Firefighters have always been heroes in America and they have received a lot of publicity the past year with the success of the popular TV series Chicago Fire that covers the life and struggles of firefighters in Chicago.
However, this weekend it was the turn of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department to be in the news. Firefighter Don Maas who works at the CRFD made headlines when he took part in a WSOP event in Las Vegas and then went on to finish second and win $388,054. The win did not prevent Maas from reporting to duty on Monday as per his scheduled shift further showcasing his dedication and commitment to the job and his firehouse.
Incidentally, Maas who is 58 years old is also the captain at CRFD’s central station and he considers his job to be an integral part of his life. Maas stated that after he won in Vegas, there were many who asked him if he was going to return to his job on Monday. Maas said the thought of quitting his job never crossed his mind as he did not consider his win to be a life changing event. Maas said the only thing on his mind was to figure out how much he had won (after tax deductions) and then figure out what bills he was going to pay first.
Maas is not a professional poker player and tends to play poker as a hobby and to have a little fun. Over the weekend, he spent 40 hours at the Rio in Vegas where he took part at the WSOP’s Seniors No Limit Hold ‘Em Championship. In the end, he beat most of the competition and ended finishing in second place. He lost to professional poker player Dan Heimiller who won $627,462.
The competition initially started with over 4000 players who were over the age of 50. Maas initially had problems entering the competition as he had left back his Iowa driver’s license as he went through the TSA line at the Eastern Iowa Airport. The WSOP were not willing to let him participate in the tournament without a state ID but finally permitted him to play after confirming that he would not be able to withdraw any prize money until he was able to produce a valid state ID.
His wife Jeri came to the resume as she contacted TSA, got the license and then had it sent across to Maas in Vegas. He was finally able to present it to the WSOP and collect his prize money. His CRFD fire house is waiting for Maas to take them out and show them a good time.