Howard Mash defeated a massive $1,000 seniors no-limit hold’em field to earn his first World Series of Poker bracelet in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Florida financial advisor defeated 5,916 entries and Jean Fontaine heads-up to earn $662,594 after a grueling final day that lasted nearly 14 hours. Mash, who is only recently eligible for the event after turning 50 earlier this year, was at a loss for words after his career-best score.
“This is unbelievable,” said Mash to WSOP reporters. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m totally in shock, honestly.”
Before his victory, Mash had just shy of $270,000 in career tournament earnings. That number has jumped to more than $931,000 with his first piece of WSOP gold.
The huge turnout for the Seniors event is led to an exhausting final day. The structure originally had the field playing down to the final six on Day 3, but 19 players made it through the day and the staff brought back more than triple the amount of player they planned.
Along with the bracelet and the money, Mash earned 1,320 Card Player Player of the Year points. It’s his sixth cash of 2019 and first title, which puts him in 105th place in the 2019 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.
Mash took the chip lead into the fourth and final day, but lost chips through the early stages of the day and went into the final table fifth in chips and squarely in the middle of the pack.
He stayed there until the final table had been trimmed to just six, at which point he was back up to third in chips, mostly from picking up pots without a showdown. During four-handed play, he was back to the short stack until he scored a key double up with A-K against Jim Mcnurlan’s A-5.
“At one point, I was just staying alive, barely,” said Mash about his chip swings. “I stayed in and stayed in, then got lucky. Any tournament with 5,900 people, you have to get lucky to win them.”
The luck came when he scored his third double up during four-handed play when he was all in preflop with pocket 10s against Adam Richardson’s pocket jacks. Mash flopped a set, doubled up and moved to second in chips. He overtook the chip lead shortly after and never looked back.
Mash scored his first elimination of the final table when he eliminated Richardson in fourth with A-J against A-8. He sent Mcnurlan home in third the next hand when he won a flip with pocket nines against A-Q.
That gave him a better than 3:1 lead heads-up against Fontaine. Fontaine scored an early double up and essentially evened out the chip counts, but that was as best as he could do. Despite heads-up play lasting for 81 hands, Mash was never at a significant disadvantage in chips.
Eventually, his pocket queens held up against A-J to finish off Fontaine. Fontaine picked up $409,249 for his runner-up finish.
$1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship Final Table Results:
|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|