Michael Ruane’s anonymity was nice while it lasted poker news
Michael Ruane (centre) assumed his unknown status before making it to the November Nine.
LAS VEGAS – With the possible exception of chip leader Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy, none of the members of the November Nine were a household name before the World Series of Poker Main Event began. In Michael Ruane’s case, he was fine with that.
Anyone who looked up Ruane’s information found that he had no WSOP bracelet and only three career cashes for a total of $24,438, with the best finish being 37th place in a $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event -in was 2012. He also only had one cash at a WSOP Circuit event in 2012, but hasn’t had one since.
Ruane is 28 but in his black t-shirts he looks like a teenager mingling with the crowd at a rock concert, certainly not one to fear at the world’s biggest poker tournament. He has mostly avoided interviews to keep a low profile, believing it gives him an advantage.
The first official WSOP November Nine press release even called Ruane “as big a surprise to be at this final table as anyone”.
It’s almost fitting that he’s in fifth place, right in the middle of the nine-man final table. He’s not one of the biggest stacks, but he’s not a short stack either. If the November Nine were on a menu, it would be the bologna cheese sandwich. But more on that later.
It will no longer be so easy for Ruane to move around poker circles incognito. He will become quite well known over the next three months before returning to the final table of the Rio at the Penn & Teller Theatre. Anonymity was nice while it lasted.
“It went out the window,” said Ruane of Hoboken, New Jersey after making the Main Event final table, adding a guaranteed $1 million to his career earnings. “Even if you google my name for poker, nothing really comes up. I’ve always kind of flown under the radar. At this table, now that we’ve played together for so many days, everyone knows that everyone is capable and everyone is good, so I don’t think it matters more, but I’ve tried to keep it under wraps.”
Ruane’s secret and the reason why he seemingly fell off the face of the earth is because he left the country and started playing mostly cash games after April 15, 2011 the US was forced to shut down. He made a living, but after enjoying a few years in Montreal a little closer to home, he was happy to return to New Jersey, which had legalized online poker since 2013. He decided to get out into the Series of Poker this summer and only took part in two small events before the main event, a $1,000 no-limit event and a $1,000 online event at WSOP.com.
As for his journey to the final table, Ruane said he chipped almost every day with little to no fluctuation in his stack.
“Actually, I was never all-in the entire tournament,” he said. “I’ve just had showdowns against smaller stacks where I was 5v6. I had one hand [on Sunday] where I made a flush out the back door. That was a huge hand. [On Monday]I had a huge hand against James Obst where I had a straight flush and he had a boat and I went all in and he folded.”
That was just before the first break on Monday and actually put Ruane at the top with more than 37 million in chips. He maintained the top spot until the second break of the day before grinding away for most of the rest of the day. He is fifth with 31.6 million in chips. Leader is Cliff Josephy of Muttontown, New York, with 74.6 million, and Qui Nguyen of Las Vegas is not far behind with 67.925 million. Gordon Vayo (49.375m) and Kenny Hallaert (43.325m) are also ahead of Ruane.
When asked how he planned to prepare for the final table, Ruane said he hadn’t even thought about it.
“I’ll go back to Jersey and find out. I don’t actually play live that much,” he said, adding that he prefers to play online.
“I play about five live tournaments a year,” he said, before admitting that the last live tournament he played was probably a year ago at the Borgata. “Maybe I’ll play something bigger live.”
Whatever these final table preparations involve, they will most certainly involve his younger brother Sean. After securing his spot with the November Nine, Ruane’s first call was to his brother.
“I taught him to play poker when he was about 14,” Ruane said. “He just got super good at it super fast. It was almost as if the student became the master.
“He taught me a lot. He and I moved out of the country together, we’ve lived together since Black Friday. We lived in Malta, Costa Rica, Montreal for a while. He was literally there every step of the way. We live together in New Jersey so this is his as much as mine, so I called him right away.”
Ruane has a twin brother and another younger sister, but being the big brother doesn’t mean he acts like one. He dresses like a child and his eating habits aren’t very mature either.
“I eat like a 12-year-old,” Ruane said. “All my friends make fun of me. My favorite sandwich is sausage and cheese. When I go to a deli, I just ask for sausage and cheese. They say, ‘Would you like some more? ‘ and I’ll say no, just bologna and cheese. ‘No mayo?’ No, just bologna and cheese.”
But when he was instructed to return Tuesday for more interviews and was given more information about final table procedures, Ruane reacted very maturely.
“I’ll be there,” he said. “I may be hungover, but I’ll be there.”
http://en.espn.co.uk/poker/sport/story/421339.html?CMP=OTC-RSS Michael Ruane’s anonymity was nice while it lasted poker news