2011 WSOP Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Jun 28, 2011 3:04 AM

This year’s Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship attracted the largest turnout in poker history – a whopping 3,752 entries.

Incredibly, attendance was up nearly 20 percent over last year’s turnout and the capacity crowd represented the largest single-day start for any live tournament in poker history.

The 2011 champion is James Hess, from Encino, Calif. Hess earned $557,435 in prize money – the biggest payout ever for what is commonly known as the "Seniors World Poker Championship. It was his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet, the game’s ultimate achievement.

The Seniors Poker Championship has been successful due in part to the efforts of longtime GamingToday columnist "Oklahoma" Johnny Hale, who is known as the "Elder Statesman of Poker."

Hale has organized many seniors’ poker events over the years. Prior to the start of this year’s Seniors Championship, Hale conducted the annual "Roll Call," which provides for a moment of silence and reflection on behalf of many deceased poker greats, such as Benny Binion, Johnny Moss, and others.

Hale is also the caretaker of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame. This year’s tournament awarded the famous "Golden Eagle" trophy, which is engraved with the winner’s name. 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.

Soulier wins H.O.R.S.E.

The 2011 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion is Fabrice Soulier, from Las Vegas. Prior to moving to Las Vegas a few years ago, Soulier lived in Paris, France.

Soulier, 42, has now cashed in each of his eight appearances at the WSOP. For the victory, Soulier collected $609,130.


Through the conclusion of Event 37 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 47,079 combined total entries. $75,551,010 in prize money has been awarded to winners.

The breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

USA (24); Canada (5); Great Britain (3); France (3); Ukraine (3), Russia (2).

The breakdown of players who won gold bracelets has been:

Pros (31): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis.

Semi-Pros (5): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis.

Amateurs (4): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell


• Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 36 out of 40 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

• The victories of eight of the 40 winners (20%) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

• Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year).

• The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 199 events. Aside from the annual Ladies Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tourney open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.


• Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000, Event 2).

• Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries, Event 3).

• Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries, Event 10).

• Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400, Event 16).

• Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,157 entries, Event 18).

• Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,175 entries, Event 20).

• Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries, Events 18 and 20).

• Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 Entries, Event 22).

• Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries, Event 23).

• Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries, Event 30).

• Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800, Event 30).

• Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries, Events 30 and 32).

• Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (12,224 entries, Events 28, 30, 32, 34).

• Largest Mixed Pot Limit tournament in history (606 entries, Event 39)


• The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history. He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event 25).

• Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (81) and final table appearances (42).