Lone amateur at WSOP final table exits fifth

11 November 2014

William Pappaconstantinou (aka, Billy Pappas) was carrying the hopes and dreams of the foosball community, the amateur poker playing community and the greater Boston community on his back at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table on Monday night (and into Tuesday morning).

He struggled early on, his chip count falling below 7 million chips, but he surged to over 30 million with some solid play and even better cards. He got lucky once, calling off all his chips when Martin Jacobson moved all in from the small blind holding K-J of spades. Jacobson, who held Q-3, moved ahead on the flop, but Pappas had a flush draw and could hit a king on the river to stay alive.

The king of hearts landed on the river, doubling up Pappas, but you'd almost never know it. He was stoic at the table, the only reaction coming after a few seconds when he patted his chest to indicate just how hard his heart was pounding.

"I don't like celebrating in front of people's face," said Pappas, a world champion foosball player. "But inside I'm happy, and I'm still emotional."

Pappas also held his emotions in check when he saw what started out as a coin flip end up with near certain elimination when Jacobson hit a set on the flop when Pappas held a mere 50,000-chip advantage.

Pappas was all smiles, despite the fifth-place finish

Pappas was all smiles, despite the fifth-place finish (photo by Vin Narayanan)

When he was eliminated in fifth one hand later -- winning $2.1 million -- he was satisfied with his performance, and almost seemed relieved to be done carrying the weight of hopes and expectations.

"I wanted top three," said Pappas. "I was pretty embarrassed by the way I played before six-handed, then I felt like I played good. I'm not mad for some reason; I should be."

The only true amateur at the final table, Pappas started the day in sixth chip position, and he was a coin flip away from sitting in second chip position with four players remaining.

Pappas represents what the World Series of Poker is all about; as an amateur player, he played with the best and had a legitimate shot to win. And he did it all with class and dignity, while being true to himself and his friends.

So while he may think he should be mad about his performance, he's right not to be. It seems like he has good instincts on and off the poker table.

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