21-Year-Old Steven Kelly Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 38

Young Poker Pro Collects $382,725 in Prize Money

Kelly Guns down Record Field in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout

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

OVERVIEW

Steven Kelly was the winner of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory, following a lone previous in-the-money finish here in Las Vegas.  That was a relatively pedestrian 54th-place showing in the Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em competition two weeks ago.  Kelly, from Camarillo, CA, earned a huge breakthrough victory and collected $382,725 in prize money.

Kelly turned 21 just two months ago.  He is the fifth-youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history.  He has just recently started playing in live events (due to legal age limits) and now appears well on his way to becoming recognized within the poker world.

The runner up was Jeffrey King, from Colchester, CT.  He won the WSOP Circuit championship at Harrah’s Atlantic City back in 2006.  The second place consolation prize in this tournament amounted to a very respectable $237,327.

There were 140 finishers who collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Justin Scott, Annette Obrestad, J.C. Tran, Steve Hohn, Chau Giang, Randy Holland, and Robert Mizrachi.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 22-24, 2010.  The tournament attracted 1,397 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $1,885,950.

THE CHAMPION – STEVEN KELLY

The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #39) is Steven Kelly, from Camarillo, CA.

Kelly is 21-years-old.

Kelly has played in some live poker events, all in California, where the legal age to play is 18 (at tribal casinos).

This was Kelly’s first time to play at the WSOP.  He turned legal age to enter Nevada casinos on May 1st, which made him 21 years, 1 month, and 23 days at the time of his gold bracelet victory.  Kelly is the fifth-youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history.  

According to official records, Steven Kelly now has one win, one final table appearance, and two in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.   His career WSOP earnings now total $382,725.

Kelly finished in 54th place in Event #16, which was his first WSOP cash.

Kelly had no one cheering for him at the final table.  He explained afterward that he would have had family and friends come to witness his achievement, but the final table came too quickly for anyone to make travel plans.

A few minutes after Kelly won his first WSOP gold bracelet, he was being interviewed by several reporters at tableside.  While four other tournaments were being played and the Amazon Room was filled with approximately 1,500 people, the room suddenly went pitch black.  A power outage temporarily hit the Rio (and much of Las Vegas), leaving the room in total darkness.  The lights remained out for about 20 seconds before emergency generators were engaged and provided limited power and lighting.  The mood was surreal for the next several minutes, as play throughout the Rio was suspended until full power and lighting were restored.  A few bystanders nervously suggested that a casino blackout could only mean one thing – the end of the world had finally come.  Kelly, clutching his gold bracelet, was amused by the uncertainty, and suggested that if the world was indeed ending, at least he would go down as the last WSOP winner in history.

WINNER QUOTES

On online poker versus live tournaments:  “I play mostly cash games online, but I have had some tournament wins online -- some $20,000s, but nothing over $100,000.  But this is definitely my biggest cash.”

On his expectations coming to the WSOP for the first time:  “I did watch a lot on TV and when I turned 21, I had plans on Las Vegas.  It turned out I am here for a few months and worked out really good.  I like the choice I made.”

On what winning the gold bracelet means:  “It means a lot.  It’s all I do.  So, to win is really amazing.  Now, I want to win a few more.”

On which is more important – the money or the gold bracelet:  “The bracelet for sure.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Justin Scott (1 win)

The final table began nine-handed (the table was originally intended to begin at 10-handed, but two players were eliminated at the same time when play was 11-handed, leaving nine finalists).

The final table was comprised of players who were all from the United States.

The runner up was Jeffrey King, from Colchester, CT.  He won the WSOP Circuit championship at Harrah’s Atlantic City back in 2006.  The second place prize in this tournament amounted to a very respectable $237,327.

The third-place finisher was Derric Haynie, from Lincoln, CA.  This was his second final table appearance this year.  He took fourth place in the $1,500 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball tourney.  Third place paid $161,463.

The fourth-place finisher was Dustin Dirksen, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a law school graduate who is now playing poker full-time.  This marked his eighth time to cash at the WSOP.  Dirksen collected $112,455.

The fifth-place finisher was Reagan Leman, from San Diego, CA.  Leman received $78,530 for his second WSOP in-the-money finish.

The sixth-place finisher was Brett Shaffer, from Beloit, KS.  This was Shaffer’s second time to cash, which paid $56,568.

The seventh-place finisher was Paul Varano, from Olympia, WA.  Varano now has two cashes, this one worth $40,975.

The eighth-place finisher was Michael Cooper, from Pacifica, CA.  This marked his first WSOP cash.  Eighth place paid $30,183.

The ninth-place finisher was former WSOP gold bracelet winner Justin Scott, from Redford Township, MI.  Scott won the $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship in 2006.  He now has nine WSOP cashes.  This was his third career final table appearance, worth $22,623 in prize money.

The final table began at 8:20 pm and ended at 1:50 am, which means play lasted about 5 hours and 30 minutes.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS


All first round Shootout winners were guaranteed prize money.  Players who won the first and second round made it to the final table.  The player who won three rounds won the gold bracelet.

There were 140 finishers who collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Justin Scott, Annette Obrestad, J.C. Tran, Steve Hohn, Chau Giang, Randy Holland, and Robert Mizrachi.

Chau Giang cashed for the 55th time, which currently ranks eighth on the all-time WSOP cashes list.

The defending champion was Jeffery Carris, from Las Vegas, NV.  He entered this year’s tournament but did not cash.

ODDS AND ENDS

Shootouts emphasize short-handed poker skills.  This generally requires competitors to play cards out of the standard range of starting-hand requirements.  It also makes post-flop skill paramount to victory.  In a sense, each round is a “final table” for all the competitors since the objective is to accumulate chips and eliminate opponents.

This is the 867th 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 at WSOP Europe (to date).

All events at this year’s WSOP give players triple chips (three times the amount of the buy-in).  Players began Round 1 with 4,500 in chips.  Winners advanced and began Round 2 with 45,000 in chips.  Winners advanced and began Round 3 (made up of 14 players) with 450,000 in chips.

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.

EVENT HISTORY

Attendance in this event increased nearly 40% over last year.  Last year, there were 999 entrants.  This year, there were 1,397 entrants.
 
TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 22-24, 2010.

The tournament attracted 1,397 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $1,885,950.  The top 140 finishers collected prize money.  

A shootout tournament means players advance based on winning a series of table matches.  The shootout format is single elimination.  The number of matches depends on the number of tournament entries.  In this event, the winner was required to win three consecutive matches.

Each match is played like a single-table satellite, with only one winner from each table. Day One began with 1,397 players.  There were 140 matches played – with an average of 10 players starting at each table (three tables had nine players).  At the end of Day One, 140 players (all the winners) advanced to Day Two.

Day Two resumed with 140 players.  There were 14 matches played with 10 players starting at each table.  At the end of Day Two, 14 players (all the winners) advanced to Day Three.

Day Three began with the 14 players playing down to a final table of ten.  However, since two players were eliminated on the same hand when play was at 11-handed, the final table actually began with nine players.

The final hand of the tournament came when Steven Kelly was dealt     against Jeffrey King’s    .  King was all-in and needed face cards.  The flop came      , giving King some possibility of doubling up.  But the last two cards were    , which gave Kelly a pair of nines and the victory.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this point last year.  Last year, through 39 events, there were 39,041 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 43,467 total entries, an increase of 11 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #39, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (26)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (4)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #39, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:
 
United States (19)
Great Britain (4)
Canada (4)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #39, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (27):  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

Semi-Pros (4):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola

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

Through the conclusion of Event #39, 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

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker Event #39:

Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open event) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) -- None