Freddie Ellis, a 74-year-old real estate broker from Brooklyn, New York, traveled to Las Vegas to play in his first World Series of Poker. The Atlantic City regular had one thing in mind: "This is the main reason I came to Las Vegas, to play in the world championship of seven-card stud."
Three days after play began, Ellis, drained from a 13-hour final table, sat behind a mountain of chips and his brand-new WSOP bracelet. Having earned $373,751, and visibly fatigued, the former singer was full of emotion, remembering his wife, who he wished could share in the moment.
"There is something that is very difficult for me to talk about," Ellis said to the WSOP. "You see, my wife would always go with me when I would go somewhere and play poker -- whether it was Atlantic City or Las Vegas or wherever. She just died two years ago. Her name was Barbara Ellis. You see, if I talk about her . I still haven't gotten over it."
The WSOP rookie moved to New York City during the 1950s and sang show tunes and popular music in nightclubs. After marriage, Ellis stopped traveling and stayed with his wife, changing careers and investing in New York real estate.
"I worked in clubs, but with a family it was hard," Ellis said. "So that is why I got into real estate and settled down."
Typically playing the $600/$1,200 game in Atlantic City, Ellis decided to enter his first WSOP event and defeated a tough field of 142 to win the title. He is the fifth African American to win a WSOP bracelet, and amazingly, all five men won those bracelets in seven-card stud.
Falling short of his first WSOP title was Eric Drache, a poker legend and former WSOP tournament director. Drache is responsible for creating tournament satellites in 1982, forever changing the game. With a second-place finish, Drache won $231,013.
Other notable finishers include Max Pescatori (fourth), Hasan Habib (fifth), Greg Mueller (seventh) and Daniel Negreanu (ninth).
Below are the complete results of Event 6 at the 2009 World Series of Poker:
Event 6: Seven-card stud world championship
Prize pool: $1,334,800
Players in the money: 16
1. Freddie Ellis ($373,751)
2. Eric Drache ($231,013)
3. Ville Wahlbeck ($152,914)
4. Max Pescatori ($107,958)
5. Hasan Habib ($80,968)
6. Ivan Schertzer ($64,297)
7. Greg Mueller ($53,885)
8. Tim Phan ($47,532)
9. Jeffrey Lisandro ($36,266)
10. Daniel Negreanu ($36,266)
11. Ray Dehkharghani ($29,152)
12. Mel Judah ($29,152)
13. Eric Brooks ($24,480)
14. Matt Glantz ($24,480)
15. Fu Wong ($21,343)
16. Steve Landfish ($21,343)