NEWS FLASH: Chris Bell Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event 46Bell Rings in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split Championship It’s been said you discover real friends when times are the toughest. Any human card rack on a monster run can attract a rail full of gawking well-wishers. But go without cashing for months at a time and keep missing final tables and wins by the smallest of margins, and you gradually come to the realization that support and encouragement are priceless commodities that mean far more than what can be measured in a prize pool. While 57 gold bracelet winners are born out of this year’s World Series of Poker, the aspirations of tens of thousands more evaporate like teardrops out in the Las Vegas summer heat.A year ago, Chris Bell was running bad. Really bad. He admits he was broke. Try carrying that burden and playing tournament poker full-time. Bell began questioning himself and even began to contemplate his future in the game. The married father of two children had to make some brutally tough decisions about his prospects for success in a game that has clearly become more challenging in recent years. Not just his future, but the futures of those around him depended on his decision.When Bell needed the support of a friend the most – he got it. In fact, he got it in the ace spades. It came from none other than Erick Lindgren who has quietly become something like the pied piper of tournament poker. Lindgren gave Bell not only the financial backing he desperately needed to bridge the tournament poker playing psyche-wrecker called variance, he also provided Bell with something far more meaningful and everlasting. Lindgren gave Bell self-confidence. Fast forward one year later. Chris Bell was the winner of the $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker. Was it karma? Was it justice? Was it just the mathematics of poker finally kicking in, that if you somehow try hard enough and play long enough you will eventually reach the promised land? This marked Bell's first career WSOP gold bracelet victory, following several noteworthy wins and cashes in other major tournaments – as well as brutally disappointing stretches of failure. Bell earned a well-deserved and long overdue victory, for which he collected $327,040 in prize money.The runner up was Dan Shak, from Bryn Mawr, PA. He has been playing poker seriously for about six years. He has 34 overall cashes in major poker tournaments, which includes three victories. Shak’s biggest victory took place earlier this year when he won the Aussie Millions Championship. Shak is also fondly remembered as the co-winner of the inaugural Ante-Up for Africa charity tournament. In 2007, Shak and his co-champ Brandon Moran collectively donated the entire cash prize for first and second place to the international relief effort in Darfur. The contribution amounted to a whopping $386,738. As the runner up, Shak pocketed a nice consolation prize amounting to $202,142.
Following his victory, Bell was given a few moments to reflect upon what had happened. His win took place only a day after one of his closest friends Gavin Smith won his first WSOP gold bracelet.
“I want to thank Erick Lindgren. I would not be in Las Vegas right now, if it weren’t for Erick," Bell stated afterward. "A lot of people had given up on me the last year or so. But Erick didn’t. He’s never told me ‘no.’ He will beg and borrow for his friends. I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. Without a friend like him, I would not be here right now.”
In other tournament news: The final table included four former WSOP gold bracelet winners – including Erik Seidel (8 wins), Perry Green (3 wins), Rob Hollink (1 win), and David “Devilfish” Ulliott (1 win).The third-place finisher was English poker star Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott, from Hull, England. This was Devilfish’s best finish in three years. He now has 30 WSOP cashes. His win took place back in 1997. Devilfish was one of the first bona fide poker celebrities in Great Britain. His finish in this tournament was worth $150,925.The fifth-place finisher was eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel , from Las Vegas, NV. His bid for career victory fell short by four spots. Seidel now has more than $4.3 million in WSOP earnings after collecting $85,800 in this tournament.The sixth-place finisher was Leif Force, from Tallahassee, FL. This marked his seventh time to cash at the WSOP. Force had one of the more impressive back-to-back years in the history of the WSOP Main Event when he finished 11th in 2006 (with 8,773 players) and then finished 392nd in 2007 (with 6,358 players). Force pocketed $65,311 in this tournament, which now gives him in excess of $1.2 million in WSOP earnings.The seventh-place finisher was former gold bracelet winner Rob Hollink, from Groningen, Holland. Hollink won the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em World Championship in 2008. In doing so, he became the first player from Holland ever to win a WSOP gold bracelet. Hollink put forth another fine effort in this tournament, going out in seventh place, which paid $50,014.The eighth-place finisher was Perry Green, from Anchorage, AK. A little extra time and space is justified in order to give Green his proper due. This was Green’s first time to cash at the WSOP in four years. It was his first final table appearance in 13 years. The three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner earned his titles in 1976, 1977, and 1979. Had Green somehow won this tournament, he would have shattered the record for longest gap between WSOP wins – at 31 years. Green is a retired fur trapper who is a poker pioneer in his home state of Alaska. He finished second to poker legend Stu Ungar in the 1981 WSOP Main Event. Many poker fans were happy to see Green’s name back on the cash out list. His win in this tournament amounted to $38,549The top 27 finishers collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – “Miami” John Cernuto (12th), Dan Heimiller (19th), and Barry Greenstein (24th).Erik Seidel now has 60 career cashes. This currently ranks fifth on the all-time WSOP cashes list.Dan Heimiller cashed for the sixth time this year.Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler cashed for the seventh time at this year’s WSOP. He is now in serious contention to challenge Nikolay Evdakov’s record set in 2008 for most cashes in a single year – at ten. Nine more open events remain on the schedule, with five more gold ring events scheduled for WSOP Europe (which count towards all WSOP records).A full report of this event will be posted shortly.For official tournament results and additional details, please CLICK HERE.