When the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship came around this year, it was expected that the crowd of players would be significant, but the numbers were better than anticipated. The final tally of the starting day players was 3,142, a notable jump from the 2,707-player field of 2009. The current’ year’s number put the prize pool at $2,827,800, which was set up to allow the final 324 players to finish the tournament in the money and the winner to walk away with $487,994.
Many also anticipated a scandal of sorts, considering the previous week’s ladies event scuffle when men entered the tournament, opinions ran strong, and tensions ran high. But once people understood that the law actually protected age-specific events, as did the Gaming Control Board, any expectation of rogue players in the event, those who didn’t meet the 50-plus age requirement, tamped down. The event went forward with a history-making field and no controversy of which to speak.
Day 1 took the field from 3,142 players down to only 450, and Day 2 thinned it further until the players hit the money and continued on through the evening. By the time the clock stopped late into the night, there were still 23 players remaining, and all of them returned to the Rio on Sunday, June 20, with Michael Minetti in the lead with 1,038,000. The goal was to play to the final table and push forward until there was a winner, though some wondered if that was going to be possible with the slower field and so many competitors starting the day.
Play got underway fairly quickly, though, and it was obvious that the tournament would finish on Sunday as scheduled. The early eliminations as the event progressed were as follows:
23rd place: Brian Appelbaum ($13,969)
22nd place: Dave Lambertson ($13,969)
21st place: Ken James ($13,969)
20th place: Larry Ross ($13,969)
19th place: Robert Cain ($13,969)
18th place: Michael Woo ($17,475)
17th place: Jon Hair ($17,475)
16th place: Thomas Scott ($17,475)
15th place: Bruce Peterson ($22,085)
14th place: Tom Schneider ($22,085)
13th place: John Wrona ($22,085)
12th place: Jeanne Nelson ($28,221)
11th place: Bruce Angeski ($28,221)
As the 11th place elimination was taking place at one table, the other table found another bustout. Edward Weiss pushed all-in from the small blind with , and Daniel Camillo called from the big blind with . The board brought nothing to save Weiss, who was eliminated in tenth place with $28,211 for the effort.
The final table was then set, with seat assignments and chip counts as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Eric Stemp ||830,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Harold Angle ||713,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Jay Hong ||596,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Preston Derden ||585,000 |
|Seat 5:||Michael Minetti ||1,487,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Carlos Pianelli ||243,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Jack Ward ||1,278,000 |
|Seat 8: ||John Woo ||1,913,000 |
|Seat 9: || Daniel Camillo ||1,809,000 |
Players then took their dinner break and initiated final table play upon their return.
Short-stacked Pianelli spared no time getting his chips in the middle and doubling through Woo to stay alive.
Hong tried the same thing but started a bit more slowly by going to see a limped flop of with Angle. A bet and call led to the on the turn, at which point Angle bet, Hong raised, and Angle pushed all-in. Hong called for his remaining chips with for the flopped trips, but Angle showed for the flopped full house. The on the river ended the tuornament for Jay Hong, who left in ninth place with $36,450.
Despite the earlier double-up, Pianelli was still short-stacked and needing more chips. He got involved with Angle and Derden, all of whom limped to see a flop. Angle bet, which prompted a fold from Derden and call from Pianelli. But when the hit on the turn, Angle bet again and Pianelli pushed all-in with for top two pair. But Angle quickly called with for the turned full house. The on the turn changed nothing, and Carlos Pianelli exited the tournament in eighth place with $47,591.
Ward was the next player to make a move, though the hand started slowly, as was becoming commonplace at the table. Ward and Woo, from the blinds, limped to see a flop. Woo bet, Ward check-raised, and Woo called to bring on the turn card. Ward then pushed all-in for his last 620K with . Woo finally chose to call with and had the best two pair. The on the river changed nothing, and Jack Ward was eliminated in seventh place with $62,833.
As Woo climbed and seemed unstoppable in the chip lead, Angle began to make moves and climb ever closer.
Derden, however, was short-stacked, and his last 350K went all-in preflop with . Woo called from the button with . The two watched the board produce , none of which helped the short stack. Preston Derden departed the final table in sixth place with $83,872.
Five-handed play saw Woo with nearly 3.5 million chips and Camillo with more than 2.2 million. Angle had fallen below the 2 million mark, and Minetti and Stemp both hovered under the 1 million spot. Minetti soon doubled through Camillo, though, to get out of short-stacked position.
The hit to Camillo saw him sink to the lower portion of the leaderboard. After he took to a flop of with Woo and Stemp, Camillo made his all-in move for just over 1 million chips. Stemp got out of the way, but Woo considered his options for quite some time and eventually called with . The fours weren’t much but they were good against the of Camillo. The on the turn and on the river ended the unfortunate hand with Daniel Camillo departing in fifth place with $113,225.
Stemp had a rough time on the short stack, though he was able to gather chips and even double through Woo to stay alive. But he soon got involved with Woo again, this time to see a flop. Woo pushed all-in, and Stemp called for his tournament life with for the flush and straight draws. But Woo showed for the better flush draw, and the came on the turn to make it for Woo. The on the river was the final card, and Eric Stemp headed to the cashier cage to pick up $154,624 for the fourth place finish.
Three-handed play found Minetti able to double through Woo. A few hands later, All three players tangled to a flop, at which point a bet from Angle prompted Minetti to fold. Woo raised, and Angle called to see the on the turn. Woo moved all-in with for the over pair, but Angle called with for two pair. The came on the river, and Angle doubled up to leave Woo with only 220K.
Woo came back to double through Minetti, but he was going to need a few more of those occurrences to stay in the game. Woo went to a limped flop with Angle and Minetti, and when it showed , Woo pushed all-in for his last 300K. Angle was the caller holding for the flush draw, and Woo showed for bottom pair. But the did hit on the turn to give Angle the flush draw, and the irrelevant on the river ended the hand. John Woo left in third place with $213,612.
No heads-up chip counts were given at the start of the battle, but it was clear that Angle began with a significant chip lead. Minetti doubled twice to stay alive, but he still held less than 1 million chips.
Minetti pushed his last 700K all-in with , and Angle called with . The flop of gave Angle the kings to take the lead, and nothing about the on the turn or on the river changed that. Michael Minetti finished the tournament in second place with $301,839.
Harold Angle became the Event 34 champion, walking away with $487,994 and the WSOP gold bracelet.