Dan Heimiller has been a fixture at the World Series of Poker for nearly 20 years. He’s experienced all the ups and downs that go along with being a full-time professional poker player. To his credit, he’s endured it all -- and always with professionalism and class. Actually, it’s sometimes hard to tell if Heimiller is winning or losing when you see him. He always seems to have the same peaceful expression on his face.
That expression cracked a little tonight, as Heimiller managed to win the biggest prize of his long poker career. The Las Vegas pro collected $627,462 in prize money for this most recent victory. He also earned his second career bracelet after a first victory back in 2002 in a Seven-Card Stud event.
"Back in 2002, it wasn't for as much cash, so that makes this one a lot more important," Heimiller said moments after his victory. "It was also a smaller field and wasn't as prestigious back then. It was a great feeling, but this one feels extra spectacular because it was for such a big prize."
Indeed, this victory was no small feat given that the event won by Heimiller was the Seniors Poker Championship, the largest event of it's kind in history. A whopping 4,425 players turned up for the three-day competition, which took place at the Rio in Las Vegas. The number eclipsed the previous high mark, set last year.
Winning the tournament wasn't easy. Not just the immense field size stood in the way, but the quality of competition increasingly became tougher over the course of the three-day event. The final table included at least two notable names -- including Heimiller and Dennis Phillips, best known for coming in second in this same event two years ago, and also taking third place in the 2008 WSOP Main Event Championship.
With this victory, Heimiller now has 52 cashes at the WSOP. He's also won multiple events on the WSOP Circuit, including championship-level events. His career earnings in WSOP-related events alone now totals more than $2 million.
"My No-Limit game game seems to be catching up," Heimiller joked, making reference to his known acumen for mixed games rather than Hold'em. "Up to a couple of years ago, I used to tell people No-Limit was my worst game. There seemed to be a lot of people who had a great grasp of it, so I was an underdog. But now I guess I'm able to hold my own."
Don Maas, a 58-year-old firefighter from Iowa finished as the runner up. Maas held the chip lead when heads-up play began, but Heimiller was able to use his experience to his advantage and overcome Maas, who was making his first-ever WSOP cash. Also of note was Dennis Phillips finished fifth. The popular poker from from St. Louis took second in this event just two years ago.
Here are the final table results from the Seniors Event:
1st: Dan Heimiller - $627,462
2nd: Don Maas - $388,054
3rd: David W. Smith - $279,412
4th: Anthony Wise- $206,492
5th: Dennis Phillips- $153,883
6th: David Tran - $115,651
7th: Barry Schwartz - $87,615
8th: David Vida - $66,945
9th: Jim Custer - $51,573