Poker News

On this week’s installment of the ESPN.com poker news show “Inside Deal,” World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event November Niner John Racener made the trek to Bristol. Racener will own the fourth largest stack when play resumes in Las Vegas next month at 19.1 million.

Day 7 of the Main Event aired on ESPN this week as part of the network’s continuing coverage of the $10,000 buy-in tournament. Racener explained his mindset on Day 7: “When I get this deep, I just take it orbit by orbit. I’m playing 10 hands at a time and trying to pick up one or two hands during it. If I can do that consistently up until there’s 10 left and keep my stack in the top 10, I’ll be in the top 10.” Racener started and ended the day near the top of the leaderboard.

Day 7 of the Main Event was actually the 12th day of play in the annual tournament, which emanates from the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Racener, however, didn’t appear to be affected by the grueling structure: “The money is so big now and that’s all I’m thinking about; exhaustion’s not even in my head [and there’s] no anxiety and no nervousness. I’m just trying to think about if I can win that $9 million [and] how excited I will be.”

Also making a deep run in the Main Event and finishing 410th was “Inside Deal” co-host and Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Bernard Lee, who explained the lay of the land on the seventh day of play: “This is a stage where players are definitely tightening up. The play is slowing down and everyone now realizes that if they get through two-thirds of the remaining players, they’re going to more than triple their money.”

November Niners Racener, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, and John Dolan all hail from Florida, a state that recently saw its limits on live poker tournaments lifted. On Mizrachi, Racener told “Inside Deal” viewers, “I have mixed emotions. He’s a good friend of mine and I like seeing him do well. He’s a good player, so I am happy he’s there, but at the same time, I hope he gets a place below me. If I win, I hope he can be second.” Mizrachi took down the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship for $1.6 million this year and can grab a piece of the WSOP Player of the Year title with a Main Event bracelet.

Also discussed on the 20-minute edition of “Inside Deal” were ESPN.com’s poker rankings, dubbed “The Nuts.” Poker News Daily’s Dan Cypra votes for “The Nuts” each month and in September, Phil Ivey, Mizrachi, Jason Mercier, Tom Dwan, and Daniel Alaei represented the top five.

Who will be moving up in October? ESPN.com Poker Editor Andrew Feldman prognosticated,  “Out of these five, Jason Mercier is going to be the only player who is going to move up. Mercier won a WCOOP event for $435,000, beating a field of over 3,000 players in two days for an unbelievable run. Then, he goes on the live felt and takes third in an Eight Game mix.” Mercier’s Eight Game final table came during the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) stop in London and was good for $30,000.

The bottom half of September’s top 10 features Alexander Kostritsyn, Eric Baldwin, Patrik Antonius, Sorel Mizzi, and 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event champ John Juanda. On Juanda, Lee boasted, “John Juanda has had a tremendous career. $11 million in career earnings, four WSOP bracelets, and 55 [WSOP] cashes, which is top 10 overall. The list goes on and on… John Juanda I see moving up and he could start moving into the top five if he keeps it up over the next couple of months.”

Other players who could crack the top 10 when October’s rankings are released include recent World Poker Tour (WPT) champ Dwyte Pilgrim, Tom Marchese, and five-time bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro. Racener made a case for Lisandro entering the top 10 of “The Nuts” this month: “He knows all eight games really well and he’s always deep in all these events. Once he makes final tables, he usually finishes the deal.”

Catch “Inside Deal” on ESPN.com every week. New episodes are released on Tuesdays.

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