Illinois resident Frank Maggio claims WSOP Seniors Championship

Updated June 19, 2017 - 7:27 pm

Frank Maggio originally was set to fly out of Las Vegas on Sunday.

But the 56-year-old from Calumet City, Illinois, kept accumulating chips in the World Series of Poker’s $1,000 buy-in Seniors No-limit Hold’em Championship and couldn’t leave town.

“I wasn’t having lofty expectations, but things started going good and we changed our flight knowing we made it to Day 3,” Maggio explained. “And I said, ‘Well, we’ve got to extend it two days in case lighting hits and we make it to the final table.’

“I’m glad we did.”

Maggio won the Seniors Championship on Monday at the Rio Convention Center, outlasting a record field to claim the $617,303 first prize and his first career bracelet.

William Murray of San Francisco finished second for $381,233 after holding the chip lead for nearly all of the final table.

“I don’t want to say roller coaster, but there were some highs and lows,” Maggio said. “Build up a chip stack, get beaten down, back up. What was good about this tournament, I got good hands at just the right moments.”

Maggio is a union fire sprinkler fitter back home and recreational poker player. This was his seventh year playing the Seniors event, and he made money once previously in 2015.

Maggio also has four WSOP Circuit cashes for a total of $7,867.

“I’ve come out here every year since I turned 50 years old to play in the Seniors event and cashed a couple years ago,” Maggio said. “This year’s a big surprise.”

The Seniors Championship drew 5,389 entrants, easily surpassing last year’s record 4,499.

Maggio won a huge pot late Sunday against Las Vegas resident Dan Heimiller with 11 players remaining and entered the final table in second place.

Murray eliminated Heimiller on the first hand Monday in an unexpected kings-versus-jacks confrontation and owned the lead until Maggio won a big pot late in their heads-up match.

Two hands later, Maggio’s pocket jacks held up against Murray’s pair of threes to clinch the victory.

“It helps out a lot, getting closer to retirement and everything,” Maggio said. “I’m going to work a little longer and I’ll probably do the same thing I do back at home at the tournaments that come.”

Bach doubles up

David Bach, a professional poker player from Athens, Georgia, became the first double-bracelet winner of the summer early Sunday.

Bach won the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Championship for $383,208, adding to his victory in the $1,500 buy-in Dealers Choice/Six-handed event on June 7. It is Bach’s third career bracelet.

Strangely, though, Bach sits 20th in the WSOP Player of the Year standings.

Moorman breaks through

England’s Chris Moorman, the most prolific online tournament player in history with more than $14 million in documented earnings, finally captured his first career bracelet early Saturday.

Moorman took down the $3,000 buy-in No-limit Hold ’em event and the $498,682 first prize.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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