21-year-old wins WSOP gold bracelet, $382,725

24 June 2010

Steven Kelly won the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout (Event #39) at the World Series of Poker on Thursday morning to claim his first WSOP gold bracelet and $382,725.

The Camarillo, Calif., native, playing in his first WSOP this summer, turned 21 on May 1st, just two months ago. He is the fifth-youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history.

Kelly has been playing online poker since the age of 18 and has accumulated huge winnings online while concentrating mainly on cash games. He has just recently started playing in live events (due to legal age limits) and appears well on his way to becoming recognized within the poker world.

Kelly began playing online poker at a .net site for play money at the age of 15. He was so devoted to the game that he ran his play money account up to a huge number. He found other players who were interested in play money accounts, so he started a Web site which allowed players to sell and trade their play money chips.

Kelly started playing cash games online when he turned 18. He enjoyed remarkable success early, winning a $5 online tournament for $6,000. Kelly has now played for three years, currently sitting in on middle- to high-stakes cash games.

"I play mostly cash games online, but I have had some tournament wins online, but nothing over $100,000," said Kelly. "This is definitely my biggest cash."

Kelly has played in some live poker events, all in California, where the legal age to play at tribal casinos is 18.

Kelly is the fifth-youngest player in WSOP history to win a WSOP bracelet

Kelly is the fifth-youngest player in WSOP history to win a WSOP bracelet (photo by GreasieWheels)

A few minutes after Kelly won his first WSOP gold bracelet, he was being interviewed by several reporters. While four other tournaments were being played and the Amazon Room was filled with approximately 1,500 people, the room suddenly went pitch black. A power outage temporarily hit the Rio (and much of Las Vegas), leaving the room in total darkness. The lights remained out for about 20 seconds before emergency generators were engaged and provided limited power and lighting.

The mood was surreal for the next several minutes, as play throughout the Rio was suspended until full power and lighting were restored. A few bystanders nervously suggested that a casino blackout could only mean one thing — the end of the world had finally come. Kelly, clutching his gold bracelet, was amused by the uncertainty, and suggested that if the world was indeed ending, at least he would go down as the last WSOP winner in history.

The runner up was Jeffrey King, from Colchester, Conn. He won the WSOP Circuit championship at Harrah's Atlantic City back in 2006. Second place paid $237,327. The final hand of the tournament came when Kelly was dealt ace-nine against King's king-queen. Kelly paired his nine, and King was unable to improve.

The third-place finisher was Derric Haynie, from Lincoln, Calif., who was making his second final table appearance this year. Haynie won $161,463. Dustin Dirksen, a law school graduate who now plays poker in Las Vegas full time, finished fourth for $112,455.

Reagan Leman, from San Diego, Calif., finished fifth, Brett Shaffer, from Beloit, Kan., was sixth, Paul Varano, from Olympia, Wash., was seventh, Michael Cooper, from Pacifica, Calif., was eighth, and Justin Scott, from Redford Township, Mich., was ninth. Scott won a $2,000 no-limit Hold'em event in 2006.

Play began with 1,397 players at 140 tables. All first round Shootout winners were guaranteed prize money. Players who won the first and second round made it to the final 14, which was played at two tables until the final nine were determined.

There were 140 finishers who collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Scott, Annette Obrestad, J.C. Tran, Steve Hohn, Chau Giang, Randy Holland, and Robert Mizrachi.

Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com

Related Links
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Details
Nevada Gambling

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