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Foosball World Champion Looking To Be Poker's World Champion

Table Soccer Star Billy Pappas One Of Final 18 In WSOP Main Event

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Card Player’s 2014 WSOP coverage is sponsored by CarbonPoker.

On Monday at the 2014 WSOP main event, foosball legend William Pappaconstantinou, better known as Billy Pappas, was one of the final 18. After finding the game as a young kid, Pappas went on to become foosball world champion—a distinction he has snagged a handful of times since 2005. He’s widely regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats.

Considering himself just a recreational poker player, Pappas has figured out the correct strategy to make the most of run-good, parlaying it into a super deep run in poker’s $10,000 buy-in world championship. A $10 million top prize is up for grabs in November.

“The pressure is a little bit more here, and the money is huge,” Pappas told Card Player. “In foosball, I get to control the game and do what I do. If I lose the game it’s my fault. If I lose here it’s still my fault, but I don’t get to control it as much. These guys here are all better than me; in foosball, I am usually the better one at the table.”

The are some parallels between the two games. Pappas said that controlling one’s emotions in the thick of battle is crucial for avoiding a massacre when competing at the highest level.

“Mentality is huge in foosball; that’s what takes you to the next level,” the 29-year-old said. “Skill can only take you so far. If you’re weak-minded in poker or foosball you have no hope. If you lose a pot and you go on tilt, that’s it. If you don’t go on tilt you are going to be much stronger.”

Pappas found poker years ago after one of his buddies won a $1 tournament and spent the prize money the next day on the Sunday Million, turning it into $27,000. “I was like, ‘OK, I’ll try this out,’” Pappas recalled. “One dollar to win a lot just seemed so great.”

The most Pappas has ever played for in foosball? That would be $8,000. He’s already guaranteed $347,521 here at the Rio, but he’s hoping for much, much more.

Check out a video of Pappas playing a foosball match last year.


For more coverage from the 2014 summer series, visit our WSOP landing page.

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