Making the final table of the World Series of Pokers Main Event is the games crowning achievement. Sitting at that prestigious table for the second consecutive year is historic.
Chapel Hill native Mark Newhouse earned a place in the history books Monday night and will vie for the $10 million first-place prize in the No-Limit Holdem Championship.
Newhouse is the first player to earn back-to-back spots in the Main Event under its current format, which began in 2008 with the top nine players returning in November. He is also the first player to make the final table in successive years since Dan Harrington in 2003-04.
Newhouse has outlasted 13,029 players in the past two years of the event. Harrington only had to face 3,410 players during his two-year run.
Still stinging from a ninth-place finish in last years Main Event, Newhouse saved his best game for last at the Rio Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas on Monday night. He had a huge run after the dinner break, finishing with 26 million chips. That placed him third among the nine players heading into the Nov. 10 finals.
Newhouse, 29, of Los Angeles, is in a better position for this years November Nine after having the short stack of chips last year, when he was the first player eliminated. The Main Event has salvaged a less than stellar 2014 for Newhouse, who failed to cash in 17 events this year.
He is guaranteed a Main Event minimum payout of $730,725 this year after winning $733,224 in 2013.
Newhouse, a graduate of East Chapel Hill High, was the events chip leader after Day 5 but slipped to 11th overall after Day 6. He fell to seven million chips during the day Monday before rallying. He is the most experienced live tournament player among the final nine, with career earnings of more than $2.7 million.
Newhouse will be a focal point of ESPNs coverage of the No-Limit Holdem Championship, which will begin Sept. 28. ESPN will televise the Nov. 10 final table on a same-night, delayed basis.