In May, Harrah’s unprecedented decision to postpone the final table of the World Series by four months sent shock waves through the poker community. Over time the voices of derision have faded away, but they have been replaced by a mumbles of bemused un-interest. The lack of any recognizable face at the final table has resulted in a distinct lack of interest in the alliteratively monikered November Nine. Most poker fans are still clueless as to who will actually be competing for the $9.1 million prize when the final table resumes.
The man many consider to be in with the best chance of capturing the bracelet is Dennis Phillips, the current chip leader with 26,295,000. He has now become the first final table player to officially announce that he is seeking professional coaching. Teaming up with Roy ‘The Oracle’ Winston’s Oracle Consulting Firm, Phillips hopes the move will boost his profile as much as his game.
Roy and his compatriot, Joe McGowan, claim to have been closely scrutinizing the final rounds of play in this years main event and have collated detailed information on the final nine players. This, along with their top flight poker experience, is what Phillips hopes will give him that all important edge over his opponents. Phillips has enjoyed success in and around his hometown of St. Louis and has obvious confidence in his abilities:
“I look forward to working with Roy & Joe and Oracle Poker Consulting over the next couple of months leading up to the Main Event. I’m confident in my game and don’t intend to change it, but I’m also smart enough to know that you can always learn more. Roy and Joe’s help and insight will be invaluable, not only in preparing for the final table but in helping me navigate through the many aspects of being in the poker spotlight.”
Winston has only been a regular poker player since 2006, but has already amassed up an impressive tournament CV. Most notably his first place finish at the 2007 WPT Borgata Poker Open. The $1.6 million prize contributing a large chunk to his $2.2 million overall tournament winnings. He has also demonstrated his business acumen, with a number of Oracle’s anonymous clients reportedly having good runs in this year’s WSOP. Aside from being a commercial pilot and former medical doctor, Winston is also the CEO and founder of LaserAway, a cosmetics company that offers a number of laser-based treatments.
Oracle Consulting’s second coach, pro Joe McGowan, may be the lesser known of the two but were it not for him Winston claims that his meteoric rise into the world of professional poker might never have taken place. The two met in a Californian casino while McGowan was a local golf pro and businessman. Winston claims that Joe “took me under his wing” and before long the pair were challenging bigger and bigger games. McGowan continues to be successful in high stakes cash games and his vaunted poker expertise will no doubt be invaluable to Dennis Phillips.
Although no other member of the November Nine have formally declared a coach, it is unlikely that many of them will reach the final table without seeking some form of professional advice. Time will tell if Phillip’s decision to recruit Oracle Consulting will reap rewards when the final table reconvenes at the Rio on November 9th.