led out postflop for $2.375 million, Buchman raised to $5 million, Saout reraised to $11.225 million and Buchman re-reraised to $21.225! The action was back on Saout in probably the biggest post thus far at the final table at more than $40 million, and after nearly five minutes of contemplation, Saout let the hand go.

Buchman is our new chip leader, and all the players look visibly exhausted. Meanwhile, half the spectators are sleeping … as are some of the media.

Blinds are up now to $500,000/$1,000,000 with a $150,000 ante.

Moon -- $53 million
Buchman -- $56 million
Cada -- $46 million
Saout -- $39 million

7:10 a.m. ET: Darvin Moon has taken over the chip lead once again. The four players are extremely tight in chips, but after numerous all-in reraises by Moon, he's been able to build his stack back up.

If 1,500 people attended the Penn and Teller Theater to start the day, I'd say there are about 400 people here now. Most of them are Cada supporters.

Eric Buchman somehow finds himself at the bottom of the chip counts, while Saout and Cada hold on to the second and third spots.

7 a.m. ET: Interesting move of the moment: Darvin Moon limped in from the cutoff with A-J. I wonder why he came to the decision not to open with a raise?

6:49 a.m. ET: Is Darvin Moon employing a new strategy? Moon has reraised all-in twice in the past few hands. Keep in mind he has between 50 and 60 big blinds, but I guess he realized he can't play postflop poker against these three. Not a bad strategy to employ at this point, and Moon is back over $40 million.

6:46 a.m. ET: This might take a while.

6:40 a.m. ET: Joe Cada just took a nice pot off Antoine Saout with a three-bet preflop. Cada opened from the button for $2 million. Saout, probably thinking that Cada was trying to steal, reraised to $6.2 but folded after Cada four-bet to $11 million.

Chip counts: Antoine Saout -- $56 million
Eric Buchman -- $50 million
Joe Cada -- $49 million
Darvin Moon -- $39 million

6:35 a.m. ET: Now that play is four-handed, we're seeing a lot more flops as players are acting with a wider range of starting hands. Eric Buchman just earned back some chips he previously lost to Joe Cada. Buchman was the aggressor throughout the hand, and eventually, after Cada called the preflop raise and flop bet, he folded to a half-pot turn bet.

On the next hand Buchman went up against Darvin Moon. Moon raised preflop, and Buchman called. A flop of Kh-Qh-4s resulted in a $3 million bet from Buchman that Moon called. The turn was the 9c, and both players checked to see the Ks hit the river. Moon led out for $5 million, and Buchman folded.

There's going to be a lot of pots like this, and I'm sure each of them is prepared to get more aggressive during short-handed play.

6:15 a.m. ET: Chip counts:

Antoine Saout -- $62 million
Eric Buchman -- $55 million
Joe Cada -- $45 million
Darvin Moon -- $31 million

6:10 a.m. ET: Jeff Shulman eliminated in fifth place. Sitting on the short stack for most of the past few hours, Jeff Shulman got it all-in with pocket sevens versus the A-9 of Antoine Saout. The flop came 10-9-6, and Saout took the lead. Shulman needed an 8 or 9 on the turn or river to catch up but wasn't able to hit as the board ran out Q-4.

Shulman walked over to his father and Phil Hellmuth, received many pats on the back from his friends and walked offstage. He earned $1.9 million for his finish.

5:40 a.m. ET: Players are off to a 20-minute break. Maybe Darvin Moon can get in a quick nap as many have mentioned that he might be nodding off at the table. I haven't seen it for sure, but it wouldn't shock me, as the players have been at the table for an excessive amount of time.

5:35 a.m. ET: After 20 straight hands of flopless action, Antoine Saout raised from the small blind and Jeff Shulman called from the big blind. The flop came 3s-Ks-9c, and both players checked. The turn was the 6h, and Saout checked. Shulman put in one-fifth of his stack ($2 million) and was called by Saout. A river 4h enticed Saout to lead out, and Shulman folded.

We actually had two flops in a row, and Shulman was on the short end of this hand too. Darvin Moon raised a Shulman postflop bet and took down the pot. Shulman has been putting a lot of chips in the center only to fold and is down to $6 million once again.

5:30 a.m. ET: Here's an update on the chip counts. Keep in mind there haven't been many flops, so any changes are really based on preflop aggression.

Antoine Saout -- $54 million
Eric Buchman -- $50 million
Joe Cada -- $44 million
Darvin Moon -- $31 million
Jeff Shulman -- $13 million

5:23 a.m. ET: We're flopless for 13 hands, but we had a little bit of action on Nos. 12 and 13. On No. 12, Eric Buchman raised to $2 million from the small blind, and Joe Cada reraised to $5.8 million from the big blind. Buchman let the hand go only to open from the button on the next hand for $2 million. Then Cada reraised to $6 million, but it was the same result. Buchman folded, and Cada chipped up.

5:16 a.m. ET: For those of you who were wondering what's actually happening at the table, we haven't seen a flop in nine hands. What action!

5:15 a.m. ET: Thanks to Nolan Dalla, who was the only man able to get an interview with Phil Ivey. Enjoy:

Dalla: How did the difficulty of this final table compare to other final tables you have made and high-stakes games you have played?

Ivey: Yeah, it was tough because I was handicapped by my chip count. So, I was kind of waiting for something good to happen. I mean, I bluffed a couple of hands. But there was nothing really I could do. The last hand obviously was a little unlucky. I did have ace-8 against two fours [earlier] also, where I lost that pot. And then, I just got grinded down. I held off and stayed even for a little bit. And then, I got it in with ace-king and lost it. There was not really much I could do.

Dalla: Is there any satisfaction you can take from this, after making it to the final table of the WSOP main event final table for the first time? Or was it simply about winning and nothing else?

Ivey: It is definitely just about winning. So, it's disappointing I did not win. But I am happy with the way I played. I think I made pretty good decisions with the amount of chips that I had. And, I think I gave myself as much possibility of winning it as I could. There were a couple of things I would do different. There was a hand that came up earlier where Jeff Shulman opened for $1.2 million, and I moved all-in. I had two kings that hand. Joe Cada had two 10s. If Jeff Shulman would not have opened [with the raise], then I probably would have raised and been able to double up right away. So, there were a couple of things that could have gone differently. But they didn't. That's poker. I think I will be back within a couple of years, so I am not too worried about it.

Dalla: While you were playing, could you feel the energy of the crowd? I think you could tell than many people were cheering for you. Could you feel that support?

Ivey: Yeah, absolutely. It was an amazing experience. Poker has come so far. I mean, when I first started playing, I would tell people I play poker for a living, and they would look at me like I was crazy. So, to see this -- it's really mind-boggling.

Dalla: When is the next time we will see Phil Ivey at the WSOP main event final table?

Ivey: Next year, probably (smiling).

5:05 a.m. ET: We're now 13 hours into the action, and with some fans of eliminated players leaving the stage, more Joe Cada supporters have taken seats at the final table. As I'm trying to figure out how we're going to put this all on TV (Tuesday, 9 p.m. on ESPN), I think we'll spend an hour going from nine to seven and then see some rapid eliminations from that point on. There really have been some great hands tonight.

We've seen a lot more raises and calls preflop since getting down to five-handed. Most recently, Antoine Saout and Joe Cada got involved in a relatively insignificant pot, where Cada raised preflop, Saout called, bet the flop and Cada folded.

The fans are even starting to fade. It's getting pretty late here out West, and since the departure of Ivey, we've seen a steady decline of spectators. Media row has thinned out too, but unlike last year, there's nobody sleeping next to me.

4:50 a.m. ET: Antoine Saout just extended his chip lead over the other four players by putting the pressure on Darvin Moon. Buchman hasn't been playing much but just picked up a small pot preflop.

Here's a look at the chip counts:

Antoine Saout -- $54 million
Eric Buchman -- $50 million
Joe Cada -- $44 million
Darvin Moon -- $33 million
Jeff Shulman -- $10 million

4:38 a.m. ET: Jeff Shulman moved all-in under the gun on hand No. 200, and Antoine Saout called. Shulman was ahead with A-5 against Saout's K-Q. Shulman paired his ace on the A-J-4, but it gave Saout a straight draw. In search of a 10, Saout wouldn't find any help with a 5 on the turn and 4 on the river.

However, that might not be the most entertaining piece of information for the moment. Phil Ivey is apparently online playing $2,000/$4,000 right now on Full Tilt Poker. Guess he didn't get enough action during the final table.

Blinds also have increased and are now $400,000/$800,000 with a $100,000 ante.

4:35 a.m. ET: What on Earth is Darvin Moon thinking? Moon opened the pot, Joe Cada reraised, Darvin Moon moved all-in and Cada called and put himself at risk.

So what could Moon possibly have in the spot? Ummm … jacks, A-K … no. Moon flipped over K-9. Yes, K-9. Oh yeah, Cada had pocket aces, but the hand was far from over.

The flop came down 6-9-3, giving Moon a pair of 9s. Could he suck out again for the third straight elimination? The turn and river came 4-4, and Moon went from the chip leader to fourth in chips.

Here are the current chip counts:

Antoine Saout -- $54 million
Eric Buchman -- $49 million
Joe Cada -- $45 million
Darvin Moon -- $39 million
Jeff Shulman -- $6 million

4:23 a.m. ET: Joe Cada's roller coaster isn't over just yet. After numerous three-bets going uncalled, Jeff Shulman finally called Cada's all-in reraise and had Cada crushed. Shulman showed J-J, and Cada held 3-3 and was in big trouble.

No problem for Cada, though, as he saw a 3 in the door of a 3-4-8 flop. His crowd erupted, and Shulman's contingent was stunned. Yes, Phil Hellmuth was speechless. A 7 on the turn and Q on the river completed the board. Cada is back in the ballgame once again.

Shulman is down to around $8 million, and Cada doubled up to $22 million.

4:15 a.m. ET: Howard Lederer's latest tweet says it best:

"The air was sucked out of the Rio when Moon's queen hit. It was like a morgue backstage. We all missed out on something special."

Darvin Moon has changed the final table greatly by first making two terrible plays and following that up with two sick beats on Phil Ivey and Steve Begleiter.

I've been looking forward to five-handed play for months. It's a chance to see whether Moon can play short-handed poker, and so far, he's been mixing it up and using his chip lead to pressure the table.

That said, he may be very active but just picked a poor spot and gave away a small pot to Jeff Shulman. I guess you can't win 'em all …

3:52 a.m. ET: Down to five players. Wow. Everyone here is still shocked at the elimination of Steve Begleiter, but we all were waiting for the play to pick up, and now it finally has. Amazing how crazy this game is because only minutes ago I was writing how Begleiter was surging.

Can Darvin Moon really make it to heads-up play after the plays he's made today? Time to find out how good he is at short-handed play.

3:49 a.m. ET: Well, that escalated quickly. Steven Begleiter was all-in preflop with Q-Q against Darvin Moon's A-Q. Begleiter's fans all stood up, anxiously awaiting the flop. The flop came 7s-4d-8s, and Begleiter quickly breathed a sigh of relief. The turn was the 3d, and everyone in the blue shirts felt confident Begs was ready to double up back to second place.

Then the ace on the river.

Steven Begleiter has been eliminated in sixth place. Wow. Darvin Moon's run continues. Sick.

3:45 a.m. ET: Begleiter has won three of the past nine hands. Here's an updated chip count:

Eric Buchman -- $53 million
Antoine Saout -- $52 million
Darvin Moon -- $40 million
Steve Begleiter -- $22 million
Jeff Shulman -- $16 million
Joe Cada -- $10 million

3:38 a.m. ET: Clarification on Ivey's exit. He did an interview with the WSOP's Nolan Dalla but did not come out of the theater to meet with the rest of the media.

Begs just won a $7 million pot from Joe Cada.

3:30 a.m. ET: Ivey just stood up the media and didn't do any bust-out interview.

I came back just in time to see Begleiter move all-in and take down the pot. I think he just woke up his fan club, too, who happily added a "Begs! Begs! Begs!" while he stacked his chips.

With six players left, here's the remaining payouts for the night:

Third place -- $3.4 million
Fourth -- $2.5 million
Fifth -- $1.9 million
Sixth -- $1.5 million

3:20 a.m. ET: Phil Ivey eliminated by Darvin Moon. On the first hand back, Phil Ivey moves all-in and is called by Darvin Moon. Ivey showed A-K, and Moon tabled A-Q. The fans erupted and started cheering "Ivey, Ivey, Ivey!"

The flop came Q-6-6, and the entire room sat stunned. Moon had taken the lead, and Ivey would need to hit a king. The turn was a 3 and Ivey, who had a smile on his face when the cards were flipped up preflop, stared with a look of disbelief. The river was 5, and that was it, the dream of Ivey's winning was gone.

Ivey received a standing ovation from everyone in attendance. Gave a polite wave and walked away from the table.

Six left.

2:46 a.m. ET: Players are on a 20-minute break. The last hand featured a four-bet by Buchman, who came over the top of Cada. After Buchman announced his re-reraise, Cada insta-mucked, and the seven were off to another 20-minute break.

Chip counts:

Eric Buchman -- $55 million
Antoine Saout -- $53 million
Darvin Moon -- $32 million
Jeff Shulman -- $17 million
Steve Begleiter -- $16 million
Joe Cada -- $13 million
Phil Ivey -- $6 million

2:43 a.m. ET: We almost had another elimination, but all the excitement ended up for nothing. Joe Cada and Eric Buchman got all the chips in the middle preflop. Buchman had Ac-Kc, while Cada had Ah-Kh. Would we see another Dennis Phillips-like casualty?

The flop brought one club … the turn brought another … and the river a jack of hearts.

Chop chop.

2:35 a.m. ET: Lots of preflop raising going on, but next-to-no action. Phil Ivey moved all-in from under the gun and picked up the blinds and antes when everyone folded.

On the next hand, Joe Cada and Jeff Shulman got involved, and we saw Shulman make a rare three-bet to take down the pot.

Bernard Lee's analysis on Shulman: "He three-bets small but open raises big."

We are now 100 hands past the last elimination.

2:25 a.m. ET: We've played 165 hands already! Here are the chip counts:

Antoine Saout -- $51 million
Eric Buchman -- $47 million
Darvin Moon -- $36 million
Jeff Shulman -- $17 million
Steve Begleiter -- $16 million
Joe Cada -- $16 million
Phil Ivey -- $6 million

2:15 a.m. ET: Begs is definitely tilting. His confident mannerisms have been replaced by a series of head shaking. His fans need to get him back into it if he's going to have a chance.

2:10 a.m. ET: Jeff Shulman took another pot from Phil Ivey. Ivey called Shulman's raise from the button and saw a flop of A-K-3. Both players checked to see a turn 2. Shulman bet out $2 million, and Ivey folded.

Ivey is now down to $7 million, while Shulman is up to $14 million.

2:03 a.m. ET: More Antoine Saout, but this time his actions resulted in his supporters cheering incessantly. Steven Begleiter opened the pot from the cutoff, and Saout reraised. Begleiter made the call, and the two saw a flop of 8h-3c-9h. Begs led out for $6.3 million, and Saout went into the tank and then moved all-in.

Begleiter needed to call $14.9 million more and surprisingly made the call with 8c-7c! Saout tabled Ah-Kh for two overs and a flush draw. With 15 outs twice, Begs needed to dodge most of the deck. He couldn't, as the 10h hit the turn to double up Saout.

Saout is our new chip leader with more than $50 million, while Begs is down to $18.

1:52 a.m. ET: Joe Cada is slowly creeping back into this thing. After Antoine Saout raised from under the gun, Cada reraised all-in and took down the pot. He's worked his way back up to $18.75 from his low of $2 million.

Saout is down to $25 million.

1:46 a.m. ET: Cada just won another $2 million from Ivey holding top pair with K-Q.

To make things worse for Ivey, the price of poker is going up as the blinds are increasing to $300,000/$600,000 with a $75,000 ante.

1:45 a.m. ET:

Updated chip counts:

Eric Buchman -- $46 million
Steve Begleiter -- $45 million
Darvin Moon -- $38 million
Antoine Saout -- $28 million
Jeff Shulman -- $13 million
Joe Cada -- $12 million
Phil Ivey -- $10 million

1:40 a.m. ET: Bernard Lee has the greatest spreadsheet here by far. He's kept track of every single hand and the tendencies of the players. He noted that Phil Ivey has been relatively consistent tonight in terms of stealing blinds and it looks like on average, he's stealing two hands per orbit.

Begleiter has been rolling since dinner. He's played seven hands and has won six of them including the big pot against Buchman.

Complete miserable/hate alert: Antoine Saout got the fourth walk of the night … and had pocket aces.

1:30 a.m. ET: Darvin Moon raised Phil Ivey's big blind. Ivey called to see a flop of 10-8-3 and Moon led out for $2.5 million. Ivey folded and is still hovering around $10 million.

1:23 a.m. ET: Chop chop. Antoine Saout and Jeff Shulman make it all the way to the river with a board of J-2-A-9-6. Saout bet $3.5 million, Shulman called and the both tabled A-Q.

1:17 a.m. ET: Begs is officially the chip leader, but not by much.

1:10 a.m. ET: Cada's friends are getting rowdy. It might be the beer.

After Begs took a pot away from Ivey preflop, Phil went back at it once again with another preflop raise. Joe Cada reraised all-in and Ivey would have to make a tough decision for another $4.35 million more. After a good amount of time, Ivey made the call with As-8c and was in a race against Cada's 4-4.

The flop was 2-10-3 and Cada remained ahead. With his fans screaming, the turn brought a 9. As if the appearance of the 9 wasn't scary enough, the river was a 7 and Cada doubled up through Ivey.

Cada is back up to $12 million while Ivey is back to being the short stack with only $10 million.

1:00 a.m. ET: After Jeff Shulman defeated Darvin Moon in a blind versus blind battle, Ivey and Moon went head to head when Moon limped in on Ivey's big blind. The flop came 9-9-9. Ivey bet $500,000 and Moon called. The turn was a Kd and both players checked to see a six on the river. Both players checked again and Ivey's 10-high beat Moon's eight-high.

Both players got a little smile out of that one and Ivey adds another million to his stack.

12:55 a.m. ET: Not wasting any time, Joe Cada called all-in on the very next hand against Eric Buchman. Buchman showed 5c-4c and was dominated by Cada's Jc-4d. Visibly tilted, Cada watched as the board came 6-9-4-10-7 and he doubled up to around $5 million.

12:51 a.m. ET: Chip counts:

Eric Buchman -- $48 million
Steve Begleiter -- $45 million
Darvin Moon -- $40 million
Antoine Saout -- $27 million
Phil Ivey -- $16 million
Jeff Shulman -- $15 million
Joe Cada -- $2 million

12:49 a.m. ET: A hand after Ivey made an all-in squeeze play, Jeff Shulman reraised all-in after a Joe Cada preflop raise. Cada would need to call $5.775 million more to make the call and after a good three minutes, did put the chips into the center.

Cada shows Ad-Js and would be dominated by Shulman's As-Kh. The flop came 3h-10s-9c. The turn Q gave Cada extra outs with straight possibilities and with his hands on his head, he awaited the river.

A innocuous 4 hit the river, and Shulman doubled up and essentially crippled Joe Cada.

12:40 a.m. ET: Steven Begleiter and Eric Buchman just had another significant confrontation. Begleiter opened with a raise and Buchman reraised to $4.5 million. Begleiter re-reraised to $11 million and Buchman let his hand go. Looks like Begleiter's coach Jonathan Little gave him a pep talk during the dinner break and told him to be a little more aggressive.

12:35 a.m. ET: Ivey has won a few small pots since play resumed and according to Daniel Negreanu, Ivey is "confident." I spoke to Negreanu about Ivey during the dinner break and he told me that Ivey is making lay-downs that he would never make given the situation.

12:25 a.m. ET: Mike Sexton is introduced as the newest Poker Hall of Famer and tells the dealer to "Shuffle Up and Deal!"

Players are back in action …

10 p.m. ET: Dinner break chip counts

Eric Buchman -- $54 million
Darvin Moon -- $41 million
Steve Begleiter -- $38 million
Antoine Saout -- $27 million
Phil Ivey -- $16 million
Joe Cada -- $10 million
Jeff Shulman -- $7 million

Players will take a two-hour break while I head to the Mike Sexton Hall of Fame induction dinner. Congrats Mike! See everyone at midnight ET, and make sure you catch up on the Poker Edge audio blog, which has some great analysis from Phil Gordon on the final seven players.

9:52 p.m. ET: The new Poker Edge audio blog featuring the interviews with Kevin Schaffel and James Akenhead is out.

The Poker Edge Audio Blog Part 2 Listen

9:50 p.m. ET: Phil Ivey just chipped up a couple million in a hand against Steven Begleiter. In a small versus big blind confrontation, the two see a flop of Qh-Jd-Kd. Out of position, Ivey checked and Begleiter bet $1.7 million. Ivey called. The turn was another jack and both players checked extremely quick. A river 3 didn't change much to either player and Ivey bet $2.5 million. Begleiter was up against the patented Ivey stare-down and the entire Penn and Teller theater went silent.

After a minute or two of thought, Begleiter gave up the hand and Ivey's fans erupted in cheers.

9:40 p.m. ET: Jeff Shulman is now the shortest stack at the table. Antoine Saout raised preflop to $1.3 million and Shulman reraised to $4.5 million. Saout moved all-in and Shulman, who had nearly a third of his stack in the center, folded.

Here are the current chip counts: Eric Buchman -- $51 million
Steve Begleiter -- $43 million
Darvin Moon -- $41 million
Antoine Saout -- $26 million
Joe Cada -- $12 million
Phil Ivey -- $11 million
Jeff Shulman -- $8 million

9:20 p.m. ET: Ivey's fans can breathe again. Jeff Shulman raised from the button and Ivey moved all-in for $6.9 million more. Shulman cut out the calling chips and began to weigh his decision. After three or four minutes of thinking, Shulman let his hand go to a round of applause by the Ivey fans in attendance.

The blinds are now $250,000/$500,000 with a $50,000 ante.

9:10 p.m. ET: Five minutes left in the level after the quick break. Ivey is going to be even shorter stacked when the blinds go up in a few.

8:55 p.m. ET: Two of the bigger stacks, Begleiter and Moon, just mixed it up big time. Darvin raised preflop and Begs reraised. Moon deliberated for a moment or two and called. The flop came 2-3-4 with two spades and Begleiter led out for $5 million. Moon raised to $15 million and Begleiter moved all-in!

Moon only had to call $6 million AND FOLDED! Wow. Really? Folded? That hand might make TV … (very sarcastic, obviously it will be on the broadcast).

Begs' supporters erupted and we have a new chip leader in Eric Buchman.

Here are the chip counts:

Eric Buchman -- $51 million
Steve Begleiter -- $44 million
Darvin Moon -- $42 million
Antoine Saout -- $23 million
Jeff Shulman -- $15 million
Joe Cada -- $9 million
Phil Ivey -- $8 million

8:45 p.m. ET: Joe Cada just put Steven Begleiter to the test by three-betting all-in for $7.9 million. Begleiter, who originally raised preflop, folded down leaving Cada's supporters on their feet chanting, "Joey! Joey! Joey!"

Cada is approaching the $10 million mark once gain.

Believe it or not, Phil Ivey is actually here at the table. Since the players left Las Vegas in July we've said he'd be patient and pick his spots, but I definitely didn't think that he'd be at $9 million after four hours of play.

8:30 p.m. ET:

Chip counts:

Darvin Moon -- $58 million
Eric Buchman -- $53 million
Steve Begleiter -- $25 million
Antoine Saout -- $22 million
Jeff Shulman -- $16 million
Phil Ivey -- $9 million
Joe Cada -- $8 million

8:25 p.m. ET: Just got back into the action after interviewing Kevin Schaffel. He still has a smile on his face despite the tough beat. Congrats on a great run, Kevin.

8:05 p.m. ET: Kevin Schaffel eliminated in eighth place. Again! A-A versus K-K! Schaffel has A-A versus Buchman's K-K, but the flop is K-Q-J and Schaffel needs some major help. Wow. It didn't come on the turn as another king hit the felt, eliminating Schaffel in eighth place.

Don't look now, but Eric Buchman is currently closing in on Darvin Moon.

7:40 p.m. ET: James Akenhead is eliminated in ninth place.

Getting extremely short, Akenhead moved all-in and was called by Kevin Schaffel. Akenhead showed 3-3 and hoped to be in a race, but unfortunately was against 9-9 and was dominated. The flop was 10-7-2 giving Akenhead no help. The turn was another 2 and the river was a 9, sealing the fate of Akenhead in ninth place.

Still, Akenhead battled for quite a long time and after tripling up on a miracle card, gave himself a shot. However, he got coolered with the K-K versus A-A hand and that was tough to overcome.

Eight remain and Schaffel has had one heck of a level.

7:25 p.m. ET: Kevin Schaffel doubles up through James Akenhead. After a flop of J-9-4, Schaffel moved all-in and was called instantly by Akenhead who showed K-K immediately. Schaffel turned over … you guessed it … pocket aces. Even better for Team Schaffel, he had Akenhead covered in suits and that would leave Akenhead in need of only the two remaining kings to hit if he were to win.

The turn was a 3 and the river brought another jack to double up Schaffel to $14 million. Akenhead is back as the short stack with only $5.9 million and decided to give away another $1.2 of that stack on the very next hand. Akenhead raised $1.2 million out of the small blind and Phil Ivey moved all-in from the big blind. Akenhead folded and his supporters, who were so loud just an hour ago, have gone silent.

7:15 p.m. ET: Darvin Moon just got healthier once again at the expense of Joe Cada. On a board of 4-8-9-A-4, Moon led out on the river for $2.5 million. Cada raised to $5.5 million and Moon called and showed A-10. Cada insta-mucked and cost himself nearly a third of his stack. Moon is back near $60 million while Cada is down to $6.5 million and is the short stack at the table.

The yellow T-shirted section is not too happy right now as Cada needs to double up soon.

7:00 p.m. ET: Break over. Cards are back in the air. Blinds are $200,000/$400,000 with a $50,000 ante.

6:42 p.m. ET: Here's the first Poker Edge Podcast Audio Blog from the main event. We recorded it right at the first break. Enjoy!

The Poker Edge Listen

Chip counts:

Darvin Moon -- $49 million
Eric Buchman -- $35 million
Steve Begleiter -- $24 million
Antoine Saout -- $21 million
Joe Cada -- $16 million
Jeff Shulman -- $14 million
James Akenhead -- $12 million
Phil Ivey -- $11 million
Kevin Schaffel -- $9 million

6:31 p.m. ET: Did that really just happen? I'm pretty much shocked at this point. Darvin Moon and Antoine Saout just had an interesting confrontation. Saout raised preflop and Moon called. After a flop of K-J-2, Moon led out, Saout reraised and Moon re-reraised all-in on a pot-committed Saout. Moon showed A-4 (I don't get this at all) and Saout had J-2 for two pair. The turn was a 3 and everyone in the place pretty much gave the pot to Moon who, let's face it, runs better than anyone else. The river was another 2 and Saout doubled up.

"That was a gift," said Phil Gordon who is amazed at the actions of the chip leader. That really didn't make any sense. Saout wasn't going anywhere.

"That's about the worst play I've ever seen" is something I'm hearing by many right now.

6:22 p.m. ET: Our first major pot just took place and it's a brand new ballgame. Akenhead moves all-in for $4 million. Begleiter called and Buchman reraised to $12 million! Begleiter reluctantly folded and Akenhead showed Q-K and is dominated by Buchman's A-K. The board came 2-3-J-K and with only one card to come, the Q hit and Akenhead is now back in the game with over $13 million. Wow.

What an amazing hand and Phil Gordon believes that Begleiter had the best hand preflop -- in the J-J, Q-Q range -- which would've given him the pot.

That was the second time that Akenhead got the best with K-Q. On Day 8, Akenhead cracked aces with K-Q to essentially bring him into the November Nine. Now, the British pro has chips and could be very dangerous from here on out.

6:00 p.m. ET: Cada started this level very aggressive as he did when action first began and padded his stack with some of Antoine Saout's chips. Saout on the next hand three-bet all-in on an Eric Buchman raise to get some of the chips back that he had just lost.

James Akenhead remains the very short stack even after stealing the blinds.

Kevin Schaffel continues to get three-bet anytime he raises preflop and he's folded every time. This time around, Schaffel raised under the gun and Saout was the aggressor. Saout put another $2 million in the pot and Schaffel mucked dejectedly. It seems that Schaffel just isn't ready to play a big pot, but he can't continue letting his hands go and blinding himself down to the felt.

5:45 p.m. ET: Cards are back in the air and for those Poker Edge fans, Phil Gordon, Bernard Lee, Lance Bradley and I all chimed in and that podcast will be up within the hour.

Akenhead is looking for a spot and just moved all-in to win the blinds as nobody called. Kevin Schaffel folded to a Joe Cada three-bet on the very next hand to continue his downward trend. Is Schaffel just being too tight right now? Looks like he's not adjusting to the aggressiveness at the table and picking the wrong players to try and steal the blinds from.

5:15 p.m. ET: We had our first full board! Jeff Shulman and Eric Buchman (who raised preflop) got involved on a board of K-7-7-10-3 and after a flop bet and call, both players checked the turn and river. Buchman showed Q-Q to take down the pot while Shulman mucked.

Buchman has been raising incessantly so far, really putting the pressure on his opponents and has had the most successful first level of any player, accumulating $11 million.

Players now are on a 20-minute break and on a side note, Bernard Lee is tracking all the hands on his computer and this spreadsheet is awesome. It really shows just how each player has been acting.

Here's his breakdown:

Akenhead has not won a hand. Schaffel has played three hands and won two of them. Cada started out aggressively, playing four of the first 10 hands, but only one since. Moon has played only four hands and has won all four (two of them on big reraises). Ivey has played seven of the last 20 hands, winning four. Begleiter has played six hands, winning four and the two that he lost were the two that he limped in from the big blind. Buchman is crushing as mentioned above and won the biggest pot of the day against Shulman. Saout has been very quiet, playing only four hands, but has won three (two on big reraises). Finally, Shulman has been quiet playing only four hands. He won his first two, but lost his last two.

5 p.m. ET: Tournament director Jack Effel announced the poker celebrities in the house: Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Daniel Negreanu, Chau Giang and … Phil Gordon. PhillyG at a poker tournament! Way to represent the Poker Edge!

Begs took down two pots recently to the loud chants of his fans while Buchman three-bet Ivey to drop Ivey down to below $10 million once again. Of course, after I finish writing that sentence, Ivey raised Jeff Shulman's big blind and won the next hand to jump back over $10 million. Each time a player raises and takes down the blinds, it's padding $810,000 to their stack.

4:46 p.m. ET: Quick chip count update:

Darvin Moon -- $61 million
Eric Buchman -- $35 million
Steve Begleiter -- $29 million
Jeff Shulman -- $19 million
Joe Cada -- $13 million
Phil Ivey -- $11.4 million
Kevin Schaffel -- $11.3 million
Antoine Saout -- $9 million
James Akenhead -- $4 million

4:35 p.m. ET: Ivey moved all-in over the top of Shulman and Cada who both reluctantly folded. This place was silent though as everyone wondered if that would be the end of Ivey. Someone in the audience yelled, "overrated" and I'm pretty sure everyone looked at that person wondering just what he was thinking.

4:25 p.m. ET: Cada has still been mixing it up. After a hand that he raised preflop and was 3-bet by Shulman (and folded), Cada raised again on the next hand and Ivey called. The flop was Kh-4d-3d, Cada bet $1 million and Ivey folded. The short stacks have so far gotten a little bit shorter in the early going.

Two hands later, Moon limped from the cutoff. Ivey completed from the small blind and Schaffel reraised. Moon, pacifying by stroking his goatee, reraised! Schaffel stared intently at Moon, trying to get a read and trying to figure out what the limp-reraise meant. He reluctantly folded and Moon picked up another $1.5 million or so.

I was just reminded to post that the first answer for Poker Pick 'Em has been determined! Four players were wearing sunglasses to start.

… And Phil Ivey just picked up his first pot.

4:10 p.m. ET: Cada has come out raising and $620,000 seems to be his number of choice. He's opened two pots so far and won them both uncontested. The best line of the day so far came from one of his fans. Tournament director Jack Effel said, "Cada wins the pot!" and his friend yelled, "Get used to it!"

Effel is also trying to interact with the crowd. I'm not sure if it's going the way he envisioned it as nobody is laughing as his jokes …

Just a quick logo note, Darvin Moon is logo-less, but Begleiter added a patch for "The Prisoner" which is something that is coming out on AMC this month. Kevin Schaffel is wearing a "Bad Beat on Cancer" patch and will be donating one percent of his winnings to cancer research.

Schaffel also won the first hand against Joe Cada which offered the first flop of the day.

4 p.m. ET: After lengthy introductions, play is underway and after Doyle Brunson spoke poker's most famous words, "Shuffle up and deal!" the cards are in the air. Joe Cada definitely has the loudest contingent here, but wow, during the first hand, it's so quiet I can hear the chips shuffle at the table. Jeff Shulman raised from the cutoff on the first hand and started off the festivities by winning the first pot.

3:00 p.m. ET: Quick update! Players have arrived and the cheers have started. "Begs! Begs! Begs!" was definitely the most organized.

Just saw Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Dennis Phillips and Joe Sebok shaking hands with fans and friends on stage. This place definitely is electric right now.

2:35 p.m. ET: The chips are on the table

Welcome to my favorite column of the year, the 2009 WSOP main event final table blog. Action will begin around 3:15 p.m. and I'll be reporting from here until only two players remain and the heads-up matchup is set. The duo will then return Monday night to battle it out until we have one champion.

I'm guessing the final table will last until around 4 or 5 a.m. Sunday morning, so you're in for a full day of reporting on the key hands, the sights and the sounds from Las Vegas. I'll be posting audio from the Poker Edge podcast, video for the Inside Deal and twitter updates at @ESPN_Poker. It's going to be a long ride so welcome, get comfy and don't forget to refresh often.

This morning has been relatively busy at the Rio, and for good reason. After four months of waiting, all the players, family, friends and fans are in attendance and ready to get going. I saw Eric Buchman waiting outside the theater, and apparently our Inside Deal open with Buchman getting amazed at my entrance is something that caught on, as his mom repeated the action. Quite embarrassing.

Joe Cada was in typical form, surrounded by his friends and family wearing University of Michigan gear with "The Kid" on it. Kevin Schaffel's contingent is wearing "Schaffel up and deal" T-shirts with Schaffel's image on it. Team Begs is in blue with "Begs! Begs! Begs!" on the back, while Darvin Moon's fans are singing. Yes. Singing. You know that song that goes, "People want to knoooow, whooo we arrre, so we tell them …"? Well, the next line is "We are the loggers! The mighty, mighty loggers!" That's definitely a new one.

There's also a great story about Moon and Schaffel again. As mentioned yesterday, Moon was playing the Texas hold 'em pit game against Schaffel's sister. This morning, Jordan Schaffel, Kevin's brother, was up at 5:15 a.m. PT and went downstairs to kill some time since he couldn't sleep. Jordan headed to the Texas hold 'em pit game and saw Moon again! So what did he do? He called his brother. Kevin, whom Jordan said was up very, very early this morning, came down and he played with Moon. As if that wasn't entertaining enough, Moon continued his pit dominance by hitting a straight flush with 3s-5s! He is still running better than ever.

Amazing.

OK, people are starting to file into the theater right now. The chip bags are on the table and the media is filling out their seats. The public isn't being allowed in, and the over 1,000 fans waiting in line are anxious to see the action.

Finally, here is the Inside Deal Nine. The person who has the final winner will win a seat at a WSOP Academy. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the Inside Deal.

Dennis Quick - Darvin Moon
James Particka - Kevin Schaffel
Chris Jordan - James Akenhead
Josh McDonald - Steven Begleiter
Chris Swartz - Antoine Saout
Michael Hood - Joe Cada
Michael Barger - Eric Buchman
Jason Crosby - Jeff Shulman
Ryan McAnaugh - Phil Ivey

Small blinds: Doyle Brunson and Peter Eastgate are co-announcing the "Shuffle up and deal." … There are balloons in the stands where the 1,500 spectators will be seated. … Lacey Jones is going to be the unofficial host and was rehearsing this morning. … Cliff Josephy is on stage to support Joe Cada. He should be, he has 50 percent of his winnings. … Jack Links representatives handed out free packets of beef jerky to everyone. … Energy drink count: 1. Over/under 3.5.