Benny Chen began the final day of the “Millionaire Makers” No Limit Hold’Em event as the chip leader and ended it as the winner of the event.
While he lost the lead for most of the day, Chen reclaimed it when it mattered en route to winning the $1,199,104 cash prize and his first ever WSOP Gold Bracelet. The Canadian lost the lead early on to Dan Kelly, who was looking to win his second WSOP Gold Bracelet in the event.
Kelly got off to a good start to the final day of play, after eliminating Joe Kuether in tenth place to form the official final table of the tournament. He then eliminated Theron Eichenberger in ninth spot after he hit a flush on the river, beating Eichenberger’s Ace high and sending him packing as the first player eliminated from the final table.
A number of chip ups by both Michael Bennington and Jonathan Gray took Kelly of the top of the chip ladder and competition on the final table began to heat up. Robert McVeigh was eliminated in eighth place by Upeshka Desilva, but it was of little help to the Sri Lankan-American as he was the next player to be knocked out of the event,which came at the hands of Justin Liberto.
Desilva’s elimination was the first of three in a row by Liberto, who went on a tear as he set himself up as the final table’s chip leader. He eliminated Chris Hunichen in sixth spot before knocking out previous chip leader Kelly out in fifth spot a short time later.
This left just four players in the tournament and neither of them would leave easily, with four-handed play going on for a number of hours as the chip lead moved around like a hot potato. Liberto would be the one eliminated in fourth place after his Ace Nine off suit was beaten by Benny Chen’s Ace Ten off suit.
Both players hit their bottom kickers on the flop, which resulted in Chen the hand after the Four of Hearts on the turn and the Two of Hearts on the river kept his hand strong. Chen would pick up where Liberto had left off as he would go on a tear of his own on route to winning the event.
The 32-year-old Chen would then eliminate Jonathan Gray in third place after a pre flop showdown by both players. Chen’s King Queen off suit was dominated by Gray’s Ace Queen off suit, but Chen was able to hit a two pair on the flop, winning him the hand and giving him a huge lead as heads-up play began.
Gray’s elimination left just Chen and Michael Bennington to battle it out for the million dollar first place. Bennington was unable to make a dent in Chen’s huge stack, and it took just seven hands of heads-up play for Chen to take out the event.
In the last hand of the tournament, Bennington called Chen’s pre flop all in shove with Pocket Threes, which was behind Chen’s Pocket Nines. The King of Clubs, Eight of Diamonds, Two of Hearts flops kept Chen’s hand dominant, as did the Jack of Clubs on the turn and the Ace of Clubs on the river.
The $1,199,104 prize is by far the biggest of Chen’s poker career, with his previous highest win being $95,000 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2009.