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Michael Blake Wins 2019 World Series of Poker Super Seniors Event

71-Year-Old Optometrist Defeats Barry Shulman Heads-Up To Win His First Bracelet and $359,863


A total of 2,650 entries were made in the 2019 World Series of Poker $1,000 buy-in Super Seniors no-limit hold’em event, which has a minimum age of 60 years in order to participate. After four full days of action, that sea of seasoned players was narrowed down to just one champion: Michael Blake. The 71-year-old optometrist from Broomfield, Colorado defeated two-time bracelet winner and Card Player Publisher Barry Shulman heads-up to secure his first WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize of $359,863.

Blake has only played in three events at the WSOP: the Super Seniors event in 2017, 2018 and this year. He has managed to make the money in each of the three tournaments, improving on his finish with each successive try. He placed 168th in 2017, 107th in 2018, and emerged victorious with the title this year.

“It’s the third time I’ve played in it. I’m an old guy, I’ve played poker for most of my life, and I feel very fortunate,” said Blake after coming out on top.

Blake entered the final day of this event as the chip leader with ten players remaining. This was Blake’s first-ever final table at the WSOP. He got things off on the right foot by winning a preflop coinflip with AHeart SuitKHeart Suit against the pocket jacks of William Davis. Blake spiked an ace on the turn to secure the pot and eliminate Davis in tenth place ($23,316).

While Blake began with the lead, it was Cary Marshall who truly took over the table for much of the day. Marshall went on an elimination spree, knocking out Bruce Treitman (8th – $38,802), Jeffrey Miller (7th – $50,751), Kanajett Hathaitham (6th – $66,987) and Rick Austin (5th – $89,217) to take a massive lead into four-handed play.

At his high point, Marshall had 36.6 million chips, with the next largest stack being the 8.3 million in front of Blake. But things quickly unraveled for the Sun Valley, Nevada resident. He lost numerous all-in confrontations to double up shorter stacks. Blake closed the gap considerably when his AHeart SuitQDiamond Suit bested the QSpade SuitJClub Suit of Timothy Joseph (4th – $119,888). With that Blake pulled within striking distance of the lead. Barry Shulman sat as the shortest stack among the final three, despite finding a few key double ups.

Blake then won a sizable pot with a queen-high straight over the jack-high straight of Marshall to take command. Shulman managed to double up again to move into second place. Not long after that Shulman raised to 1,200,000 on the button with 6Spade Suit6Diamond Suit and Marshall shoved for just over ten million with ASpade Suit3Club Suit. Shulman called and the board ran out KSpade Suit8Club Suit7Spade SuitKClub Suit9Spade Suit. Marshall earned $162,536 for his third-place showing in this event.

Runner-up finisher Barry ShulmanWith that Shulman took a razor-thin chip lead into heads-up play with Blake, who sat with just one less big blind when action resumed. Blake was able to jump out to an early lead. By the time the scheduled dinner break arrived, he had nearly a 2-to-1 advantage. The final two players agreed to take a break of just a few minutes before returning to their battle for the bracelet. Shulman quickly closed the gap after the break, amping up his aggression to win a slew of pots without showdown.

Shulman managed to fight his way back into the lead briefly, before Blake staged a comeback of his own. By the time the final hand was dealt, Blake had nearly twice as many chip as Shulman. With the blinds at 300,000-600,000 with a 600,000 big-blind ante, Blake raised to 1,300,000 from the button with QSpade Suit6Diamond Suit. Shulman called with JHeart Suit4Heart Suit and the flop brought the QDiamond Suit6Heart Suit3Spade Suit. Shulman checked and Blake bet 1,500,000. Shulman check-raised to 3,000,0000 and Blake called. The turn was the 5Heart Suit and Shulman moved all-in for approximately 14.5 million. Blake quickly called with his two pair. He was ahead, but had to fade both flush hand straight outs for Shulman. The 8Spade Suit on the river locked up the pot and the title for Blake.

With that Shulman was eliminated in second place, falling just short of winning his third career bracelet and joining his wife Allyn Shulman as a champion of a WSOP seniors event. Allyn won the 2012 seniors championship for $603,713. She also finished 36th in this tournament for $9,424, busting when her pocket aces were cracked by the pocket kings of Cary Marshall. Barry Shulman has now accumulated more than $5.3 million in lifetime live tournament earnings as a result of this latest score. The 73-year-old’s two bracelet wins came in the 2001 $1,500 seven-card stud eight-or-better event and the 2009 WSOP Europe main event, which saw Shulman defeat Daniel Negreanu heads-up to win more than $1.3 million.

Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:

Place Player Winnings (USD)
1 Michael Blake $359,863
2 Barry Shulman $222,295
3 Cary Marshall $162,536
4 Timothy Joseph $119,888
5 Rick Austin $89,217
6 Kanajett Hathaitham $66,987
7 Jeffrey Miller $50,751
8 Bruce Treitman $38,802
9 Miles Harris $29,939

For more coverage from the summer series, check out the 2019 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, results, news, player interviews, and event recaps.