At 94-years-old, William Wachter is by far and away the oldest player to register for the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, and so it stands to reason that, sitting on 155,000 in chips on the Day 2B dinner break, Wachter was also the oldest player left in the tournament.
"I've taken a couple of bad beats, but I'm still up there," said Wachter, who added his full house was beaten by a better full house early, but he managed to right the ship. "The average guy would have gone all in on that. I didn't want to take any chances."
Wachter, who hails from Carmel, New York, learned to play poker while enlisted in the Merchant Marines some 74 years ago. The World War II veteran and engineer turned entrepreneur who owned one of the original Carvel Ice Cream shops and built a number of Hallmark retail stores, still plays in a weekly home game today.
The 2015 Main Event is actually his second shot at WSOP glory, having been the oldest player in the 2014 WSOP Main Event last year at 93.
"Last year I took a terrible beat," he said. "On the third day I had enough chips to not play a hand and still make the next day and maybe the money. So I decided I wouldn't play any hands except aces, kings or ace-king. I folded queens. I folded for four hours before I got a pair of nines in the big blind. I was getting ready to throw them in, but everybody just called the big blind and I saw a flop for nothing.
"The flop came rainbow, so I check. One guy bets, another calls, everybody else folds and I just call. The turn came the , so it's a total rainbow, no straights, no flushes. I check, there's another bet and the third guy goes all in. If he hadn't gone all in I'd have gone all in. So I call. The other guy folds and he shows . Well, you know what happened. He hit the king on the river. He and I had three times more chips than the whole table combined and he had me covered by just a few thousand. I would have been the massive chip leader and probably won the whole thing."
Bad beats aside, the game isn't easy at 94. Wachter suffers from narcolepsy and has to be woken up at the table regularly when he dozes off. He also suffers from cataplexy, making it difficult to rake in and stack chips when he does win a pot. Despite that, there's no questioning his passion for poker.
"I really love it," he said. "I couldn't do without it."
This time he's hoping he can at least squeak into the money with his six-figure Day 2 stack and is willing to play even tighter than last year to do it.
"Maybe I'm playing too tight," he said. "I folded nines and a nine came on the flop. Threes and a three came up. I'm not going to play pocket pairs anymore. I'm going to wait for good cards, kings, maybe queens and nothing under that."