Among the various WSOP (World Series of Poker) events, ladies and seniors events are often sidelined. They are considered less important than open field bracelet tournaments. As the entry to these events is not open to all, the records set are also treated slightly differently. But the recent seniors’ event at the 2012 WSOP caught the attention of everyone. With an unbelievable 4,128 registered players, the event proved that while the most popular professional poker players are under 30 years of age, the game is extremely popular in middle aged and elderly demographic.
The WSOP new senior record
With over 4000 registrations, the seniors’ event, which is open to players aged fifty and above, not only became the biggest event for the elderly in the history of the WSOP, but also set a new record for the single day field in general. While it seems unbelievable, the seniors’ tournament features the largest field ever to sit down in a WSOP event. It even surpassed participation in some of the most popular tournaments like the starting day WSOP Main Event and $1000 No Limit Hold’em.
Commenting on the record set by the seniors tournament, Ty Stewart, the executive director of the WSOP, said that the event showcases the beauty of the game. It proves that poker really is a game of life. The large number of participants resulted in a highly electric and competitive atmosphere.
WSOP Seniors’ event vs. other poker tournaments
The seniors’ event has a very different feel to it. Unlike younger players who are often engrossed in their iPads, smartphones or iPods at the poker table, the elderly participants of the seniors’ tournament are much more talkative. While the games are as fierce and competitive as ever, the interaction between players gives a completely different vibe to the event. The event offers considerable entertainment value for the audience as well.
WSOP Senior Event details
The event took place at the Amazon Rooms and the Brasilia Pavilion in Rio. Last year, the seniors’ event drew a field of 3752 players. With the popularity of the event growing at an exponential rate, 478 tables set for the tournament could hardly contain all players. The starting time for the event was changed to 10 am to ensure that the record crowd was properly accommodated for the 3 day long tournament. With the record breaking number of participants, this year’s WSOP seniors’ event first place winner will take home a whopping $603,713 of the $3,700,000 prize pool.
The record breaking tournament was kick started by Oklahoma Johnny Hale, often considered the unofficial spokesperson for the elderly members of the poker community. He was accompanied by Golden eagle and Jack Effel. The prize trophy features WSOP senior tournament winner names. Hale expressed his enthusiasm, saying that the yearly event brings together people for a good time. With such a large crowd, he is sure that the tournament will be quite a party. He added that for most seniors event participants losing or winning doesn’t really matter. For them the event is more about fun.
Most seniors event participants are already successful in their respective fields and the tournament gives them an opportunity to get together and have a great time. Given the popularity of poker among the elderly, Hale expects the participation in the event to grow further in the next few years. According to him, we can expect a seniors’ event with a field of 5,000 players in the coming years.
While the event promises to be lot of fun, it also offers some serious prize money. The winner would bag the 2nd largest bracelet payday of the year surpassed only by Ashkan Razavi’s $781,398 win in $1,500 No Limit Hold’em re-entry tournaments. With such a big prize, it is not surprising that many younger players were also tempted to enter the tournament. Just like men trying to participate in ladies tournaments, some young players tried to seek entry to the event citing ageism. But such ideas have been strongly criticized by poker veterans.
When the event came to a close on Friday, as many as 462 players were still battling it out for the first prize. On the leader board, some of the well known names in the top ten chip holders include Pete Giordano, Dennis Phillips, Toto Leonidas, Hal Lubarsky, Humberto Bernes and Marcel Luske.
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