A retired police detective from Toledo, Ohio took the 39th World Series of Poker Event 42, the $1 000 buy-in Seniors World Championship title this week, surviving a massive entry field of 2 218 players to take home a gold bracelet and the top prize of $368 832.
Years of police experience that included administering lie detector tests stood Dan LeCourse (56) in good stead as he progressed through the huge field to eventually arrive at the final table with the second biggest chip count. Facing him around the table were fellow Ohioan Dale Eberle with the chip lead and Mark Fluss, Charles Wood, Ed Clark, the only non-US player Marty Wilson from England, Peter Silverstein, Fred Burger and Jerry Yamachika.
Final table play was at first cautious, but as the players settled in the tempo built, enabling the game to reach a conclusion in only 4 hours. The two Ohio players held on to their convincing chip leads through the game to finish facing each other in the heads up. Eberle, a retired fireman, was eventually overwhelmed by the ex-policeman and had to be content with a second place payout of $235 141.
WSOP officials said that the event, at 2 218 entries, generated a prize pool of over $2 million and broke last year's record entry field by some 18 percent.
Notable departures during the championship were "Amarillo Slim" Preston (to loud applause in the 91st position) and several previous bracelet holders such Fred Berger, Tom McEvoy, Men "the Master" Nguyen, Tom Franklin, John Esposito and Tony Ma.
LaCourse told interviewers after the game that winning a WSOP bracelet had been one of his big ambitions, and that his career as a detective and investigator had helped him to accurately read the other players at the poker tables.
The crowds will be flocking to watch Day 2 of the exciting Event 45 – the $50 000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. World Championship – today as the red haired young gun Jim Mackey resumes play as chip leader against a galaxy of poker stars that includes Pat Pezzin, Joe Cassidy and Ralph Perry.
This year's event has been dedicated to recently deceased poker ace Chip Reese and carries the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy along with a $7 million prize-pool. The cash bubble bursts at the 16th place and the ultimate winner will pocket a bank account -boosting $1 989 120 main prize.
Day 1 of the event started with an entry field of 148 players that featured some 40 previous WSOP bracelet winners. The field includes players of the calibre of Jamie Gold, Allen Cunningham, Rafi Amit, Bruno Fitoussi, Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, Huck Seed, Kirill Gerasimov, David Grey, Katja Thater, Perry Friedman, Ralph Perry, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Galfond, Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Barry Greenstein, T.J. Cloutier, Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey – a formidable mix of experienced Internet and land poker talent.
Early Day 1 casualties were Phil Hellmuth, David Williams, Amnon Filippi and Shunjiro Uchida.
The youthful Mackey (22) hails from Missouri and at last year's WSOP he became the third youngest player ever to win a bracelet, becoming something of a sensation. Since then he has maintained the momentum, cashing thrice more, one of which was a big win of almost $300 000 for his second placing in the 2008 $10 000 buy-in World Championship Mixed Event Mackey's career winnings have already topped $1.2 million in 3 years as a pro.
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