Benny Chen Wins $1,199,104 and WSOP Gold Bracelet

Canadian Restaurant Manager Takes Inaugural No-Limit Hold'em “Millionaire Maker” Title

The first “Millionaire Maker” tournament ever held exceeded even the most optimistic hopes and projections.

It also turned into a dream come true for Benny Chen, a 32-year-old restaurant manager from Stratford, Prince Edward Island (Canada).  He earned a whopping $1,199,104 for first place, in addition to collected his first WSOP gold bracelet.

The enormous rewards were a fitting reflection of the initial task at hand, which must have seemed insurmountable.  Chen had to overcome a record field size for a non-Main Event tourney over a grueling four-day period at the Rio in Las Vegas.  He also had to fight off obvious pressures and distractions from playing in the biggest tournament of his life for the first time ever at a WSOP final table on the ESPN Main Stage.  

Indeed, this was Chen's first live tournament victory.  He certainly picked an optimal event to make a personal breakthrough.  Chen also picked up a bonus of sorts, since the initial top prize was expected to be “only” $1 million.

In fact, the huge turnout pumped up the prize pool significantly higher.  Chen collected nearly 200 grand more than the expected guarantee.  In fact, there were no losers among those who cashed, especially among those who made it to the final table.  All nine finalists collected at least six figures. 

But in the end, one player made seven figures – Benny Chen, the first-ever “Millionaire Maker” champion.  He becomes the second Canadian winner at this year's Las Vegas series.  Charles-Andrew Alexandre, from Montreal, Quebec took a previous gold bracelet event.

As stated earlier, Chen works and manages his family restaurant, which is owned by his brother – called Wayne's Take-Out.  

“I play poker recreationally and for fun.  I help him out when I can,” Chen said.  “But after this, we'll have to see about that.”


Name:  Benny Chen
Birthplace:  Stratford, Prince Edward Island (Canada)
Current Residence:  Chalettown, Prince Edward Island (Canada)
Age:  32
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Profession:  Restaurant Manager
Hobby:  Part-time poker player
Length of Time Playing Poker:  12 years
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  7
First WSOP Cash (year):  2007
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  1
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1

WSOP:  How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Chen:  I'm blessed right now.  I have to take it in stride.

WSOP:  You've enjoyed some success at the WSOP before.  What happened this time that enabled you to achieve victory?
Chen:  I had played quite a few tourneys before, but every time I got deep, I'd lose races or get into tough spots.  This time, everything went well for me...last night (coming into this) I only slept a few hours.  So, it was definitely on my mind, but all my friends who are here got me mentally prepared and kept me motivated.  That helped a lot.

WSOP:  Things did not always go smoothly.  In fact, you were down in chips a few times late.  Discuss that.
Chen:  I'm confident in my short-stacked play.  Even when I was short-stacked, I still had confidence against the other players.

WSOP:  Can you discuss some strategic advantages you have have had versus your opponents?
Chen:  I picked up a lot more small pots.  I think that was the difference.  I also got my money in good when I had to.

WSOP:  What's your feeling about topping a field size with more than 6,300 players?
Chen:  The bigger the better.  

WSOP:  You faced an interesting lineup of player at the final table, with different levels of experience, including Dan Kelly.  Can you reflect upon that?
Chen:  Yeah, once he was out I felt a lot better.  He had lots of chips and was playing a lot of pots, but once he started chipping down and lost a few pots, that was a big sigh of relief.  He was probably the biggest threat at the table.

WSOP:  You have a large cheering section with you.  What did their support mean to you?
Chen:  This is my family.  They are my family away from home.

WSOP:  Have you given much thought about what $1.2 million will buy?
Chen:  No not yet.  I really haven't thought about it.  I just want to take it step by step.

WSOP:  Anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Chen:  I want to thank all my friends and my family, as well as my girlfriend Jennifer.  She's not here.  She knows how superstitious I am.