Published On: Tue, Nov 11th, 2014

Newhouse first out in World Series of Poker final 

Mark Newhouse


 Mark Newhouse was one of nine players at the World Series of Poker final table, already beating incredible odds to accomplish that feat in back-to-back years.

But like last year, Newhouse was the first player out after going all-in with 10.2 million chips and losing with a pair of tens to a pair of queens.

Newhouse walked away with no additional winnings Monday night as the first player eliminated. Each of the nine players earned $730, 725 last July for making it that far.

He was the only player of the young, green nine to have appeared in a World Series of Poker final table before.

His elimination came more than three hours in and after 55 hands as the nine men aimed to avoid the unfortunate distinction of being the first one out.

Throughout the night, cheering sections chanted support for Brazil’s first poker player to make it to the final table. Others yelled, “Go big Red!” for the resident Nebraskan at the table or wore Viking helmets with flashing lights for the Norwegian player.

This was not a match where silence on the sidelines would be welcome.

The “November Nine, ” as they’re called, sat around a not-so-round table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas playing no-limit Texas Hold ‘em, each vying for the World Series of Poker’s $10 million top prize.

The main event restarted Monday night after a four-month break.

At the table, some wore sunglasses and what’s become the go-to poker uniform of hooded sweatshirts. One wore a lucky hat, the same one he wore in July when he won one of the nine seats at a table that 6, 683 people wanted, too, and paid $10, 000 each for the chance. Another advertised a musician’s album on iTunes on his T-shirt.

They are among the World Series of Poker’s youngest and greenest in recent history, with none having won a title before.

In addition to the $10 million pot of winnings, the last player standing also wins one of the World Series of Poker’s coveted gold bracelets.

One player, Billy Pappaconstantinou, is a foosball champion who had never competed in the World Series of Poker.

Eric Hill, 38, from West Virginia, has been playing against Pappaconstantinou since he was 9 years old.

“He’s an incredible talent, ” Hill said.

He and Chase Pennell, 30, another fellow foosball pro, said they were among a diverse geographic fan base there to cheer on “Billy Pappas” because he competes far and wide in his other sport.

Pennell said foosball competition translates well to poker.

“You’re playing ungodly hours, nonstop, ” on one’s feet, he said. It’s a mental game, he said.

Newhouse had gotten a second chance in a rare back-to-back appearance after an early knockout last year.

The rest of the table is made up of poker players from all over the world — none older than 32.

The average age is 28, not as young as in 2010 but even that year, the oldest player was 37.

Not a one of them has a gold bracelet, the signature award for the top winner in any of the individual WorldSeries of Poker events.

The main event, culminating this week, is just one World Series of Poker event but certainly the most watched.

The overall tournament spans seven weeks in June and July and has attracted close to 80, 000 people who played (and paid with hefty buy-ins) to win in 65 events.

The World Series of Poker of today is a far cry from its original incarnation in 1970. That’s when Benny Binion set up a single table at his Horseshoe Casino and invited players who ultimately voted on a winner at the end.

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