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Newhouse first out in World Series of Poker

LAS VEGAS — Mark Newhouse was one of nine players at the final table, already beating incredible odds to make that feat in back-to-back years.

But like last year, Newhouse was the first player out after going all-in with 10.2 million chips.

Later Monday, Bruno Politano became the second player to be ousted in the World Series of Poker main event final at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Politano, who is from Brazil, had easily the largest and loudest fan base gathered for the first night of the final match, and they sung him out with chants of “ole, ole.”

Politano will receive $947,172 for coming in eighth place.

The seven remaining players are vying for a $10 million top prize.

Each player outlasted about 6,700 other players last June and July who paid $10,000 each for the chance to win.

Newhouse, 29, decided to make a move that if it worked would’ve put him near the chip lead.

Instead, William Tonking, a 27-year-old from New Jersey, called his bluff to eliminate Newhouse, who would head back to his hotel room having won no additional money.

“It’s back to reality,” Newhouse said. As to what’s next for the ninth-place finisher, “I’ll figure that out in the next hour or so.”

Newhouse lost with a pair of tens to Tonking’s pair of queens.

Each of the nine players, including Newhouse, earned $730,725 in July for making it that far.

He was the only player of the young nine to have appeared in a World Series of Poker’s main event final table before.

His elimination came more than three hours in and after 55 hands as the nine men aimed to avoid the unfortunate distinction of being the first one out.

Before his elimination, Newhouse’s father, Sheldon Newhouse, said his son seemed more mature than a year ago, and relaxed.

“If he’s tense, he’s hiding it,” he said.

Throughout the night, cheering sections chanted support for Brazil’s first poker player to make it to the final table. Others yelled, “Go big Red!” for the resident Nebraskan at the table or wore Viking helmets with flashing lights for the Norwegian player.

This was not a match where silence on the sidelines would be welcome.

The “November Nine,” as they’re called, sat around a not-so-round table playing no-limit Texas Hold ‘em. The main event restarted Monday night after a four-month break.

At the table, some wore sunglasses and what’s become the go-to poker uniform of hooded sweatshirts. One wore a lucky hat, the same one he wore in July when he one of the nine seats at a table. Another advertised a musician’s album on iTunes on his T-shirt.

They are among the World Series of Poker’s youngest and greenest in recent history, with none having won a main event title before.

Not a one of them has a gold bracelet, the signature award for the top winner in any of the individual World Series of Poker events.

The player who wins will get one in addition to the $10 million pot.

One player, Billy Pappaconstantinou, is a foosball champion who had never competed in the World Series of Poker.

Eric Hill, 38, from West Virginia, has been playing foosball against Pappaconstantinou since he was 9 years old.

“He’s an incredible talent,” Hill said.

He and Chase Pennell, 30, another fellow foosball pro, said they were among a diverse geographic fan base there to cheer on “Billy Pappas” because he competes far and wide in his other sport.

“Anything I’ve seen him try to do, he’s immediately good at,” Pennell said.

He said foosball competition translates well to poker.

“You’re playing ungodly hours, nonstop,” on one’s feet, he said. It’s a mental game, he said.

The rest of the table is made up of poker players from all over the world — none older than 32.

The average age is 28, not as young as in 2010 but even that year, the oldest player was 37.

The main event, culminating this week, is just one World Series of Poker event but certainly the most watched.

The overall tournament spans seven weeks in June and July and has attracted close to 80,000 people who played (and paid with hefty buy-ins) to win in 65 events.

The World Series of Poker of today is a far cry from its original incarnation in 1970. That’s when Benny Binion set up a single table at his Horseshoe Casino and invited players who ultimately voted on a winner at the end.

Mark Newhouse competes at the World Series of Poker final table Monday in Las Vegas. AP PHOTO