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World Series Of Poker: Dennis Phillips Again Goes Deep In Massive Seniors Event Field

Veteran Grinder Looking To Top Runner-Up Finish In 2012


Card Player’s 2014 WSOP coverage is sponsored by CarbonPoker.

Dennis Phillips may be one of the oldest players in any tournament area, but he without a doubt has stamina as good as any to wade through huge no-limit hold’em fields.

The St. Louis native became poker famous in 2008 after finishing third in the WSOP main event. He followed up that performance by finishing 45th in the main event the following year. He cashed again in poker’s most prestigious tournament in 2011.

In 2012, Phillips finished second out of a field of 4,128 in the $1,000 buy-in Seniors Event. Phillips couldn’t outlast Card Player’s Allyn Shulman, who captured the title and $603,713.

Fast forward to the 2014 Seniors Event, and on the 8th of June Phillips was still alive with three tables remaining out of a starting field of 4,425. Clearly, he knows how to survive in no-limit hold’em tournaments. Many consider his game to be rock solid.

Card Player had the chance to speak to Phillips on a break Sunday afternoon in the Seniors Event. Phillips still had a healthy chip stack with less than 20 left.

Brian Pempus: What do you do so well in the Seniors Event, or really in large no-limit hold’em tournament fields like this one?

Dennis Phillips: I don’t know, just play smart poker and everything like that. The fields are getting tougher and tougher, I’m telling you. There are so many people now who can play solid poker. It didn’t use to be that way. I want the fields from 10 years ago, but they just don’t exist anymore. It’s a grind. It’s tough. It’s a mental toughness, because any one hand and you’re in trouble here. You only start with 3,000 in chips. I mean, it’s nasty. Even right now, we are down to the final three tables and a lot of people only have about 10 big blinds. It’s tough. You have to play smart and get a little lucky. Play your opponents; it works.

BP: Despite the short stacks, do you feel your experience gives you a distinct edge?

DP: It helps a tremendous amount. Having been here and done that, I think I know all the possible scenarios. I know how to react to them.

BP: Is part of your advantage being able to make wise decisions when you become short-stacked? A lot of players might panic and play poorly once they become short.

DP: Yeah, yesterday I was actually short stacked. I just couldn’t catch any cards. It was a matter of trying to keep enough chips in front of me to still be a threat. I had to steal some pots and make some moves that I don’t like to make. You have to do that in order to keep enough chips in front of you so that when you do catch some cards you get rewarded. Some people make the mistake of not doing that. If ground down too much, it makes no difference if you double. You’ll still be short.

BP: Would anything less than first in this tournament be a letdown for you?

DP: I told a guy earlier that I am not greedy at all. I just want to go one position higher than I did last time (laughs).

For more coverage from the 2014 summer Series, visit our WSOP landing page.

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