Online poker behemoth PokerStars has announced the addition of two members of the fabled ‘November Nine’ to their roster of sponsored pros. Dennis Phillips and Ylon Shwartz, who finished 3rd and 4th in the 2008 WSOP main event respectively, have officially joined up with the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein – as well as former WSOP champions Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem. Like that illustrious group, the pair will represent and promote PokerStars both online and in high-profile live events.
Well known in the casinos around his hometown of St. Louis as a successful small stakes player, Phillip’s sudden leap to fame at the hands of the World Series was almost a fairy-tale story. Entering the final table as chip leader, he could not manage more than third place, collecting a still humongous $4,517,773 in prize money. His activities since the culmination of the main event have shown that the cash certainly hasn’t gone to his head. Having pledged to donate a portion of the winnings to charity, he returned to his job at a trucking company. His only small foray into the limelight has been to host a local radio show in the St. Louis area. With the backing of PokerStars we can expect to see him making more experiences on tour, with his recent success in a $5,000 event at the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (finishing 17th for $19,100) no doubt a sign of things to come.
While Phillips is a quiet everyman, his new teammate could not be more different. Ylon Schwartz was no stranger to final tables when he began his tenure with the November Nine, back in July. Well known as a grinder at casinos all around Las Vegas and Atlantic City, he even had a taste of WSOP success before 2008. Four cashes at the 2005 WSOP netted him a prize berth of $44,000 and confirmed his status as a competent professional. He even managed 15th place in the $2,000 Limit Hold ‘em event in 2008 before his run at the main event final table ended in 4th place. Awarded prize money of $3,794,974 went some way to ease the pain of missing out on his first ever bracelet.
Before dedicating himself to poker, Ylon had a past as colorful as his character. The New York native worked as a child actor, teacher, and dancer before turning his hand to gaming. A proficient Backgammon player, before he embraced the felt he was well known as a master of Chess, beginning his chequered career hustling passers-by on the streets of Manhattan.
These two new additions have swelled the ranks of Team PokerStars to 31.