Poway resident makes deep run in World Series of Poker Main Event, wins $369,026
By Michael Bower
Robert Buckenmayer made the most of his first appearance in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Main Event in Las Vegas.
The 67-year-old Poway resident made it down to the final two tables before finishing in 17th place out of a field of 6,598 players to secure a prize of $369,026. He was the oldest player left when the final 27 players began battling it out for a first-place prize of over $8 million.
“It was a wonderful ride and I would not change one of my decisions,” said Buckenmayer, who moved from Rancho Bernardo to Poway after his home burned down in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire. “That last hand went exactly according to plan until I saw my Ace Queen of hearts were facing an Ace King, making me a 70-30 underdog. As they say, that’s poker.”
The elimination ended seven grueling 13-hour days at the card table for Buckenmayer, who is a regular cash-game player at Ocean’s Eleven in Oceanside. Before cashing in the main event, Buckenmayer’s total earnings in tournament play was only around $7,000. He plans to play many more tournaments now.
“I never really took tournaments seriously,” said Buckenmayer, an avid golfer and traveler. “But after this experience, I realized that I have been missing out on some serious fun. I only played in three events this year, but I probably will camp out at the World Series of Poker next year and play more … as much as my wife Maggie will let me.”
There are currently nine players left in the main event. Those final nine will play down to one beginning on Oct. 29. The road to the final nine players will be aired on ESPN, starting Aug. 14. Buckenmayer’s run will be featured on the program.
“I surprised myself with how little I had to hesitate when they asked me all the questions,” he said. “I just had the answers on the tip of my tongue. When I was done, they told me they wished other players could have as great of interviews.”
Buckenmayer did not mention any specific plans for his winnings, but he did say he hopes to prove that his deep run in the main event was no fluke.
“I want to put some authenticity on this and get some recognition,” Buckenmayer said. “I don’t want to be the lucky old guy. I want to demonstrate there is some skill in this. I want to make another deep run in a major tournament. The bank roll has given me the chance to do that.”
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