The long wait for the 2009 November Nine is almost over. Tomorrow at noon local time, the WSOP Main Event resumes from the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio. I'll be on hand as a last-minute addition to help PokerNews provide Live Reporting.
Last year the atmosphere outside the theater before the final table began was more akin to a live sporting event than a multi-million dollar poker tournament. As I described it in the PokerNews live-reporting blog that morning,
The day dawned gray and rainy in Las Vegas, but that hasn't dampened spirits in the hallway outside the Penn & Teller Theater. Spectators were lining up hours in advance of the official 9:30am opening of the theater to the general public, stretching almost all the way to Buzio's seafood restaurant. Nobody was tailgating in the parking lot outside, but there were people downing a breakfast of barbecued meats; people carrying giant foam hands and thunder-sticks; an army of people dressed as Dennis Phillips (red St. Louis Cardinals caps and white button-down shirts) and the usual assortment of attractive models hawking poker-related products. The Starbucks outside the theater was doing a brisk business.Last year was the first time the November Nine concept had been tried. Most would agree it was a rousing success: there was significantly more interest in the live proceedings than was previously the case and ESPN's television ratings for the final episodes of its WSOP coverage showed a marked increase over 2007.
The 2008 November Nine spectacle gave us the Dennis Phillips Army with its truck horn and the Ooba! Ooba! chant of Peter Eastgate's entourage. What will this year bring? We're all going to find out in less than 24 hours.