The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event has reached the November Nine and two members of the final table are from California. Max Steinberg from Oakland and Neil Blumenfield from San Francisco both will return to Las Vegas in November to compete for the World Championship bracelet and $7.68 million in prize money.
Blumenfield One of Two Seniors in the November Nine
At 61, Neil Blumenfield is one of the oldest players in history to make the November Nine. Ironically, he is the second oldest at this final table as 72-year-old Pierre Neuville also made the final table.
Blumenfield is the President and COO of Elastic Intelligence, Inc and a well-known executive in the software industry. The amateur had just $131,000 in lifetime earnings prior to this year’s Main Event with his biggest score a 285th place finish in the 2012 Main Event.
Unlike many players in the Main Event, Blumenfield has all of his own action, meaning that he will walk away with 100% of whatever prize he wins. He has already received $1 million in prize money and is in good shape to make a run at the title.
Blumenfield is currently third in chips with exactly 22 million. This gives him 55 big blinds when play resume on November 8, meaning he will have plenty of room to maneuver.
Should Blumenfield win the Main Event, he will become the oldest to do so in the modern poker era and the second oldest in history behind Johnny Moss.
Steinberg the Only Bracelet Winner in the November Nine
Oakland native Max Steinberg is the only player in the November Nine with a WSOP bracelet. He won it back in 2012 by taking down a $1,000 NL Hold’em Event. Steinberg also has a runner-up finish in a $1,500 NL Event in 2010.
Steinberg took an atypical path to the November Nine. He is currently a part-time poker pro and a Fantasy Sports player. He won his seat into the 2015 WSOP Main Event via a satellite at DraftKings.
Prior to the Main Event, Steinberg had over $1.95 million in career earnings. He will earn his first six-figure score in this event and has the chips to make a run for the title. Steinberg is in fifth chip position 20.2 million. That’s good for 50 big blinds.
Will a Deep Run in the November Nine Help California iPoker Chances?
A deep run by either player could prove beneficial to pro-iPoker supporters in California. Knowing PokerStars past with Main Event champions, it is likely that we would see a player signed to a promotional deal and then placed on the next leg of the PokerStars Pro Tour.
Steinberg would obviously be the better fit for such a promotional tour, not because of his age but because of his connection to online poker and online gaming. He could even become the face of PokerStars’ DFS site StarsDraft.
If either player were to win the Main Event, PokerStars could use their story to inspire other players and remind them that a large number of players have qualified for the WSOP Main Event via online poker in the past. It would provide another avenue to get players excited about online poker and maybe even hasten the legislative process.