After a slow start to the final table of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, British poker player James Akenhead and American Kevin Schaffel were eliminated in ninth place and eighth place, respectively.

In Akenhead’s final hand of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, the Brit shoved pre-flop with pocket threes and Schaffel made the call with a wired pair of nines. Each of the 1,000-plus spectators in attendance was on their feet for what could be the first bust out of the tournament in November. The flop came 10-2-7, with the crowd in awe that the deuce was actually a three, which would have given Akenhead a set. Akenhead needed a three or running clubs for a flush, but the board filled out 2-9, giving us our first elimination of the day.

The crowd gave Akenhead a standing ovation, as the former train conductor hugged Schaffel and then exited the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio.

Shortly thereafter, two fans of Michigan pro Joe Cada became involved in a fight in the seating area right behind the media’s orchestra section. According to coverage found on, “The fans were part of the group of Cada supporters that have been heavily frequenting the bar on breaks. Security made quick work of removing them from the building to keep things under control.”

Then, Schaffel hit the rails after getting his chips in for the second time pre-flop with pocket aces against pocket kings. This time, Eric Buchman held the inferior pocket pair, but spiked top set on a K-Q-J flop. The turn was another king, giving Buchman quads and eliminating Schaffel in eighth place. Schaffel told reporters following his exit, “If you’re not going to shove it in with aces, what are you going to shove it in with? I shoved with aces against kings twice and was right back in it. I would have been right behind Darvin Moon in chips and there’s nothing you can do.”

Schaffel had doubled through Akenhead with kings against aces earlier this afternoon. On his strategy heading into the day, Schaffel explained, “My plan was to play the same way as I had been playing, which was basically playing good cards. I didn’t have any hands until the two aces, so I just played the way I always played.” Schaffel jokingly told the assembled media that he did not want to discuss poker in his post-tournament press conference. A throng of Schaffel supporters gathered around him in the concourse outside the theater, giving him a rousing ovation when he emerged from backstage.

Moon continues to lead the WSOP Main Event with 58 million chips. However, Buchman is hot on his heels with 53 million. Seven players remain.

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