After 3 days of intense competition the Main Event of the World Series of Poker Circuit at Foxwoods is complete, and the winner is Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler. Kessler adds to a prolific poker resume that already included two WSOP Circuit rings and over $1.3 million in WSOP-related earnings. Now, he adds another $170,031 to his earnings total and he boasts a third ring.
Almost from the start, the tournament room was filled with excitement, and much of the buzz came from the appearance of November Niner William Pappaconstantinou, better known as Billy Pappas. Pappas is a professional foosball player, and is preparing for the final table of the WSOP Main Event in a few months. He entered Flight B of the Main Event here at Foxwoods, wearing his trademark green Yoshi hat while playing. He made it to Day 2, but bowed out just before the first break of the day.
The November Nine is an exclusive club, with only 63 members since its inception in 2008. Even so, Pappas had company here at Foxwoods. Michael Esposito, who made the November Nine in 2012, also played this event. Like Pappas, he made it to Day 2, but busted out before the money.
The tournament here brought attention to the WSOP’s official charity partner as well, as a few of the players have made deep runs in the One Drop events. Ted Driscoll finished runner up in the Little One for One Drop last month, and Lawrence Greenberg finished in 10th place in the $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller Event in 2013. Both made the money here at Foxwoods. Driscoll finished in 31st place, and Greenberg in 16th.
The tournament attracted 526 entries, generating a prize pool of $790,841. The top 54 places were paid. Day 2 started with 171 remaining players. Play on Day 2 ended soon after Greenberg’s elimination, and 15 players returned on Monday for Day 3.
Kessler did very little to set himself apart from the pack during those first two days. He was never near the top of the leaderboard, and he credits patience with bringing him to Day 3 and the final table. “I was hovering around 200,000 forever and just waited and waited and waited,” Kessler said. His strategy paid off, and he managed to accumulate enough chips before the end of Day 2 to give him some breathing room on the final day.
Day 3 play started at a breakneck pace, and four players busted out within the first hour. In fact, the pace of play remained fast until there were only four players remaining: Kessler, Mark Dube (2nd place), Greg White (3rd), and Hilary Dombrowski (4th). At that point, the players traded chips, and the stacks evened out. They played four-handed for about three hours before Dombrowski was eliminated.
Heads-up play was also a marathon. It last well over two hours, and neither player was willing to give an inch. “It was very tough,” Kessler said after winning the ring. “I started out with a huge chip deficit. Then I won a big race to get even.” Kessler was very complimentary of Mark Dube, and said after the tournament that he was willing to take more chances than he normally would because he knew Dube was a highly skilled player, and it would be difficult to outplay him. “I tried to trap a few times. And neither time he went for it.”
Along with the Circuit ring and first-place prize money, Kessler wins a free seat in the 2015 WSOP National Championship.
Here are the final table payouts:
1 - Allen Kessler - $170,031
2 - Mark Dube - $105,103
3 - Greg White - $76,791
4 - Hilary Dombrowski - $56,940
5 - Alex Rocha - $42,785
6 - Mike Quibble - $32,662
7 - Kevin Darouvar - $25,306
8 - Matt Zola - $19,851
9 - Michael Lavoie - $15,837