Yesterday, we introduced the players of the November Nine, who will have a chance in 5 days to grab poker's most pretigious title, and the $10 million that goes with it.
In anticipation of the culmination of poker's greatest event, our colleagues at PokerNews have come together to predict the final table. Those participating were asked nine questions, and here's what they had to say:
Donnie Peters, Editor-in-Chief: If you're in tune with poker in any way, you know how amazing Mark Newhouse's accomplishment of back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables is, but I'm not sure the magnitude of this feat will resonate as much as it should with the common viewing audience. Newhouse was one of the final nine from a field of 6,352 in 2013 and did it again in 2014 in a field of 6,683 players. The chances of that are an astounding 1 in 524,079.
Brett Collson, Managing Editor: Newhouse's feat of back-to-back appearances in November is one of the most impressive accomplishments in the storied history of this tournament. If he goes on to win, it could be the greatest Main Event feat ever.
Sarah Grant, Producer: There are two storylines that I see which will garner the attention of the audience, and they couldn’t be more different. On one hand, Newhouse making back-to-back final tables is such an incredible accomplishment. He is a professional poker player, and his confidence and demeanor say as much. The media started contemplating a possible 2013-2014 Main Event final table player days before it was all set, and much to our surprise and happiness, Newhouse made that story a reality.
The other storyline is equally as interesting, but on the other end of the spectrum. William "Billy Pappas" Pappaconstantinou is the every man. He comes from the Midwest, is very down to Earth, and exudes a likable playfulness at the table. The audience will be rooting for him like they would their own buddy.
Giovanni Angioni, PokerNews European Editor: I vote for Newhouse, and it’s not only for the impressive back-to-back, but also for the way he managed to get back on his feet after some troubles he went through in recent years. When I look at Newhouse and I think about his back-to-back run, I get the feeling that dedication and hard work really pay.
Frank Op de Woerd, NL PokerNews Editor: The mandatory answer is of course Newhouse. Making back-to-back final tables in fields this big is something truly unique. It's a great accomplishment and an insane peak in variance — great story, but I'll go with Jorryt van Hoof making the final table as chip leader.
Van Hoof was the first high-stakes player from the Netherlands that I railed. back in the day when the $25/$50 tables were the highest there were. I remember him winning the inaugural $5,000 winner-take-all tournament on PokerStars for $100,000 like it was yesterday. I watched it all.
Matthew Pitt, UK PokerNews Editor: The most obvious storyline is Newhouse reaching back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables. Although those of us within poker realize that there is a certain amount of luck that has allowed this to happen, it should be an angle of attack for those wanting to show that poker is a skill game.
Chad Holloway, Senior Editor: The best storyline is Newhouse making back-to-back November Nine final tables. In 2013, he was the first to fall, but this year he has the chips and experience to go even deeper. Redemption is a great story, and Newhouse has a real shot of walking away with the $10 million first-place prize.
Martin Harris, Strategy Editor: No contest — Newhouse's return to the final table. And that story will start to overwhelm all other final table narratives the deeper Newhouse gets.
Pamela Maldonado, Social Media Manager: Pappas! As the only true amateur of the table, he has the ability to draw in more recreational players. It would be an even bigger achievement if he isn't playing any poker before the final table to prepare.
Rich Ryan, Podcast Producer: Felix Stephensen fighting for the legitimacy of poker in Norway. Bruno Politano garnering support from Brazilian superstars like Neymar. Martin Jacobson trying to seal the deal for Team Media in the 25K Fantasy League — we can still win, right?
Jason Glatzer, Staff Writer: The best storyline for the November Nine is Newhouse making the final table in back-to-back years. This could be something that we never see again in our lifetimes due to the field sizes.
Remko Rinkema, Contributor: The best storyline at the final table is without a doubt Politano and the entire Brazilian nation that supports him. It’s easy to say that it’s Newhouse, but he was the storyline for all the months between, as making back-to-back final tables is a huge accomplishment. Right now, with his short stack, Politano can really make poker explode to the fullest extent if he makes the top three, but first he needs to find himself a double up in the early going. If Neymar and Kaka support you, you know something big can happen.
Aaron Hendrix, Contributor: The easy answer is Newhouse and the back-to-back November Nines, but I think the Pappas story is also compelling. Foosball world champ becomes poker world champ? What's not to like about that storyline?
Mo Nuwwarah, Contributor: The best storyline is definitely Newhouse's seemingly impossible back-to-back final table run. This feat has been rightfully lauded by the poker community, and now all eyes should be on Newhouse as he tries to improve upon last year's finish.
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