2018 WSOP Event 32: Matthew Davis Tops Biggest Seniors Event Ever to Win $662,983

Matthew Davis

After a final table that featured the excitement of monster suckouts, quads, former bracelet winners and final tablists, Matthew Davis has been crowned the winner of the largest seniors event in WSOP history, Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship.

Davis topped a field of 5,919 players to take home the gold WSOP bracelet after defeating 2012 Senior Event final tablist Bill Stabler heads-up. Davis, who teaches statistics at Chabot College in Hayward, California has two previous WSOP cashes in 2007 and 2009 worth $7,459, but today takes home a whopping $662,983 in prize money.

Event #32 Official Final Table Payouts

1Matthew DavisUnited States$662,983
2Bill StablerUnited States$409,456
3Scott Hamilton-HillNew Zealand$303,859
4Gary FriedlanderUnited States$227,111
5Bill BennettUnited States$170,973
6Rachel DelatorreUnited States$129,648
7Frank BerryUnited States$99,032
8Joseph SchulmanUnited States$76,204

Speaking moments after securing the victory, Davis said that he was "elated beyond belief." Having come back from dinner break behind in the chip counts, it took him just 15 hands to turn the tables and close out the victory shortly before 7:30 p.m. local time.

"Honestly, during the dinner break, I just went and enjoyed time with my family and friends. We talked about other things, and when they asked me about poker I just said not now.

"I came and played my first WSOP event in 2007, and I managed to secure a little over a min-cash. And I was talking to my daughter afterward - she was in first or second grade - and she asked me how much I had to spend to enter the tournament, so I told her that it was a $1,500 event.

"So she said 'Wow, Dad that's kind of a big risk!' And I was curious by what she meant by that, I mean she was only six or seven. So I asked her. And she said 'Well Dad, you're not that good at poker!'

"And now I have a bracelet!"

Final Table
$1,000 Seniors Event final table

Final Day Recap

Coming into the final day, it was Gary Friedlander who held the chip lead. There were no major moves among the players until a gin-flop caused the first all-in and call. On a 985 flop Bill Bennett had flopped a set of eights while Joseph Schulman had flopped a set of fives. The two got their stacks in, with Schulman emerging second best and becoming the first elimination of the final day.

It was Bennett who would send the second player to the rail. Frank Berry shoved pre-flop with ace-seven, and after Bennett had gotten rid of another caller, he denied Berry the triple up by flopping a pair with ace-deuce and it held to send Berry to the rail.

Bennett was looking to set a new record for time between winning two bracelets, having taken down a $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event at the 1984 World Series of Poker, and he showed he still had some moves, pulling an audacious bluff with four-high to clip then chip leader Friedlander.

By the time players had recovered from the set over set that eliminated Schulman in the first level of the day, Rachel Delatorre fell to one of the most brutal beats at this WSOP, or indeed any WSOP.

Getting her remaining chips in with pocket tens on a nine-high flop, she feared a set when called by Matthew Davis. In fact, Davis turned over the exact same hand - pocket tens. However, the turn and river were both hearts and Delatorre was eliminated in gut-wrenching fashion.

This elimination pushed Davis to the top of the counts by the time the remaining five players went on their first break of the day. When they returned Bennett would move up the counts, using well-timed shoves to put pressure on Davis. But one mistimed shove would see Bennett eliminated in fifth place.

Bill Bennett
Bill Bennett finished fifth for $170,973 in the $1,000 Seniors Event

After betting a queen-high all-club flop, Davis called Bennett's bet and saw a ten roll off on the turn. Bennett shoved and got snap-called. Davis had flopped the nut flush, while Bennett had turned a set. The board failed to pair on the river and Davis moved to almost half the chips in play four-handed.

The next elimination was start-of-day chip leader Friedlander who got his remaining seventeen big blinds in with ace-five against Stabler's ace-jack. A jack on the turn sent Friedlander to the rail.

Scott Hamilton-Hill was the sole non-American at the final table, and the New Zealander narrowly missed out on the heads-up section of the competition after a poor run of cards saw him eliminated holding ace-deuce against Stabler's king-nine after Stabler flopped a pair.

Coming into heads-up play both Davis and Stabler were fairly level in chips and through over 100 hands of heads-up play, there were some show-stopping moments (including quads for Davis!). But most importantly the players were still very deep, meaning there wasn't a single all-in and call until the final moment in the tournament.

Even then the drama wasn't over. Getting it in with a flush draw against the flopped pair of Stabler, Davis didn't even realize that the river had given him a pair to secure the victory.

"Once I realized I was behind, all I was thinking was 'Diamond, diamond, diamond,'" said Davis, "So when it was black it didn't register. And then when I saw people react, I realized."

Realized that he had a pair. Realized that he had won. And realized a dream of becoming a WSOP gold bracelet winner.

  • Davis outlasted 5,919 entries to take down the $662,983 first-place prize in the $1,000 Seniors Event @WSOP.

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Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German. He also holds an NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism.

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