Marcel Vonk Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 54

Dutch Physicist Wins Relatively Tough WSOP Victory

Vonk Wins Final Tournament Before Start of WSOP Main Event

Latest WSOP Winner Collects $570,960 in Prize Money

WSOP Attendance Increases 20 Percent from Last Year

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OVERVIEW

Marcel Vonk was the winner of the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Vonk collected a whopping $570,960 in prize money in what was only his second time to cash at the WSOP.  He has played in four WSOP tournaments during his lifetime, yet with this victory he has achieved the game’s premier prize.
 
Vonk is 36-years-old.  He is originally from Utrecht, Holland.  Vonk currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal, where he is researcher at a major university.  Vonk works as a theoretical physicist.  His primary focus is on something called String theory, which is an advanced concept in quantum mechanics and general relativity.  Vonk also plays poker recreationally.  He first saw poker played on television, and became interested in the game.  He first attended the WSOP last year, cashing in his first-ever event.
 
With this victory, Vonk became the third Dutch player in the 41-year history of the WSOP to win a gold bracelet, following in the footsteps of countrymen Noah Boeken and Rob Hollink.

The runner up was David Peters, from Toledo, OH.  This marked his second time to cash this year, which paid a very respectable $350,803 in prize money.

The top 396 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Jesse Rockowitz (33rd), Al Krux (118th), James Dempsey (277th), and Toto Leonidas (358th).

Nikolay Evdakov cashed for only the second time at this year’s WSOP.  Evdakov holds the record for most in-the-money finishes in a single year – 10 – a mark he set in 2008.  Two players at this year’s WSOP have eight cashes each, which means Evdakov’s record could still be reached/broken with the Main Event plus five WSOP Europe events still to be played.  Evdakov now has 18 cashes in the last three years at the WSOP, which is the most of any player in that time span.

THE CHAMPION – MARCEL VONK

The $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #54) is Marcel Vonk, from Holland.

Vonk was born in Leiderdorp, Holland.  However, he calls Utrecht his hometown.

Vonk has lived in many places around the world.  Nations where Vonk has resided include Holland, Sweden, France, South Africa, and Portugal.

Vonk currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

Vonk is a theoretical physicist.  He is currently assigned to the University of Lisbon.

Vonk performs research on quantum mechanics and relatively theory.  His projects involve the study of the smallest particles known to man. 

Vonk’s current focus is on something called String theory. 

When Vonk was living in Sweden, he became interested in poker.  He noted that many younger Swedes were playing poker (mostly online).  He began to play and enjoyed the game and has been a recreational player ever since.

Vonk collected $570,960 for first place.  He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Vonk first played at the WSOP last year.  He cashed in his first tournament.  To date, Vonk has entered four WSOP tournaments.  He has cashed in two of them.

According to official records, Vonk now has one win, one final table appearance, and two cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $573,705.

WINNER QUOTES

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:  “It means a lot.  When I first started playing, I was an amateur player.  And while the money means a lot, I play in tournaments because I want to win something.  Otherwise, I would play in cash games.  The $500,000 is a lot.  But the bracelet is almost more important than the money.”

On how he became interested in poker:  “I lived in Sweden at the time.  And Swedes are crazy about poker.  So, that’s how I started.  Some friends who also do physics introduced me to the game.”

On his first experience playing at the WSOP and this year’s goals:  “Last year, I played in one event and I cashed in that.  So I was already above expectations.  This year, I just hoped to make it to Day Two and to cash.  But I did not expect anything like this.”

On what would be more meaningful – to win the Nobel Prize for Physics or the WSOP Main Event:  “I would choose my work.  I would choose to win the Nobel Prize.  But, it’s close.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.  To date, 16 of the 51 final tables played have been comprised entirely of non-winners.

The final table began nine-handed.

The final table included players from four different nations – Great Britain (1 player), Holland (1 player), Norway (2 players), and the United States (5 players).

The runner up was David Peters, from Toledo, OH.  He is a 23-year-old poker pro.  Peters won a Heartland Poker Tour event and has other big cashes.  However, this was his biggest poker payout ever, worth $350,803.

The third-place finisher was Paul Kerr, from Bothwell, England.  He now has two cashes at the WSOP.  This one was big, worth a nice payout totaling $255,076.

The fourth-place finisher was Nathan Jessen, from Blair, NE.  He is a 22-year-old student.  This was his first time to cash at the WSOP in Las Vegas, which paid $186,818.  Jessen had two previous cashes in WSOP Circuit events at Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Harrah’s New Orleans.

The fifth-place finisher was Henrik Tollefsen, from Trondheim, Norway.  He is a 22-year-old poker pro.  Tollefsen has excelled in two disciplines – poker and cycling.  He was a champion cycler.  Tollefsen also won the 2009 Norwegian Poker Championship in 2009.  Fifth place paid $138,107.

The sixth-place finisher was Matthew Lupton, from Scottsdale, AZ.  He is a 34-year-old home builder.  The University of Arizona graduate cashed for the first time in this event, which paid $103,061.

The seventh-place finisher was Mehul Chaudhari, from San Francisco, CA.  He is a 43-year-old former financial analyst who is now semi-retired.  Chaudhari is perhaps best known for his 18th-place finish in the 2000 WSOP Main Event.  Chaudhari received $77,633 in what was his first WSOP cash in 10 years.

The eighth-place finisher was Espen Moen, from Bodo, Norway.  He is a 24-year-old air traffic controller.  Moen cashed for the first time in this event, which paid $59,020.

The ninth-place finisher was Dustin Dorrance-Bowman, from Austin, TX.  He is a 24-year-old poker pro.  This was his second time to cash at the WSOP, which paid $45,286.  Dorrance-Bowman previously cashed in this year’s Heads-Up championship.

The final table began at 3 pm and ended at 10 pm, a duration of about seven hours.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 396 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Jesse Rockowitz (33rd), Al Krux (118th), James Dempsey (277th), and Toto Leonidas (358th).

Nikolay Evdakov cashed for only the second time at this year’s WSOP.  Evdakov holds the record for most in-the-money finishes in a single year – 10 – which he set in 2008.  Two players at this year’s WSOP have eight cashes each, which means Evdakov’s record could still be reached/broken with the Main Event plus five WSOP Europe events still to be played.  Evdakov now has 18 cashes in the last three years at the WSOP, which is the most of any player in that time span.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 882nd 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.

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.

Vonk requested that the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Tuesday, July 6th, 2010.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over six consecutive days, from July 1st through July 5th, 2010.

There were 3,844 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $3,459,600.  The top 396 finishers collected prize money.

The final table was played inside the Pavilion for the first time ever.  The Amazon Room, which is the normal site of all WSOP final tables other than the Main Event (which is now played in the Penn and Teller Theater), was filled to capacity with the Main Event Day 1-A starters.

The final hand of the tournament came when Marcel Vonk was dealt     against David Peters    .  The final board came          , which gave Vonk a pair of aces and the victory.

Marcel Vonk is to be classified as an amateur player, since he works full-time in another occupation.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS (THROUGH EVENT 55 – WHICH HAS COMPLETED)

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 55 events, there were 52,880 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 63,354 total entries, an increase of 19.8 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures.  Last year, through 55 events, the amount of prize money won was $107,260,976.  This year’s prize money currently stands at $113,948,265, an increase of about 6.2 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #55, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (38)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)
Holland (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #55, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (31)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)
Norway (1)
Holland (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #55, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (39):  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, Daniel Alaei

Semi-Pros (7):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn, Dan Kelly

Amateurs (9):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle, Marcel Vonk

Through the conclusion of Event #55, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)
Daniel Alaei

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #55:

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