The $1,000 seniors no-limit hold’em championship event of the 2023 World Series of Poker attracted an enormous field of 8,180 entries, all of whom were aged 50 or above. Amongst this vast number of players, Lonnie Hallett, a 54-year-old Canadian, emerged as the last remaining senior. Hallett secured victory, earning $765,731 in prize money and claiming his first gold bracelet.
Hallett faced formidable competition throughout the tournament, including Dan Heimiller, a two-time bracelet winner and the 2014 champion of the same event, who finished in third place, as well as Billy Baxter, a seven-time bracelet winner, who secured second place.
This triumph marked Hallett’s largest tournament payday to date. Prior to this achievement, his most significant accomplishment had been a third-place finish in a PokerStars online event in January 2021, where he earned $646,189 after competing against a field of 6,922 entrants.
With his recent victory in the series, Hallett’s recorded earnings have now exceeded $1.5 million.
The tournament spanned six days, featuring two starting flights and four subsequent days of intense action. A total of 1,227 participants received cash prizes, and several renowned players had notable runs in the event, including Men Nguyen, a seven-time bracelet winner (finishing in 131st place), Yue Du, a bracelet winner (103rd place), Kevin Song, a bracelet winner (97th place), Victor Ramdin, a World Poker Tour champion (35th place), Jiaqi Xu, a bracelet winner (16th place), as well as the aforementioned Heimiller and Baxter.
The final day commenced with only seven players remaining, with Heimiller leading the pack and Hallett positioned second in terms of chip count. The first elimination occurred when Rudolf Fourie (7th place – $122,130) saw his pocket fives fall to Gordon Eng’s pocket nines, resulting in an early exit. Hallett secured his first knockout of the day by outlasting Loren Cloninger (6th place – $158,006) in a battle of the blinds, where Hallett’s 8-4 prevailed against Cloninger’s A-2.
Eng’s tournament journey concluded in a devastating manner when his K♠K♣ lost a preflop all-in confrontation against Shannon Fahey’s K♥K♦. The board produced four hearts, granting Fahey a winning flush and sending Eng home in fifth place ($205,799).
Shortly thereafter, Fahey found herself all-in and at risk with her Q-9 suited against Heimiller’s pocket sevens. A seven on the flop propelled Heimiller into a substantial lead with a set, and a blank on the turn sealed Fahey’s fate. She collected $269,841 as the fourth-place finisher.
In the subsequent crucial hand, Heimiller and Hallett clashed, with all chips going in on a Q♥J♥4♥ flop. Heimiller held A♥J♣ for middle pair, an overcard, and the nut flush draw, while Hallett possessed Q♣4♣ for top and bottom pair. The turn and river failed to alter the situation, resulting in Heimiller’s elimination in third place and a prize of $356,166. Following this deep run, Heimiller’s lifetime earnings surpassed $6.7 million.
The heads-up battle began with Hallett holding a commanding chip lead of over 8:1 against Baxter, who sought his first bracelet win in more than two decades, having previously emerged victorious in a 2002 $1,500 razz event.
2023 WSOP Seniors Event Final Table Results
|2||Billy Baxter||United States||$473,212|
|3||Dan Heimiller||United States||$356,166|
|4||Shannon Fahey||United States||$269,841|
|5||Gordon Eng||United States||$205,799|
|6||Loren Cloninger||United States||$158,006|
|7||Rudolf Fourie||South Africa||$122,130|
|8||Ron Fetsch||United States||$95,040|
|9||David Stearns||United States||$74,464|