The Right Angle

Harold Angle Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

78-Year-Old Florida Retiree Wins 2010 Seniors Championship

Angle Collects $487,994 in Prize Money

2010 WSOP Attracts Largest Seniors Field in History – 3,142 Players

Through 33 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance Up 12 Percent Over Last Year
 
OVERVIEW

Harold Angle was the winner of the $1,000 buy-in Seniors No-Limit Hold’em World Championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Angle won the biggest seniors poker event ever on record, as he came out on top of a field numbering 3,142 entries.  No senior’s-related poker tournament has ever broken the 3,000-player mark prior to this monster-sized attraction.  In fact, this year’s record turnout eclipsed the previous 2009 record mark by 16 percent.  The prize pool amounting to $2,827,800 was also a record.

Angle is a 78-year-old retiree from Sun City, FL.  He formally worked in sales for a major shoe manufacturer.  He was the eldest of nine players at the final table.  In fact, some of the players who were in their 50s were “young” enough to be Angle’s children.  Angle’s victory illustrates many truisms, the most obvious of which is – one is never too old to be a poker champion.  First place paid $487,994.

Angle’s stunning victory was unthinkable on the first day of play.  At one point on Day One, the Floridian was down to just 400 in chips.  The starting stacks were 3,000 in chips.  Angle later stated he did not win a single pot during the first two levels of play (2 hours).  At one point, he held up the paltry few chips and showed his son-in-law who was watching at the rail.  “I’ll be out soon,” he said.  Three days later, Angle was still playing and ended up as the champion.

The top 324 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Tom Schneider (14th), Fred Berger (42nd), Eddy Scharf (73rd), Susie Isaacs (78th), Dao Bac (199th), T.J. Cloutier (225th), Randy Holland (246th), Howard “Tahoe” Andrew (286th), “Captain” Tom Franklin (312th), and Hoyt Corkins (288th).

One of the most interesting stories of any player at this year’s Seniors Championship was told by a player named Jeanne Nelson.  She is a 60-year-old accountant from St. Paul, MN.  This was Nelson’s first time ever to play in the WSOP.  One year ago, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Her husband bought her into this tournament as a birthday gift.  She stated that playing in the WSOP was on her so-called “Bucket List.”  To play was her dream come true.  Not only did Nelson enter this tournament, she also cashed in 12th place -- which paid $28,221.  The entire WSOP family wishes Jeanne Nelson well and believes she is a true inspiration for everyone to follow their dreams.

The Seniors Poker Championship has been largely successful due to the efforts of “Oklahoma” Johnny Hale, who is known as the “Elder Statesman of Poker.”  Hale has organized many senior’s poker events over the years.  Prior to the start of this year’s Seniors Championship, Hale addressed the large crowd.  He conducted the annual “Roll Call,” which provides for a moment of silence and reflection on behalf of many deceased poker greats, such as Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, Stu Ungar, and others.  Hale is also the caretaker of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.  During a break on the first day of play, all living members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame were photographed as a group on the main stage inside the Pavilion.  

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.

THE CHAMPION – HAROLD ANGLE

The $1,000 buy-in Seniors No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #34) is Harold Angle, from Sun City, FL.  

Angle is 78-year-old.  

Angle was born in 1931 in Portsmouth, OH.

Angle is retired.  He previously worked as an executive for a major shoE manufacturer, specializing in sales.  He later became the Senior Vice-President.

Angle has been married to his wife Fern for 60 years.

The Angles have three children, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

One of Angle’s grandchildren is a cheerleader for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Angle wore his “lucky” Jacksonville Jaguars cap the entire tournament.  

Angle recalled playing his first hand of poker in 1946.  It was in a pool hall in Ohio.  The game they played was five-card stud.  The buy-in to the game was one dollar.

Angle sometimes plays poker at the Hard Rock Casino near Tampa, FL.

Angle has never played a hand of online poker in his life.

Angle collected $487,994 for first place.  This was his first and only cash at the WSOP.

According to official records, Angle now has one win, one final table appearance, and one in-the-money finish at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings now total $487,994.

Angle does not plan to play in the WSOP Main Event this year.  However, he does plan to return to next year’s WSOP to defend his title.  He says his goal now is to win in a few years and become the oldest seniors champion in history (which would be 81).

When asked to summarize his philosophy, Angle stated:  “Family is the most important thing.  Anything they are doing, that’s where I want to be.”

Angle’s win was witnessed by his wife and daughters.  Most of them were in tears when the final winning hand was dealt.  Angle later said he would split his prize money with his children and their families.

WINNER QUOTES

On seniors playing poker:  “I play a lot of tournaments in Tampa.  What I like is that I am often sitting next to 21-year-olds.  I am like a grandfather to the whole table.”

On his experience playing in the Seniors Championship:  “It was a great tournament.  I did not run into any rude people the entire time.  Everyone congratulated each other.  It was the best.  I had the best time ever.”

On what it takes to win:  “There are three things you need – patience, knowledge of the game, and you have to have luck.”

On making an incredible comeback from Day One:  “The first two hours of this tournament, I did not win a hand.  It took me that long to win a hand.  I had to have patience before I got started.  I was down to four $100 chips (starting stacks were $3,000).  Four $100 chips.  I was holding up the chips and (my son-in-law) got a picture of me.  Then, I started to come back.”

On his views towards online poker:  “I don’t even know how to turn a computer on.”

On the impact of winning a WSOP title:  “I don’t know if I will ever get over this, or not….It’s overwhelming.”

On his place in life:  “I’ve really been blessed.  I was blessed with family first.  This win was great.  But they are what matters most.”

On his future plans in poker:  “I’ll be back next year for sure, and many more years beyond that, I hope.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

All players at the final table reside in the United States.

The ages of players at the final table ranged from 52 to 78.  The oldest player won.

Final table play began nine-handed.  

The runner up was Michael Minetti, from Las Vegas, NV.  This was his seventh time to cash in a WSOP event.  His first in-the-money finish took place back in 1989.  He also cashed in last year’s Main Event (184th).  Minetti collected a nice consolation prize totaling $301,839.

Following his elimination, Minetti was heard to say, “I do not feel good about it now.  But I will probably feel much better tomorrow.”

The third-place finisher was John Woo, from Henderson, NV.  He held the chip lead during most of the final table, but suffered a brutal final hour during which he went from chip leader to the rail.  Woo, a former fireman and realtor-turned-poker pro, has previously cashed in various Las Vegas tournaments.  His ambition to win a gold bracelet was shattered when the clock struck midnight on Day Three, and Woo had to settle for a third-place consolation prize of $213,612.

The fourth-place finisher was Eric Stemp, from Boulder City, NV.  He is a casino dealer.  Stemp has several previous cashes in smaller tournaments.  But this was his first time to score at the WSOP.  Stemp took his share of the prize pool, which amounted to $154,624.

The fifth-place finisher was Daniel Camillo, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a retired special agent for the F.B.I.  This was his first time to cash in a WSOP tournament, and he made it count to the tune of 113,225.

The sixth-place finisher was Preston Derden, from Houston, TX.  He has cashed 10 times in WSOP-related events.  Most of his in-the-money finishes have taken place at various WSOP Circuit tournaments throughout the country.  Derden collected his biggest poker win ever, worth $83,872.

The seventh-place finisher was Ernest “Jack” Ward, a retired businessman from Gulfport, MS who plays many tournaments around the country.  He has many WSOP and WSOP Circuit cashes to show for his dedication.  Ward pocketed $62,833 in this event, for seventh place.

The eighth-place finisher was Carlos Pianelli, from Irvine, CA.  He is a school teacher.  Pianelli won the “Teacher of the Year” award for his outstanding work with children in South Central Los Angeles.  In fact, Pianelli used the $500 prize he was given by the local school board to enter this poker tournament.  Painelli turned that investment into $47,591 which goes to prove that good things sometimes happen to good people.

The ninth-place finisher was Jay Hong, from Riverside, CA.  He is a Korean-born retiree making his second WSOP cash.  Hong did not last long at the final table, but still received a nice payout totaling $36,450.

The final table officially began at 6:30 pm and ended at 1:30 am.  The final table clocked in at 7 hours.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS


The top 324 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Tom Schneider (14th), Fred Berger (42nd), Eddy Scharf (73rd), Susie Isaacs (78th), Dao Bac (199th), T.J. Cloutier (225th), Randy Holland (246th), Howard “Tahoe” Andrew (286th), “Captain” Tom Franklin (312th), and Hoyt Corkins (288th).

Richard Lee, who made the final table in the 2006 WSOP Main Event (6th place), finished in 106th place.

One of the most interesting stories of any player at this year’s Seniors Championship was told by Jeanne Nelson.  She is a 60-year-old accountant from St. Paul, MN.  This was Nelson’s first time ever to play in the WSOP.  One year ago, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Her husband bought her into this tournament as a birthday gift.  She stated that playing in the WSOP was on her so-called “Bucket List.”  To play was her dream come true.  Not only did Nelson enter this tournament, she also cashed in 12th place -- which paid $28,221.  The entire WSOP family wishes Jeanne Nelson well and believes she is a true  inspiration for everyone to follow their dreams.

Dr, Arthur Reber, formally a professor at Brooklyn College, is one of the leading academics on the psychology of gambling.  He finished in 298th place.

Sports handicapper Jim Feist finished in 308th place.  His only other WSOP cash was an in-the-money finish in the 2005 Main Event (406th).

The defending champion was Michael T. Davis, from Durango, IA.  He did not enter this year’s tournament.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 862nd gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded at WSOP Europe (to date).

The final table was played on the ESPN secondary stage.  The finale drew one of the largest viewing audiences of any event of the year, so far.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.

Angle requested that the national anthem of United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony.

EVENT HISTORY

This year’s tournament attracted 3,142 players.  This was the largest seniors' event in poker history.  The turnout shattered last year's previous record of 2,707 entrants.

To be eligible for entry into the Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship, the entrant must be age 50 or older -- which means the player had to have been born prior to June 18, 1960.

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 once.  That took place in 2006 when Clare Miller was the winner.  (Writer’s Note:  A look back at that event can be read at the conclusion of this report.)

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.

 “OKLAHOMA” JOHNNY HALE – ELDER STATESMAN OF POKER

The Seniors Poker Championship has been largely successful due to the efforts of “Oklahoma” Johnny Hale, who is known as the “Elder Statesman of Poker.”  Hale has organized many senior’s poker events over the years.

Prior to the start of this year’s Seniors Championship, Hale addressed the large crowd.  He conducted the annual “Roll Call,” which provides for a moment of silence and reflection on behalf of many deceased poker greats, such as Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, Stu Ungar, and others.

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.

Hale is also the caretaker of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.  During a break on the first day of play, all living members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame were photographed as a group on the main stage inside the Pavilion.  

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 19-21, 2010.

At one point on Day One, eventual winner Harold Angle was down to just 400 in chips.  The starting stacks were 3,000 in chips.  Angle later stated he did not win a single pot during the first two levels of play (2 hours).  At one point, he held up the paltry few chips and showed his son-in-law who was watching at the rail.  “I’ll be out soon,” he said.  Three days later, Angle was still playing and ended up $487,994 in prize money.

Angle stated he experienced three “suck outs” (his words) during the tournament.  Angle was all-in with the worst hand and managed to survive.  “You have to have some luck on your side to win,” he stated.

When heads-up play began, Angle enjoyed about a 7-to-1 chip lead over his last rival Michael Minetti.  The heads-up duel lasted about 45 minutes and Minetti played tough.  But he could not overcome such a massive chip disadvantage.

The final hand of the tournament came when Angle was dealt     against Minetti’s    .  Minetti had a decisive advantage, but Angle managed to hit a king on the flop.  The final board showed          , giving Angle two pair – kings and nines – and the victory.     

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up from this same point last year.  Last year, through 34 events, there were 33,668 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 37,966 total entries, an increase of 12.7 percent.

Tournament prize money figures are down slightly from last year.  Last year, through 34 events, the sum of total prize money won was $65,791,540.  This year’s total prize money figure currently stands at $64,588,530.

Through the conclusion of Event #34, the nationalities of winners have been:

United States (22)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #34, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (16)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (3)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (1)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #34, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (22):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador

Semi-Pros (3):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #34, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners at the 2010 WSOP:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador

LOOKING BACK:  2006 SENIORS WSOP CHAMPIONSHIP

Tournament Report

“Deal the Cards, We're Playin'!”

61-Year-Old Clare Miller Wins Seniors World Poker Championship

New Mexico grandmother is first woman to ever win seniors event, during week of her 41st wedding anniversary

Las Vegas, NV - There was a point very late in the 2006 Seniors World Poker Championship when tournament officials approached the surviving players and offered them the option of calling it a night and returning the next day. The seniors had played two lengthy, grueling days during which more than a thousand players had been eliminated. Amongst the nine exhausted survivors, there were some weary faces. When the tournament director approached 61-year old Clare Miller, her answer was uncompromising and to the point. 'Deal the cards, we're playin'!' she snapped.

Poker is a natural pastime for all seniors. It very well may be the only competitive game which allows persons 50, 60, 70, or even 80-years and older to compete on an equal playing field with younger players in their 20s and 30s. Where else but a poker table could a 61-year-old grandmother become a 'world champion?'

Poker not only affords opportunities for seniors to compete and win. More important, poker brings people of all walks of life together in a friendly social atmosphere. Many friendships are built around poker tables. Kuei Chi Chang, an 80-year-old woman from Las Vegas, who competed in her first-ever poker tournament at the World Series of Poker last week, said it best: 'Poker makes me feel young again.'

This year's Seniors World Poker Championship was the largest such competition ever in poker history. In a World Series which continues to shatter every conceivable record ever posted in poker, 1,184 players flooded into the Rio Las Vegas to compete for over a million dollars in prize money, including first place -- $247,814 in cash. The event began with a solemn moment. The roll call of names from poker's glorious past were called out over a silent room packed to full capacity. Poker's proud pioneers were remembered -- including Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, and Puggy Pearson who passed away only a few months ago. 'Oklahoma Johnny' Hale was the perfect host for the proceedings. As the event's Grand Marshall, Hale inducted two new members into the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame. Mike 'the Mad Genius' Caro and Paul McKinney were introduced in a brief ceremony.

With that, the senior's event began. The competition was open to persons aged 50 and older. The event attracted an eclectic mix of poker players. Paul McKinney, last year's 82-year-old seniors champion (and the latest inductee into the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame) was on hand to defend his title. Jan Fisher, the popular writer and columnist for Card Player magazine entered, along with her father, Dr. Peter Fisher. The Fisher's participation likely marked the first time that a father and daughter played together in the seniors championship. Also, a husband and wife from Alamogordo, New Mexico entered the tournament. Shelby Miller would outlast all but 39 players in this event. His wife, Clare Miller would ultimately fare much better.

Once the final table was reached, Clare Miller had the chip lead most of the way. There had been a point earlier in the night when Miller caught a big break. She won a race with ace-king versus pocket queens, which essentially gave her the chips that would propel her on to victory. 'It was luck,' Miller modestly explained in a post-tournament interview. 'You have to have a lot of luck to win.'

The final hand of the tournament came when Mike Nargi was dealt pocket threes and moved all-in. Miller, holding queen-eight suited, called. The final board showed 10-4-2-6-8. An eight on the river eliminated Nargi and gave Miller her victory.

The runner up, Mike Nargi is a 53-year-old former craps dealer from Arkansas, who now gambles professionally. Nargi had a nice run at the poker table before he finally sevened-out. Second-place paid $129,293.

Clare Miller was overjoyed with her victory. She broke into tears and her voice quivered as she experienced the thrill of a lifetime. Afterward, Miller told her own personal story that she and her husband had struggled in their earlier years together. Through a lot of hard work and love, the couple built a few businesses and eventually became quite successful. In their retirement years they turned to poker as an activity they could play and enjoy together. The fact that Mr. Shelby Miller finished 40th in the same tournament was clear evidence that this would be the Miller's day. Fittingly, the happy couple is celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary this week.

Miller put everything into proper perspective when she was presented with the coveted WSOP gold bracelet and prize money totaling nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars. 'We are very lucky and live very comfortably now, so at this stage the bracelet is probably more important,' she said. 'But they don't mean anything compared to my 41-years with Shelby.'