Seniors event breaks WSOP records

T.J. Cloutier

Any WSOP event that draws nearly 3,000 entrants has to be considered a tremendously popular tournament.

Aside from the Main Event it's usually the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em events that draw these kinds of fields with internet players entering in masse.

The biggest event at the Rio Convention Center on Monday, however, doesn't have too many internet kids in the field.

The $1k Seniors No Limit Hold'em World Championship shattered expectations, drawing a record 2,707 entrants for the three-day event. A record $2.4 million prize pool has also been raised for the event with first place paying out an impressive $437,000.

The event drew all kinds of legends from the poker world. "Amarillo Slim" Preston, T.J Cloutier, Tom McEvoy and Humberto Brenes all bought in. Other big names in the event included PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato and legendary ring announcer Bruce Buffer.

"It's fantastic," said Cloutier. "This turnout is a lot more than what I expected."

"I don't know how many played last year but I know it was a decent turnout. But this is fabulous."

Preston shared the same opinion about the event but argued the buy-in should have been larger.

"Why didn't they make it a $2,500 entry fee like everything else?" Preston said.

"Everyone here would buy in for $2,500, why not make it like the other tournaments? This is a good event."

Preston said he's gearing up to bring back his signature event to Las Vegas soon, perhaps increasing the number of seniors events.

"I'm fixing to activate the Super Bowl of Poker next year," Preston said. "We'll play down at Binion's. It'll be homecoming from where all this started."

Cloutier's tough day at the tables came to an end when his pocket nines were cracked by AJ, but he's sweating one of his good friends the rest of the way.

"I'll tell you who I'd like to see win - Tom McEvoy," Cloutier said. "He's my best friend, and I'm pushing for him to get into the Hall of Fame this year. There are a lot of us pushing for him, Hall of Famers pushing for him."

The pace has been conservative and relaxed around most of the tournament tables, a change from the usual frantic pace in the early rounds of most WSOP events, when aggressive players are gambling and trying to build a deep stack early.

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