Nine players remain at the 2014 WSOP Main Event final table. The November Nine has spent the last hour shaking off the rust and nerves caused by the tournament’s three month layoff, but Mark Newhouse doesn’t look like he is nervous. Why would he be? After making the final table and finishing 9th in 2013, Newhouse is back at his second-straight Main Event final table. He has beat nearly 13,000 players, and the odds, to achieve arguably the greatest feat in modern poker history.
After jokingly tweeting that he is “Not f****** finishing 9th again.” prior to the start of the 2014 WSOP Main Event, Newhouse is in a position to do even better than 9th. He returned for the final table in the top half of the leaderboard and is a legit contender to win the tournament and $10 million. At the very least, he wasn’t f****** finishing 9th again.
Then he did.
When the hand first aired in 2014, it seemed to happen in slow motion. Maybe it was because everyone watching at home, myself included, were shouting at their televisions for Newhouse to alter his line. Fold, check back, basically do anything other than what you are doing right now. Do anything you can to not f****** finish 9th again. Or maybe it was because from the start, you could see this big pair pileup coming.
Watching the tape back now, it happens in a flash. The ESPN editing helps, but the action flies by. Within a matter of 90 seconds, Newhouse goes from peeling a three-bet, against one of the few players that has him covered, to shoving the river. In a matter of 90 seconds, Newhouse goes from 5th in chips to out. In a matter of 90 seconds, Mark Newhouse’s legacy goes from two-time November Niner to Mr. November Ninth.
Historically, not much can touch Newhouse’s Main Event performances in 2013 and 2014. Only three players have ever made back-to-back Main Event final tables. Stu Ungar won the Main Event in 1980 and 1981, before Johnny Chan was victorious in 1987 and 1988. Dan Harrington won the Main Event in 1995, before making the final table in 2003 and 2004. Combined, the fields that Ungar, Chan, and Harrington navigated featured 3,882 players. More players advanced to Day 2 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event.
Unfortunately, the World Series of Poker doesn’t cut checks for record-breaking feats or historically significant results.
In the two years that Newhouse final tabled the Main Event, fourteen players became millionaires. Since the members of the November Nine were always paid 9th place money when the final table was set in July, sixteen players received additional money for their Main Event finishes in 2013 and 2014.
Newhouse had two chances. He never received additional money and he didn’t become a millionaire. Both times, Newhouse returned to the Penn & Teller Theatre and left empty handed. No one will ever know how that feels or if that weighs on Mark Newhouse four years later. What we do know, is that no one is ever going to f****** do what Mark Newhouse did across those two WSOP Main Events.