Pity poor Mark Newhouse: not once, but twice, he’s gotten so close but yet so far to winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, only to be pushed out in ninth place both times.
To be honest, finishing ninth would be a dream for most poker players, of course. It means plenty of television exposure, a seat at the Final Table, and a very respectable payday.
On the other hand, finishing there twice in a row might be something of a nightmare: it means that you will have been thrust into the spotlight for two years running, only to be the first elimination each time.
Professional poker player Newhouse was thrown into exactly that situation this year, falling in 9th place for the second year in a row: simultaneously a great achievement and an unbelievable disappointment. But Newhouse says that he’ll manage to get over it.
“Shit didn’t work out, it’s whatever man,” Newhouse wrote on his Twitter account. “I’m in a better spot than I was a couple years ago and I’ll be ok. I am so happy for all the friends and family who came out to support me and show me love. All is good and ima be aiight.” [sic]
Of course, finishing ninth wasn’t exactly in the plans for Newhouse, who had no idea he’d make such a deep run for the second year in a row. With 6,683 players in the field, the odds of a player finishing in the exact same position as the year prior were (logically) 1 in 6,683. Before last year’s tournament began, the odds of predicting that Newhouse would finish in exactly ninth two years in a row were an astronomical 42.45 million to one.
In fact, Newhouse even joked before this year’s tournament that there was simply no way he was going to allow that to happen.
“Just bought into the Main Event Day 1C,” Newhouse tweeted back on July 7. “Not f–king finishing 9th again.”
Newhouse looked likely to avoid that fate even at the final table, where he entered in third chip position. But after 56 hands, disaster struck. With pocket tens on a J424J board, Newhouse made his move, shoving into William Tonking. After a quick think, Tonking made the call with pocket queens, a hand that was just good enough to eliminate Newhouse from the event.
“I thought he was exactly where he was,” Newhouse said in a post-elimination interview. “I could very easily have a jack, so I just decided to take a shot at it. It didn’t work out.”
Newhouse also said that he was more relaxed going into this year’s November Nine, and that the anticipation for the final table was “less this year than last year.”
For Newhouse, the one thing that moving up in the standings might have done was give him a little more financial security. Two consecutive wins of over $730,000 will certainly go a long way towards that, though, which may help him get away from the grinder mentality.
“For the last few years, it has not only been a job, but something I have to do constantly just for survival,” Newhouse said in a recent interview with CardPlayer. “It takes the fun out of it, and at this point, I’m over the daily grind.”
That doesn’t mean that Newhouse is done with poker, though. When asked at his post-tournament press conference whether he would be returning for the 2015 Main Event, he had a simply answer.
“That’s the plan,” he said.