Just who are the November Nine? No really, who are they?

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After endless weeks in the desert heat of Las Vegas, or more accurately the air conditioned halls of the Rio Hotel and Casino, the World Series of Poker is finally at an end and with it the Main Event, the most famous of its bracelet contests.

Of course the conclusion is merely on hold until the winter, but while the November Nine is now in place, for some a familiar challenge must be tackled.

The nine players will be chiefly concerned with keeping their mind on the job in hand; preparing themselves both physically and mentally for the return to the Penn & Teller theatre. For spectators however, there comes an altogether different obligation. Not for us talk of private coaching and interview technique. Instead, the harder task of actually remembering their names.

The media spotlight trained on each of the finalists is as enormous as it is revealing, but why do they slip so quickly from memory? No stone will be left unturned in the process of digging up an emotional tale that can be spun into a compelling backstory, making us smile, weep, cringe and, most importantly, tune in. Regardless, come November 4 one of them will win and we’ll promptly forget the rest.

It was a point brought home at the start of this year’s WSOP Main Event. Reigning champion Greg Merson took to the stage to introduce the opening day. There he was, ‘shuffle-upping’ and dealing, as hundreds looked on with the aim of emulating him. But while I remembered seeing Merson triumph in his bright orange Orioles shirt a few months ago, I couldn’t remember anyone he’d beaten. I still can’t.

It seems the old adage that nobody remembers who finishes second extends to those who finish third, fourth, fifth and so on, regardless of the fanfare. There are some exceptions, which I can’t remember right now, but by and large they fade away, to be tapped on the shoulder weeks later by an eager tournament reporter, asking for their name. Sorry about that Antoine Saout.

Perhaps this year will be different, but somehow I doubt it. The poker world now is too busy, the final tables too numerous. Gone are the days when the WSOP main event was the biggest (and only) game in town.

These days there are other winners to remember. The gap in play will be filled with prestige tours about to restart. The PokerStars European Poker Tour regroups in Barcelona next month for its tenth season, with new champions to be crowned and new stories to be told. Each leg will be full of the trademark drama, emotion and demonstrations of superlative poker.

So this year I’ve decided not to concern myself with remembering nine names. I’ll stick to one and live with my failing. In the meantime I’ll turn my attention to the EPT which concluded in Monaco last May in thrilling style, and which was won brilliantly by… wait. I can’t remember.