2009's top poker players face off in Vegas for a cool $8.5 million

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The 2009 World Series of Poker's 'November Nine' invitational face-off starts at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this Saturday, featuring the nine players who made it through to the final in July's annual WSoP tournament.

The nine finalists are guaranteed to walk away with at least $1.25million, and prize money rises to $5.2million for 2nd place and $8.1million for the top dog.

Each of them have a unique story to tell - Darvin Moon is a lumberjack from a Maryland trailer-park, with no credit cards or internet access, while Jeff Shulman's the publisher of a poker magazine. 21-year-old Joe Cada has a chance to become the youngest WSoP champ, and James Akenhead would be the first Briton to win if he clinched the grand prize.

The November Nine commences at 12 noon Pacific Time on Saturday afternoon (3pm ET / 8pm GMT) and will play through the night if necessary until just two remain. The duelists will granted a rest break until 10pm PT on Monday evening (1am Tuesday ET / 6am Tuesday GMT) when they return to play until a new champion is crowned.

The World Series of Poker cut a deal with ESPN in August of this year which hands broadcasting rights to the sports network until the end of the 2017 World Series.

ESPN's Poker news: http://espn.go.com/poker/