Odds Are -- Ten to One

Dean Hamrick Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 42

Former Main Event 10th-Place Finisher Takes No-Limit Hold’em Title

Michigan Poker Pro Collects $604,222 in Prize Money

Through 42 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance up Nearly 18 Percent from Last Year
For the tournament portal page for this event, including official results, click HERE.


A few years ago, “Dean Hamrick” was known primarily as the answer to a trivia question.  Inquiring as to which poker player finished one position away from being knighted as an inaugural “November Nine” finalist, revealed the name "Dean Hamrick" as the ill-fated tenth-place finisher.  At the time, there were more than half-a-million legitimate reasons not to feel too sorry for the rising 25-year-old poker star out of East Lansing, MI -- 591,869 reasons with a dollar sign, to be exact.  But involuntarily ejection from any poker tournament, especially something as momentous as the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event championship begets an instantaneous mood shift -- from near ecstasy to crushing defeat and disappointment.

If tournament poker is anything, it is most certainly chaotic.  It takes.  It gives.  It teases.  It even deceives.  And if the generic tournament trail plays mind games with its devotees, the World Series of Poker is the Bellville of brontosauruses.
This year, dreams denied in past years were resuscitated.  It's as though the gods have apologized to those who were vanquished.  Those who played supporting roles in the scripts of previously crowned champions have been cast in their own starring roles.  
Indeed, three players who made the poker pinnacle of final tables -- the WSOP Main Event -- returned to Las Vegas in 2010 and won gold bracelets.  The list of the resuscitated and risen includes Tex Barch (from 2005), Scott Montgomery (from 2008), and Eric Buchman (from 2009).
On the cusp of the 2008 November Nine ultimately ending as the tenth-place finisher, Dean Hamrick technically did make the final table.  But his victory on this long night was just as sweet -- perhaps in some ways, even sweeter.  Hamrick was the winner of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Hamrick, who lives in East Lansing, MI, earned a well-deserved breakthrough victory and collected $604,222 in prize money.  Among those who cheered Hamrick's victory from the rail was reigning world champ Joe Cada (also from Michigan).
In other tournament news:
This was a younger-than-average final table.  Three of the final nine players graduated from college within the past six months. Colleges represented were: Cornell (sixth-place finisher Ryan Hemmel), Harvard (seventh-place finisher Andrew Rosskamm), and the University of Maryland (fifth-place finisher Aaron Kaiser).
The event attracted a huge field of 2,521 entries.  The top 81 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – James Schaaf (12th), Humberto Brenes (16th), Carter Phillips (48th), Jeff Madsen (139th), Michael Gracz (206th), and Andre Boyer (226th).   
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Mike Swick, from Houston, TX finished in 10th place.

Two-time gold bracelet winner Humberto Brenes, from San Jose, Costa Rica, moved into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time WSOP cashes list with his 57th in-the-money finish.  He is currently one cash ahead of T.J. Cloutier.   


The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #42) is Dean Hamrick, from East Lansing, MI.

Hamrick is 27-years-old.

Hamrick has a twin brother.  They were raised by a single mother.

Hamrick is a professional poker player.

Prior to playing poker full-time, Hamrick was a student at Michigan State University.  He studied economics.

Hamrick says he has plans to return to college and finish his education.  He is 16 credits short of graduation.

Hamrick finished tenth in the 2008 WSOP Main Event championship.  That was the first year of the “November Nine” concept when the last nine players reassembled three months later to play the final table.  Hence, Hamrick was the last player eliminated at the WSOP during the summer of 2008.

Hamrick collected $591,869 for his “bubble” final table achievement.  He used those winnings to play other tournaments and has performed quite well in the two years since his first big cash.  However, this victory marked his biggest poker achievement ever.

Hamrick made a final table at last year’s WSOP, when he finished fifth.

Hence, Hamrick’s last three major scores at the WSOP went from 10th to 5th to 1st.

Hamrick collected $604,222 for first place.  He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Hamrick now has one win, two final table appearances, and eight cashes at the WSOP.  He also has three WSOP Circuit cashes.  His career WSOP earnings now total $1,366,534.

Hamrick is close friends with defending WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada – who is also from Michigan.

Hamrick would have come to Las Vegas to watch Cada play in last year’s November Nine.  But he was playing in a tournament at Foxwoods in Connecticut the previous day and overslept the night before, which caused him to miss his flight.


On what it was like to come in tenth in the 2008 WSOP Main Event:  “It was very mixed.  It was the most money I had ever won.  You don’t really feel that bad.  After all, I had won $600,000.  But as time passed and I began to realize what a big deal it was, being the first time there was a November Nine, it started to hurt again (to not be a part of that).  It was frustrating the way I went out, and then to see what happened to the rest of the guys.  To get that close was really tough.  Overall, it was a great experience and it caused me to do a lot of other things in poker.”

On what he learned from the experience in 2008:  “If I would not have had that experience then, I would not have won this event today.  It shows that you can never give up.  You have to stay patient.  You have to pick the spots, and you can’t just throw it all away – because it is very rare to make a final table and it might not come again.  You realize how important this is, so you really have to try and concentrate and just stay in the moment and not let any of the other distractions get to you.”

On losing the chip lead at one point during the final table:  “I think I played really well.  I had (my opponent) all in twice but did not get it done.  I may have made a few bad calls, but in this game anything can happen.  Poker is not like basketball where the best team wins – you have to get a little bit of help, too.”

On playing a final table that lasted more than 14 hours:  “I could see (Tom O’Neal) getting tired.  I figured if I could stay monotonous and do the same thing over and over, that he might stop making good decisions.  He might get tired and stop being aggressive.  Trouble was, I almost put myself to sleep.”

On what might have happened had the final table lasted longer:  “I don’t think I had many more hours in me.”

On what winning the WSOP gold bracelet means:  “It’s huge.  It’s every poker player’s dream.  When I started watching poker in the move Rounders, it’s all you think about.  Fortunately for me, I have a ton of friends and some of them have won bracelets.  It feels really, really good to join the gold bracelet club.”


The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

The final table began play at nine-handed.

This was a younger than average final table.  Three of the final nine players graduated from college within the past six months.  Colleges represented were: Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Maryland.

The final table included players from just two nations -- Great Britain and the United States.

The runner up was Tom O’Neal, from League City, TX.  Incredibly, this was his first time to cash at the WSOP.  He is 61-years-old and teaches math to special needs students.  O’Neal, who is one of the unsung heroes in society who rarely gets cited or celebrated for his tireless dedication to humanity and education, could certainly be proud of his debut showing at the WSOP, which paid out $375,627.

The third-place finisher was Ian Wiley, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a 25-year-old professional poker player competing in the WSOP for the first time this year.  So far, he has two cashes.  Wiley enjoyed a nice score in this event for finishing third, which paid $265,869.  

The fourth-place finisher was Niccolo Caramatti, from London, England.  He is a 35-year-old professional poker player originally from Italy.  This marked Caramatti’s fifth time to cash at the WSOP.  This was his best showing to date, which paid $191,744.  Caramatti manages an online Italian-language poker school.  He is also a marathon runner.

The fifth-place finisher was Aaron Kaiser, from Silver Spring, MD.  He is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland.  He says his goal is to retire by the age of 30, which gives him six more years to build up a pension.  If Kaiser keeps on cashing big – this one for $140,013 – Kaiser might just reach his goal.

The sixth-place finisher was Ryan Hemmel, from Long Valley, NJ.  He is a 22-year-old graduate of Cornell University (New York) who recently earned a degree in engineering.  This was his first year to play at the WSOP.  This was the third event Hemmel has entered.  He outlasted most of the huge field and took down $103,461 for sixth place.

The seventh-place finisher was Andrew Rosskamm, from Cleveland, OH.  He is a 28-year-old portfolio manager.  Rosskamm finished 37th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.  He just graduated from Harvard University.  Rosskamm collected $77,392.

The eighth-place finisher was Thomas Johnson, from Bermuda Dunes, CA.  He is a 42-year-old registered nurse.  Johnson is a dedicated family man who is married and has two children.  This was Johnson’s best WSOP finish, which paid $58,571.

The ninth-place finisher was Aaron Gustavson, from Las Vegas, NV.  He is a 24-year-old poker pro.  Gustavson booked a huge win last year at the European Poker Tour championship in London and has a number of sizable other cashes.  This was his second time to cash at this year’s WSOP, worth a payout totaling $44,856.

The final table began at 3 pm and ended at 5:10 am, for a duration of 14 hours and 10 minutes.  This was the longest final table of the year, to date.


The top 81 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – James Schaaf (12th), Humberto Brenes (16th), Carter Phillips (48th), Jeff Madsen (139th), Michael Gracz (206th), and Andre Boyer (226th).

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Mike Swick, from Houston, TX, finished in 10th place.

Two-time gold bracelet winner Humberto Brenes, from San Jose, Costa Rica, moved into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time WSOP cashes list with his 57th in-the-money finish.  He is currently one cash ahead of T.J. Cloutier.   

Bernard Lee, professional poker player, author, and radio personality, finished in 21st place.

Kevin Schaffel, who finished eighth in last year’s WSOP Main Event championship, took 26th place.


This is the 870th 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.

Hamrick requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Sunday June 28th, 2010.


The tournament was played over three consecutive days, from June 23-26, 2010.

There were 2,521 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $3,403,305.  The top 270 finishers collected prize money.

Dean Hamrick enjoyed a sizable chip lead during most of the final table.  When he went heads-up versus Thomas O’Neal, Hamrick enjoyed about a 6-to-5 chip advantage.

O’Neal took the chip lead for the first time on a huge hand when he was all-in with pockets 8s and hit a set of eights on the flop.  Opponent Hamrick had top pair with top kicker on the hand, and lost the pot, which looked to be a momentum shift.  The two finalists dueled for another hour before Hamrick then won just about every key pot late.  Hamrick kept applying pressure and gradually wore down O’Neal.

The final hand came a brutally-long 14-hours after play began at the final table.  Hamrick was dealt     against O’Neal’s    .  O’Neal was all-in pre-flop.  The final board came          , which means both players made a pair of aces, but Hamrick’s queen played as the higher kicker.


Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 42 events, there were 40,028 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 47,200 total entries, an increase of 17.9 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #42, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (28)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (4)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #42, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (21)
Great Britain (5)
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 #42, the ratio of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (29):  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

Semi-Pros (5):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela

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

Through the conclusion of Event #42, 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 #42:

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