by Joseph Smith Sr.
Sitting in the November Main Event final table seat #6 is 27-year-old William Tonking holding 15,050,000 in tournament chips. Coming to the Big Poker Show from Flemington, New Jersey Mr. Tonking is another November Nine player with no cash experience in any WSOP Main Event even though he played in the 2008 and 2013 WSOP $10K Championship. He began the 2014 Main Event with a little WSOP prize money in his jeans from his cash in event #58 for $13,421 when he finished 77th out of 1,417 entrants.
Tonking is single and a former economics major at the University of South Carolina whom now makes his living grinding the legal online cash games in New Jersey. His career live tournament earnings are $93,306. Of course, we expect a number of changes in his current status after receiving the $730,725 each of the November Nine collected at the end of Day 7 for ninth place. Tonking may also add up to $10,000,000 to his bankroll depending on his finish in November.
William Tonking's resume is short on tournament experience and not much information is easily obtainable in the public domain. He spends his time playing cash games and most poker media believes the bulk of readers are not interested in the mundane of the daily grind so doesn't provide much coverage. As a result we have highly skilled players such as Tonking that arrive at final tables without a virtual portfolio of facts. Most strategist would consider this an advantage for the relatively unknown player.
This journey to the November Nine and a seat at the final table began on Day 1C. Tonking, along with the other 3,768 seated players, had one objective in mind, end the day with chips and return to play Day 2. That's exactly what he did finishing the first day with 45,275 in chips. Day 2 was another grind with the chip stacks slowly going to 158,200 by day's end and Day 3 saw a modest increase to 179,000 in play money. Day 4 completed with a comfortable 740,000 and then the million mark was topped on Day 5 at 1.295 million. Day 6 followed with another nice increase to 5.87 million and Day 7 ended with a final table seat and 15,050,000 in chips. An interesting fact, William Tonking along with the chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, were the only two players of the November Nine to not finish any day before the final day in the top ten on the leader board.
William Tonking could be the little known sleeper in this field. A few more chips would certainly help his cause but he comes with enough ammo to do well in the battle and could even win the war. He has demonstrated the ability to put it all in even though failure means a final walk to the parking lot. When the Day 7 ten-handed final table was looking for the bubble he went all in with a J – 9o and never broke a sweat. We're looking for this player to move up the board before the 2014 WSOP November dealing is done.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A nine time world foosball champion best defines the stage for our bio of William Pappaconstantinou. Traveling all the way from Dracut, Massachusetts, the 29-year-old has career poker earnings of only $16,379, most of which came from a cash in a WPT event. None of the earnings came from WSOP events, in fact, Pappaconstantinou's WSOP earnings are zero and his WSOP experience prior to the 2014 Main Event are non-existent. His poker table experience is headed by a continuing stint working as a poker dealer at a Salem, New Hampshire charity poker room, Rockingham Park Poker Room.
This unlikely WSOP Main Event final table player appears to be perfectly suited to compete with the other eight members of the 2014 November Nine. During my brief conversation with Billy Pappaconstantinou I got the definite impression that he hadn't quite fully realized he now has a 1 in 9 chance of banking $10,000,000. He will be coming to the November final table with the 6th largest chip stack at T17,500,000 and will occupy seat #1.
William Pappaconstantinou's journey to the 2014 World Series of Poker final table is almost as unusual as the player himself, an individual that never finished high school and has never held a driver's license.. He started this WSOP adventure in Canada teaching a man how to play championship foosball. The foosball player he was coaching took an interest in Pappaconstantinou's dream of playing in the WSOP Main Event and sponsored him for his trip to the Big Poker Show at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Pappaconstantinou began his Main Event with the Day1B crowd and finished with 68,775 in chips. Day 2 saw his total climb to 104,900 while Day 3 was not re3corded. Day 4 was the start of his climb to nose bleed levels when he finished with 757,000 in play money. Day 5 the climb into the rare air of the stratosphere produced a day's total of 3.37 million in chips. Day 6 Pappaconstantinou finished in 4th place on the chip leader board with 15.64 million in his stacks. Day 7 locked up his November Nine position and seat at the Main Event final table scheduled for November 10 and 11 with 17.5 million in tournament chips.
What an amazing adventure for this New Hampshire poker dealer. Billy Pappaconstantinou is considered to be the only amateur at the 2014 Main Event final table. He plans to spend his break time pursuing his world class level of play in tournament foosball.
When questioned about his success at this year's event the personable player summed up his feelings about his journey with, “This isn't realistic to me,” followed by, “I'm just a poor kid dealer trying to live a dream.” When asked if he thought he had a chance to win it all he responded with exactly the right statement, “We all have a shot.”
We wish you all the luck at the 2014 World Series of Poker's November final table so your first time living the dream can become a reality.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Dan Sindelar grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and went on to attend the University of Nebraska until his junior year when he discovered his talents at the poker table could no longer be denied. It was goodbye to the college degree leading to an 8 to 5 job and hello Vegas. After a brief stay in Council Bluff, Iowa near the river casinos and poker rooms the then 22-year-old Sindelar made the move to Las Vegas. During the ensuing years since he's racked up career poker earnings of $527,779.
Now, we fast forward to the present and find the 30-year-old Sindelar has added $730,725 to his bank account after his entry and play in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event gained him a seat at the November final table. As a member of the November Nine he now has a shot at adding $10,000,000 to his bank account and claiming the most coveted and elusive prize in all of poker, a uniquely styled gold and diamond championship bracelet. Dan Sindelar will then have his name added to the Main Event winner's list for all of time.
Sindelar has amassed 17 previous WSOP cashes which included 4 during his play in the 19 events he entered at the 2014 WSOP. His WSOP earnings prior to the summer's deep run in the Main Event total $227,791. He has played in the WSOP Main Event the past 6 years with this summer's cash being his first.
Dan Sindelar's journey to seat #7 of the November final table began on Day 1B when he held his own and finished the day with just over 40 thousand in chips. Day 2 saw his stack grow to almost 153 thousand and on Day 3 he continued the upward climb to 421 and a half thousand in play money.
Day 4 was the start of his rise to the upper levels when he accumulated 1.62 million in chips and Day 5 pushed him into the seventh spot on the leader board with 5.24 million. Sindelar enjoyed a most gainful time on Day 6 when he finished in the leader board 3 spot with 16.345 million. The upper spiral continued through Day 7 as Sindelar added to his existing total and finished the play at the summer event with 21.2 million which placed him right in the middle of the November Nine field and 5th overall on the leader board.
An avid golfer, Daniel Sindelar says he spends more time on the golf course than the poker room. The single poker professional plans to spend his time relaxing and enjoying life after what's already a major money hit. He also added that he believes Mark Newhouse is the player to beat and indicated he will play close attention to the first final table back-to-back repeater in the last decade.
We wish Dan Sindelar all the luck and pick him as our third choice to win it all.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Andoni Larrabe is the first Spaniard since Carlos Mortensen won the 2001 WSOP Main Event to earn a final table seat. The 22-year-old poker professional from Basque, Spain now makes his home in London, England.
A first appearance at the WSOP was in 2013 when the young player cashed in three events. Larrabe entered 5 events during the 2014 WSOP but failed to cash in any of them. His deep run in the Main Event was his first 2014 cash and the $730,725 awarded to each of the November Nine pushed the Spaniard's career earnings of $341,288 over the one million mark.
Andoni Larrabe gained the attention of the professional poker world in January, 2013 at the PokerStars' Caribbean Adventure held at the Atlantis Resort and Casino when he went heads-up with poker superstar, Justin Bonomo, and won a $5,300 buy-in event.
Main Event play for Larrabe began on Day 1B. He continued to end each of the following days in the upper percentile of players. The only stumble came when the final table was looking for its bubble. He went all-in heads-up holding A--A with Luis Velador holding A–K. The flop paired Velador's King and the turn paired the board. Only a King on the river could deny Larrabe a seat at the Main Event final table in November. The river was a Six and Larrabe became the youngest member of the 2014 WSOP Main Event November Nine.
During the post interview Larrabe told ESPN he was going to approach the upcoming November Main Event finish as calmly as possible and spend the long break thinking about the game ahead and relaxing.
Andoni Larrabe will come to the November final table fourth on the chip leader board holding T22,550,000 in play money. He will be sitting in the #5 seat with Mark Newhouse (T26,000,000) on his right and William Tonking (T15,050,000) on his left.
Considering the make-up of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event final table will the trend of having the youngest of the November Nine become the next World Poker Champion continue for 2014? Andoni Larrabe has the chips, he has the experience and he has a seat for the party at the Rio. A win for 2014's youngest player could be in the cards.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Sitting in the number two spot on the chip leader board we find Oslo, Norway native Felix Stephensen. Now living in London, England Stephensen has no previous cashes in the World Series of Poker and shows lifetime live earnings to be $22,118. With an almost non-existent live poker resume how did this 23-year-old end up with a seat and T32,775,000 in play money in the most famous final table in Poker?
Let us examine his path to his assigned Seat #2 for the November finale of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. The journey began when Stephensen developed an affinity for online poker and playing under the pseudonym “FallAtYourFeet” he has amassed more than $300,000 in earnings since 2001.
Next, we follow his journey to Las Vegas with a group of friends to the WSOP at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Stephensen apparently had a plan and it was to enter (and win, obviously) the Main Event because that's the only event he played during the 2014 WSOP. He survived the inherent insanity of Main Event Day 1C to return on Day 2 with slightly more chips than his starting T30K.
Unlike the chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, whom rode a roller coaster to his final table seat, Felix Stephensen spent the first five days of play making modest additions to his chip total. Finally on Day 6 he got the momentum engine fired up and began his climb up the chip leader board. Day 7 began with Stephensen in ninth place holding almost seven and three quarters of a million in chips.
Adding to his stacks throughout Day 7 he was sitting behind T14,640,000 when Tom Sarra Jr four-bet and Stephensen moved all-in only to be called by Sarra. When the T25 million pot was pushed to Stephensen he was suddenly the chip leader with T27.86 in the WSOP Main Event. The double up not only made him the chip leader but it guaranteed his claim to a seat at the final table and his rightful place among the November Nine.
Stephensen is a firm believer in the “Poker is a Game of Skill, “ philosophy. Considering the young player's smooth style and more than a decade of solid experience to back up his play he could be the next World's Greatest Poker Player.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Another first at the 2014 WSOP. For the second consecutive year we have a Dutchman at the WSOP final table and he's sitting in seat #3 behind almost 20% of the events total chips in play. Holding 38,375,000 in play money is Jorryt van Hoof of Eindhoven, Netherlands. The 31-year-old Dutch poker professional has 5,600,000 more chips than Felix Stephensen, second on the chip leader board.
Following the lead of fellow Dutchman, 2013 November Nine player and seventh place finisher, Michiel Brummelhuis, chip leader Jorryt van Hoof makes it two-in-a-row for the Netherlands. Jorryt van Hoof arrived atop the Main Event chip leader board after a rocky start following Day 1B.
On Day 2 he bagged less chips than he had at the start of the day. Day 3 saw him add to his total play money but once again, Day 4 had him showing another loss and bagging less. Day 5 showed a significant gain in chips. Day 6 had van Hoof adding even more to his stacks and finishing the day among the chip leaders. Day 7 belonged to Jorryt van Hoof when the WSOP Main Event starting field of 6685 runners was trimmed down to nine players. They were assigned seats at the World's most famous poker table, the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table. Jorryt van Hoof stands above the November Nine as the chip leader.
Like many of today's younger players Jorryt van Hoof began his journey into gaming playing “Magic, the Gathering.” Following the path of his peers he began playing poker. Jorryt van Hoof found he had a knack for the game and in particular, Pot Limit Omaha.
Jorryt van Hoff is no stranger to the WSOP and has cashed three times for a total of $27,956. He has career earnings of $358,580 which does not include the $730,725 ninth place money each of the November Nine have already received.
Jorryt van Hoof will lead the November Nine into the Penn & Teller Theater located in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 10, 2014. They will play until only two remain. The following day, November 11, the two will play heads-up until one is eliminated and a 2014 Poker Champion of the World is crowned. The winner will receive $10,000,000, a very special gold and diamond bracelet and perpetuity in the history of poker.
Calling Out Sexism in Poker — Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth” - by Wendeen H. Eolis
Featured Strategy - Mike Caro: Today's Word is Revenge
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AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A sad day for the world of poker. Well known poker player Chad Brown lost his battle with cancer on July 2, 2014 and moved on to the big game. He was a multitalented individual that had an ability to master most anything he attempted.
He was known throughout the entertainment world and he also made a name for himself in sports. Poker became his primary pursuit during his final years. He won a big event during the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker and finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational event. In 2014 he was awarded a WSOP gold bracelet for his contributions to poker.
Over the years I have photographed Chad in numerous poker events and circumstances. He always exhibited class and was a true gentleman without regard to the moment. He always had time to meet and greet fans.
Chad Brown was truly a class act and will be sorely missed.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Until moments after the 2009 WSOP final table proceedings in the fall, Jeffrey Pollack was the public face of the WSOP. And then, suddenly, he announced his resignation and rushed off to take interviews that controlled the immediate spin on his departure. He said he was ready to survey opportunities in new pastures and pleased to have contributed to the growth of the WSOP brand.
Despite the happy state of affairs effectuated by the Pollack-Stewart collaboration, the collegiality between the two men had begun to wane at least a year earlier. A corporate reorganization of CIE was also afoot. Although Pollack had recommended a strong initiative in the online gaming market, and sought to add this responsibility to his portfolio, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman was zooming in on Mitch Garber, the recently departed CEO of Party Gaming, to lead such an effort.
Mitch Garber Steps up to Bat
Pollack’s unveiled opposition to Garber as his potential boss made for an awkward situation once Garber was plainly in line to take the reins of CIE (initially Harrahs Interactive Entertainment), including Pollack's most treasured domain, the WSOP.
In the spring of 2009, Garber became CEO of CIE. With Garber's blessings, Pollack assumed the title of President of CIE, briefly. But, Garber was running the show and relying on others as he built his team. In the fall of 2009, Pollack resigned. Garber tapped Stewart as his replacement.
Stewart Shines Brighter under Garber
By Wendeen H. Eolis
In the days leading up to the opening of the 2014 World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart, the Grand Pooh Bah of the World Series of Poker, was beaming. A five day trip had taken the WSOP Executive Director from Las Vegas to Macau where he eyeballed poker action in the stratosphere. He then traveled onward to Atlantic City for the WSOP National Championship, and back to Las Vegas to open the 45th Annual World Series of Poker--with a bang.
WSOP—Checking Out the Action in Macau
While in Macau, Stewart drooled over the possibilities for a future WSOP Macau-based event. He more than hints at his plan to nail down a deal that moves the WSOP APAP from Australia to Macau, in 2016.
WSOP—Checking into Atlantic City: On Miss America’s Boardwalk
By the time Stewart arrived in Atlantic City, the WSOP Championship was underway. It was his concept to “reboot the Circuit competitions into a year-long platform, culminating in a nationally televised bracelet championship.” And, Stewart took delight in seeing his idea—a final table competition on the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk—come to fruition.
German hotshot poker pro, 23-year old Dominik Nitsche, nabbed the bracelet along with $218,000. He also brought the Championship to a finish, hours earlier than expected. So, Stewart toyed with the idea of ditching his scheduled reservation for the next afternoon and taking a red-eye flight home to Las Vegas that night instead—to gain one extra day of preparation for the opening of the 2014 WSOP.