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Hand of the Week: Final Twist Gives Newhouse 9th-Place Nightmare
"Marc Newhouse Finishes Ninth."
That was the headline one year ago, and a phrase that haunted Mark Newhouse right up until the moment the WSOP Main Event kicked off again this year in early July.
In one of the most incredible feats in modern poker, Newhouse made the final table again and everything was supposed to go differently.
He went into the final table third in chips this time and the odds were heavily in favor of him making it past the opening bustout.
Then, Newhouse busted in ninth again.
There's only one thing that could be worse than reaching the final table of the WSOP Main Event and then busting first: doing it twice.
How the Hand Played Out
It's the most important final table of the year. Every prize jump is more than half a million dollars.
At this point 53 hands have been played and the situation is pretty much the same as when play started.
Jorryt van Hoof is still chipleader with about 45 million (90 BB), while William Tonking and Newhouse are in the middle of the pack with about 23 million.
The blinds are at 250,000/500,000 with a 50,000 ante.
Newhouse is in the cut-off and holds
Chipleader van Hoof raises to 1.1 million and Newhouse calls. Andoni Larrabe folds the button but William Tonking re-raises from the small blind to 3.75 million.
The Dutchman quickly folds but Newhouse calls. There are now 9.5 million chips in the pot and the effective stacks of the players are about 19 million. The flop is
Tonking follows up with a continuation-bet of 3.5 million. Newhouse calls and the pot has now grown to 16.5 million chips. Effective stacks are now around 15 million. On the turn
Tonking tank-checks and Newhouse bets 4.5 million. The pot is now 25.5 million while both players still have around 10 million chips. The river is the
Tonking checks again and Newhouse moves all-in with his last 10m chips. Tonking thinks it over for a minute and eventually calls with
Newhouse is left with a second ninth-place finish in two years.
This is a hand that shows how brutal and lightning fast you can bust from a tournament if you get caught in a set-up.
Then again, did Newhouse have to bust with his underpair?
Pre-flop Newhouse just calls the raise from van Hoof with his tens. This is a move that has advantages and disadvantages.
On the one hand, it doesn’t drive the Dutchman away and could thus win a lot more than just the raise, blinds and ante.
On the other hand it invites the blinds to come along and it's a hand that, more often than not, finds at least one overcard on the flop.
When Tonking reraises van Hoof folds and Newhouse calls again. Newhouse should know by now that he is confronted with a rather strong range.
But that doesn’t mean he is necessarily beat. Tonking’s range is probably JJ+, AK and sometimes a bluff. AQ probably just calls.
Pretty Good Flop for Tens
The J♥ 4♣ 2♦ flop is pretty good for pocket tens. There is an overcard but it's a jack, which is basically in none of the hands of Tonking’s range that could have overtaken him.
Basically the flop doesn’t change anything. Now Tonking carries on with the standard continuation bet. A fold is possible here for Newhouse, but it would be too weak as Tonking could still hold AK or try to buy the pot with a bluff.
The turn is a total blank even though it brings a flush draw on the board. Interestingly, Tonking now checks instead of betting again with his overpair.
He was probably thinking that he could only get more chips from worse hands by inducing bluffs. Also, a jack in his opponent’s hand could very well pay him off and the only hands he loses to are aces and kings.
We are now entering the critical phase of the hand. Newhouse bets 4.5 million, which equals a third of the pot. This bet forces all bluffs and AK to fold. They wouldn’t have the pot odds for a call.
Then again their pot equity is so low and the tens are such clear favorites that Newhouse doesn’t really need to protect his hand.
When Tonking calls, Newhouse knows he’s beat. There is no worse hand than his that can call the turn.
A Final Twist on the River
We can only guess Newhouse would have given up his hand on the river and tried to make the best of his last 10m if the river wouldn’t have been the J♣.
Tonking’s check on the river opens up a new possibility. Knowing that his tens can’t be good, Newhouse can now turn his hand into a bluff and put Tonking to the test.
If Tonking calls and is wrong he would be left with very few chips -- probably too few to come back.
By representing the jack Newhouse gives this hand a final twist. It is absolutely possible that he is holding a hand like AJ, KJ or QJ.
Of course, the second jack on the river makes it less likely that Newhouse is holding a third one.
With regards to the tournament situation, this is in any case a very difficult situation for somebody as inexperienced - at least in pressure-packed live tournament scenarios - as Tonking.
Regardless Tonking made the call relatively quickly and took Newhouse off the table. Looking at the pot odds, he had to make that decision. He was getting pot odds of 3.5 to 1 and a jack was basically the only card he had to be afraid off.
It was a bitter tournament end for Newhouse and there were two things responsible for it:
- 1. A questionable bet on the turn.
- 2. A jack on the river that brought new possibilities.