Before entering the $1,000 seniors no-limit hold’em world championship at the 2008 World Series of Poker, Dan Lacourse had a mere $1,208 in career winnings. This lack of experience proved not to be a factor though, as the retired firefighter from Toledo, Ohio navigated through a record-setting field of 2,218 players to claim $368,832 and a coveted gold bracelet. Lacourse began his final table run slowly, sitting back and waiting patiently, before springing to life during play’s final hour. He single-handedly eliminated his final four adversaries, dismissing Dale Eberle in less than 10 minutes of heads-up play.
Here were the starting stacks when play began:
Seat 1: Marc Fluss – 873,000
Seat 2: Charles Wood – 531,000
Seat 3: Ed Clark – 504,000
Seat 4: Marty Wilson – 454,000
Seat 5: Peter Silverstein – 435,000
Seat 6: Dale Eberle – 1,414,000
Seat 7: Fred Berger – 518,000
Seat 8: Dan Lacourse – 1,364,000
Seat 9: Jerry Yamachika – 558,000
Here are the highlights from the final table:
Marty Wilson Eliminated in Ninth Place ($34,312)
Fred Berger raised to 90,000 from early position and action folded all the way around to Marty Wilson in the small blind. Wilson moved all-in for a total of 439,000 and Berger was put to a difficult decision. Berger mulled over his options for four or five minutes before deciding to put nearly all of his chips on the line with A Q. His instincts were correct; Wilson turned over 8 8 and the two were racing. Berger was rewarded for his gutsy call with a picture-perfect flop: K Q Q. When the turn and river came J and 7, Wilson was eliminated and Berger had doubled up to about 900,000. For his ninth-place finish, Wilson was rewarded with $34,312.
Yamachika Doubles Up, Cracks Million Mark
Charles Wood raised under-the-gun to 125,000 and action folded all the way around to Jerry Yamachika in the small blind who quickly moved all-in for 508,000. Wood insta-called Yamachika’s raise but there was a problem: it wasn’t Wood’s turn to act. Marc Fluss still had a decision to make in the big blind. Fluss eventually folded and Wood called. The two showed their hands:
Yamachika: J J
Wood: 10 10
With the cards revealed, Wood’s hasty call suddenly looked a bit foolish. The dealer would provide no respite either. After the board rolled out K 8 4 4 3, Yamachika was boosted to third in chips with 1,074,000 while Wood was chopped down to 120,000.
Ed Clark Eliminated in Eighth Place ($49,450)
Action folded around to Marc Fluss on the button who made a raise to 150,000. Ed Clark in the big blind was slow to act; clearly he had a decision on his hands. After a minute or so of thought, Clark moved all-in. Fluss made a quick call and the two showed down their hands:
Clark: A 7
Fluss: 9 9
Fluss and Clark wished each other luck before the cards were laid out. The board came down Q Q 5 J 9 and Fluss’s hand held up. Not so lucky was Ed Clark. He was eliminated in eighth place and took home $49,450 for his three days of work.
Peter Silverstein Eliminated in Seventh Place ($64,588)
Minutes after being crippled by Fred Berger, Peter Silverstein would be all-in for less than the big blind. Fred Berger limped for 40,000, but was pushed out of the pot when Dan Lacourse bumped it up to 160,000. Lacourse had A Q and Silverstein had two live cards with 4 2. Fortune seemed to smile upon Silverstein as the flop came down 10 6 4. The turn K gave Lacourse a bevy of outs and the rug was pulled out from Silverstein on the river when the J gave his opponent a broadway straight. Silverstein started as the short stack so he shouldn’t be too disappointed with $64,588 for his seventh-place finish.
Charles Wood Eliminated in Sixth Place ($84,771)
In a rare multi-way pot, Jerry Yamachika raised to 100,000 on the button and Marc Fluss and Charles Wood called from the blinds. On a flop of 10 8 3 all three players checked. The turn delivered the 3. Fluss checked and suddenly Wood shoved all-in. Yamachika folded and Fluss made the call. Fluss showed K-10 and was visibly excited when Wood tabled K 6. The river was an inconsequential K and Charles Wood was knocked out in sixth place, taking $84,771 back home to Austin, Texas.
Fred Berger Eliminated in Fifth Place ($106,974)
Dan Lacourse’s hit streak started with the elimination of Fred Berger: Berger raised from under-the-gun to 175,000 and was met by a re-raise to 375,000 from Lacourse. Berger re-raised all-in for another 75,000 and Lacourse, of course, made the call. The two turned up their hands:
Berger: 2 2
Lacourse: J J
Berger was 4-to-1 to survive his all-in and his odds got much worse after the flop: J 8 4. Berger failed to hit runner-runner deuces and he was eliminated in fifth place, taking home $106,974.
Jerry Yamachika Eliminated in Fourth Place ($131,194)
Dan Lacourse raised to 200,000 and Yamachika moved all-in for 610,000 total. Lacourse made the call with A Q and Yamachika showed K J. The Q J 10 flop gave Yamachika an open-ended straight draw, but the turn and river (8 and 4) both blanked and he was out. Yamachika’s fourth-place finish grossed him $131,194.
Marc Fluss Eliminated in Third Place ($156,424)
Dan Lacourse completed from the small blind and Marc Fluss checked his option from the big blind. The flop came 6 5 3 and Lacourse led with a bet of 160,000. Fluss then moved all-in over the top for an additional 665,000 chips. Lacourse thought about it for a few moments before announcing a call.
Lacourse: Q 4
Fluss: 10 6
Fluss was in the lead with top pair but Lacourse had plenty of outs with his open-ended straight draw and overcard. The turn was the harmless 8, but the 2 on the river made Lacourse a straight and put and end to Fluss’s day. Fluss finished in third place, turning his $1,000 investment into $156,424.
Dan Lacourse Wins Event No. 42
Dale Eberle raised to 180,000 pre-flop and Dan Lacourse made the call. On a flop of K 9 9, Lacourse checked and Eberle bet out 200,000. Lacourse made the call. The last action of the day took place on what seemed to be a low-key turn: the 2. Lacourse check-raised Eberle all-in and Eberle called. Lacourse showed 9 7 and Eberle was drawing very slim with K 4. Lacourse had a set of nines and Eberle had kings up. Only a king would win him the hand. The river delivered the 8, and the set of nines held up. With this hand, Lacourse became the seniors event champion. Dale Eberle, the runner-up, took home a tidy sum of $131,194.
Dan Lacourse emerged victorious from a sprawling field of 2,218 players, the most ever for the seniors event at the WSOP. Lacourse will take home $368,832, a gold bracelet, and the title of world champion.