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Sep 02, 2015

5 Incredible Facts about 2015 November Niner Zvi Stern

By RTR Dennis

The 2015 WSOP Main Event final table was decided weeks ago, and most of the tales regarding the November Nine have already been told. But one November Niner who hasn't gotten much press so far is Ofer Zvi Stern, who's currently sitting in second place right now with 29.8 million chips. Prior to the 2015 Main Event, Stern may not have had the world's most exciting story. However, a recent interview with Forward.com shows that the Israeli is far more interesting than meets the eye. That said, let's discuss 5 intriguing points about the guy who will soon be chasing a $7.68 million top prize.

1. Stern left Vegas for Israel, then changed Mind and played Main Event

Most people who'd fly over 7,000 miles back home from the WSOP would have officially made up their mind not to play in the ME. But not Stern, who cashed in a couple of earlier 2015 WSOP events and flew back to the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon. But when he got home, the 36-year-old decided that he wanted to fly back and play in the $10,000 WSOP ME. "I quickly changed my mind, booked a ticket and flew all the way back," says Stern. "I had to do it." This change of heart definitely paid off for Stern because he's now set to make at least $1 million on the final table.

2. He's not a Poker Pro, but rather a Software Developer

Most of this year's November Niners are full-time poker pros who have lots of experience with the game. And while Stern is no amateur, given that he's traveled to card rooms across Europe and America, he's also no professional. "I am coming at it a bit like a Little Leaguer who suddenly gets to pitch in the majors," Stern explains. "But I trust myself. Even with not a lot of articles behind me." Instead, he owns a software firm and works as a developer in his small company. "I'm pretty boring, I do software," he said shortly after making the November Nine.

3. Stern got his Poker Start by playing 5-cent Games

Over two decades ago, Stern began playing poker as a preteen with his friends. Of course, the 5-cent stakes were nowhere close to what will be on the line when the nine players meet on Nov. 8th. But he did at least get an early start on the fundamentals when playing as a boy. However, "girls happened" and Stern lost interest in poker until 2006, when the boom years were in full effect. From here he began playing online poker and eventually transitioned towards live tournaments, making his first live cash at the 2006 WSOP.

4. He'll be training by playing Friends and watching Himself

It's become a tradition now for every November Niner to dedicate a large amount of time towards training for the final table. And it only makes sense when you consider that each player is competing for multi-million dollar prizes. So how is Stern spending his time this summer/fall? He's been playing home games against friends, watching videos of his opponents and also viewing footage of himself. The Israeli admits that the latter is sometimes the hardest when getting ready for the Main Event.

5. Stern is Proud to represent his Country in the 2015 November Nine

Israel has experienced some of its greatest poker successes in recent years, with Amir Lehavot finishing third in the 2013 ME and Idan Raviv winning a bracelet at the 2015 WSOP. Stern is set to add to this glory if he can get a strong finish on the final table. "It means a lot, representing my country," he said. Again, Stern has the second-largest chip stack going into the November Nine. So even though he's not a poker pro, he definitely has an opportunity to make something big happen.