Dan's the Man: Lacourse Wins 2008 Seniors Event

He defeated Dale Eberle heads-up in a fiery battle of the ex-emergency services staff that pitted the ex-detective Lacourse against the ex-fireman Eberle, and after a swift and exciting battle Lacourse prevailed to win the title, the gold WSOP bracelet and of course $368,832 for his victory.

We caught up with Dan in a joint press conference shortly after his win to get his thoughts on the victory.

This was a really fun and enjoyable event to cover. We don't know too much about you but we know you worked as a detective for many years. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Well I worked as a detective in Ohio for 27 years and retired in 2002, and then I became a builder and started building houses. I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands so that's when I started getting into Texas Hold'Em a lot, which I've been playing for the last six years.

It's been my dream to do this. I was in the Seniors last year. I made it through about half the field and I've had a few other good tournament results, but there's nothing to compare to this, I have to say. This is the coup de grace; it doesn't get any better!

There's a fellow named Joe Navarro, you may know, who's an FBI profiler, who's become somewhat of an expert at applying the rules he's learned as a detective and criminologist at the poker tables.

Do you feel some of the things you learned in your time as a detective helped you at the poker tables today?

Absolutely. Well, things like timing, speed, reactions. I'm always watching, watching, watching. Especially later in the game, when people start getting tired, the reactions start changing.

Polygraph examiners learn that the most important response is in the first three seconds [after a question is posed]; that's the best time to distinguish a reaction.

So you did polygraph work as well?

I was a polygraph examiner for five years.

You're a retired detective and Dale Eberle's a retired firefighter. You were talking about how it would be interesting to see what would happen if you could get heads-up. Sadly the heads-up didn't last too long, but talk us through the feelings of facing off against a fellow comrade?

Well, we're both from Ohio so we were talking about things like retirement systems, but we went into today as the two chip leaders and we said, wouldn't it be great if we got to heads-up, it would be the best thing in the world.

So I thank the Lord that's how it ended up and it was an absolutely wonderful time; I can't ask for anything more.

You went through a field of 2,200 people including some of the best players in the world. Tell us how it feels to be, at least for a day, the best in the business?

Well, everything has to go for you. I mean I held 7-9 in the last hand and the flop comes 9-9-K, everything's gotta flow right anyways. You can play the cards and be the best poker player but if the cards don't cooperate, it doesn't matter.

I bought a lot of hands today, made a lot of position bets, kept my lead up, kept my chip lead up. I could intimidate some of the other chip stacks, so that helped me in buying a lot of pots.

Is there any extra nervousness in playing against legends of the game, as opposed to a random house game or casino game?

No, personally I'm not afraid of them. I like the challenge. I like playing with better players, I don't like playing with lesser players. They don't make moves, they don't make plays like they're supposed to.

If you want to be a better player, you have to play with better players.

A lot of people would claim that poker's becoming a young man's game. There are lots of Internet players breaking through, but you guys today put on a really exciting final table. What would you say to people who make that claim?

We may slow down a little bit, but I don't think they have anything on us, I really don't. The only thing they have is they're a lot more aggressive than the seniors.

We're a lot more patient I think than they are and I think it balances out. Some of the younger players do a lot better than the older players but the patience I think wins out after all. That's a personal opinion obviously, I mean I'm one of the older guys!

Younger guys have tons of aggression, but you've just got to learn to play against that.

One thing that was very noticeable today was that there seemed a lot of camaraderie at the table. Players were shaking hands a lot and seemed genuinely happy for each other when they did well. Is that a part of the game that is especially prevalent in senior poker?

The seniors are just happy to be here. They love the game! Yes they enjoy the money, but they enjoy the camaraderie and they enjoy the challenge of it and they don't look at it as a vicious game in perhaps the way some of the younger players do, you know.

They love cards; they love to play cards; there's a real love of the game there.

I know you were planning to head back after this tournament but has this win changed those plans?

I was planning to go back but I think now I'll stay a while longer.

And you'll be back to defend your crown in the Seniors tournament next year?

Oh, no doubt about it! I gotta defend my title!

Well congratulations once again Dan on a great result.

Thank you.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Well, there may be some who are quick to deride the Seniors title, but there's no doubt a quality field turned out to compete here, and the old guys put on a great show of aggressive poker at what was the fastest final table we have witnessed so far at the 2008 WSOP.

The entertainment and buzz this event has created shows how worthwhile its presence in the WSOP schedule is, and you never know - maybe young players can learn a thing or two from the wily old foxes who fought out the final table with such a great spirit.

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