Super Senior: Doyle Brunson, 88, Still Chasing WSOP Gold

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After surprising many by saying he planned on playing in a few WSOP events this year, Doyle Brunson finally made his debut in the $1,000 Super Seniors event Sunday. 

Doyle Brunson WSOP
Doyle Brunson returned to the WSOP to play in the Super Senior event Sunday. (Image: Chris Wallace/CardsChat)

The last time the 88-year-old poker champion took a hand at a WSOP tournament was in 2018 when he made a deep run in the $10K 2 to 7 lowball draw event, finishing sixth. Brian Rast, who just won his fifth bracelet in the $3,000 six-handed NHH event, won his fourth one in that event. 

Dressed in red and his signature cowboy hat, Brunson gave a smile and thumbs-up to all the players as he made his way to his seat a few hours after the tournament started, but his day was short. He lasted less than an hour after pressing with 64 when Jana Vondach woke up to AA. Vondach stacked the poker legend’s chips as players came over to Brunson for a few photos.

Brunson, second on the all-time bracelet list with 10 (tied with Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan), has more than $3 million in WSOP winnings. Vondach, of Newark, OH, has two WSOP cashes for $2,564, but is still alive in the four-day Super Senior event. 

Brunson called himself retired after the 2018 run. The octogenarian only played a handful of events in the last decade. His last bracelet came in 2005, when the then 72-year-old outlasted 300 in a $5K six-handed NLH event that featured a final table of absolute beasts. 

That day, Brunson beat Minh Ly, while Scotty Nguyen finished third, current Poker Hall of Fame nominee Layne Flack fourth, Ayaz Mahmood fifth, Jason Lester sixth, Steve Rosen seventh, and Men Nguyen eighth. 

The Super Senior attracted 1,893 players 60 or older. Some notable players bagged day two, including Sammy Farha (204,100), whose last cash came in the 2014 Seniors event, Dan Shak (98,900), John Esposito (81,000), and Barry Greenstein (42,300).

Younger seniors

The regular $1,000 buy-in Seniors event, which is open to players 50 and older, was won by Robert McMillan, who claimed his first bracelet. The event’s large field of 5,404 players caused a few tournaments at the Rio to be delayed. 

Robert McMillan WSOP
Robert McMillan is this year’s Senior champ. (Image: WSOP)

The top 811 were paid at least $1,601. He made a tough call to win it after flopping a pair of queens on a board that saw a king on the turn, but runner-up Robert Davis was putting him to the test with pocket fours. McMillan passed and won the $561K first prize.

Scaled-down Colossus

Attracting 9,399, the $400 buy-in Colossus is scheduled to conclude today. They are playing for a $314K top prize. 

While a tournament field approaching 10,000 players is still considered massive, the Colossus is not touching the huge crowds it generated when it was first introduced in 2015. 

That first Colossus, a $565 buy-in, attracted 22,374. The next two, also $565 buy-ins, brought in 21,613 and 18,054 players. The WSOP guaranteed a $1 million to the winner in those events. In 2018 and 2019, the buy-in switched to $400 and attracted a little more than 13,000 players each. 

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