Making the Final Table of the World Series of Poker $10,000 World Championship Main Event is something that always follows a player. Ten years of the November Nine concept gave an extra three months for players to prepare and Michael Ruane is one of the few players that liked the time between the making the final table and going live on ESPN.

Ruane finished in fourth place in the 2016 Main Event for $2.5 million. He noticed a lot of similarities between his run last year and the progress he’s made this year. “It’s been similar to last year as in I’ve not had much adversity,” he said. “I just kept building steadily.”

“It’s a bit ironic – last year I had 100K on the end of Day 1 and 100K on the end of Day 2. This year I had 65K to end Day 1, 100K to end Day 2 and then on Day 3 last year I had a million chips at the end and this year I had about 750K,” he said. “It’s basically the same pattern. Now I have 1.8 million – and last year was the same as I kept building.”

As the Main Event dwindles in size crews disassemble tables and break down the room. The TV crews descend on tables for eliminations – all of which reminded Ruane of last year. “Yeah, the energy and how jacked up I am right now, is something that I only felt when I played the Main Event last year.”

“The magnitude of this tournament – I’ve even said, to recapture that would be pretty hard to do,” Ruane said. “But I’m getting the same vibes now that I’m here. I doubled up last night in a massive hand at the end and I was like, ‘This is the same thing all over again.’ Obviously, we’re only Day 4 and I’m not going to get ahead of myself. But the energy is so crazy.”

He feels his experience from 2016 gives him an advantage. “I’d like to hope so. Just knowing how hard it is to stay focused and knowing that at least I was able to do that last year gives me more confidence,” he said. “I’m sure other people are confident too, but having the final table behind gives me a lot more confidence.”

Michael Ruane facing his elimination hand in 2016 with his rail. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
Ruane enjoyed his November Nine experience so much he’s sad to see it go. “It’s so much less fun because I can’t go home and celebrate with my family and have them buy plane tickets to come out here,” he said. “I honestly don’t like it. I think preparing for the final table is important. Perhaps it will give an advantage to players that are naturally pretty good.”

“Weaker players won’t have time to study if they need to work on things,” he added. “I doubt 80 or 90 people would be able to come out on such short notice, so that’s kind of a bummer. But if I get there I’ll be happy no matter what.”

We had to know if he had any regrets from last year’s Main Event. “Zero,” he said. “That’s what made me so happy about it, I still tell people when they ask me about it that I don’t think I really made that many mistakes.”

“Getting fourth and having a hand or two that I messed up would probably haunt me for months,” he said. “Getting fourth – I honestly thought it was the best I could have gotten with the cards I was dealt. Zero regerets – which has to be the best part of the whole thing.”