Wednesday, June 22, 2016 : RECORD FIELD ENTERS WORLD SERIES OF POKER SENIORS EVENT
 
Texas restauranteur Johnny Craig takes home $538,204  and his first winners bracelet.
 
Johnny Craig (54), a Texas restauranteur and 25-year military vet with several Afghanistan and Iraq tours under his belt, survived a record 4,499-strong entry field and a tough heads up Monday to claim his first World Series of Poker winners bracelet and a first prize of $538,204 in the $1,000 buy-in NoLimit Holdem Seniors No-Limit Holdem Championship event.
 
It was only his second WSOP cash, his first occurring in 2014.
 
"I kept my head down during the final table. I was concentrating so much on the hands that I didnt realize how many chips I had until one time when I looked up, and then looked around the table, and I found out I had the chip lead!" the delighted winner said after four days of intense action at the tables.
 
Craig started final table action around the middle of the pack in chip counts, but played a steady game to build up a chip stack that enabled him to become more aggressive and survive to the heads up.
 
He is a recreational player who has been interested enough to read several books on the game and attend a few poker boot camps; that certainly paid off on Monday when he emerged the victor from a spirited heads up against Jamshid Lotfi, an Iranian-born film producer from Timonium, MD who finished as the runner up, earning his biggest poker pay day yet at $332,413.
 
The winner credited his victory to those poker boot camps, telling reporters:
 
"Those got me here, the boot camps made all the difference in the world. They add years of experience to your play. I mean years of experience. Without that, I never would have made this final table."
 
The age range in the record field was between 50 and 95 years, with the oldest player in the field Herman Moonves. 675 players cashed in the event, with the other final table survivors winning the following amounts of prize money:
 
Roger Sippl $245,389
Abe Somerville $182,536
Wesley Chong  $136,829
Paul Runge $103,366
Eugene Solomon $78,699
Mike Lisanti $60,392
Alan Cutler $46,713