Making the money in a bracelet event is like a badge of honor for any poker player. With 65 events over the course of the summer, there are ample opportunities for those of us who choose to take a shot or two. But one event annually draws a huge field and keeps all the young internet prodigies on the sidelines, no matter how plus-EV they may consider it. (That’s some poker nerd terminology.)
The Seniors Event at the World Series of Poker only allows players 50 years and older into the field and typically has one of the highest entry rates each summer. This year, 4,425 individuals each put up $1,000 to take a shot against their contemporaries and vie for a bracelet. There are a lot of easy jokes to make about the Seniors Event, like it being the only event all summer to start at 10 a.m. instead of noon or later, as well as the dinner break hitting at 5 p.m. on the nose. But as I walked through the tables in the different rooms throughout the concourse, there were a number of great players in the field and lots of familiar faces. Former Main Event Final Tablers Sam Farha and Dennis Phillips each made it through Day 1 and into Day 2, but I was much happier to see a few folks familiar to Kauai also survive the grueling 11-level opening day to bag their chips.
With 486 players making it to Day 2, just 468 would make the money. As the tables played hand-for-hand less than an hour into the second day, the Amazon Room finally heard the announcement all the competitors had been waiting for.
“Congratulations,” bellowed through the public address system. “You’re all in the money!”
As everyone at the tables and on the rails cheered the bubble bursting, three from the Garden Isle were guaranteed a WSOP cash. Ed Cummings of Kapaa, Shaun Tobin of Princeville and a player asking to be identified simply as the “Suckout King of Anahola” were all guaranteed at least a minimum cash of $1,752 and still had a chance to climb all the way to the Final Table where the Seniors champ will take home $627,462.
It was a grind for all three to survive the first day. Cummings was a short stack through just about every level and had some good fortune at the most opportune time to push himself into Day 2. With the blinds at 500/1,000, he had only around 6,000 chips with less than a handful of hands to be played on Day 1. He found pocket queens and got all his chips in the middle pre-flop against his opponent’s pocket nines. The best hand held up and he more than doubled his stack, then added a few chips on the final hand when he raised with pocket aces. Everyone folded and he collected the blinds and antes to end the night with 17,100 chips.
Tobin had an up-and-down first day, seeing his chip stack balloon to well above average before dipping back down after a few big pots didn’t go his way. He bagged exactly 16,000 chips and though that was just over 13 big blinds, it was enough to remain in the field long enough for a cage collection.
Mr. King had the best opening day, leading the Kauai contingent with 34,600 chips. I’ve played many hands with him before and his unorthodox style certainly confused his opponents, along with some good luck. He got all-in with jack-ten against ace-king and managed to make a straight, doubling up and proving his nickname is well deserved.
As of this writing, Da King was the first eliminated on Day 2, going out about 30 minutes after the money bubble. Tobin followed suit shortly thereafter, leaving just Cummings to grind away, hoping to run his solid play into a much more substantial sum. As for me, I’m considering whether I want to play a bracelet event of my own this weekend. If I can get a little bit of “run good” going in the next few hours, I may choose to do so. With only two more days out here at the WSOP, I’ve had a blast, though I admit I am excited to resume sleeping when it’s actually dark out.
Until next time, may all your outs be live!