Monday, June 20, 2011 3:17 AM Local Time
This year's version of the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship attracted a staggering 3,752 players, all of whom packed the Rio to the rafters on Day 1 to set a new record for an opening day field. The bustouts came fast and furious on the first day of action and thousands of seniors hit the rail in succession.
After nearly four thousand hopeful seniors converged on the World Series of Poker looking to win the Seniors Championship, we have crowned a new champion. James Hess, who hails from Encino, California, navigated the record-setting opening day field to make the final table. Once he got there, Hess used a combination of pressure poker and modern strategy to exert his will on the rest of the competitors. After claiming the chip lead halfway through the final table, Hess never relinquished it and used his big stack to punish his opponents for the rest of the night.
Hess defeated Richard "Dick" Harwood in a relatively quick heads-up contest, after dispatching no less than five other players from the final table. A one-man wrecking crew, Hess was the most aggressive player in the room for the entirety of Day 3, using three-bets and re-steals to bully his opponents into submission.
Hess told us early on in the day that his trip to South Africa was weighing heavily on his mind, even with glory of a WSOP bracelet so close at hand. When asked why this flight was so important, Hess became emotional as he told us about his father-in-law, who currently lives in South Africa. With this 1st place finish occurring on Father's Day, Hess will undoubtedly be able to give a very special gift: a WSOP victory dedicated to him.
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:53 AM Local Time
In the final hand of what has been a very long night, Richard Harwood called from the button and James Hess checked his option from the big.
The flop came and Hess led out for 200,000. Harwood raised to one million and Hess casually announced a raise to two million. Harwood went all in and Hess called.
Hess: for trip sixes.
Harwood: for two-pair.
The turn came the and the river came , ending Harwood's phenomenal run and sending him home with a cool $342,407.
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:46 AM Local Time
With his stack shrinking by the minute, Craig Koch new he had to make a stand at some point. After folding his way to a stack of only 400,000, good for just four big blinds at this level, Koch heard James Hess raise to 300,000 and knew it was time to take the plunge. Koch, which we are told rhymes with "luck," made the call with his and hoped to have live cards.
Hess ended those hopes when he turned over , his hand having Harwood's outkicked. The final board ran out and Koch was eliminated in 3rd place. He will take home $248,971 for his run through this massive Seniors Championship field.
|James Hess||8,100,000||1,450,000 |
|Craig Koch||0||-1,000,000 |
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:31 AM Local Time
In two subsequent hands, Richard Harwood and James Hess found themselves all in against each other, and both times, they had the same hand and chopped the pot. Once was with and another time with . A very uncommon occurrence three-handed, to say the least.
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:29 AM Local Time
After raising to 500,000 from the button, James Hess watched as Richard "Dick" Harwood shipped his stack into the middle. The reraise was for 1,350,000 more and Hess could easily have the laydown, but with the dominant chip lead he decided to take the risk.
"It's a stupid call, but I call" said Hess as he turned over his . When he saw the held by Dick Harwood, Hess simply shook his head in confirmation and waited for the dealer to spread the board.
The flop of was as dry as it gets for Hess and he said "nice hand sir" while still shaking his head. The on the turn left him drawing dead, and after the meaningless on the river, Hess shipped nearly 2,000,000 to the revitalized Harwood.
|James Hess||6,650,000||-1,850,000 |
|Richard Harwood||3,700,000||1,400,000 |
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:20 AM Local Time
Craig Koch went all in from the small blind and James Hess called.
The board came and Koch doubled up to one million.
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:13 AM Local Time
James Hess raised from the button and Joseph Bolnick went all in from the big. Hess called.
The board ran out and Bolnick was sent to the rail.
Hess now has a commanding chip lead with 8.5 million.
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:10 AM Local Time
Since our last elimination, James Hess has noticeably opened up his play, using aggressive re-steals to accumulate chips.
In a recent hand, Hess watched Joseph Bolnick raise to 275,000 from the button and Craig Koch make the call from the small blind. Rather than let the two men settle the score, Hess simply shoved his stack into the middle and forced the folds, earning more than 550,000 chips with the power poker move.
While Hess may be simply responding to conditions on the felt, another pressing concern has also caused him to shift things into high gear. Hess told us that he is expecting to board a flight sometime tomorrow in order to visit his ailing father in South Africa. While the pursuit of gold and glory here at the WSOP is certainly important, caring for his father is priority number one for James Hess.
If he can bully his opponents into submission during this last level of play, James Hess will have nothing to worry about tomorrow as he flies the friendly skies a half-million dollars richer.
|James Hess||5,250,000||500,000 |
Monday, June 20, 2011 2:01 AM Local Time
There have been an abundant amount of walks going into four-handed play. Hopefully the dealer begins giving the players some cards they like.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:56 AM Local Time
Joseph Bolnick went all-in from the button and was called by James Hess in the big.
The board ran out and Bolnick doubled to 1.65 million. Hess slid to 4.75 million.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:51 AM Local Time
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:51 AM Local Time
|James Hess||5,550,000||1,950,000 |
|Richard Harwood||2,300,000||400,000 |
|Craig Koch||2,300,000||700,000 |
|Joseph Bolnick||1,100,000||-1,600,000 |
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:50 AM Local Time
In a blind vs. blind confrontation, James Hess went all in from the small and Gregory Alston called from the big.
The flop came and Alsto sat up from his seat, bracing for the next two cards. The turn came the , but the river brought a , pairing Hess on the end and leaving Alston thunderstruck and he walked away from the table.
Hess is up to 5.5 million heading into four-handed play.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:40 AM Local Time
After the recent flurry of activity in which two players were eliminated, the play has slowed to its usual snail's pace here at the Seniors Championship final table. Perhaps the remaining players were influenced by the WSOP bracelet which was just passed around the table, but they have tightened up considerably in the last few orbits.
Recently, the player in the big blind received a walk three times in a row, and despite the dead money at stake each and every hand the surviving seniors seem unwilling to risk any thievery.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:30 AM Local Time
Richard Harwood raised to 275,000 from the cutoff and was met with an all-in raise for 780,000 from Craig Koch from the small blind. Harwood deliberated for a bit, but slid out a call.
The board ran out and Koch doubled up to 1.6 million. Harwood slipped to 1.9 million.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:26 AM Local Time
James Jewell open-shoved for his last 825,000 and heard Richard "Dick" Harwood make the instant call.
Jewell had found a pocket pair and picked his spot to make a stand. Unfortunately for him, Harwood woke up with a better pair and Jewell would have to catch lucky to stay alive.
The final board rolled out and no fours were found. James Jewell hits the rail in 6th place and will take home $100,594, along with an incredible story, for his work during the last three days. Dick Harwood chipped up to 2,450,000 with the win.
|Richard Harwood||2,450,000||1,750,000 |
|James Jewell||0||-1,520,000 |
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:14 AM Local Time
Charles Cohen opened to 215,000 and action folded around to James Hess on the big, who called.
The flop came and Hess checked. Cohen immediately went all-in and Hess snap-called.
Hess: for a flopped set.
Cohen: for a pair of aces.
Cohen would need running cards to survive, however, the turn and river bricked respectively and Cohen was sent to the rail.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:10 AM Local Time
We just watched Walter Browne, who was recently eliminated in 8th place, walk back onto the tournament floor to speak with Gregory Alston. He then wished his former tablemates well with a sincere "good luck gentleman," before departing for some much needed rest.
The former chess Grandmaster showed some serious class by returning in good spirits and we here at PokerNews wish him good luck as well.
Monday, June 20, 2011 1:02 AM Local Time
After dropping a few chips in a previous pot, Charles Cohen raised all-in from the button, putting his last 645,000 at risk. Joseph Bolnick capped his cards and asked the dealer to pull in his big blind, wondering how much more he needed to call.
Cohen, who is known as "Brooklyn" by his fellow players, stood up and pulled a package of Lifesaver candies from his pocket, tossing it to the tanking Bolnick. "Want a Lifesaver?" he asked before walking away to await Bolnick's decision.
Eventually, Bolnick announced "I'm gonna have to let you have this pot Brooklyn" before tossing his cards in the muck. He later told Cohen, "I was honestly going to call until you offered me the Lifesavers." Depending on whether or not Cohen was bluffing, those candies may have really been life savers after all.
Monday, June 20, 2011 12:50 AM Local Time