Eric Smidinger Full of Emotion After Winning 2022 WSOP Seniors Event ($694,909)
Table Of Contents
The 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #47: $1,000 Seniors Championship was full of big names, big drama, and some incredible poker.
At the end of five days, there could only be one person from the 7,188-entry field donning the gold bracelet, and that was Eric Smidinger.
In a come-from-behind effort, Smidinger outlasted Ben Sarnoff in a two-and-a-half hour heads-up battle to take home an incredible $694,909 top prize and his very first WSOP gold bracelet.
Smidinger's previous career-high live cash was for $28,831 when he finished in fourth place at a $365 WSOP Circuit event in Baltimore, Maryland back in 2015 according to The Hendon Mob.
This was Smidinger's third year at the WSOP, having enjoyed three cashes in 2019, three cashes in 2021, and four cashes in 2022. The Maryland native claims to have a cash rate of over 50% each and every year so far.
He notably went deep in the 2022 $1,500 Millionaire Maker, finishing in 275th place, with his previous career-best finish being in the WSOP coming in the 2021 $1,000 Double Stack, where he finished in 71st.
Smidinger has attributed his success in poker to his wife's lasagna and being able to study and play poker more while working less in recent years.
Event #47: $1,000 Seniors Championship Final Table Results
|1||Eric Smidinger||United States||$694,909|
|2||Ben Sarnoff||United States||$429,420|
|3||Charles Mitchell||United States||$323,057|
|5||Kathy Liebert||United States||$186,541|
"This is a dream. I love it. This morning, coming in, I knew I had just as good of a chance as anybody. I'm excited," he said after the win. "It's going to be cool to go back to Blackhawk, I live in Colorado (Evergreen) and play there regularly, including tournaments. It'll be nice to sport the bracelet."
When asked how winning the bracelet ranked amongst the top moments in his life, Smidinger began to tear up as he looked over to his wife.
"Uh. Wow. You know, family is so important... (voice breaks) After that, wife, kids, making a family... we have three great kids, five grandkids. After all that, married to a loving partner, a life-long loving partner, this is up there. This is, for sure, a bucket-list item, and I hope to get another one and I'll probably play the Main Event. I can afford it."
He was asked how the money would change his life, he first thought of his wife.
"My wife, Betsy, she's retiring soon. She was planning to retire within the year and now that date will probably come a little sooner."
He added: "Tonight? I haven't had a drop of alcohol since I've been here so we're going to go out and celebrate."
Path to Bracelet
“It's wonderful. I started playing poker in high school, went to Jim Boyd's (Prince's) home game in Maryland with my buddy Gabe (who was on the rail). We used to play tournaments there all the time. Then the casinos came, I didn't start playing tournaments in casinos until 2006. I had minor success but then when work decreased, poker increased and I could study the game. The last few years have been really good.
"I think I played in six events this year, cashed in four. Played five events last year, cashed in three and similar the year before but nothing significantly large. But this tournament, everything just worked out.
"Even though I didn't run overly good. When I did get it in, anytime it was critical, I got it in slightly ahead and those held up, just like the last hand, it just held up."
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Final Table Action
The first player out was the legendary Kathy Liebert ($186,541), who was short-stacked and shoved pocket kings from the hijack. Unfortunately, she ran into the pocket aces of Sarnoff in the cutoff.
A little over 15 minutes went by before Biagio Morciano ($244,664) ran his ace-jack into the pocket eights of Smidinger. After getting it in preflop, he couldn't improve and had to settle for fourth place.
Out in third was Charles Mitchell ($323,057), better known as Mitch. After coming in as the short stack, Mitchell was very active and battled all day until finding himself in a three-way all-in pot with both Sarnoff and Smidinger. Unfortunately for Mitchell, his ace-king was bested by Sarnoff's ace-jack, who also beat Smidinger's pocket sixes.
Though he would be the chip leader for all of Day 5 before it was heads up, it would be the aforementioned Sarnoff ($429,420) to fall just short at the end. Sarnoff's suited ace-king could not catch up to Smidinger's pocket eights and he was visibly disappointed to finish in second.
That does it forPokerNews' coverage of Event #47: $1,000 Seniors Championship, but there are still plenty of great events remaining at the 2022 WSOP. Click here to see what other tournaments are taking place now.
Blaise Bourgeois is a full-time digital nomad living and playing poker in Latin America. He's part of the PokerNews live reporting team for the 2022 World Series of Poker.
In this Series
- 1 Can't Stop Kopp: Katie Kopp Wins First Bracelet of the 2022 WSOP
- 2 David Peters Wins 2022 WSOP Event #2: $100K High Roller Bounty for 4th Gold Bracelet
- 3 Scott Seiver Wins 4th Bracelet in 2022 WSOP Event #3: $2,500 Freezeout NLH ($320,059)
- 4 For a Higher Cause: Brad Ruben Wins 4th Bracelet in 2022 WSOP Event #4: $1,500 Dealer's Choice
- 5 Dan Smith Captures 1st Bracelet; Wins 2022 WSOP Event #6: $25K Heads-Up Championship
- 6 Norbert Szecsi Captures The Third Bracelet of his Career at the 2022 WSOP
- 7 Manig ''Ohio77'' Loeser Wins Second Online Bracelet in as Many Years
- 8 Amnon Filippi Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #7: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($252,718)
- 9 Chad Eveslage Wins 2022 WSOP Event #8: $25,000 High Roller ($1,415,610)
- 10 Alex Livingston Wins 2022 WSOP Event #9: $1,500 Seven Card Stud ($103,282)
- 11 Henry Acain Wins 2022 WSOP Event #5: $500 The Housewarming ($701,215)
- 12 Raj Vohra Wins His First Bracelet at the 2022 WSOP; Takes Down the $600 Deepstack
- 13 Ben Diebold Wins 2022 WSOP $10,000 Dealer's Choice 6-Handed Championship ($299,488)
- 14 Jake Schindler Wins First Bracelet and $1,328,068 in Event #12: $50,000 High Roller
- 15 First Time's the Charm: Michael Moncek Wins Event #13: $1,500 Limit Hold'em
- 16 Frenchman Leo Soma Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #14: $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em ($456,889)
- 17 Dominick Sarle Wins 2022 WSOP Event #17: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball ($164,243)
- 18 Bryan Schultz Wins 2022 WSOP Event #18: $1,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em ($330,057)
- 19 Stefan Lehner Wins First Bracelet in Event #16: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em ($558,616)
- 20 Denis Nesterenko Wins Event #20: $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw ($108,250)
- 21 Tong Li Wins $1,467,739 and First Bracelet in Event #19: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller
- 22 Adam Friedman Wins Fifth WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #22: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship
- 23 Brian Altman Captures His Maiden WSOP Bracelet in the Online $400 Ultra Deepstack
- 24 Christopher Chatman Flips to Win First WSOP Bracelet in Event #24: $1,000 Flip & Go
- 25 Rob Wazwaz Ships Event #25: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstacks For $358,346
- 26 Mike Jukich Wins the $1,500 Monster Stack at the 2022 WSOP For $966,577
- 27 K9 & Canine Lucky for Jonathan Cohen in Event #26: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship ($245,678)
- 28 Michael Simhai Hits the Mark in 2022 WSOP Event #27: Shootout NLH ($240,480)
- 29 Robert Cowen Wins Bracelets in Back-to-Back Years; Binks $50K PLO High Roller for $1.4M
- 30 Maxx Coleman Wins Elusive First Bracelet in the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw
- 31 15 Years in the Making: Daniel Weinman Nabs 1st Bracelet in Event #30: $1,000 PLO
- 32 Nino Ullmann Wins His First WSOP Bracelet in the $3K NLHE 6-Max Event
- 33 Brian Hastings Captures Sixth Bracelet in Event #31: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship
- 34 Musician Steve Albini Wins (And Breaks!) Second Bracelet in 2022 WSOP $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
- 35 Lok Chan Wins 2022 WSOP Event #35: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet on First Trip to WSOP ($144,338)
- 36 Ali Eslami Takes Down Event #36: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better for $135,260 and Maiden WSOP Bracelet
- 37 Justin Pechie Wins Second WSOP Bracelet in the $1,500 Freezeout
- 38 Pedro Bromfman Is Triumphant in Event #38: $10,000 2-7 Single Draw Championship
- 39 Ramsey Stovall Wins First Bracelet In 2022 WSOP $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty ($191,223)
- 40 Matt "PmpknHead" Szymaszek Wins WSOP Online Bracelet Event #4: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Max
- 41 Aleksejs Ponakovs Defeats Phil Ivey to Win Event #42: $100,000 High Roller for $1,897,363
- 42 Zack Wins Second Bracelet of the 2022 WSOP; $10,000 Stud Hi-Lo Championship ($324,174)
- 43 David Perry Defeats Chris Moorman in the 2022 WSOP $500 Freezeout ($241,729)
- 44 Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! KFC Fan Kolev Wins 2022 WSOP Millionaire Maker ($1,125,141)
- 45 Phil Hui Mounts Comeback to Win Third Bracelet In $1,500 PLO at the 2022 WSOP
- 46 Andrew Yeh Rides to Victory in Event #44: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship ($487,129)
- 47 Frenchman Jonathan Pastore Wins 2022 WSOP Event #46: $5,000 6-Handed NLHE ($771,765)
- 48 First Bracelet for Cyprus; Menikos Panagiotou Wins 2022 WSOP Event #48: $1,500 Eight Game Mix
- 49 Alex Foxen Goes Wire-to-Wire in $250K Super High Roller on Way to Maiden Bracelet ($4,563,700)
- 50 Simeon Spasov Completes Come-From-Behind Win in Event #49: $2,000 NLH ($527,944)
- 51 Joao Simao Takes Down Second Bracelet For $686,242 In $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha
- 52 WSOP Rookie Kijoon Park Wins Event #52: $2,500 Nine-Game Mix 6-Handed ($219,799)
- 53 William "swaggyb" Corvino Captures First Bracelet in the $600 Online Deepstack Championship
- 54 Eric Smidinger Full of Emotion After Winning 2022 WSOP Seniors Event ($694,909)
- 55 James Todd Wins 2022 WSOP Event #54: $500 Salute to Warriors ($161,256); $74,809 Raised for USO
- 56 Written in the Stars: Paul Hizer Outlasts the Field in the 2022 WSOP Colossus ($414,490)
- 57 Martin "115FTW" Stoyanov Wins The $500 WSOP Bracelet Turbo Deepstack
- 58 Patrick Leonard & Espen Jørstad Win 2022 WSOP Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team ($148,067)
- 59 Lawrence Brandt Wins $1,500 PLO8 After Gruelling Final Day ($289,610)
- 60 Shota Nakanishi Wins His First Bracelet in Event #60: $10,000 Short Deck ($277,212)
- 61 Tamas Lendvai Wins Event #57: $600 Deep Stack Championship No-Limit Hold'em ($299,464)
- 62 Do It for Dari: Dash Dudley Wins 3rd WSOP Gold Bracelet for Daughter After Coming Back from 3BB Short Stack
- 63 Dan Cates Makes History; Wins Back-to-Back $50,000 Poker Players Championship ($1,449,103)
- 64 Come Back Kid: Massoud “CBK” Eskandari Wins First Bracelet in Super Seniors for $330,609
- 65 Poker Hall of Famer Eli Elezra Wins Fifth WSOP Bracelet in $10K PLO-8 Championship ($611,362)
- 66 Konstantin Angelov Wins 2022 WSOP Event #64: $600 PLO Deepstack ($199,466)
- 67 Nacho Barbero Takes 2022 WSOP $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty Bracelet Back to Argentina
- 68 Austria's Jessica Teusl Wins 2022 WSOP Ladies Championship ($166,975)
- 69 Young Sik Comes From Behind To Win The Mini Main Event For $594,189
- 70 Sean Troha Completes Comeback and Wins the $10K PLO Championship ($1,246,770)
- 71 Quincy Borland Crowned Champion of Event #68: $1,000 Million Dollar Bounty ($750,120)
- 72 Bradley Anderson Wins 2022 WSOP Event #72: $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo ($195,565)
- 73 Daniel Strelitz Wins His Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #73: $1,500 Razz
- 74 Harry "timexCNT" Lodge Wins His First Bracelet in the $7,777 Lucky 7's Online High Roller ($396,666)
- 75 Pei Li Crowned Champion in Event #74: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha ($190,219)
- 76 Yevgeniy "Kazak132" Minakrin Wins Online Event #9: $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship ($238,315)
- 77 Former Professional StarCraft Player Jinho Hong Wins Poker Hall of Fame Bounty
- 78 Julien Perouse Captures Bracelet In Online $3,200 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller 8-Max ($324,767)
- 79 Mike Allis Potentially Going Out on a High After Winning the One Drop ($535,610)
- 80 Canada's Sebastien Aube Takes Down Event #78: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em ($499,636)
- 81 Gregory [Removed:372] Wins 2022 WSOP Event #75: $777 Lucky Sevens ($777,777)
- 82 Romans Voitovs Wins 2022 WSOP Event #80: $600 Mixed NLH/PLO ($158,609)
- 83 Julien Martini Wins His Fourth Bracelet In Razz Championship for $328,604
- 84 Mo Arani Wins Event #81: $5,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em ($665,459)
- 85 Richard Alsup Wins Event #82: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack ($272,065)
- 86 João Vieira Outlasts Lander Lijo to Win Second WSOP Bracelet ($1,384,415)
- 87 Espen Jorstad Wins 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event for $10,000,000
- 88 Michael Wang Stages a Heads-Up Comeback to Win His Second Bracelet
- 89 Lawrence Brandt Wins Second Bracelet of 2022 in $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. ($205,139)
- 90 Gianluca "InMyHouse" Speranza Claims Maiden Golden Bracelet
- 91 Jaspal Brar Tops Field In Event #88: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold'em For First Gold Bracelet ($190,731)
- 92 Minh Nguyen Saves Bad Summer w/ Victory in 2022 WSOP $1,500 The Closer ($536,280)
- 93 Gregory Jensen Wins 2022 WSOP Event 86: $10,000 6-Handed Championship ($824,649)
- 94 Benjamin Kaupp Wins Tournament of Champions to Close Out 2022 WSOP ($250,000)