"I'm looking forward to not finishing ninth," Newhouse joked on the Poker Edge after making the final table. "Ninth is brutal, man. Coming back four months later and getting no money. I told myself I wouldn't be disappointed, and whatever happens happens, but it was very, very disappointing. ... Anything but ninth."
Newhouse's road back was extremely different from his journey a year ago. For most of Day 7 in 2013, Newhouse was the short stack and did everything possible to squeeze in. He entered the final 10 last year with just six big blinds and doubled up at the last possible second to keep his dreams alive. This year, he was active late and made a big call against Craig McCorkell with 13 players to go to keep him comfortable when the final 10 approached. On that bubble he remained active and ultimately knocked out two-time bracelet winner Luis Velador in 10th.
"Even though this year getting in is a bigger deal than it was last year, I was really just having fun the entire time," Newhouse said. "Playing poker with not too much pressure, not thinking about it, and I made it."
The day began with the eliminations of many of the familiar faces left in the field: 2014 WSOP bracelet winner Sean Dempsey went out in 27th followed by Brian Roberts (26th), Bryan Devonshire (25th), Kyle Keranen (24th), Leif Force (21st), Dan Smith (20th) and Scott Palmer (19th). Scott Mahin's exit in 18th place resulted in tears from the 47-year-old first-time WSOP participant, who said he was proud to represent his friends and family, both supporting him in Las Vegas and in Elk Point, South Dakota. He earned $347,521 for his first career cash.
Only 16 players were left for the 90-minute dinner break, and Jorryt van Hoof seized control at that point, knocking out his fellow countryman Oscar Kemps (14th) and Eddy Sabat (16th) after a very dramatic river. Felix Stephensen also emerged as a contender at this time after a surprising 24-million chip pot against Tom Serra (15th).
McCorkell, Chris Greaves, Max Senft and Velador went after that, and 27 minutes into Level 35, the November Nine was set.
Here are the players who will compete for the $10 million top prize in November:
"It's been amazing," van Hoof said. "I ran hot and there were a few bubbles that I could make [use out of]. When we were down to 18, I wasn't happy with my table draw, but I won some good hands, got some chips and things went really well from there."
That's an understatement. Van Hoof had the lead for the final two levels and used his stack on the bubble to chip up even more. The best part about van Hoof's placement is that he wasn't planning on playing this summer at all.
"This year Vegas really pulled me," he said after making the final table. "I booked a last-minute flight. I came here a few days before [the main event]. I decided in the moment that I wanted to go to Vegas."
Felix Stephensen (32.775 million in chips) -- The 23-year-old Norwegian pro entered his second WSOP event with a mere $22,118 in live tournament earnings. He left the Rio with much, much more. Stephensen plays pot-limit Omaha cash games online and doesn't travel around the European poker scene because he doesn't like tournaments. That said, he couldn't miss the main.
"I'm feeling pretty good. This is pretty exciting. I don't think I've ever been part of something this major," he said. "When it's so much up top and it's life-changing money, you kind of get tempted to [play in a tournament]. If it works out, it's worth it."
Stephensen made Day 3 of the event in 2013 and said he ran incredibly well to get to this point.
"This is what every poker player dreams about," he said. "This is it."
Mark Newhouse (26.000 million in chips) -- If there's one player you don't need an introduction to, it's Newhouse. The 2013 ninth-place finisher has done the unthinkable and made back-to-back final tables in a post-boom poker world. Newhouse is a WPT champion with experience that no other player at this final table can rival.
"It's a great accomplishment, but I can't comment on greatest anything or stuff like that," he said to Bluff magazine. "I know it's amazing, but I'm never going to say anything like 'greatest' with my name in it. That's all I have to say about that."
Andoni Larrabe (22.550 million in chips) -- Larrabe, 22, now plays the live circuit after spending years grinding the online multitable tournament scene since he was 18 under the alias "pollopopeye." He is the owner of two Spring Championship of Online Poker titles and the winner of the $5,000 event from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2013. He has three WSOP cashes, and this will be his first final table.
"I feel pretty excited," he said. "It's a sensation between confusion, because I think I don't realize what I have just done, and excitement and happiness. It's a lot of sensation all at the same time."
The Spanish pro was extremely aggressive on the final table bubble, which was part of his game plan. He didn't want to go into the November Nine as the short stack and put himself back into it with one key double-up against Velador (A-A against Velador's A-K).
"I'm going to approach it as calm as I can," he said of the final table. "There's a lot of time. I'll think about it, but the most important thing will be to go relax."
Dan Sindelar (21.200 million in chips) -- Sindelar is the only Vegas regular at the final table and will be flanked by a number of pros throughout his journey to November. This is his 18th career WSOP cash and his fourth of the summer.
"It's nothing that I've ever felt before," he said. "I'm going to cherish this moment for a very long time. ... This is just going to be a lot of fun."
The Nebraska native moved to Vegas six years ago to pursue the game full time. After Black Friday, he pivoted to play more live cash games and a few tournaments here and there. This was his seventh WSOP main event and first cash.
William Pappaconstantinou (17.500 million in chips) -- "Billy Pappas" is already a world champion ... in foosball. The 29-year-old has loved the game since 2003 and had the opportunity to play in the WSOP for the first time this year. Things couldn't have turned out better, and he's looking to add a poker championship to his collection of numerous foosball titles.
"I'm in shock," he said after making the final table. "I never thought I'd play in this event. It's been my dream, and I've been saying 'this year' or 'next year' for like 10 years, just to play in an event, period. Now I get to play this, and I've never expected this at all."
Pappaconstantinou is the only amateur at the final table. He plans on spending the next few months traveling and relaxing with his friends.
Will Tonking (15.050 million in chips) -- It didn't look good for Tonking when he arrived at the final table bubble, but an early double-up against Martin Jacobson brought the New Jersey native back into contention. Tonking, 27, plays professionally in New Jersey both live and online. He recently hit a $50,000 score on WSOP.com, then came out to Vegas and made the money in the mixed-max event. This is his first main event cash.
"The whole time during it, I was trying to think about not being in this moment and playing poker," he said. "I kept on making myself refer back to the scene in 'Hoosiers' when Gene Hackman took them into the big stadium, the small-town team, put the tape measure up to the rim and down to the floor and said, 'Still 10 feet, gentlemen.'
"It's just poker. I was just playing the hand in front of me, not trying to think about anything else. The game is hard enough. The field is tough enough without letting that stuff bother me."
"It hasn't sunk in yet. It feels surreal right now," Jacobson said. "It's a dream come true to make to the final nine. Once in your lifetime, it's a huge achievement. To still have the dream of becoming the world champion ... yeah."
Jacobson played 27 events during the 2014 WSOP and cashed three times. He's no stranger to high-pressure situations and can often be found in the super-high-roller tournaments around the world. Being involved in that scene will most definitely provide him with a little benefit when it comes to the final table.
"It means so much to everyone to actually make it," he said.
Bruno Politano (12.125 million in chips) -- The man who will have the most vocal crowd in November is a true character on the felt. Before this cash, Politano, 31, had $110,054 in career tournament earnings, including one WSOP cash. He's the first Brazilian to make the WSOP main event final table and, at 31, is going to be a major superstar in his country, which is experiencing a tremendous poker boom at this time.
"I'm very excited," he said. "My dream has come true."
For the entire night, his supporters were singing and dancing in the stands. He encouraged them after big hands and jumped into their arms after making the November Nine.
"My rail is very, very important to me," he said. "Without this, I wouldn't be there. For me, it's everything. It gives me support in that moment. I promise more than 200 people [in November]."
The final nine players return to action Nov. 10. The broadcast of the main event will begin on ESPN on Sept. 28.
Here are the rest of the final table payouts:
Stephensen moved into contention for the chip lead after knocking out Tom Sarra, Jr., in a huge pot at the feature table. Mark Newhouse opened to 500,000 and Sarra and Bruno Politano both called. Stephensen raised to 2.25 million and after Newhouse folded, Sarra made it 6.7 million. Once back to Stephensen, he moved all-in, and it took only a matter of seconds before Sarra called with K-Q offsuit. Stephensen held A-K, and won the 24 million-chip pot after a board of A-9-8-7-2. Many in the Amazon Room are contemplating Sarra's decision, but regardless, Sarra earned $441,940 for his incredible 15th-place run, the biggest live tournament score of his career.
Oscar Kemps (13th), Andrey Zaichenko (17th) and Eddy Sabat (16th) also fell short of their November Nine goal. Fellow Dutchman Jorryt van Hoof took care both Kemps and Sabat. Against Kemps the hand was relatively straight forward -- A-A versus K-J -- but against Sabat, he was on the right side of a cooler, something that's said time and time again from those that make the final table. Van Hoof opened the pot and Sabat called. Both checked the flop - Jc-9h-5s, and Sabat bet the 7h on the turn. Van Hoof called and bet 1.1 million in chips after the 4h hit the river. Sabat moved all-in and was called instantly. Van Hoof had Ah-8h for the nuts and eliminated a dejected Sabat who had Jh-10h for a weaker flush.
The rail in the Amazon Room for Politano and Luis Velador is pretty incredible and the feature table has the feeling of a true sporting event, something that we typically only see in November. Supporters of both players are singing and cheering, plus, every time 2013 November Niner Mark Newhouse wins a pot, which is happening often, there's a man with a guitar playing some songs and a man with a cowbell joining along. Both fans met Newhouse mid-way through the level and while his brother sits quietly on side of the feature table with a smile on his face, these two individuals are bringing some noise.
The pay jump between 12th and 13th is substantial ($441,940 to $565,193), so there is potential for a delay at this point. That said, Craig McCorkell and Max Senft have less than five million in chips and have been getting more active lately looking for a pivotal double.
Here are the chip stacks of the final 13 players in the 2014 WSOP main event:
1. Jorryt van Hoof (34.0 million)
2. Felix Stephensen (29.2 million)
3. Luis Velador (20.7 million)
4. Bruno Politano (19.8 million)
5. Martin Jacobson (18.7 million)
6. Dan Sindelar (17.6 million)
7. William Tonking (14.3 million)
8. William Pappaconstantinou (12.2 million)
9. Mark Newhouse (9.2 million)
10. Andoni Larrabe (7.9 million)
11. Chris Greaves (5.4 million)
12. Craig McCorkell (4.9 million)
13. Max Senft (4.0 million)
Small blinds: Before I could hit publish, Politano just looked up Newhouse after a 2.25 million bet, was right, and showed 7-2. This place went nuts and Politano sat at the feature table encouraging the cheers from his rail. The Penn and Teller theater will be noisier than ever if Politano makes the final table. Brazil is still booming in terms of poker and Politano making the final table would make it even bigger.
Leif Force: Gone.
Kyle Keranen: Gone.
Dan Smith: Gone.
Scott Palmer: Gone
The familiar faces are quickly leaving the Amazon Room, and only 18 players remain in the 2014 World Series of Poker main event. Smith's shocking elimination on the final hand of the level in 20th placed the field on a significant money bubble, but even that couldn't slow down the fast pace of eliminations on Day 7.
The deck didn't treat Devonshire well over the past two days, and despite getting it in good once again, ahead in a race with 10-10 versus A-J, he headed home in 25th, just three years after his 12th-place run.
Moments later, Keranen picked a bad time to five-bet shove on Bruno Politano as his K-Q was crushed by the Brazilian's K-K. Similar to Devonshire, Keranen has had two strong runs over the past three years, 38th and now 24th.
Yorane Kerignard's contingent left everywhere, including media row, after his elimination in 23rd. He dropped a good portion of his stack in a lost race against Chris Greaves (K-Q < J-J) then lost the rest to the jacks of Andoni Larrabe holding J-7. This was Kerignard's fifth six-figure score of his career.
Dan Sindelar expanded his chip lead as he knocked out Iaron Lightbourne (A-Q over Q-Q), but it was a great run for the British player, who earned a career-best cash with his 22nd-place finish.
In 2006, Jamie Gold won the biggest prize in WSOP history. Force finished 11th in that event for $1.1 million and hoped to make the final table that eluded him eight years ago. He was one of the shorter stacks left and put his chips in a 40-60 situation with K-Q against Greaves' A-10. The entire Amazon Room knew what happened next. Force yelled out something that is sure to be beeped on television later this year as Greaves hit trips, leaving Force drawing to a gutshot miracle. It didn't come, and the North Carolina resident finished 21st.
Then came the most shocking elimination of the level. Smith is one of the game's best with a history of big win after big win. With more than $8 million in earnings, he said there was no pressure on that front. On his final hand, he opened and Jorryt van Hoof three-bet to 900,000. Smith made it 1.8 million, and van Hoof moved all in, forcing Smith to make a decision about the rest of his 6.4 million-chip stack. The decision didn't take that long, and the two would be flipping for 13 million with Smith holding As-Ks against van Hoof's 4-4. No help came for Smith, resulting in his elimination in 20th.
Players went on a quick 20-minute break, and it would have seemed that with a substantial pay jump approaching, the final 19 would have slowed down a bit. Maybe not. Palmer went out in 19th, shoving 2-2 into Greaves' A-A, and the final 18 players are only nine eliminations away from the biggest final table of the year.
If play stopped now, the November Nine would be:
1. Dan Sindelar (22.8 million)
2. Bruno Politano (19.6 million)
3. Martin Jacobson (17.9 million)
4. Luis Velador (14.4 million)
5. Tom Sarra (13.9 million)
6. Jorryt van Hoof (13.6 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (12.3 million)
8. Felix Stephensen (10.5 million)
9. William Pappaconstantinou (10.0 million)
2014 bracelet winner Sean Dempsey was the first player to fall Monday, calling all-in for his tournament life on the river against Mark Newhouse. Perhaps trying to use his tight image, Newhouse min-raised under the gun with 8h-9h, and Dempsey, in the big blind, just called. After a flop of Qh-6d-4h, Dempsey check-called a bet of 250,000. Both checked the turn 5, and Dempsey fired about half a million after the Jh hit the river. Newhouse pushed enough in the center to force Dempsey to make a tough decision, and when he ultimately called, the disappointment set in. After that hand, Newhouse had more than 10 million in chips. Dempsey earned $286,900 for his 27th-place finish.
Brian Roberts played the short stack well for days and doubled on the final hand of Day 6. Starting Day 7 with only 11 big blinds, he would need to try to double before the next level. Roberts moved all-in from under-the-gun with K-J and couldn't catch against Eddy Sabat's A-Q. This 26th-place finish was the second-largest live cash of Roberts' career.
Players took a 10-minute break before the beginning of Level 31 (80,000/160,000 with a 20,000 ante). Upon returning, Thomas Sarra doubled through Andoni Larrabe to move into the top half of the chip counts.
If play ended now, the November Nine would be:
1. Martin Jacobson (20.2 million)
2. Dan Sindelar (17.3 million)
3. Luis Velador (16.6 million)
4. William Pappaconstantinou (15.8 million)
5. Bruno Politano (12.6 million)
6. Andrey Zaichenko (11.6 million)
7. Mark Newhouse (9.2 million)
8. Felix Stephensen (8.5 million)
9. Dan Smith (7.7 million)
"It's amazing to have made it this far in the main event," said Jacobson. "It's such a big tournament and a lot of prestige. I'm very proud of myself right now. "
Players began Day 6 action Sunday at noon PT and wrapped up at nearly 2 a.m. Monday. Fatigue was setting in for a number of players during the final level, including Jacobson, who finished the night with 22.3 million in chips.
"I'm not that jacked up, but mostly tired to be honest," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to get a few hours of good sleep and be ready to go again tomorrow."
His ascension to first was impressive, a constant climb throughout nearly every level. He's played that style for a few days, never finding himself outside of the top 20 percent of chip stacks, and has demonstrated strong reading ability all along. Jacobson has $4.8 million in live tournament earnings, but is still missing that elusive major tournament victory.
In order to get that opportunity, he needs to get through the final day first. His starting table features a number of major obstacles, but it's the player in the No. 7 seat that will be the focus of attention: Mark Newhouse. For the second year in a row, a member of the previous year's final table is looking to make a repeat appearance (Steve Gee, who made the final table in 2012, finished 24th in 2013). Newhouse demonstrated a year ago that he could play a short stack to perfection on Day 7 and he's prepared to do so once again. He discussed those plans on the Day 5 Poker Edge podcast.
End of day 6. 6.8 27 left pic.twitter.com/JZXWO27doq— mark newhouse (@mark_hizzle) July 14, 2014
Newhouse enters Day 7 with more chips than he did a year ago, but will have a challenging seat to start the day with big stack Bruno Politano next to him. Additionally, Politano will have to figure out how to approach his button as Jacobson will be waiting, and should be very aggressive given his lead. Considering the November Nine bubble is one of the most important moments of the year, Jacobson should use this beneficial table draw to chip up early by keeping the pressure on.
Other big stacks belong to two-time bracelet winner Luis Velador, tournament regular Dan Sindelar, Spanish online poker phenom Andoni Larrabe and William Pappaconstantinou, who goes by the name "Billy Pappas" in the world of foosball, and now poker. Pappaconstantinou simply considers himself a poker dealer on a heater.
"I still don't think I'm on these guys' level," he said. "I'm going to try to stick with the same game plan [on Day 7]. Hopefully nobody picks up cards and I keep raising."
Pappaconstantinou surged into the top 10 after a big hand with 30 players to go in which he picked up aces against the kings of Dong Guo and eights of Robert Campbell. The 6.2 million he added to his stack after that hand gave him 14 million and a free pass to coast for the rest of the night.
The day concluded with the elimination of the Day 4 chip leader Matthew Haugen, who ran 10s into the queens of Bryan Devonshire. Haugen began the day as one of the short stacks and turned it into eight figures. His plan unraveled after the first level after dinner, and he ultimately pushed his pocket 10s at the wrong time. Devonshire finished Day 6 with 5.7 million and looks to improve on his 12th-place finish in 2012.
"I'm thrilled to be here, but I'm exhausted," he said. "These 14-hour days are brutal. It's so mentally exhausting. I haven't thought that hard about poker for a long time, and I'm already tired. I think [fatigue] plays in a lot and I think it's playing in extra in this tournament."
Sound familiar? It's been a grueling battle for everyone, and unfortunately for Devonshire and the rest of the field, Monday's schedule won't be any easier as the event must play down to the final nine-handed table. Tournament director Jack Effel estimated that will happen during Level 36, which would mean another 11-13 hours at the felt.
All remaining players have earned at least $286,900. When play resumes the blinds will be 60,000/120,000 with a 15,000 ante. Here are the top 10 chip counts heading into Day 7:
1. Martin Jacobson (22.3 million)
2. Luis Velador (16.6 million)
3. Dan Sindelar (16.3 million)
4. Andoni Larrabe (15.2 million)
5. Billy Pappaconstantinou (14.6 million)
6. Bruno Politano (11.6 million)
7. Dan Smith (10.3 million)
8. Craig McCorkell (8.7 million)
9. Felix Stephensen (7.7 million)
10. Andrey Zaichenko (7.3 million)
Small blinds: There are two bracelet winners in the top 10: Velador and Craig McCorkell. Sean Dempsey and Leif Force are the other two bracelet winners left in the field. Scott Palmer began the day in third and finished in 27th. Anton Morgenstern led after Day 6 last year and did not make the November Nine. &133; Kyle Keranen was chip leader for a good portion of the day but lost a big pot to Velador, who briefly took the lead during the final few levels of the night. Andoni Larribe, now in fourth, has two SCOOP titles. Ten countries are represented in the final 27. Andrey Zaichenko, now in 10th, has made a WSOP final table in three of the past four years. He has $1.3 million in live tournament earnings. The fourth feature table in the outside section has already been broken down. Dan Smith and Aaron Kaiser got into it after dinner in what should make for some very interesting television. Read about that here. Monday will be the final day of play until the field returns to action on November 10. Ryan Riess, Phil Hellmuth, Brett Richey, Dani Stern and Mike Matusow all stopped by on Sunday to check out the remaining field.
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