78-year-old Florida retiree wins WSOP senior title, $487,994

21 June 2010

Harold Angle won the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em World Championship at the World Series of Poker on Monday morning. It was the biggest senior's poker event ever on record, with Angle outlasting a field of 3,142 players to win $487,994.. No senior's-related poker tournament has ever broken the 3,000-player mark prior to this monster-sized attraction.

Angle is a 78-year-old retiree from Sun City, Fla. He formerly worked in sales for a major show manufacturer. He was the eldest of nine players at the final table. In fact, some of the players in their 50s were "young" enough to be Angle's children.

At one point during the first day of play, the Floridian was down to just 400 in chips a mere 13 percent of his original starting stack of 3,000. Angle stated he did not win a single pot during the first two levels of play.

"The first two hours of this tournament, I did not win a hand," said Angle. "It took me that long to win a hand. I had to have patience before I got started. I was down to four $100 chips. Four $100 chips. I was holding up the chips and (my son-in-law) got a picture of me. Then, I started to come back."

Angle was born in 1931 in Portsmouth, Ohio, and has been married to his wife Fern for 60 years. He has three children, 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. One of Angle's grandchildren is a cheerleader for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. Angle wore his "lucky" Jacksonville Jaguars cap the entire tournament.

Angle recalled playing his first hand of poker in 1946. It was in a pool hall in Ohio. The game they played was five-card stud with a $1 buy-in. Angle sometimes plays poker at the Hard Rock Casino near Tampa, Fla.

"I play a lot of tournaments in Tampa," said Angle. "I am often sitting next to 21-year-olds. I am like a grandfather to the whole table."

Angle poses with his bracelet and the Golden Eagle trophy.

Angle poses with his bracelet and the Golden Eagle trophy. (photo by GreasieWheels)

Angle does not plan to play in the WSOP Main Event this year. However, he does plan to return to next year's WSOP to defend his title. He says his goal now is to win in a few years and become the oldest seniors champion in history (currently 81 years old).

When asked to summarize his philosophy, Angle stated: "Family is the most important thing. Anything they are doing, that's where I want to be."

Angle's win was witnessed by his wife and daughters. Most of them were in tears when the final winning hand was dealt. Angle later said he would split his prize money with his children and their families.

Michael Minetti, from Las Vegas, Nev., finished second to win $301,839. The final hand of the tournament came when Angle was dealt king-jack suited against Minetti's pocket jacks. Minetti had a decisive advantage, but Angle managed to hit a king on the flop.

John Woo, from Henderson, Nev., finished third. He held the chip lead during most of the final table, but suffered a brutal final hour during which he went from chip leader to the rail. Woo, a former fireman and realtor-turned-poker pro, has previously cashed in various Las Vegas tournaments. He went home with $213,612.

Eric Stemp, a casino dealer from Boulder City, Nev., was fourth for $154,624. Daniel Camillo, a retired FBI agent from Las Vegas, Nev., finished fifth to cash out for $113,225.

Preston Derden, from Houston, Texas, was sixth, Ernest "Jack" Ward, a retired businessman from Gulfport, Miss., finished seventh, Carlos Pianelli, a teacher from Irvine, Calif., was eighth, and Jay Hong, from Riverside, Calif., finished ninth.

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event include Tom Schneider (14th), Fred Berger (42nd), Eddy Scharf (73rd), Susie Isaacs (78th), Dao Bac (199th), T.J. Cloutier (225th), Randy Holland (246th), Howard "Tahoe" Andrew (286th), "Captain" Tom Franklin (312th), and Hoyt Corkins (288th).

The senior's event awards the "Golden Eagle" trophy, which is engraved with all former winners' names. The trophy is a keepsake that is passed forward from champion to champion, similar to the tradition of the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League.

Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com

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