William Pappaconstantinou, better known as Billy Pappas, was just eliminated from the 2014 Main Event. He finished in 5th place, earning $2,143,794.
Pappas is a professional foosball player. He's won 14 World Championships and countless other titles. He's also a true amateur poker player. He's been earning his living by playing foosball, which was occasionally supplemented by working as a part-time poker dealer. Until now, he's never earned his living on the felt as a player.
That didn't stop Pappas from flashing occasional moments of brilliance, and maintaining a calm disposition throughout the evening, despite being in such a high-profile poker atmosphere for the first time. No doubt boosted by his experiences competing under pressure in foosball, Pappas fit right in among players with more substantial resumes and bigger chip stacks.
"I wanted to come here and enjoy the experience," Pappas said moments after elimination. "My rail really helped me. The first several hours I wasn't really happy with my play, at least until it got down to six-handed. But from there, I liked the way I played."
Pappas, from Lowell, Mass., was sixth in chips when the final table got underway earlier this evening, with a stack of 17,500,000. He enjoyed some early success, jumping above the 20-million chip mark. However, his stack slowly withered away as the night turned into a feast for the chip leader, Jorryt Van Hoof.
Not to be outdone, Pappas felt rejuvenated when he managed to survive an all-in with six players left. He held and called an all-in bet from Martin Jacobson, who had pushed with . The flop gave the players a sweat: . Jacobson paired his queen to take the lead, but Pappas had a flush draw, an inside-straight draw, and an overcard. The river was the , giving Pappas a better pair and a much-needed double up. A short time later, he doubled up again when his pocket kings held up against Andoni Larrabe's King-Queen. The sequence brought Pappas from about six million in chips to over 26 million.
Pappas stayed pretty close to that until 2:45 a.m. With five players left, he got into an all-in coin flip against Martin Jacobson. Jacobson won the critical battle, and Pappas was left with just 50,000 in chips. At that point, the ante was 150,000, so Pappas literally had no room to maneuver. He was eliminated on the next hand.
"This was a real rush for me just to be here," Pappas said. "I wouldn't change anything. Sure, I would loved to have won. But this whole year for me has been amazing. I can't wait to come back again."
Here are the final table results so far:
1st - - $10,000,000
2nd - - $5,147,911
3rd - - $3,807,753
4th - - $2,849,763
5th - Billy Pappaconstantinou - $2,143,794
6th - Andoni Larrabe - $1,622,471
7th - Dan Sindelar - $1,236,084
8th - Bruno Politano - $947,172
9th - Mark Newhouse - $730,725