The day of the seniors-only event at the World Series of Poker is always an interesting one. Instead of spry, young players rushing the hallways and sometimes taking a don’t-care approach to the poker tournaments, the massive crowd of players over-50’s (many of whom were quite a few years past that minimum age limit) treated the day like the opportunity of a lifetime. Most were quiet and respectful of the game and the WSOP, with wives and children and grandchildren all waiting in the wings to see how their loved one would fare. Though the number of canes and wheelchairs were a bit amusing for the media, it was a day treasured by most in attendance.
An entirely different scenario popped up for the late-starting tournament, as razz players took to the felt in the Brasilia Room. People who love to hate razz gathered for one of the most frustrating poker games available, and the vibe in that event completely countered the calmer and more appreciative nature of those in the seniors-only event. All sides of poker were represented by the two tournaments and provided some insight into the extremely wide range of personality types and ages of poker enthusiasts.
There were also two tournaments running in their second days and seeking their final tables while two other events played down to the bracelets. It was the WSOP in full swing on Day 27, and here is a summary of the non-final table action.
Event 41: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, Day 2
The shootout tournaments played sit-n-go style are a player favorite, though not enough to attract the crowds for which the WSOP hoped. With a total field of 280, which produced a $1,316,000 prize pool, the first day played out as planned with 10 seats per table and 30 winners at the end of the day. That guaranteed all the players returning on Day 2 a minimum cash of $16,740 for winning one table, and some recognizable names did so, as Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, and David Pham all moved on past the first round.
Day 2 started with five six-handed tables and each player sitting with 15K in chips. The action began with players like Neil Channing and John Monnette taking leave of their tables. As the day played on, it came down to a few highly contentious matches remaining. Andrew Lichtenberger took out David Pham, and one match remained between Barny Boatman, who earlier dispatched Phil Ivey from the table, and then came face to face with Nasr El Nasr. The last hand saw El Nasr dominating and Boatman all-in after the turn on a board with pocket sevens. El Nasr called with and the better two pair, which was solidified by the on the river. Boatman took a sixth place finish for $16,740, as was the reward for each of the day’s eliminated players.
The final table was set with five players, each of whom would start on the last day of action with 900K in chips. The players were:
Nasr El Nasr
Event 42: $2,500 8-Game Mixed, Day 2
The mixed game is another player favorite. Instead of mastering one or two games, it has become the trend to attempt to master several. Many simply concentrate on the H.O.R.S.E. games, but some go further and enjoy the challenge of all forms of poker. Those players signed up to play the 8-game mixed event, which included limit hold’em, Omaha-8, seven-card razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud-8, no-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, and 2-7 triple draw lowball. The 412-player field made for a $947,600 prize pool, and Day 1 found that 153 were up for the task of surviving the first day of action.
Day 2 saw the field push its way into the money at the 40-player mark. It happened in a flurry of activity at which point, Alexander Kostritsyn and Robert Williamson III were eliminated before the money, and Nick Frangos went out on the money bubble. That left players like Mel Randolph to cash with $4,814 for 40th place and Alex Dovzhenko to take 39th for the same amount.
Play continued into the late night hours in an attempt to find the final tablists, but the 16th place elimination of Keith Lehr only made way for one more before the 3:00am cutoff time. Thang Luu pushed the last of his chips all-in during a no-limit hold’em hand with , and Layne Flack called with . The board immediately represented for Flack and brought for top pair and the win. Luu was gone in 15th place with $8,983.
The final 14 players were set to return on Tuesday, June 23, to play down to and through the final table to find the tournament’s winner. In the chip lead was Jon Turner with 469,200, followed by Jerrod Ankenman in second place with 412,400. Adam Friedman brought up third place with 325,800, and other notables remaining included Dario Alioto, Layne Flack, Blair Rodman, and Jimmy Fricke.
Event 43: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, Day 1
Players ages 50 and over came from everywhere and sauntered into the Rio to play the seniors-only event on Monday, June 22. The number of registrants was a record for the event, with 2,707 players turning out for the festivities and creating a prize pool of $2,463,370. The money would be reserved for the last 270 standing, though the winner would receive a sizable sum of $437,358 - not a shabby addition to the retirement fund.
The leisurely pace of the day left the field with 397 survivors when the last level was completed, though well-known Amarillo Slim did not make it through the day, nor did PPA Chairman and former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato . Lloyd Shinn was the chip leader with 86,500. Eric Hershler held down second place with 82,500, and the rest of the top five list included John Bennett, Charles Simon, and Conrad Granath.
Event 44: $2,500 Seven-Card Razz, Day 1
The late-starting tournament of the day was seven-card razz, which brought a total of 315 people to the felt who love to hate the game. That tally brought the prize pool to $724,500, which would be divvied among the top 32 finishers. A reasonable $188,390 was designated solely for the winner, though, to go with a shiny gold WSOP bracelet.
When the night came to an end, there were 118 players still in contention. Warwick Mirzikinian was the chip leader with a stack of 59,400 chips, while Eric Rodawig came in second with 55,000 chips. The rest of the top five included Yan Chen, Hernan Salazar, and Matthew Kelly. Notables near the top of the list were David Chiu, Kenna James, Ali Eslami, Eli Elezra, and John Juanda.