Before we get to the all-out slug-fest that was the $1,000 Seniors World Championship, let's run down what it took for a coffee-shop-owner-turned-pro-poker-player to win a bracelet.
Event 39, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, made it to the final table late last night, giving the nine finalists at least a few hours of sleep before returning for what was probably the biggest day of their poker careers. It was a table of unknowns, devoid of big names, as we've seen so many of in these massive low-buy-in donkaments.
Just a few days ago, 2,720 began, and we saw the Day 2 remnants take to the felt today in search of the gold and the $631,656 first-place cash.
During the extended playdown last night it was David Woo controlling much of the action and, despite finishing in second position going into the final table, it was obvious he would be the one to beat. He was playing a markedly more aggressive game than his competitors and showed a willingness to gamble that would either land him in hot water or propel him into the winner's circle.
Woo was responsible for the first elimination of the day, and it was Jim Paras who would receive the death blow. Opening and getting a call from Woo, Paras watched the flop come jack-high.
Holding A♥ J♥ with a large portion of his stack already invested, Paras moved in when it was checked to him. Woo snap-called with pocket deuces, which had connected with the one lowly two on the flop.
Ninth place earned Jim Paras $58,290.
Next out was Mike Glasser. He found himself short and managed a nice triple-up, flopping a boat and getting paid, but would be on the rail shortly after. He got involved in a hand with eventual runner-up Matt Wood.
The money went in before the flop with Glasser racing pocket nines against Wood's A♠ Q♣. The deck cooperated with the all-in player all the way to the river, when an ace hit the felt and ended his hopes. On the bright side, he did take down $85,394.
David Woo was already the chip leader at this point but didn't spend a second resting on his laurels. He sent Than Tran home after limping A-K and inducing a shove from Tran's A-Q, and then proceeded to bust both Thom Werthmann and Curtis Early in one massive three-way all-in.
They all saw a flop of Q♦ J♣ T♣ and Werthmann fired, Woo called, Early moved in, Werthmann moved all-in, and Woo made the easiest call of his life with A♣ K♦. He was up against K-Q and Q-J and made it hold up for the double knockout.
Woo was generous and decided to give someone else a chance at getting a few chips. The man up to the challenge was Eric Beren. Habib Khanis was short and open-shoved from the cut-off, getting a call from Beren in the small blind. K♦ Q♠ for Beren had Habib's J♥ Q♥ in desperate shape. The board did nothing to help.
Three-handed, Beren was the one lightest on chips. He shipped it on the button with A♥ T♥ and ran into Matt Wood's A♣ Q♦. Close to $280,000 was given to Beren to convince him to leave the table.
David Woo carried his mighty momentum into the final stages and despite handing over a few of his chips to Matt Wood it didn't take long to seal the deal. A raised pot with a nine-high flop was all it took to get the money in the middle.
Pocket tens for the overpair put the bracelet in Woo's reach. He just had to fade a few outs against Wood's 9-6. The turn and river cooperated and it was done. Woo will wake up tomorrow with a brand-new bracelet and however much he has left of the $631,656 cash prize.
We had a chance to talk with Woo after the win so Billy Baxter, the Lowball specialist himself, bubbled the final table, leaving David Sklansky, Gioi Luong, John Phan, Shun Uchida, Robert Mizrachi and Ben Ponzio to scrap it out for the gold.
Event 41, $1,500 Mixed Hold'em, also played down to the final table. Nick Binger and Michael Chu are both there, along with seven others. For a look at the road these players traveled today click through here. Ditto for the results so far.