Tonight at 8 ET, the World Series of Poker main event final table is live on ESPN2. It will conclude Tuesday night with the heads-up match at 9 ET live on ESPN and award $10 million to the winner.
One of the November Nine -- Mark Newhouse -- achieved an unbelievable feat by reaching back-to-back WSOP main event final tables. He finished ninth last year.
The odds of reaching consecutive final tables in 2013 and 2014 are 1 in 524,079.
The field in 2013 was 6,352. There were 6,683 entries this year. Based on those odds (assuming all players have an equal chance), Newhouse had a higher probability of winning the Powerball by investing $1,000 or being struck by lightning at some point over the past two years.
How incredible would it be for Newhouse to win the bracelet? The odds of finishing in the top nine last year and first place this year are 1 in 4,716,713.
Newhouse is the first player to reach back-to-back main event final tables since Dan Harrington in 2003 and 2004. But those fields were much smaller -- 839 in 2003 and 2,576 in 2004.
Newhouse is the first player to do so in the WSOP "modern era" (since the main event field first exceeded 1,000 in 2004). Harrington and Newhouse are the only ones to reach consecutive main event final tables in the past 25 years.
Comparing the odds
How impressive is Newhouse's back-to-back final tables? Here's how his 1 in 524,079 odds compare to other rare feats:
• The odds of winning the Powerball by investing $1,000 on 500 number combinations are 1 in 350,447. The WSOP main event costs $10,000, so this would be much cheaper. (Each ticket is $2, and there are 175,223,510 combinations.)
• The odds of being struck by lightning in any two-year period are 1 in 480,000, according to the National Weather Service.
Other legendary WSOP feats
Newhouse's accomplishment could be considered the greatest feat in the WSOP main event, based on the size of the fields. Here are some other legendary accomplishments in the WSOP main event:
• Stu Ungar won back-to-back main events in 1980 and 1981 and added another victory in 1997. The field sizes then were 73 in 1980, 75 in 1981 and 312 in 1997. Based on those fields, the odds of winning back-to-back titles in 1980 and 1981 were 1 in 5,475. The odds of finishing in first place in all three of those years were 1 in 1,708,200.
• Johnny Chan had back-to-back first-place finishes in 1987 and 1988 and almost completed the three-peat when he finished in second in 1989. There were 152 entrants in 1987, 167 in 1988 and 178 in 1989. The odds of winning consecutive titles in 1987 and 1988 were 1 in 25,384. The odds of winning those two tournaments and then finishing in the top two in 1989 were 1 in 2,259,176.
• Dan Harrington won the WSOP main event in 1995 and added back-to-back final tables in 2003 and 2004. He went through larger fields than Ungar and Chan. There were 273 players in 1995, 839 in 2003 and 2,576 in 2004. The odds of reaching back-to-back final tables in 2003 and 2004 were 1 in 26,682, while the odds of that feat combined with winning the 1995 title were an astronomical 1 in 7,284,260.