LAS VEGAS (19 June 2017) – Illinois' Frank Maggio has captured the title in Event #31 of the 2017 World Series of Poker, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship.
Maggio, 56, from Calumet City, Illinois, collected $617,303 and his first WSOP gold bracelet in this event, which shattered the all-time Seniors attendance record. This year's Championship drew 5,309 entrants, far outpassing the previous mark of 4,499 set just last year.
For Maggio, the huge payday was his seventh WSOP cash, far outpacing his previous lifetime WSOP earnings of $13,300 in the process.
Maggio sealed the giant win by eliminating San Francisco's Bill Murray after a brief heads-up duel. Murray collected $381,233 for his own second-ever WSOP cash.
Henderson, Nevada's Dieter Dechant claimed third, winning $281,691.
Maggio has made a point of traveling to Las Vegas to play in this event for the past few years, with one of his six prior cashes coming in the 2015 Seniors Championship. Maggio has also frequented WSOP Circuit events at Hammond Horseshoe (Chicago area) and Southern Indiana in recent years.
As for this latest Vegas trip, he and his wife Lisa have had to change their travel plans not once, but twice. They were originally slated to fly out after the weekend after being here for several days, since Frank played in the Marathon event as well.
When he ran deep in the Seniors, with the possibility of Day 4 looming, they rescheduled to a Wednesday morning flight. And now that's not enough. There's that bracelet ceremony to attend Wednesday afternoon, with Lisa prodding Frank to stay in Vegas long enough to attend. It didn't take too much convincing.
“Grinder... yes,” said Maggio, trying to describe this special WSOP experience. “Trying to grind it out. I come out here every year since I turned 50 to play in the Seniors event. I cashed a couple of years ago, but this year's a big surprise.
Maggio also pointed to his collision against Anthony Licastro during four-handed action as the key to the win. Licastro re-raised all in for more than six million in chips before the flop, and Maggio, who had limped behind initial raiser Dechant, called for almost all of his own chips as well. Licastro had pocket tens while Maggio showed A-K, and the flop brought both an ace and a king to move Maggio well ahead. Licastro couldn't find one of the remaining tens, which narrowed the field to three and gave Maggio the inside track the rest of the way.
The full nine-player final of this year's Senior's event was pushed to Monday due to the sheer size of the record 5,389-player field. Among them was two-time bracelet winner, Dan Heimiller, with one of those two bracelets coming in this same event in 2014. Heimiller's day ended early, though, when he ran his pocket kings into Murray's pocket kings, with nothing changing as a dry board rolled out.
Eighth went to Paul Spitzberg, who lost a race for the last of chips against Dechant, Spitzberg had against Dechant's . The board brought to send Spitzberg to the rail.
Murray picked up his second final-table knockout by busting Lewis LeClair in seventh. An all-in LeClair led most of the hand with against Murray's , but Murray spiked the on the river.
Gina Bacon nursed a very short stack to sixth place before following LeClair to the rail. Her last 315,000 went in with , but Mark Lillge waited with pocket queens, which held up on a jack-high board. The field dwindled to four soon after, in the all-in collision between Maggio and Licastro.
Fourth went to Mark Lillge, who moved his last 1.35 million in after finding . Right behind him, William Murray called with , and Murray scored the knockout when the flop brought a king and the board offered no further help.
Dechant's run ended in third when he saw a flop with ace-deuce and ended up all in after a flop gave him a wheel. Murray, though, had flopped his own set of fives, and all the chips went in; the turn missed but the river was the . That gave Murray a full house, the pot and a narrow lead over Maggio as the duel for the bracelet began, though Maggio soon reclaimed the chip lead before the final hand's fireworks.
Among the well-known players cashing amid Event #31's massive field were David Plastik (54th), Blair Rodman (60th), Dan Schmiech (115th), Per Hildebrand (123rd), Mark Kroon (167th), and Farzad Bonyadi (202nd).
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Final Table Payouts:
1st: Frank Maggio, $617,303
2nd: Bill Murray, $381,233
3rd: Dieter Dechant, $281,691