But bad news and a sense of deja vu for Mark Newhouse
The final table for the 2014 World Series of Poker main event is in progress, after nine players returned to the felt Monday afternoon Vegas-time in pursuit of the really big money.
Each player has already banked $730,725 for surviving an original field of 6,683, but six and seven-figure wins are possible as the remaining players are eliminated to decide the ultimate winner, who will claim a $10 million prize and a coveted gold bracelet.
Thronging the rail around the final table were at times deafeningly loud supporters wearing everything from customised soccer and T-shirts to flashing Viking helmets and waving placards and polystyrene fists.
There was drama just 3 hours and 55 hands in when 29-year-old Mark Newhouse's worst nightmare was realised; despite running third in the chip counts he was eliminated at ninth by New Jersey player William Tonking, triggering a sense of deja vu around the American's dispatch – last year he was eliminated in the same position.
The American pro went all-in with 10.2 million chips, losing with a pair of tens to a pair of queens. Whilst the other players started cautiously, Newhouse had adopted a more aggressive approach, contributing chips to 16 pots, but winning just one showdown and five hands overall.
His exit ended one of the more inspirational stories at WSOP this year – Newhouse's back-to-back achievement of reaching a main event final table for the second consecutive year (see previous InfoPowa reports). He was the only player at the table with previous WSOP final table experience.
Ironically, Newhouse had earlier been roundly booed by the crowd for a rather ill-advised comment he made that the field was "softer" this year.
The average age of this year's final table is 28, with the oldest player only 32…which makes it the World Series of Poker's youngest (bar 2010) in recent history. Not one of them has a WSOP gold winner's bracelet from previous tournaments, although several are Internet aces.
UPDATE: They're falling fast at the WSOP main event final table, with the following further eliminations as InfoPowa went to press this morning:
The extrovert and entertaining Brazilian Bruno Politano busted to Felix Stephensen, having managed despite the lowest chip count to stay in the game for over two hours following the elimination of ninth placed Mark Newhouse (see previous InfoPowa report). Politano won $947,077 for finishing 8th
He was quickly followed by Daniel Sindelar, eliminated by a rampant Jorryt Van Hoof at seventh for $1,235,862.
Going out at sixth was the youngest player at the table, 22-year-old Spaniard Andoni Larrabe who also went down to Van Hoof and headed to the exit and a take-home of $1,622,080.
"The first couple hands I was terrified and shaking," he told reporters. "But then when I started playing hand and doing well, I started to relax. And in the end I was just playing poker like I was at my house," he said.
With the table now down to five handed play, the survivors are guaranteed a minimum payout of $2,143,174, and Jorryt Van Hoof has a commanding lead on 101,200,000 chips vs. nearest rival Martin Jacobson on 32,600,000.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa