9/22/09 – British poker pro J.P. Kelly bested a talented field of 608 players to win the first event in the current World Series of Poker Europe this week. Winning the GBP 1 000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event was a signal achievement, giving Kelly the major prize worth GBP 136 803, another WSOP bracelet (his second) for a growing collection, and the distinction of doing so for the first time as an Englishman in England. And capping it all, Kelly became only the second player to win a WSOP bracelet in the USA and in the UK.
It was not an easy ride for Kelly as he battled his way through the record field to face French poker pro Fabien Dunlop in the hotly contested heads up. Dunlop, who had started the final table in the chip lead, proved to be a tough opponent, demanding all the controlled aggression that Kelly could muster to triumph.
The final table at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square comprised Fabien Dunlop holding the chip lead on 538 000, pursued by Kelly on 317 500 and followed by James Tomlin, William Martin, Richard Allen, Anthony Roux, Adnan Alshamah, Thor Drexel and Neil Suarez.
Kelly later observed: "I had to play tight early on because of Fabien with the big chip lead, but I knew if I got heads up with him I am a better heads up player, so I figured I could take him on there," he said.
And that's how it panned out – Kelly playing a tight, disciplined game which still left him at a 2 to 1 disadvantage to his French opponent in the heads up, but he hammered away until he was victorious.
Kelly plans to play in the WSOPE main event, buoyed by his big win and the main event seat it brings to him.
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