Travis Baker, a 50-year-old construction manager from Tulsa, Oklahoma is the winner of the $1,000 buy-in Seniors Championship No-Limit Hold'em after four intensive days of play.
Baker's victory is a big surprise to many, given the fact that he's only an amateur and didn't have any previous cashes at the WSOP before winning this event, which he received $613,466 and a gold bracelet for.
The tournament attracted a massive field of 4,193 players. Baker's last day performance was excellent. Once the final table was down to 5 players, he eliminated his four challengers in just 35 minutes!
"I'm so overwhelmed right now," Baker said afterward. For me this is gratifying and satisfying. It's an exclamation point."
"I always felt comfortable while playing, he added. "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."
Final table results:
Second Place -- Carl Torelli (Pahrump, NV) -- $378,766
Third Place - Jim Hopperstead (Cookeville, TN) -- $274,989
Fourth Place -- Michael Smith (union, KY) -- $202,157
Fifth Place -- Justin Tucker (Flushing, NY) -- $149,929
Sixth Place -- Lee Budin (New Albany, OH) -- $112,154
Seventh Place -- Stephen Nussrallah (Alpharetta, GA) -- $84,644
Eighth Place -- Steve Gee (Sacramento, CA) -- $64,417
Ninth Place -- Shane Goldsmith (Newton, KS) -- $49,435OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS:
Information from WSOP.com:
Aside from the final table finishers, other gold bracelet winning players who cashed included - Dao Bac (86th), T.J. Cloutier (126th), and Ted Forrest (347th). Dr. Bruce Van Horn, who was runner up to Huck Seed in the 1996 Main Event Championship, finished in 108th place. Glenn Galfond, father of this year's gold bracelet winner Phil Galfond, cashed for the second time in the Seniors, taking 173rd. Hal Lubarksy, who is legally blind, cashed in this event, finishing 207th. Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman, who won this event in 2012, cashed in 372nd place.
The Seniors Poker Championship is open to players age 50 and up. This year for the first time, there's also a "Super Seniors" event, which is open to players 65 and up.
Average age of participants was 60 years. There were 3,930 men and 262 women who entered. The oldest player was age 92. There were 40 different countries represented.
A tournament similar to the Seniors World Poker Championship was first played in 1993. It was spread at various locations in California and Nevada during the first eight years of its existence. Then, in 2001 an exclusive event for seniors was added to the WSOP schedule. Jay Heimowitz won the first official WSOP Seniors championship gold bracelet.
A woman has won the Seniors Championship just twice. That took place in 2006 and 2012 when Clare Miller and Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman were the winners, respectively.
The oldest winner was Paul McKinney, who was 80-years-old when he won the Seniors Championship in 2005. McKinney, from West Virginia, made a famous quip following his victory. He shared his secret for success by saying, "I like moonshine whisky, big cigars, and young women."
The seniors' event is a No-Limit Hold'em tournament. This has been the game since inception at the WSOP in 2001. The buy-in has always been $1,000.
This year's tournament awarded the famous "Golden Eagle" trophy, which is engraved with the winner's name(s). The trophy is a keepsake that is passed forward from champion to champion, similar to the tradition of the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League.