Name:  Zvi Stern
Age:  36
Hometown: Ramat, Israel

If there is a “mystery man” to the 2015 World Series of Poker Championship Event “November Nine,” it would definitely have to be Israel’s Zvi Stern. He is making the most out of being the “wild card” of the final nine as he has been able to amass a chip stack of 29.8 million chips, good for second place at the final table, through some unpredictable plays.

Way back in 2008, Stern made his first impact on the tournament poker world in finishing “in the money” in the $1500 Limit Hold’em Shootout event at the WSOP. After that rousing start to a tournament poker career, Stern went on to…go quiet. He wouldn’t cash again in a tournament until January of this year when he finished in 34th place in the $25,000 High Roller event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Between those two cashes, Stern had put together less than $50,000 in career tournament poker earnings. If he is able to take down the World Championship, Stern would pass 2013 “November Niner” Amir Lehavot for the all-time lead for Israeli tournament poker players (as it is, he currently sits in fifth place with his ninth-place payout already in the pocket). You can’t count him out of doing that as Stern has held the lead periodically throughout the tournament.


Day 1(B):  38,325
Day 2(A):  180,000
Day 3:  256,500
Day 4:  1.751 million
Day 5:  4.415 million
Day 6:  9.94 million


It may have been a questionable play at the time, but a move that Stern made on Day 7 actually cast him into the leader’s seat late in the action. After opening up the betting from the hijack, Stern saw George McDonald three-bet the action out of the cutoff and the remainder of the table fold. With a sizeable stack, Stern pushed all-in and left McDonald with a decision for his tournament life. After the cards were tabled, it was a cause for wonder what McDonald was waiting for and what Stern might have been thinking.

McDonald’s pocket Queens were vastly ahead of Stern’s 10♠ 8♠ pre-flop, but an A♦ A♠ 7♠ flop brought a great deal of help for Stern. A K♠ on the turn gave the flush to Stern, but another Ace or a Queen on the river would shift the power in the hand back over to McDonald. Alas, the river 5♦ didn’t help McDonald, sending him home in twelfth place and pushing Stern over the 36 million chip mark.

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