One of the keenly watched events at the World Series of Poker this week was #20 – the $1 500 Pot Limit Hold'em competition – for two reasons; veteran player Erik Seidel was going after his ninth WSOP bracelet, and he had promisd to denote his winnings to children's charity.
It looked as if he was on track to achieve his goals, starting the last day around third in chip counts, but it was not to be and he busted out in seventh place – still a useful $24 000 donation for charity.
Before he did so, Seidel set up the final table by eliminating Phil “USCphildo” Collins in tenth place, resulting in the formation of a final table for the event that comprised: Englishman John-Paul Kelly holding the lead at 627 000, followed by Jason Dewitt on 476 000, Erik Seidel on 337 000, Kyle Carlston (320 000), Marc Tschirch (268 000), Andrew Radel (250 000), Kirk Steward (231 000), Aaron Virchis (191 000) and Ravi Raghavan (145 000).
Although young and mostly unknown, many of the survivors are talented Internet players and the final table proved to be an entertaining affair despite being dominated by UK pro player John-Paul Kelly from the get-go. They had survived an original field of 663 players which generated a prize pool of $864 045, giving a winner's prize of $194 434 and a gold WSOP bracelet, and cashes right down to the 63rd finisher. In the field were well known names like John Duthie, Justin Scott, Mike Sexton, Joe Sebok, Roland de Wolfe, Mark Seif, and Kathy Liebert.
Heads up it was John-Paul Kelly, a 23-year-old pro from Aylesbury in England against Marc Tschirch of Germany following the elimination of Jason DeWitt in third place. Kelly held a 550 000 chip lead going in, but his opponent quickly narrowed the deficit, although he was not able to overtake a rampant Kelly and he was bundled out in second place for a payday of $120 102 – an improvement on his performance last year when he cashed but did not make the final table.
Kelly won the respect that comes with any WSOP bracelet, and a winner's check for $194 434 at the end of the five hour final table, significantly boosting his career winnings from live tourneys in Europe and Australia. Kelly has been playing WSOP for the last three years, cashing thrice and making a final table in 2008, but this week's win was his best result yet.