Tom McEvoy will have seen huge changes in the game of poker and how it is perceived and presented since his World Series of Poker main event victory back in 1983, but he still has ‘it' and proved that this week by winning the 40th Anniversary Champions Invitational at the 40th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Back then, McEvoy was one of only 108 entrants for a main event that generated a prize pool of $540 000 – a far cry from the thousands of players that crowd the tables today seeking multi-million dollar prizes.
The prestige of McEvoy's latest win was the main cause for pride, although the beautifully restored, bright red Chevy Corvette that went with it was much appreciated.
"The car was just the frosting on the cake," McEvoy said after the competition. "Beating all my colleagues that were talented enough to win the Main Event was what it was really about."
And that's what McEvoy did – surviving a field of 20 WSOP bracelet winners, many of whom are household names in the game.
The final table of the Invitational re-started play on Monday with 2001 main event winner Carlos Mortensen holding the chip lead. Last year's WSOP main event winner Peter Eastgate (22) was the first to be eliminated, followed by poker legend Doyle Brunson, who won the main event twice in his outstanding career.
Headed for the exit in seventh place was Berry Johnson, with Huck Seed leaving in the sixth place and then Carlos Mortenson in fifth after a clash with Jim Bechtel.
Bechtel himself fell to McEvoy in fourth place, leaving 2002 Main Event champ Robert Varkonyi, McEvoy and Dan Harrington to decide the heads up, with not much difference in chip counts. It was Harrington who departed, eliminated by McEvoy after a tough 4 hour, three handed struggle, and leaving McEvoy and Varkonyi to battle it out for the first place….this time with McEvoy holding a substantial 3-to-1 chip lead on his opponent.
The end came quickly and cleanly after that, leaving McEvoy the undisputed Champion of the Champions.
Varkonyi said he had enjoyed himself: "I would have loved to win it, but these are all champions. It was probably the toughest field ever," he said.