Nothing compares to a World Series of Poker bracelet. No matter how many deep runs you have or how many big cashes you earn, you will always feel frustrated if you can’t win a gold bracelet. And Dan Kelly knows that better than anyone.
The 25-year-old player took the poker world by storm four years ago when he won his first WSOP title at just 21 years of age. Prior to that, he crushed the online games and surged to the top of the tournament leaderboards on both PokerStars and Full Tilt. He won FTOPS Event #14 in 2008 and four years later, he got into the record books by being the only player with four World Championship of Online Poker titles.
On the live stage he is also a force to be reckoned with, managing multiple deep runs, including at least one final table in every WSOP from 2011 to 2013. He also finished fifth in the 2012 WPT L.A. Poker Classic, eighth in the 2013 Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour Sydney Main Event, and 11th in the 2013 Asian Poker Tour Philippines.
Last year, he had no less than ten (yes as in 10) WSOP cashes and qualified for two final tables including the first-ever Millionaire Maker but couldn’t put his hands on his second gold bracelet.
He did it this year though. After four more cashes, Kelly finally managed to win his second title in Las Vegas in Event #43: $1,500 Limit Hold’Em. “It feels better,” the two-time bracelet winner told WSOP.com. “It’s always nice to win. It’s frustrating getting sixth and fifth.”
The Maryland-based wizkid started the final day of the LHE event as the big stack bully. Other big names like Jeff “Iceman” Lisandro, red-hot Brandon Shack-Harris, and Limit specialist Ron Burke were still in the mix and ready to take advantage of every mistake Kelly made.
Burke had eight WSOP cashes prior to this event, all of them being earned in Limit Hold’Em events. He was the first to leave the official final table after moving all-in preflop with #9h#9c. Two players called him, Jesse Katz, and Sean Berrios, and both of them made a flush. Burke didn’t improve his starting hand and cashed in a prize of $14,856 for ninth place.
Bryce Landier was next, going all-in on a #qd#jh#5d flop with #ac#kh. His opponent, Katz, caught a set with his #js#jd and rivered a boat to send Landier home with $19,051 in his pockets.
The next elimination came almost 100 hands later with five-time WSOP winner Lisandro failing to win number six. He moved his last chips in with hopes of making a straight, but by the turn he was drawing dead as Yegor Tsurikov completed his flush. For his seventh place finish, Lisandro earned a decent cash prize of $24,683.
David Chiu followed him in sixth for $32,338, while Katz ($42,857) decided to gamble 19 hands later with his #8c#8h. Berrios called him with #ah#qc and caught a full house by the river.
But when his tournament life was on the line, Berrios wasn’t that lucky. On hand #241 of the final table, he check-raised all-in on #8s#6d#2s#10s with second pair, a gutshot, and a flush draw. The river was a brick that forced him to leave the final table in fourth place with a $57,536 cash prize.
Third place was reserved for Shack-Harris, who couldn’t double-up in 2014 bracelets and left Tsurikov and Kelly to fight for the title. He did cash $78,335 for his effort, though.
The heads-up play was dominated by Kelly from one end to the other. Eventually, Tsurikov gambled with his last chips and a mediocre #10s#6c hand. Kelly called him with a dominating #js#10d that got even better on the #7c#8h#7d#qd#9h board, eliminating Tsurikov in second place for $120,501.
Congratulations to Dan Kelly on winning his second WSOP gold bracelet and the first place prize consisting of $195,167. This was his fifth WSOP cash of 2014 and his 27th overall for over $2 million. Is he up for yet another 2014 deep run and why not another gold bracelet?