Participation at WSOP Seniors Event Trumps Last Year’s Turn Out
June 10, 2014
The ideal model of a true poker face is exemplified in Dan Heimiller, who manages to keep it on just about 24/7, unless he’s just won a WSOP gold bracelet, then he makes an exception and cracks a smile for his fans. Over the past two decades plus, Heimiller has been around the block once or twice when it comes to live poker tournaments, and he’s done pretty well for himself as a poker professional. With numerous first-place finishes under his belt and literally hundreds of cashes, 52 of them WSOP cashes, his total career earnings are valued at just under $4.8 million, $2+ million from WSOP and WSOP Circuit cashes. He is one of the most decorated poker players in the business with roughly 25 first place career wins. Hailing from Missouri, USA, he is the all-time money maker for his home state, by far, with more than $3 million more than Dan Nassif, second on that list.
With such an impressive career, it’s no surprise that Heimiller has won his second gold bracelet and the biggest payday of his career worth $627K when he took down Event #17 $1K Seniors NLH, 12 years after his first bracelet, which he scored at the 2002 WSOP in a 7-Card Stud event.
“Back in 2002, it wasn’t for as much cash, so that makes this one a lot more important,” Heimiller said after winning the biggest senior event in the history of the series. “It was lso a smaller field and wasn’t as prestigious back then. It was a great feeling, but this one feels extra spectacular because it was for such a big prize.”
Heimiller bested a player field that rose to 4,425 players (more than last year), all of whom may have been over 50, but weren’t easy competition. Once play got down to the final table, the competition had gotten downright fierce with Heimiller, Barry Schwartz, and Dennis Phillips seated around the felt, where there were no young guns or overnight, Internet-made players. With a leveled playing field, it was the best against the best, and they all had wisdom, experience, and confidence to back up their chip stacks.
Phillips, who finished second in the seniors event two years ago and third in the 2008 main event, was perhaps the most intimidating.
Heimiller, who fancies mixed games over Hold ‘em, jokingly said, “My No Limit game seems to be catching up. Up to a couple of years ago, I used to tell people No Limit was my worst game. There seemed to be a lot of people who had a great grasp of it, so I was an underdog. But now I guess I’m able to hold my own.”
Finishing runner-up in this year’s seniors’ event was Iowa’s 58-year-old firefighter, Don Maas, who was the chip leader at the onset of the heads up showdown, but it was no match for Heimiller’s proficiency and experience. This was Maas’s first WSOP cash, which amounted to $388K of the prize pool that totaled just under $4 million.
Other notable seniors who cashed in the event included Barbara Enright, 72nd; Dennis Phillips, 5th; and Barry Schwartz, 8th. The top 468 seniors were paid, making for a pretty lucrative tournament for literally hundreds of players.