Day 4 completed
|Blinds||600,000 / 1,200,000|
Day 4 completed
Howard Mash Wins First Bracelet and $662,594 in Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship
Howard Mash has taken down Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship, winning his first career bracelet and the $662,594 first prize after a hard-fought heads up battle with Jean-René Fontaine. These two players started Day 4 – fourteen hours ago – as the top two players in the Day 3 chipcounts and finished the night the same way they started the day.
Mash, a financial advisor from Florida, had taken the chip lead all the way back in Day 2, and kept a vice-like grip on it that only slipped briefly during the mid-stages of play today.
“At one point I was just staying alive barely,” Mash said after his victory. “I stayed in and stayed in, then got lucky. Any tournament with 5,900 people, you have to get lucky to win.”
Mash is more than a keen amateur, with over $319,000 in prior winnings, who makes time to study. Having only just qualified for the Seniors Event (he turned 50 last month), he says that poker is “like a hobby – but a pretty serious hobby.”
Day 3 had whittled an in-the-money field of 252 down to 19 competitors over ten one-hour levels. Before the live streaming began, more than two thirds of them had busted to collect prizes ranging from $28,772 for 19th (Dane Nielsen, prompting the first redraw of the day) to $76,165 for 8th place (Mike Lisanti just missing out on having his hole cards broadcast to the world). The final table bubble spot fell to British player Ali Zihni (10th for $46,114).
Final table payouts:
|1||Howard Mash||United States||$662,594|
|3||James McNurlan||United States||$303,705|
|4||Adam Richardson||United States||$226,996|
|5||Donald Matusow||United States||$170,887|
|6||Farhad Jamasi||United States||$129,582|
|7||Samir Husaynue||United States||$98,981|
|9||Mansour Alipourfard||United States||$59,044|
Final Table action:
The start of today's final table saw the chips distributed very unevenly, with Jim McNurlan almost hidden behind a wall of gaming discs totalling over 33 million. Nothing in no-limit hold’em is predictable, however, and as the blinds rose ever higher other stacks rose to match McNurlan's and finally surpass it.
The money jumps grew serious as the final table played down, but the lively, warm spirit of the tournament as a whole never faltered. There were hugs shared as opponents hit the rail and copious banter led by short stack Samir Husaynue, who manoeuvred his way past the elimination of Mansour Alipourfard in 9th ($49,044), and Lisanti to end up busting in 7th ($98,981).
After a cagey start six-handed, Farhad Jamasi ran out of wiggle room stack-wise and Adam Richardson took him on preflop with vs. , hitting quads to bust him in 6th ($129,582). He was followed to the rail by Donald Matusow in 5th ($170,887) and play continued four-handed for a good portion of the day overall. McNurlan and Richardson traded time spent as the short-handed chip leader, with pots flying back and forth between them. Mash dwindled at this point, but as he later said, “didn’t go on tilt, played solid and it worked out.”
Bustouts often come like buses: not at all for hours and then in a flurry. Richardson was eliminated in 4th place ($226,996) just minutes before McNurlan lost a final flip to take 3rd ($303,705).
In a day of several chapters, the heads up section was the most intense. Mash rediscovered his form and kept his cool when Fontaine doubled repeatedly, fighting hard throughout. The two of them were also evenly matched in terms of supporters; cries of “one time” from Mash’s friends (some of them also handsomely rewarded backers) mingled with “allez-la!” from the French-speaking quarter.
Fontaine, from the French territory of Réunion, is no stranger to large-field tournament success, having won the 4,348-runner EPT National in Barcelona last year for over $620,000. He was to be denied a bracelet this time, however, as a small-ball favouring Mash eventually closed out the lengthy one-on-one battle. Fontaine took home $409,249 for his runner up finish.
Of his win, Mash said, “I had a bad year last year personally and this totally makes up for it. I’m in shock. It’s like a dream come true for me.”
Howard Mash has taken down Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship, winning his first career bracelet and the $662,594 first prize! An event recap will follow shortly.
Hand #217: Fontaine limped the button and Mash checked. It checked down to the river, the board standing , Mash check-folded to Fontaine's bet of 5,000,000.
Hand #218: Mash folded his button.
Hand #219: Fontaine raised to 4,500,000 on the button. Mash three-bet to 11,000,000. Back to Fontaine, who four-bet all-in for nearly half the chips in play: 50,700,000. Call!
The rail, which had gone a little quiet for both players recently, erupted.
"Ladies love Howie!" merged with "Allez-la!" as the board came out , the queens holding with minimal sweat. Just like that, a heads up match that was edging towards epic territory comes to an end, Jean-René Fontaine picking up second place prize money after a sterling performance at the final table.
Hand #212: Howard Mash raised to 3.2 million, and Jean-René Fontaine called. The flop came , and both players checked to the turn . Mash bet 2.5 million, getting the fold from Fontaine.
Hand #213: Jean-René Fontaine raised to 3.2 million, and Howard Mash folded.
Hand #214: (hand details unknown).
Hand #215: Jean-René Fontaine limped, Howard Mash raised to 7 million, and Fontaine folded.
Hand #216: Howard Mash limped, and Jean-René Fontaine raised to 4.5 million. Mash called, and the flop came . Fontaine led out for 6 million, and Mash called. The turn came the , Fontaine checked, Mash bet 13 million, and Fontaine folded
Hand #210: Howard Mash raised on the button to 4,000,000, right back in the saddle. Jean-René Fontaine called. Both players checked the [7d2d8d flop. On the turn, Fontaine led out for 3,500,000 and Mash made the call. Fontaine checked the river and Mash put in a bet of 5,000,000. An unusually long think preceded Fontaine's eventual fold.
Hand #211: Fontaine limped the button, check from Mash. The hand ended after a bet from Fontaine of 3,000,000 on a flop.
Hand #206: Jean-René Fontaine got a walk in the big blind.
Hand #207: Jean-René Fontaine raised to 3.5 million, and Howard Mash called. The flop came , Mash checked, Fontaine bet 3.5 million, and Mash folded.
Hand #208 Jean-René Fontaine got a walk in the big blind.
Hand #209: Jean-René Fontaine raised to 3.4 million, Howard Mash reraised to 32.8 million, and Fontaine called for the rest of his chips.
The third diamond on the turn made it a sweat for Fontaine, but his ace-high held up, and he took the chip lead.
Hand #201: Jean-René Fontaine called on button, Mash checked. After Masch check-called Fontaine's bet of 2,000,000 on the , both players checked down the streets as the appeared on the turn and river. Mash had paired the queen and picked up the pot. "Let's go Howie!" said a supporter on the rail encouragingly.
Hand #202: Mash folded his button.
Hand #203: Fontaine called, Mash checked. The flop of went check-check. The turn was the , Mash bet out 2.5 million, Fontaine called. No one elected to bet on the river. Mash had made two pair with the , good for the pot.
Hand #204: Mash made the button up and Fontaine raised to 6,600,000, prompting an immediate fold.
Hand #205: Fontaine declined to play his button.
Hand #196: Jean-René Fontaine got a walk in the big blind.
Hand #197: Howard Mash got a walk.
Hand #198: Howard Mash limped, and Jean-René Fontaine checked back. Both players checked the flop of . Fontaine checked the turn , Mash bet 2.5 million, and Fontaine folded.
Hand #199 Howard Mash got a walk in the big blind.
Hand #200: Howard Mash raised to 3.8 million, Jean-René Fontaine three-bet all in for 26.8 million, and Mash folded.
Hand #190: Mash gave up his button small blind.
Hand #191: Fontaine did the same.
Hand #192: Mash made his small blind up to match the big blind. Fontaine checked, and folded to Mash's 3,000,000 bet on the flop.
Hand #193: Fontaine folded on the button.
Hand #194: Mash called on the button, no raise from Fontaine. A fully-checked down board read when Fontaine's was found to have made a pair and won the pot.
Hand #195: Fontaine took a turm limping the button, betting 2,100,000 on the flop when Mash checked it to him. On the turn Mash check-folded to Fontaine's 2,500,000 bet.