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Chopping up the Seniors - Ernest Bennett gets the gold, Tony Korfman the cash.
The World Championship Seniors No-Limit Hold'em event came down to heads up between 55-year-old Encino, California Businessman Ernest Bennett and 64-year-old Boulder City Nevada humor and gaming writer Tony Korfman (Author of Texas Hold'em - Tournaments, Cash Games and Embarrassing Social Gas and the Playing To Win Gaming Series).
Korfman cared little for the glory of World Series Gold and just wanted his piece of the prize pie. Bennett decided that was fine with him as long as he got the bracelet and so they chopped the first two prizes down the middle. Each grabbed $282,963 for their efforts.
PokerListings.com caught up with both players after the win to find out what their motivation was for deciding not to play things out.
Mr. Bennett, you wanted this bracelet, why would you not want to fight for it?
Earlier I told him I admire him and I didn't want to play against him and I told him we would chop if it got down to us two, so I kept my word. I really wanted the bracelet and I said that earlier to him. He did not care as much.
Why do you admire him so much?
Because he gave me his book and I read his book and he is a good poker player. I didn't want to be the one taking him down.
And you Mr. Korfman, why did you agree to chop?
There was a lot of money involved so why mess around? When you talk about the last part of a tournament it's a crap shoot; Anything can happen. We were fairly close and I don't want to shoot dice for $100,000.
Doesn't a WSOP Gold Bracelet mean anything to you?
Does it mean anything to me? I've got a very nice bracelet that my wife gave me a couple years ago and I wouldn't wear it anyway. I think the bracelet means more to some people than it does to others. If you have money you can buy all the bracelets you want.
It's all about the money. There's a chapter in my book talking about how I actually heard an announcer say that it's all about the bracelet, it's about the bragging rights, it's about the pride...It's all about the $$$$ing money!
If you've got enough money you can buy a bracelet factory, you can buy all your friends bracelets and hire four or five people to call you everyday and tell you how proud they are of you.
I can help a lot of people with the money. I can't help people with a bracelet.
Who is it that you plan to help?
Our family has a scholarship foundation and we give away $10,000 in scholarships every year to students in Boulder City, Nevada (where he's lived for the past 30 years).
It's the Michelle Korfman Scholarship foundation. That was my daughter. She was kidnapped by a serial killer when she was 17. It was at the Meadows Mall here in Las Vegas. He got 11 girls all across the country and he killed them all. So every year we give away a lot of scholarship money, help some kids and do something in her memory.
That's a horrible story, but you have turned in to something very nice. At least the money will go to a good cause. What's your poker story Mr. Korfman? You've got this book, have you been playing long?
I started playing Hold'em about three or four years ago because I see this thing getting bigger and bigger and there's a lot of money in it.
There certainly is. Mr. Bennett, what's your background in the game?
I've won a number of poker tournaments, but they were all small ones. I've only been in one big tournament before and it was this one at the WSOP last year. This is my second one. Actually I have been playing poker since I was in school, all kinds of poker. Texas Hold'em, Seven-Card Stud, Hi-Lo Chicago.
You came into the table with an aggressive style today, was it all a part of a master plan to dominate the table then chop when you got heads up?
That's the way I've been playing for many years and when I walked in I said I want to win this. I wanted to win the bracelet.
You were pretty much making it $100,000 every hand just to see a flop.
A lot of people moved all in every time I raised their blind and I never folded once. I had to show the table that I was willing to gamble, so I called all the all in bets. That's my style of poker. I did slow down at one point for a short time. Your opponents know that you are raising every hand so you have to slow down at some point.
So what will you do with the money?
I will play some poker. I'm not sure about other events, but I will play in the Main Event for sure.
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Well, Mr. Bennett I'm sure we will see you there proudly wearing the bracelet and Mr. Korfman knows there's a lot of cash in the Main Event so there's a good chance we'll catch up with him in the big one as well.