What started as the biggest Seniors Event in the history of the World Series, with more than 4,400 runners, dwindled down to just 32 players to start Day 3 yesterday. After a couple hours of play, that 32 became ten to form the unofficial final table.
It was a long one, and despite the fast and furious action during earlier levels, no one was really looking to go out with pay jumps being quite significant. One of the final table participants was Dennis Philips, 2008 third place finisher in the Main Event and the 2012 runner-up in this very event. This time, Philips was looking to go one better. For a while before the final table started, and during the final table play, it seemed that he just might do it. But his luck unfortunately ran out and he could only claim a fifth place finish worth well over $150,000.
Others met a similar fate, as Michale Frederick was eliminated as the official final table bubble boy with his 10th place finish securing him $40,000, followed by Jim Custer ($51,573), David Vida ($66,945), Doc Barry ($87,615), David Tran ($115,651) and Anthony Wise ($206,492).
It was down to three-handed play, with Donald Maas holding the lead and more chips than the other two players combined. But Dan Heimiller, who chipped up quite significantly during the three-handed phase, managed to knock out David Smith in 3rd place, claiming his chips and sending Smith to the rail with $279,412 for his efforts.
It was now down to heads-up to determine who would get a bracelet and Heimiller held about a 3:1 chip advantage. It could have been a long heads-up match, it just so happened that it wasn’t. Six hands into the heads-up, Maas and Heimiller saw the flop of #4s#3s#5c. It was checked to Maas who bet out, only to be faced with a raise from Heimiller. He made the call and they saw the #ad turn. This time it went check-call and the river was #qs. Heimiller led out for a small amount, which prompted Maas to move all-in and Heimiller quickly made the call with #6c#2h for a flopped straight. That was all she wrote for Maas, who was the official runner-up after the hand and earned $388,054.
Heimiller became the Seniors’ champion and claimed his second WSOP bracelet, twelve years after his first one in 2002. Being around the series for nearly 20 years, Heimiller has seen it all and experienced everything there is to experience when it comes to poker. But with this being the single biggest cash of his career, combined with the fact that he won a bracelet in such a big field, truly had a special meaning for the poker veteran. “This one feels extra spectacular because it was for such a big prize,” said Heimiller in an interview with WSOP.com. And spectacular it was!