Chad Holloway won the opening event of the 2013 World Series of Poker early Friday morning at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The victory came in the $500 Casino Employee event and awarded the senior editor for Pokernews.com $84,915 and the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.

Holloway is no stranger to final tables as he spent the last several years tirelessly providing live-reporting coverage for some of poker's biggest names all across the globe. On Friday, though, roles were reversed when gold bracelet champions Jason Mercier and Antonio Esfandiari stopped by to well-wish the Wisconsin resident from the rail. Holloway's professional life will forever be defined by irony as he now holds the very trophy each of the players he covers desire.
 
This year’s $500 buy-in Casino Employees event drew a 898 entries, up a remarkable 22% from last year’s field of 732.  It is the largest field for the event since 2006.  The uptick in participation resulted in an uptick in prize pool with $404,100 up for grabs.  The top 90 finishers earned a payday and everyone at the final table took home at least $6,000.  This is the 17th time the WSOP has hosted a Casino Employees event. It ran briefly from 1983-1985, then became a permanent fixture on the schedule in 2000.

This year’s field included a range of players from all facets of the casino and gambling industry. Notable participants included the Executive Director of the World Series of Poker Ty Stewart, former online poker pro Josh VanDuyn, two-time Circuit ring winner and Wynn Casino employee John Harris, and several reporters from our live updates team at PokerNews.

Joining Holloway as a team Pokernews member to go deep in the event was Josh Cahlik. Cahlik made a run toward the final table but came up just short in 12th place. Alongside Holloway at the final table were Sean Small, fresh off earning a seat into the 2013 WSOP National Championship in New Orleans last week, and Robert Rooney, who took 6th in this very event in 2009.

Here are the final table results from the $500 Casino Employees Event:

1st: Chad Holloway - $84,915
2nd: Allan Kwong - $52,318
3rd: Robert Rooney - $33,903
4th: Brian Pingel - $24,811
5th: Daniel Ellery - $18,426
6th: Sean Small - $13,868
7th: Tyrone Smith - $10,567
8th: Michael Trivett - $8,146
9th: Hieu Le - $6,348
 
An in-depth profile and interview with the new winner is available on WSOP.com