The River Ace
Dan Kelly Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 52
Villanova College Student Wins Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Championship
Latest WSOP Winner Collects $1,315,518 in Prize Money
Through 53 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance Increases 18 Percent from Last Year
It was one of the biggest buy-in tournaments in WSOP history. It attracted just about every big name in poker. And, it had a memorable breakthrough career victory for a player already acknowledged as one of the game’s top online players but who had yet to prove his talent in live tournaments. Indeed, the $25,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship had just about everything compelling in a poker tournament, including multiple record-smashing headlines.
Dan Kelly, age 21, was the winner of the $25,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker. This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory. Kelly collected a whopping $1,315,518 in prize money in what was only his fourth time to cash at the WSOP. He is a 21-year-old college student currently attending Villanova in Philadelphia. Kelly is from the Washington, DC suburb of Potomac, MD.
The runner up was Shawn Buchanan, a professional poker player from Vancouver, BC (Canada). He has been playing poker seriously for about nine years. His first time to cash at the WSOP was back in 2004. However, Buchanan has now cashed 17 times since 2007. He currently has eight cashes this year, which places him in a tie for most in-the-money finishes along with Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler. The all-time record for most cashes in a single year at the WSOP is 10, held by Nikolay Evdakov. He set the record in 2008. Buchanan is now in serious contention to match or break the record. He collected $812,941.
Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Frank Kassela was the third-place finisher. He came within striking distance of winning what would have been a third title in a single year. Had Kassela won, that would have matched the WSOP record for wins.
This was the first time a $25,000 buy-in tournament has been held at the WSOP. The top 18 finishers collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Daniel Negreanu (11th), Abe Mosseri (12th), and Carlos Mortensen (17th).
THE CHAMPION – DAN KELLY
The $25,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em Shootout champion (Event #52) is Dan Kelly, from Potomac, MD, which is an affluent suburb north of Washington, DC.
Kelly is 21 years old. He was born in March 10, 1989, which makes him 21 years, 3 months and 23 days old to be exact.
Kelly is a semi-pro player. He has earned enough money playing to be considered a professional player. However, Kelly is attending college full-time.
Kelly is a student at Villanova University in Philadelphia, PA. He just completed his junior year. His major is mechanical engineering.
Kelly’s parents were initially not enthusiastic about his poker playing. But as Kelly has performed well in school despite playing much of his free time, and the fact he has earned large sums of money at poker, Kelly’s parents have become more supportive. Kelly’s father was a trademark attorney. His mother is a former nurse.
Kelly does not have much experience playing in US-based poker tournaments. However, he has previously played major events held in The Bahamas, Spain, and Germany.
Incredibly, the first WSOP tournament Kelly ever entered was this year’s $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship. This is believed to be the first time in history a new player has ever made his maiden WSOP voyage in the highest buy-in tournament, with one of the toughest fields in WSOP history.
Kelly collected $1,315,518 for first place. He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.
According to official records, Kelly now has one win, one final table appearance, and four cashes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings now total $1,338,609.
Kelly won the tournament by catching an ace on the river. He had ace-ten against pocket jacks. An ace on the river gave him a pair of aces.
On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It’s a mixture of being shocked and excited. … I’m shocked and surprised more than anything.”
On his expectations of winning: “I definitely thought I could win, or I wouldn’t be playing. But you can’t expect to win a tournament, even if you play perfect. This definitely exceeds my expectations.”
On his perspective of small fields with high buy-ins versus huge fields with low buy-ins: “Just because of the numbers, it is tougher to win a 3,000-player tournament. But the field is much tougher here. It is much tougher when you go deeper. There are weaker player in the 3,000 player field.”
On the adjustment from playing online versus in a live tournament, especially at the final table: “I was a little bit nervous in the beginning. But it’s nice having people around who are cheering for you.”\
On his future goals in poker: “I feel like I can keep winning bracelets. It’s amazing that I have already won one. I would like to win more.”
On his future goals away from poker: “I can’t really say. I think for now, I am basically just going to try out poker. I’m going to graduate though (from college).”
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Frank Kassela. To date, 16 of the 51 final tables played have been entirely comprised on non-winners.
The final table began six-handed.
The final table included players from two different nations – Canada (1 player) and the United States (5 players).
The runner up was Shawn Buchanan, from Vancouver, BC (Canada). He has been playing poker seriously for about nine years. His first time to cash at the WSOP was back in 2004. However, Buchanan has now cashed 17 times since 2007. He currently has eight cashes this year, which places him in a tie for most in-the-money finishes along with Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler. The all-time record for most cashes in a single year at the WSOP is 10, held by Nikolay Evdakov. He set the record in 2008. Buchanan is now in serious contention to match or break the record. He collected $812,941.
The third-place finisher was Frank Kassela, from Las Vegas, NV. Kassela is having one of the best years of any player at the WSOP. He has already won two gold bracelets in 2010. He came close to a third in this tournament, which would have tied the record for most WSOP wins within a single year (the record of 3 is shared by Puggy Pearson, Ted Forrest, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, and Jeffrey Lisandro). Kassela became the player to catch in the 2010 WSOP Player of the Year race. Third place paid $556,053 giving him $1.3 million in earnings at this year’s WSOP.
The fourth-place finisher was Jason Somerville, from Stony Brook, NY. He is another player who has stayed largely under the radar despite an impressive record of cashes at the WSOP. In fact, this was Somerville’s ninth time to cash at the WSOP. He now has a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th-place finish at the WSOP over the past three years alone – which means he’s due for a win in his next final table appearance. Somerville earned a very respectable $386,125 in prize money.
The fifth-place finisher was Mikael Thuritz, from Las Vegas, NV. He final tabled the Poker Players Championship, held earlier this year, finishing eighth. Thuritz also cashed in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, finishing 41st in what was the largest live poker tournament in history. Fifth place paid $272,084.
The sixth-place finisher was Eugene Katchalov, from New York, NY. He’s another player who has put up some impressive results – with three final table appearances this year alone. Katchalov now has a 3rd, 6th, and 7th-place finish in 2010. He has earned more than $500,000 at the 2010 WSOP after adding another $194,559 to his poker bankroll.
The final table began at 3 pm and ended at 7:15 pm, for a duration of about 4 hours and 15 minutes. This was the shortest final table of any of the 53 completed events at this year’s WSOP.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 18 finishers collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Daniel Negreanu (11th), Abe Mosseri (12th), and Carlos Mortensen (17th).
With his 11th-place finish, Daniel Negreanu now has 47 career cashes. This currently ranks in a tie for 12th place on the all-time WSOP cashes list.
ODDS AND ENDS
This is the 881st gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded. It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe.
This was the second time this year that the event winner earned in excess of $1 million. The other tournament was the Poker Players Championship, which awarded $1,559,046 to the winner, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year. The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.
Kelly requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Monday, July 5th, 2010.
This was the first time this event has ever been offered at the WSOP. This was the second highest buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in WSOP history. Only the 40th Anniversary Special held last year had a higher buy-in, at $40,000.
The tournament was played over four consecutive days, from June 30 through July 3, 2010.
There were 191 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $4,536,250. The top 18 finishers (three tables) collected prize money.
The final hand of the tournament was one of the most thrilling of the year. Dan Kelly was dealt Ac Td. Shawn Buchanan was dealt Js Jd. Buchanan moved all-in pre-flop. Kelly had his opponent covered by about a 2-to-1 margin and made the call. It appeared Buchanan would double up. But the river was an ace, which gave Kelly a pair of aces against Buchanan’s pocket jacks. The final board ran 6s 4s 3d 5h Ad. Kelly became the new champion, while Buchanan accepted one of the biggest consolation prizes of the 2010 WSOP.
Dan Kelly is to be classified as a semi-professional player, since he has been playing for income, but also attends college full time.
2010 WSOP STATISTICS (THROUGH EVENT 53)
Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year. Last year, through 53 events, there were 49,805 entries. Thus far this year, there have been 59,164 total entries, an increase of 18 percent.
Prize money is also up from last year’s figures. Last year, through 53 events, the amount of prize money won was $102,823,303. This year’s prize money currently stands at $107,236,265, an increase of about 4 percent.
Through the conclusion of Event #53, which finished before Event #52, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:
United States (37)
Great Britain (5)
New Zealand (1)
Through the conclusion of Event #53, which finished before Event #52, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (30)
Great Britain (5)
New Zealand (1)
Through the conclusion of Event #53, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:
Professional Players (37): Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey, Luigi Kwaysser, Scott Montgomery, Steven Kelly, Steve Jelinek, Dean Hamrick, Ian Gordon, Gavin Smith, Jesse Rockowitz, Chris Bell, Sigurd Eskeland, Chance Kornuth, Ryan Welch, Brendan Taylor
Semi-Pros (7): Frank Kassela (two victories), Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn, Dan Kelly
Amateurs (8): Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal Lefrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle
Through the conclusion of Event #53, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)
Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #53:
Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21), Dan Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela
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