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Kelly wins second bracelet at historic WSOPE event

22 Sep 2009

£1000 No-Limit Hold'em

1. J.P. Kelly Wins Opening Event at 2009 World Series of Poker Europe

2. WSOP Europe Sets New Attendance Record as Largest Poker Tournament in London History, with 608 Entrants

3. Empire Casino Takes Center Stage – World's Top Poker Players Come to London for WSOP Europe

4. J.P. Kelly Becomes the First English Player to Win WSOP Event on Home Turf

5. 2009 WSOP Remains "Year of the Repeat" – J.P. Kelly Wins Second Gold Bracelet This Year, Topping Record London Field

The Champion (J.P. Kelly) –

• The 2009 World Series of Poker Europe $£,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em champion is J.P. Kelly, from Aylesbury, UK. He is also known as "John-Paul Kelly."

• Kelly is a 23-year-old professional poker player.

• Kelly is a former student who now plays professionally, mostly online and in Europe.

• This was Kelly's second WSOP gold bracelet victory. He won his first gold bracelet on June 11, 2009 in Las Vegas. Kelly won first place in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold'em event. He collected $194,434 for that win. His win in this tournament exceeded that dollar figure.

• Earlier this year, just prior to playing at the WSOP in Las Vegas, Kelly spent four months living and traveling in Australia.

• Kelly says he enjoys experiencing new things. He started playing poker seriously in 2004.

• Prior to playing poker full-time, Kelly was active in soccer and cricket.

• Prior to winning at the WSOP Kelly had enjoyed great success at tournaments in Europe, particularly the UK. He won seven tournaments within a 15-month span in 2005-2006. His combined lifetime live tournament earnings (all major tournaments worldwide) amounts to nearly $900,000.

• Kelly collected £136,803 for first place. The cash prize is equal to about $222,398 in U.S. dollars.

• Kelly has come to the WSOP for three consecutive years. According to the official records, Kelly now has 2 win, 3 final table appearances, and 6 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.

• Kelly currently has $474,725 in WSOP winnings.

• This was the first victory at WSOP Europe ever by a player from Great Britain. Despite hosting all WSOP Europe tournaments from day one and British players comprising the majority of entrants, no English player had won a WSOP Europe event prior to Kelly's victory.

Winner Quotes (J.P. Kelly) –

• On his strategy at the final table: "I had to play tight early on. Fabien had a big chip lead. I know if I got heads up with him I would do well as I am a better heads-ip player. I thought if I got there with 400,000 in chips that would be plenty (Kelly began heads-up play with 498,000 and was down 3 to 1). It's not my style to wait it out, but you have to do that sometimes."

• On his expected result when he signed up to play in the event: "Obviously, you are going to go out early a lot of times. When you start with 3,000 in chips, you have to play a bit tight in the beginning. And if you can double up and once the tournament starts going properly, then you can start playing poker. I really enjoyed it. Obviously, I had a really good Day One. And I ran pretty well during the whole tournament."

• On how his previous win and experience helped him in this event: "I think the experience helped a lot. I sat back and waited and that was the way to play….I didn't win a hand for the first 40 minutes (at the final table). But I was patient and picked my spots."

• On becoming the first British WSOP Europe winner in history: "It's awesome."

• On which victory was more meaningful – the WSOP win in Las Vegas, or the WSOPE win in London: "I think the Las Vegas one, because that came first. But this one (in London) means a lot to take down one of these events. It's hard to compare them. They are quite different. This is better in some ways because there are a lot more of my friends around. So, I look forward to celebrating."

• On his plans over the next few days: "I plan to go to my sister's wedding in Italy in a few days. Then, I come back to London to play in the (WSOPE Main Event) on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to that."

• On his pick to win the 2009 WSOP Main Event: "I plan on cheering for James (Ankenhead) in the finals in Las Vegas, in November."

The Final Table –

• The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – J.P. Kelly (1 previous win).

• The final table was played nine-handed.

• Final table play began at 2:20 pm and lasted until 6:45 pm – clocking in at slightly over four hours.

• Oddly enough, prior to this event no English player had yet won an event at WSOP Europe. Based on the composition of the final table, it was almost certain to produce a British winner, since eight of the nine finalists were from the UK.

• Fabien Dunlop arrived at the finale as the chip leader. He maintained his advantage throughout play, until heads-up competition.

• When heads-up play began, Fabien Dunlop enjoyed about a 3 to 1 chip lead over J.P. Kelly. Dunlop had 1,365,000 to Kelly's 498,000. Shortly into the duel, Kelly doubled up against Dunlop and seized the chip lead for the first time. On one of the tournament's most exciting hands, Kelly was all-in with A-10 of clubs versus Dunlop's A-5 of diamonds. Dunlop flopped a diamond flush draw, while Kelly hit a pair of tens. The pair held up, giving Kelly the million-chip pot.

• The final hand came about an hour into heads-up play. The decisive hand which crippled Dunlop was an all-in bluff, which failed miserably. Kelly flopped the nut straight (10-9) and bet out when the board showed (Q-J-8). Dunlop decided to make a move (with A-3) and announced "all in." Kelly snap called and took down the massive pot. Dunlop was crippled and went out a short time later. Kelly ended up winning the tournament with a higher flush on the final hand when both players made five diamonds, but Kelly's king-high flush bested Dunlop's jack-high.

• The runner up was Fabien Dunlop, originally from France. He now lives in London. He is a 30-year-old poker pro. The chess and bridge player was previously a financial advisor. As runner up, Dunlop collected £84,512.

• The third-place finisher was Adnan "Eddy" Alshamah, from Damascus, Syria. Alshamah was low on chips throughout play, but clawed and scratched his way to an impressive third-place finish. The 52-year-old business came close to becoming the first Syrian WSOP winner in history. Nonetheless, his finish was the highest by a Syrian national in the 40-year history of the WSOP.

• The fourth-place finisher was Richard Allen, from London, UK. He is a 24-year-old football trader. He had previously won Betfair's weekly tournaments where he pocketed $66,000.

• The fifth-place finisher was 25-year-old poker pro Anthony Roux, who is originally from France. He recently moved to London, where he now resides. This marked Roux's sixth time to cash in a WSOP event. He made a final table earlier this year at the WSOP in Las Vegas (fifth place in the $2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event, which paid $120,311). This time, his payout amounted to £28,181.

• The sixth-place finisher was Neil Suarez, from London, UK. He pushed all-in with a short stack holding pocket fours, and was called and eliminated by pocket kings. Suarez, who provided lots of excitement with several big hands on the previous day, settled for a payout totaling £21,700.

• The seventh-place finisher was William Martin, from London, UK. He is the owner of a limousine company. Martin has numerous previous finishes in tournaments. He finished 14th in the 2007 Irish Open and won an event at the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) in 2007.

• The eighth-place finisher was Thor Drexel, who is originally from Denmark. After getting hammered in a critical hand by four queens, during which most of his chips vanished, Drexel was eliminated a short time later. Drexel is a 22-year-old poker pro who now lives in London. He is primarily a cash game player. Drexel made the final table earlier this year in the 2009 English Poker Open.

• The ninth-place finisher was James Tomlin, from Northampton, UK. He arrived on Day Three as the short-stack. Tomlin was in position to triple up versus two opponents, but missed a flush draw and was eliminated just 15 minutes into the finale. Tomlin is a 30year-old project manager who has recently begun playing in higher-buy-in poker tournaments.

In-the-Money Finishers –

• The top 63 finishers collected prize money.

• Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – J.P. Kelly (1st), Chris "Jesus" Ferguson (15th), and John Juanda (43rd).

• Raymond Rahme, the cordial South African senior who made the WSOP Main Event final table in 2007 (finishing third) came in 25th in this tournament.

• Chris "Jesus" Ferguson's 15th-place showing in this tournament gives him 60 in-the-money finishes for his illustrious WSOP career. This currently ranks third on the all-time WSOP cashes list. Only Phil Hellmuth (with 75 cashes) and Men "the Master" Nguyen (with 65 cashes) have more in-the-money lifetime finishes.

• John Juanda's 43rd-place finish was the 50th cash of his WSOP career. This currently ranks eighth on the all-time rankings.

• The defending champion from 2008 was two-time WSOP event winner Jesper Hougaard, from Copenhagen, Denmark. He entered this year's tournament, but did not cash.

• Players reached the money about two hours into play on Day Two.

• Fourteen different nations were represented amongst the 63 players who cashed. Countries in the money included England, Scotland, Syria, Finland, Sweden, France, Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Argentina, Russia, Denmark, Austria, and the United States.

Odds and Ends –

• World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) includes the final four gold bracelet events of the 2009 calendar year. WSOP events 1-57 were played in Las Vegas from 26 May through 15 July. WSOP Events 58-61 (a.k.a. "WSOPE") are played in London, England from 18 September through 1 October.

• This is classified as "WSOPE Event 1" as well as WSOPE Event 58 as it is the 58th WSOP gold bracelet event of the 2009 calendar year.

• This marks the third consecutive year of WSOPE, presented by BetFair. In 2007, three gold bracelet events were played. In 2008, four gold bracelet events were played.

• All WSOPE results are included in official WSOP records -- including all-time wins, cashes, final table appearances, and so forth.

• All four tournaments take place at Casino at the Empire, located in Leicester Square, in Central London. Leicester Square is best known as the theatre district of the city. Casino at the Empire is part of London Clubs International, which is owned by Harrah's Entertainment.

• Casino at the Empire holds 35 poker tables. Regular gaming tables are removed during the 16-day duration of WSOPE in order to make necessary room for the large turnout of poker players and spectators.

• This is the first WSOP gold bracelet event played in 64 days. The last event, the $10,000 buy-in world championship, took place through July 15th, when play was suspended at nine players. The "November Nine" (Event 57) returns to Las Vegas on November 7-10, 2009 to determine then 2009 world poker champion.

BetFair Poker has been the official tournament sponsor of WSOP Europe since its inception. Prior to the start of this year's tournament series, Betfair held its "Million Dollar Freeroll." Amateur online players competed and qualified to play in the finals, held at the Empire Casino on 17 September. The million-dollar winner was 23-year-old Anestis Metsas, from Greece.

• During play at the final table, large crowd of spectators filled the main floor inside the Casino at the Empire. Most of the players at the final table had cheering sections. The casino was nearly filled to capacity most of the day, as the Half Pot-Limit Hold'em/Half Pot-Limit Omaha event started while the final table was being played.

• Starting Monday, 21 September, English poker pro Paul Zimbler started what he hopes will be a record-setting marathon poker session. Zimpler expects to play 80 consecutive hours in a live-game promotion, with all proceeds going to charity. Zimbler invites competition to come play against him in a series of 20-minute sessions in a heads-up game at the Empire Casino, where all WSOP Europe events are being held. The minimum donation to play against Zimbler is £10. Zimbler hopes to raise about £50,000 which will be donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. WSPOP Europe sponsor Betfair has already donated £5,000 to the cause. The marathon poker session kicked off with Zimbler facing poker legend Doyle Brunson, who donated £600 to the cause. The previous mark for recorded consecutive playing time is 74 hours (Note: Zimbler is given occasional five-minute breaks).

• While this tournament was in progress, Annette Obrestad celebrated her 21st birthday, on September 20th. Obrestad won the WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007, at the age of 18.

The Tournament –

• With 608 players, this was the largest live poker tournament ever held in London. Last year's opening event at WSOP Europe set a previous record, with 410 entries. That mark was later surpassed by the European Poker Tour (EPT) finale, held in October 2008, which attracted 596 players. WSOP Europe now has two of the three largest poker events ever held in London.

• The turnout for Event 1 was so large that two starting days were necessary. The starting days were divided into two flights. Day 1-A attracted 295 entries. Day 1-B attracted 313 entries.

• The tournament started ten-handed. As players were eliminated, tables were played nine-handed for most of the day.

• The first day of WSOPE began with a short pre-tournament ceremony. Tournament Director Jack Effel, who has overseen floor operations for all WSOP events since 2006, was joined by WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack who addressed the players and extended a warm welcome to so many who have traveled to London for this international event.

• Players started this tournament with 3,000 in tournament chips. Starting blinds were 25-25. Each level was one hour in length.

• The buy-in amount for Event #1 was 1000 English pounds (GBP), which is equivalent to about $1,650 (USD) at the current exchange rate.

• Four former WSOPE gold bracelet winners competed in this tournament. They were Sharkahn Farnood, Jesper Hougaard, Annette Obrestad, and John Juanda. Of this group, only Juanda cashed.

• Day One (synchronized flights A and B) lasted nearly nine levels, which went about 12 hours. The end of Day One chip leader was J.P. Kelly – who ended up as the winner.

• Day Two lasted nine levels, when went about 11 hours. The end of Day Two chip leader was Fabien Dunlop – who ended up finishing second.

• WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack commented afterward: "2009 continues to be the year of the repeat and the three-peat at the WSOP. Two-time gold bracelet winner J.P. Kelly's victory here in London proves once again, that poker indisputably is a game of skill."

WSOP / WSOPE Statistics –

• With 608 entries, this was the largest WSOP Europe event in the tournament's three-year history. The previous record had been 410 entries, set in the £1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event which opened last year's series.

• The total amount of prize money awarded at WSOP Europe since its inception in 2007 (through eight events) equals a combined $6,043,475.

• Continuing with this year's gold bracelet winners, by nationality:

WINNERS – BY NATION: Through Event #58 (excluding #57, the Main Event) – the home countries of WSOP gold bracelet winners reads as follows:

United States – 36
United Kingdom – 4* (J.P. Kelly has two of these wins)
Canada – 3
Australia – 2
Germany – 2
Russian Federation – 1
Finland – 1
Sweden – 1
Mexico – 1
Italy – 1
Holland – 1
Hungary – 1
Iran – 1

• Continuing with this year's gold bracelet winners, by city:

WINNERS – BY CITY: Through Event #58 (excluding #57, the Main Event) – the following cities have produced multiple WSOP gold bracelet winners (Note: Metropolitan area suburbs are included in major city counts):

Las Vegas, Nevada – 10
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) – 4
London, UK – 3* (J.P. Kelly has two of these wins)
Salerno, Italy – 3
Los Angeles, California – 3
Washington, DC (Maryland and Virginia Suburbs) – 3
New York, NY – 2

• Continuing with this year's gold bracelet winners, by profession (pro versus amateurs):

Event #58 winner J.P. Kelly is to be classified as a professional player. Accordingly, the "Pro-Am" gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads (not counting Casino Employees Event):

Professionals -- 40 wins (Thang Luu, Steven Sung, Jason Mercier, Phil Ivey-1, Rami Boukai, Anthony Harb, Ville Wahlbeck, Keven Stammen, Brock Parker-1, Jeffrey Lisandro- 1, Daniel Alaei, Brock Parker-2, John-Paul Kelly, Jeff Carris, Nick Schulman, Phil Ivey-2, Pete Vilandos, Tomas Alenius, Roland de Wolfe, J.C. Tran, James Van Alstyne, Angel, Guillen, Greg Mueller-1, Eric Baldwin, Jordan Smith, Jeffrey Lisandro-2, Richard Austin, Marc Naalden, Matt Graham, Peter Traply, Jerrod Ankenman, Jeffrey Lisandro-3, John Kabbaj, Jeff Ahmadi, Brandon Cantu, Greg Mueller-2, Carston Joh, David Bach, Matt Hawrilenko, J.P. Kelly -- 2)

Amateurs -- 9 wins (Freddie Ellis, Ken Aldridge, Travis Johnson, Zac Fellows, Michael Eise, Michael T. Davis, Jorg Peisert, David J. Halpert, Tony Veckey)

Semi-Pros -- 7 wins (Vitaly Lunkin, Brian Lemke, Lisa Hamilton, Leo Wolpert, Ray Foley, Derek Raymond, Jeff Ahmadi)

• Fifteen of the 57 winners this year (27 percent) were previous gold bracelet winners. There have been four double winners in 2009 – J.P. Kelly, Brock Parker, Phil Ivey (Main Even pending), and Greg "FBT" Mueller. There has been one triple winner in 2009 -- Jeffrey Lisandro.

• This year's World Series of Poker is the largest in history. A grand total of 61,483 players (to date) have entered the 58 gold bracelet events held so far – with three WSOPE events still to be played. This number exceeds the total entries in 2008, which was 59,540 at this same point last year.

• This year's WSOP has now awarded $175,000,329 in prize money. Note: This figure does not include three more upcoming WSOPE events.

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