Wild Night for Ryan Welch
Las Vegas Poker Pro Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 51

Welch Wins Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em Championship
Latest WSOP Winner Collects $559,371 in Prize Money
Through 51 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance Increases 25 Percent from Last Year

Note:  For the tournament portal page for this event, including official results, click HERE.


Thomas Welch was drafted by the New England Patriots earlier this year.  He set NCAA records in college as a tight end who played at Vanderbilt.  But for the time being, Thomas Welch will have to look up to his brother Ryan Welch as the family’s newest champion.

Indeed, Ryan Welch was the winner of the $3,000 buy-in Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Welch collected a whopping $559,371 in prize money in what was his third time to cash at the WSOP.  Welch’s most notable previous achievement was a second-place finish at a tournament held last year at the Foxwoods Casino, in Connecticut.  

Welch is a 27-year-old professional poker player from Henderson, NV.  He is originally from Portland, ME.  He and his wife just moved to the Las Vegas area prior to the start of this year’s WSOP.  Welch formally worked as an account executive before deciding to pursue poker as a full-time vocation.  His brother is Thomas Welch, who plays for the NFL’s Patriots.

Settling for the tournament field goal of sorts was the runner up in this event -- Jon Eaton, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a 26-year-old poker pro.  Eaton collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $344,830.

There were 965 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $2,663,400.  The top 90 finishers collected prize money.  Attendance increased over last year when there were 854 entries.  Hence, attendance this year increased by 12.9 percent.  Most tournaments are up this year in attendance over last.


The $3,000 buy-in Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #51) is Ryan Welch, from Henderson, NV.

Welch was born in Portland, ME.

Welch was highly competitive growing up and played college baseball.

Welch is a 27-year-old professional poker player.

Welch is married.  His wife is Canadian.

Welch’s victory came on Canada Day (Canada’s version of the Fourth of July).

The Welch’s moved to the Las Vegas area just prior to the start of this year’s WSOP.  They were living in Nashville, TN prior to the move.  They are having a custom home built, which was paid for by his poker winnings.

Welch worked as an account executive for a finance company before taking up poker as a vocation.

Welch has been playing poker seriously for about four years.

Welch collected $559,371 for first place.  He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Welch now has one win, one final table appearance, and three cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $580,287.

Welsh’s brother is Thomas Welch, who plays for the NFL’s New England Patriots.  He was a stand out tight end in college who played for Vanderbilt.


On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:  “It feels really amazing.  It really hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will, in a while.  But it’s the most amazing thing.  It’s the goal I have always had as a poker player.”

On playing versus friend Jon Eaton heads up, who came in second:  “Obviously, Jon is a great player.   We know a lot about of each other.  We play together all the time, even online.  I could not have asked for a better final table and to play heads up against each other was really special.”

On having bragging rights within the Welch family (his brother is a professional football player) and plans to tease his brother for having become the family’s first sports champion:  “I hope so.  I’m sure he wishes he could be here, but this is great.”

On how he feels about his poker game:  “I feel great about my game, right now.  The sky’s the limit.”

On playing poker online versus live:  It’s entirely different.  The (WSOP) is the world’s biggest stage for poker and to have all my friends here is just awesome.”

On taking a late beat, recovering from the setback, and eventually winning:  “Anytime you are one card away from winning a gold bracelet and you don’t, it crushes you.  But that’s what poker is about.  You have to compose yourself….but it worked out in the end.”

On his philosophy as a professional poker player:  “I’ve always been someone who treats it like a job.”

On advice to others in a Triple Chance tournament:  “I recommend doing what your table does.  If they all buy-up (early), then you have to buy up also.  You have to go along with what your table is doing.”


The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners, thus guaranteeing a first-time champion.  To date, 16 of the 51 final tables played have included all maidens.

The final table began nine-handed.

The final table included players from three different nations – including France (1 player), Russia, (1 player) and the United States (7 players).

The runner up was Jon Eaton, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a 26-year-old poker pro.  Eaton’s most notable previous achievement was a second-place finish at a major tournament held at the Commerce Casino a few years ago, which paid over six figures.  Eaton is originally from Kansas City, MO.  Eaton is quite dedicated to the game of poker; he says he plays more poker in a month that most players in an entire year.  Eaton collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $344,830.

The third-place finisher was Guillaume Darcourt, from Suresnes (Paris), France.  This marked his first time to cash at the WSOP following several notable cashes in Europe.  Darcourt won a major event held in Bucharest, Romania earlier this year.  However, the third place prize for this tournament amounting to $223,459 was his biggest cash ever.

The fourth-place finisher was Will “the Thrill” Failla, from Smithtown, NC.  He is 42-year-old a former realtor turned poker pro.  Failla has a number of major cashes on his tournament record including seven cashes at the WSOP, but this was his biggest payout, which came to $163,532.

The fifth-place finisher was Bradley Craig, from Cleveland, OH.  He is a former financial advisor who cashed for the second time and earned his biggest poker ever – amounting to $121,451.

The sixth-place finisher was Sergey Lebedev, from Troitsk, Russia.  This was his second time to cash this year, which paid $91,407.

The seventh-place finisher was Tommy Vedes, from Fort Mohave, AZ.  He is a former New Yorker who now plays poker for a living.  With this finish – his eighth WSOP cash, which paid $69,647 – Vedes now has in excess of half-a-million dollars in WSOP earnings.  His best showing was 19th place in last years Main Event.

The eighth-place finisher was Noel Scruggs, from Del Mar, CA.  He is a 24-year-old poker pro who has earned more than $1 million in cash games since he began playing full-time.  This was Scruggs second time to cash at the WSOP, which paid $53,694.

The ninth-place finisher was Tad Jurgens, from Tempe, AZ.  He is a 36-year-old professional poker player.  With this finish, which paid $41,842, Jurgens cashed for the seventh time at this year’s WSOP.  This is one in-the-money finish behind current leader, Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler.

The final table began at 5:15 pm and ended at 12:10 am, meaning the duration lasted about 6 hours and 55 minutes.


The top 90 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Gavin Griffin (27th), Vitaly Lunkin (31st), Peter Traply (36th), “Captain” Tom Franklin (39th), David Singer (46th), Ken Aldridge (52nd), William Haydon (55th), and Alexander Kravchenko (59th).

The 12th-place finisher was Greg Ronaldson, from Johannesburg, South Africa.  He won two of the biggest poker tournaments in Africa – the All Africa Poker Championship (2007) and the South African Poker Open (2010).

James Akenhead, from London, England finished in 17th place.  He final tabled both the WSOP Main Event and WSOP Europe Main Event, last year.

The defending champion was Jorg Peisert, from Dusseldorf, Germany.  He entered this year’s tournament, but did not finish in-the-money.


This is the 879th 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.

The winner Ryan Welch requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Saturday, July 3rd, 2010.


This is only the fourth Triple Chance tournament in WSOP history.

Re-buy tournaments were discontinued after 2008.  One reason was because re-buys gave a competitive edge to players with deeper pockets.  A different format was introduced called the “Triple Chance” tournament.  This provides all players with an equal opportunity to win, irrelevant of bankroll size.  Triple-chance tournaments debuted in 2008, as the two biggest Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments played using this format.

In this Triple Chance tournament, players were given a starting stack of 3,000 in chips, plus two lammers (worth 3,000 each), which can be used at anytime to re-buy more chips.  All players are given the same number of lammers.  Some players chose to re-buy for the maximum number of chips immediately, preferring a large stack from the start.  Other players prefer to minimize the risk of going bust by using the lammers to re-enter the tournament (re-buy) with a new stack.  So, all players theoretically begin with 9,000 in chips.


The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 29 through July 1, 2010.

There were 965 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $2,663,400.  The top 90 finishers collected prize money.

Attendance increased over last year when there were 854 entries.  Hence, attendance this year increased by 12.9 percent.  Most tournaments are up this year over last.

The heads-up match between Ryan Welch and Jon Eaton was a classic duel.  Both Las Vegas locals traded the chip lead back and forth for two hours.

On the final hand of the tournament, Welch made a king-high straight.

Welch is to be classified as a professional player, since he has been playing full time for about three years.


Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 51 events, there were 48,485 entries.  This year, there have been 58,425 total entries at this same point on the schedule – which represents an increase of 20.5 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures.  Last year, through 51 events, the amount of prize money won was $99,816,344.  This year’s prize money amounts to $101,960,215 – which represents an increase of about 2.1 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:
United States (35)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
United States (28)
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)

Through the conclusion of Event #51, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (33):  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

Semi-Pros (6):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #51, 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)

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #51:
Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela