“Making the final table again is a very big thing this year, but I wasn’t letting it get to me. Just totally relaxed the whole way.” — Mark Newhouse.
In his latest Five Thoughts piece, Rich Ryan puts the odds of Mark Newhouse making back-to-back November Nines at 524,558-1. Well, Newhouse, who finished ninth in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event, defied the odds and made poker history by becoming the first player since Dan Harrington to make back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables (Ryan put Harrington's odds of doing so in 2003 and 2004 at 26,312-1).
“Without weighing the odds for skill and field difficulty, it was roughly 20 times harder to final table back-to-back Main Events in 2013 and 2014 than it was a decade earlier,” Ryan explains. “Harrington’s back-to-back runs were extremely impressive, but what Newhouse has accomplished is mind-blowing.”
Newhouse’s appearance at the final table ranks as the biggest November Nine storyline — who doesn't love redemption? — especially since he sits third in chips and is primed to make a run at the title.
Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, Newhouse now splits his time between Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV playing primarily cash games. A former student at Appalachian State, Newhouse is now a professional poker player who has been playing in the WSOP Main Event every year since 2006. While he’s been successful in 2013 and 2014, it wasn’t always that way; in fact, in his first five years all he managed was a 182nd-place finish in 2011 for $47,107.
Newhouse first came to poker prominence when he earned over $1.5 million for winning the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open in September 2009, but admitted that he wasn't the smartest person with his money following the big win, as you can see from what he told PokerNews in a Where Are They Now? interview.
"I made a lot of very poor decisions over the next couple of years," Newhouse said. “Right now, I am a totally different person than I was then, and I am on the right track. I'm sort of in a rebuilding mode. I have made nearly every mistake you can make in this business and learned from all of them. I am doing my best to do the right things these days and things are going pretty well for me now. The road to rebuilding is a much longer and slower one than the road of destruction, but with a healthy lifestyle, a hard work ethic, a little discipline, and the experience of past mistakes my goals don't seem all that far away.”
Newhouse has clearly rebounded in a big way, and now finds himself in the exclusive company of Harrington, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Stu Ungar as some of the players who’ve made back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables.
As for his 2014 WSOP Main Event journey, Newhouse played Day 1c and actually finished with less than the starting stack. His 29,675 put him 1,656 out of the advancing 2,571 players. Things went much better for Newhouse on Day 2, which is when he increased his stack to 220,400, putting him in 139th place out of 1,864 players.
Newhouse nearly doubled his stack on Day 3, which gave him 423,400 — 131 of 746. On Day 4, Newhouse’s stack jumped to 1.301 million, putting him in 27th place out of 291 players. Things really took off for Newhouse on Day 5, when he amassed a stack of 7.4 million, the most out of the remaining 79 players. Newhouse lost the chip lead on Day 6, but he still managed to finish in the top 27 with 6.82 million — good enough for in 11th place. On Day 7, the November Nine lingered, and Newhouse took matters into his own hands to get there.
In Level 35 (200,000/400,000/50,000), on the 24th hand of the unofficial final table of 10, Bruno Politano opened for 900,000 in middle position and Newhouse called from the button. The last bracelet winner in the field, Luis Velador, then three-bet jammed for 6.15 million from the small blind.
Politano tanked for approximately two minutes before folding what he later claimed was pocket tens, and then Newhouse thought for his fair share of time before making the call.
According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Newhouse was a 4-1 favorite, and he scored the knockout after the board ran out a dry . Velador, a two-time bracelet winner who has been playing professionally since 1997, exited as the November Nine bubble boy while Newhouse etched his name in poker history.
For more on Newhouse, who plans to stay away from cash games during the break and focus on tournaments in Europe, check out the interview he did with PokerNews’ Sarah Grant after making the November Nine for a second time: