Because we just witnessed another stellar WSOP November Nine, we thought we’d commemorate the event by posting short bios of each players.
Ofer Zvi Stern is this year’s mystery man. Born in Isreal and currently living in a suburb of Tel Aviv, not much is known of him. He says his full-time job is in “software”, but has never elaborated. He wears his signature hoodie and shades for every game. He is by far the least experienced of the November Niners, but still holds the 2nd most chips going into the main event. Before this year’s WSOP, Zvi Stern ranked 85th on Isreal’s all-time money list. With his guaranteed $1,001,020 from the WSOP, he now sits 5th. He has a shot at reaching number one if he has a good showing in November.
He’s come a long way for someone who had not participated in a live tournament since 2008 before showing up for this year’s WSOP. He biggest live cash up to that point was $41,310 at a World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup competition. He ended 2008 tied for 12,805th place in the money list and disappeared from high-level poker for seven years.
Stern started playing poker as a pre-teen against his friends. These were penny ante games where the payouts were practically nonexistent. He was good, but he stopped playing in his mid-teens because he had other interests and pursuits. As he says, “girls happened.” He got back into the game in 2006 when online gambling became more popular and widespread. That led him to try his hand at live tournaments and the modest winnings he earned in the mid-to-late 2000’s.
Stern compares his ascension at this year’s WSOP as being like a “little leaguer who suddenly gets to pitch in the majors.” He was criticized for tanking by several players throughout the tournament, but still showed an aggressive side to be able to build up his chips to the 2nd most of the Nine. He’s hoping his tactics will serve him well in the Main Event.
Twice before have almost total amateurs won the WSOP, and while Stern isn’t a complete amateur, it’s still not the norm for someone so inexperienced to be up against the world’s best. Still, he has faith in the skills that have gotten him this far.
2015 WSOP November Nine result:
Stern is eliminated in 5th place to earn $1,911,423.