Back to November: Newhouse won't settle for ninth again
15 July 2014
By Dan Podheiser
LAS VEGAS -- Mark Newhouse is defying the odds.
Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan have all won back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Event championships. Dan Harrington made consecutive Main Event final tables in 2003 and 2004. But the former group all won when the fields were relatively tiny. And Harrington's feat -- incredible in its own right -- came with field sizes of 839 and 2,576, respectively.
Newhouse has now made two straight November Nines. He navigated a field of 6,352 players to get to the Main Event final table in 2013 before earning $733,224 for his ninth-place finish. On Monday, Newhouse pulled off the improbable, surviving a field of 6,683 players to make it to November for the second year in a row.
This time around, he’s secured at least $730,725 for himself. But Newhouse won't settle for a ninth-place finish this time around. He wants the $10 million for first.
"I would rather finish 10th than ninth," Newhouse said. "Ninth is brutal, man. Coming back four months later and getting no money -- I told myself I wasn't going to be disappointed (at the time), but it was very disappointing."
Mark Newhouse made his second straight WSOP Main Event final table on Monday night and heads to the November Nine third in chips. (photo by Dan Podheiser/Casino City)
Last year, Newhouse began the November Nine in eighth place with just 7.35 million chips. Thirty-six hands into the 2013 final table, he shoved all-in
nines and was called by eventual champion Ryan Riess with As-Kh. Riess nailed a king on the flop and sent Newhouse home.
This year, Newhouse has more wiggle room, which plays right into the hyper-aggressive
Los Angeles pro's style. Newhouse will enter the final table third in chips with 26 million. He held the chip
lead heading into Day 6, remained stagnant throughout the day and fell to 11th place, but then vaulted into contention on Day 7 by playing more pots than any other player at the table.
"I mean, I had more chips (than last year)," Newhouse said when explaining his aggressive play. "You know, last year I was probably nervous. This year I was relaxed. I was playing poker."
And even though all the eyes were on him as the field got smaller, he actually felt less pressure than in 2013. Been there, done that.
"Even though this year is a bigger deal than it was last year, I was really just having fun the whole time," Newhouse said.
Newhouse scored the first elimination of the day Monday. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000/15,000, he min-raised under-the-gun with 8h-9h and was called by bracelet winner Sean Dempsey in the big blind
The 6d-4h-Qh flop brought Newhouse a flush draw
and Dempsey check-called Newhouse's 260,000-chip continuation bet
. Both players checked the 5s on the turn. The river brought the Jh, giving Newhouse his flush
. Dempsey led for 550,000, and when Newhouse bet enough to put Dempsey all-in, the Las Vegas pro called off his remaining stack with pocket kings.
Later, when the field had shrunk to 18 players, Newhouse got the best of Felix Stephensen in a healthy pot. With the blinds at 100,000/200,000/30,000, Stephensen raised to 425,000 from early position
and Newhouse called from the cutoff. Stephensen bet 500,000 on a 5h-Qd-2s flop and Newhouse smooth called. The turn brought the Js and Stephensen check-called Newhouse's bet of 800,000. On the 6d river, Stephensen checked-called again, this time for 1.25 million. Newhouse showed down As-Qc, which edged Stephensen's Kc-Qh.
But it wasn't a banner day throughout for Newhouse. He doubled up Stephensen a few hands later and fell down to 7 million chips. Newhouse battled back to 17.2 million by winning four out of five pots, but he then fell to 9.9 million when he bluffed off a large chunk of chips to Politano with jack high.
That hand occurred right before a break, and Newhouse briskly walked out of the Amazon Room and outside the Rio to smoke a cigarette and regroup with friends Chino Rheem and Matt Giannetti.
Perhaps that helped. Newhouse bounced back again, when shortly after the break, Craig McCorkell open-shoved his 4.225 million stack from the button
with Kc-5c and Newhouse woke up with As-9d in the small blind
. He called off half his stack and moved up to 14.7 million when his hand held up on a Td-7d-4d-Th-4h board.
And then he got his revenge on Politano. With the blinds at 150,000/300,000/50,000, Newhouse raised to 600,000 from the hijack and was called by Politano on the button
. The flop came 8s-2d-5s and Politano check-called 750,000. The turn brought the Jd and Politano again check-called 1.75 million. The river was the Ah and Politano checked again. Newhouse quickly fired 4 million chips and Politano went into the tank -- much like he did an hour earlier when he called down Newhouse's bluff
. This time, Politano called, and Newhouse tabled 2h-2c for a set of deuces.
His bluff in the earlier hand set it all up.
"That definitely helped me get paid off on the 4 million," Newhouse said.
But Newhouse wasn't finished. A few hands later, he raised under the gun to 600,000 and Maximilian Senft shoved from the button for 3.625 million. Newhouse called and turned over 3s-3h, while Senft tabled Kd-Qd. The flop came 4c-3c-6d, and when the turn brought the 8c, Newhouse had scored another knockout, sending Senft home in 11th place.
And then came the dagger. With the blinds at 200,000/400,000/50,000 at the "unofficial" final table of 10, Politano raised to 900,000 from middle position
and Newhouse called from the button. Luis Velador then shoved all-in from the small blind
for 6.15 million, and after Politano quickly folded, Newhouse thought about his decision for a couple of minutes.
He eventually called with 5h-5s and had Velador's 4d-4h dominated
. The 6d-Ah-Ac-3h-As run-out gave Newhouse the pot and sent Velador out in 10th place. Newhouse had reached his second straight November Nine.
He wasn't ready to talk about his legacy when the night concluded. Newhouse has confidence in his game -- that was evident Monday night. But he'd rather let others decide where his accomplishment ranks in the context of other Main Event feats.
"It's a great accomplishment, but I can't comment on 'greatest' or stuff like that," Newhouse said. "I'm never going to say anything like that with my name in it."
"How about if you win?" one reporter asked.
"Maybe I'll say it then."