2008 WSOP Event #42 $1,000 Seniors NLHE World Championship: Dan LaCourse Wins
At the end of Day 2 of the WSOP Seniors event, Dale Eberle would win the final hand to edge out Dan LaCourse for the chip lead going into the final table. But at the end of the final table it would be LaCourse, a retired police detective from Ohio, who would prevail against Eberle, a retired firefighter from Ohio, for the bracelet and $368,832 first-place money.
The final table's starting chip counts and seat assignments:
Seat 1: Marc Fluss (Scottsdale, Arizona) — 873,000
Seat 2: Charles Wood (Austin, Texas) — 531,000
Seat 3: Ed Clark (Sacramento, California) — 504,000
Seat 4: Marty Wilson (Bridgnorth, England) — 454,000
Seat 5: Peter Silverstein (Houston, Texas) — 435,000
Seat 6: Dale Eberle (Akron, Ohio) — 1,414,000
Seat 7: Fred Berger (Slidell, Louisiana) — 518,000
Seat 8: Dan LaCourse (Toledo, Ohio) — 1,364,000
Seat 9: Jerry Yamachika (North Las Vegas, Nevada) — 558,000
Predictably, final-table action started slowly as the players sized each other up. But once the first dozen hands were out of the way, the table seemed to waste no time, taking only four hours to determine a winner. The first elimination of the day was a classic race situation with "Mad" Marty Wilson's pocket eights squaring off against Fred Berger's A-Q. Wilson had the edge until a Q-Q-K flop fell, leaving running eights as his only salvation. Wilson, a tournament director and fixture from the original "Late Night Poker" and "UK Open" series, finished in ninth place for $34,312.
Next, Ed Clark went into the tank, facing a button raise from Marc Fluss. Clark eventually pushed all in from the big blind with A-7 and was up against Fluss' pocket nines. The board missed him, and Clark finished in eighth place for $49,450.
Fred Berger took a big hit to his stack when his A-9 went up against Dale Eberle's A-10 and the kickers played. In the very next hand Berger would double through Peter Silverstein, who entered the final table as the short stack. Berger's J-10 found a jack on the board to overcome Silverstein's A-6, leaving Silverstein with few chips left. Silverstein put them all in with 2-4 and his hand looked like a winner when he connected on a 10-6-4 flop against Dan LaCourse's A-Q. But the king and jack that followed gave LaCourse a Broadway straight and Silverstein was eliminated in seventh place for $64,588.
Charles Wood pushed all in on the turn with a board reading 3-8-10-3. Wood probably figured the pot could be bought after it was checked down in three-way action on the flop and after Marc Fluss checked the turn. But Wood had to flip over his K-6 when Fluss called and was essentially drawing dead to Fluss' K-10. Wood finished in sixth place for $84,771.
Fred Berger got all his chips in the middle preflop only to discover that his pocket deuces were up against Dan LaCourse's pocket jacks; a jack on the flop only made his situation more dire. Running deuces didn't come to the rescue and Berger, the only former bracelet winner at this final table, finished in fifth place for $106,974. LaCourse would also be responsible for the next final-table knockout. Jerry Yamachika put all his chips on K-J pre-flop and got a call from LaCourse, who was holding A-Q. Both players got help on the Q-J-10 flop, each connecting for a pair and a gutshot for Broadway. Rags filled out the rest of the board and LaCourse's higher pair prevailed. Yamachika finished in fourth place for $131,194.
LaCourse had a sizable lead with three players left and added to it when he claimed his next victim. All the money went in on a 6-5-3 flop. Marc Fluss had 6-10 for top pair while LaCourse had an open-ended straight draw with Q-4. A harmless eight came on the turn, but a deuce on the river produced a straight for LaCourse. Fluss finished in third place for $156,424.
When heads-up play commenced, Dan LaCourse had the advantage over Dale Eberle, 4.1 million to 2.5 million. There would be no time for a second chip count, as the winner was determined virtually within moments. Eberle opened for 180,000 and LaCourse called. LaCourse checked the flop; Eberle bet out 200,000 and LaCourse called. LaCourse again checked the on the turn, but check-raised all in when Eberle bet out for 500,000. Eberle called with for two pair, but LaCourse flipped over for trips. A king failed to show on the river, and Eberle finished in second place for $ 235,141.
In a post-tournament interview, LaCourse said that his training as a detective and examiner helped him at the poker table. He said most people reveal themselves (through subtle gestures and mannerisms) within three seconds of being confronted with a question or decision.
Dan LaCourse was cheered to his $368,832 victory by his wife, who decided to fly out at the last minute when she learned he had made the final table. She came straight from the airport, still carrying her suitcase, to make it just in time to see all the action. She had to feel it was worth as she got to hear him say, "I have always wanted this and to be standing here with a gold bracelet and this moment is very special to me."