Last year’s World Series of Poker Main Event saw a final table featuring big names and lots of bracelet winners. There aren’t nearly as many famous faces this time around, but the 2014 November Nine still has an exciting cast of characters, including one participant who had a short stay at the final table last year.
Mark Newhouse is easily the biggest story at the final table, and might be recognized by some viewers because of his appearance in last year’s November Nine. Newhouse, a professional poker player from North Carolina, has become the first player in the November Nine era to make the final table twice (let alone twice in a row). He’s also the first player to appear at back-to-back Main Event final tables since Dan Harrington did so in 2003 and 2004.
An Unprecedented Run
But the fields Harrington faced, while large, were nothing compared to what Newhouse had to battle through. Harrington’s legendary accomplishment came at the start of the poker boom, against fields of 839 and 2,576 players. Meanwhile, both of Newhouse’s fields were well over 6,000 players deep, making his run even more improbable.
Last time, Newhouse’s stay at the final table was brief, as he came in as the short stack and went out in 9th place. But he’s in much better position this time around. His stack of 26 million chips puts him in third position, meaning he’ll be looking to go much deeper in his second final table attempt.
The leader of the group, however, is the Netherlands’ Jorryt van Hoof. While Jorryt has a respectable $358,580 in career tournament earnings, that total will be dwarfed by whatever he earns at the final table. With over 38 million in chips, van Hoof has nearly one-fifth of the chips in play.
Other leaders include Felix Stephensen (32,775,000 chips), a 23-year-old from Norway who now lives in London, England, as well as Andoni Larrable (22,550,000, 4th place), a 22-year-old pro from Spain who has also moved to London. Perhaps the most successful player at the table is Martin Jacobson, the Swedish pro (also now living in London) that has had considerable success on the European Poker Tour. Jacobson will come into the final table with 14.9 million in chips, the second shortest stack remaining. A total of six nations are represented at the final table.
Foosball World Champion Among Field
But the most interesting story may belong to Billy “Pappas” Pappaconstantinou. The 29-year-old from Massachusetts will enter the final table with 17.5 million chips, and, like the rest of the table, will be looking to become poker’s world champion. But unlike his competitors, Pappas has already won world championships in another field: table football, better known as foosball.
The five-time U.S. foosball champion has won several world championship events in the game between 2006 and 2013.
Since the nine players won’t know their ultimate positioning until they return on November 10, each was given the $730,725 9th place prize to tide them over until then. Of course, every player will be hoping to secure the $10 million first prize, while the top seven finishers will each win more than $1 million.