There will be some relieved members of poker's elite set who made bets that Tom Dwan would not win a bracelet in this year's WSOP; his best chance (barring success in the main event) crashed in flames in event 55 Saturday as he headed for the rail in 17th place for a $31,288 paycheck, but no bracelet. It was the latest of several attempts in a slew of events entered by the high stakes internet phenom that came to cashes….but no cigar.
Elsewhere, 21-year-old Dan Kelly and Brandon Taylor took gold, whilst Hollywood celebs and poker aces joined in a non-bracelet charity event dubbed Ante Up For Africa to raise money for refugees in Darfur, Somalia.
Youthful internet player Dan Kelly (21) took the honours in event 52 – the prestigious $25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em / Six-Handed contest, prevailing against a field of 191 that initially included many of the top players in the world. It took four action packed days to decide a winner, with the final table of six that emerged Friday night reconvening Saturday afternoon for the great decider.
The final table looked like this when play restarted Saturday, with each of the survivors guaranteed a payout of at least $200 000, and a main prize of a life changing $1,315,518:
Dan Kelly 5.89 mill
Frank Kassela 2.61 mill
Shawn Buchanan 2.11 mill
Jason Somerville 1.66 mill
Michael Thuritz 1.53 mill
Eugene Katchalov 475 000
In the event, day 4 saw a remarkable attrition rate in which five players were busted out in the first three levels of action. Low stack Eugene Katchalov was the first to go, followed by Mikael Thuritz and Jason Somerville, with veteran Frank Kassela missing out on a third bracelet when he was eliminated a little later, clearing the way for a Kelly vs. Buchanan heads up.
Although starting the level 28 heads up at a slight chip disadvantage, Kelly maintained his bold, aggressive and skillful style of play to first match his opponent and then dominate play to take the bracelet and the main prize – his biggest win yet.
With more than three-quarters of the chips in play in the final pot of the day, Kelly managed to find a three-out ace on the river to eliminate Buchanan, whose runner-up prize was worth a handsome $812,941.