Event #40: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship began with 4,193 players (the fourth consecutive year the event drew 4,000+ runners), which created a prize pool of $3,773,700. On Monday, the final nine players returned to action at 11:00 a.m., and within five hours a winner was crowned. After four players busted within 35 minutes, 50-year-old construction manager Travis Baker of Enid, Oklahoma emerged as the last man standing to capture the gold bracelet and $613,466 first-place prize.
"I'm so overwhelmed right now," Baker said after the win. "For me this is gratifying and satisfying. A little overwhelming right now, it'll set in, but boy it's a privilege and an honor, I'll tell you that.
Baker, who deemed himself just a "weekly tournament player" at local events in Oklahoma, including those at Choctaw and Hard Rock Tulsa, finished Day 1 11th in chips, and kept that up on Day 2, ultimately finishing 10th in chips, before heading to the final table as the chip leader.
"I always felt comfortable while playing," said Baker. “I never got nervous or anything. It was partly because everything went my way. Even after I had a few beats (early at the final table), I stayed patient and that kept me going."
According to the WSOP, the average age of participants in the tournament was 60 years old, a decade older than the required 50. There were 3,930 men and 262 women representing 40 different countries. The oldest player in the event was 92 years old.
"I've been anticipating this [event] for a few months now," said Baker, who played a WSOP event back in 2007 but failed to cash. "When I turned 50 [in October] I knew I was coming out."
It turned out to be a wise decision as Baker's first WSOP cash, which came in just his second-ever event, also came with a coveted gold bracelet.
"I'm an old man, I need to go take a nap," Baker joked when asked if he had any plans to celebrate. "No, we haven't got that far. We went out last night and celebrated a little bit, but we haven't even talked about tonight."
According to updates from the event, the final table lasted just 124 hands. On Hand #27, the most notable player at the final table, WSOP bracelet winner and former Octo-Niner Steve Gee, was sent to the rail in eighth place after his failed to hold against the of Carl Torelli after the board ran out .
As for Baker, he only scored two knockouts at the final table, but they were the two biggest. On Hand #123, he sent Jim Hopperstead packing after Baker called a four-bet jam with the . Hopperstead held the and failed to find a third.
One hand later, Baker raised to 560,000, Torelli called, and both players checked the flop. The turn saw Torelli bet 1.5 million and then shove after Baker raised to 4 million. Baker called with the for a flopped flush, and Torelli was in trouble with his . The river failed to pair the board, and Torelli had to settle for runner-up and a $378,766 consolation prize.
Final Table Results
|1||Travis Baker||Tulsa, OK||$613,466|
|2||Carl Torelli||Pahrump, NV||$378,766|
|3||Jim Hopperstead||Cookeville, TN||$274,989|
|4||Michael Smith||Union, KY||$202,157|
|5||Justin Tucker||Flushing, NY||$149,929|
|6||Lee Budin||New Albany||$112,154|
|7||Stephen Nussrallah||Alpharetta, GA||$84,644|
|8||Steve Gee||Sacramento, CA||$64,417|
|9||Shane Goldsmith||Newton, KS||$49,435|