Down-on-his-luck N.C. pro wins WSOP title, $327,040

28 June 2010

Chris Bell, a professional poker player from Raleigh, N.C., won the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split championship on Monday morning to take home a WSOP gold bracelet and $327,040 in first-place prize money.

The win couldn't have come at a better time for the father of twin girls. Bell and his wife sadly lost a son a year ago, and in the same time period, Bell admits that he lost his entire bankroll. He began questioning himself and his future in the game. But when Bell needed the support of a friend the most, he got it from Erick Lindgren. Lindgren gave Bell not only the financial backing he desperately needed, he also provided Bell with something far more meaningful and everlasting: self-confidence.

This marked Bell's first career WSOP gold bracelet victory, following several noteworthy wins and cashes in other major tournaments, as well as brutally disappointing stretches of failure. Bell earned a well-deserved and long overdue victory, for which he collected $327,040 in prize money.

"I want to thank Erick Lindgren," Bell said, after he had secured the victory. "I would not be in Las Vegas right now if it weren't for Erick. A lot of people had given up on me the last year or so. But Erick didn't. Without a friend like him, I would not be here right now."

Bell graduated from North Carolina State University with a Business Degree, in 1994. He invested and sold real estate for a number of years prior to playing poker full time.

Chris Bell got a badly-needed victory after a rough year.

Chris Bell got a badly-needed victory after a rough year. (photo by GreasieWheels)

Bell faced Dan Shak heads up for the title. Shak, a Bryn Mawr, Pa., resident, has been playing poker seriously for about six years. Shak's biggest victory took place earlier this year when he won the Aussie Millions Championship, and he also was the co-winner of the inaugural Ante-Up for Africa charity tournament in 2007, as he and Brandon Moran donated the entire cash prize for first and second place to international relief effort in Darfur.

Bell overcame a 2.5-to-1 chip deficit when he was heads-up against Shak. The final duel lasted about 90 minutes and ended when Shak was all in with flush and low draws. Bell, however, had a lock for the high with a full house, and dodged the low draw to secure the title. Shak's second-place result netted him $202,142.

"When you gets heads up and you are playing this high, a lot of it just depends on who runs better," said Bell. "When we were heads up I ran better than him and I got lucky on one hand. But Dan Shak will get here."

Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, a former WSOP bracelet winner from Hull, England, finished third to win $150,925, while Joe Ritze, from Hamilton, Ohio was fourth for $113,444.

Eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel, from Las Vegas, Nev., was fifth, Leif Force, from Tallahassee, Fla., was sixth, former gold bracelet winner Rob Hollink, from Groningen, Holland, was seventh, three-time bracelet winner Perry Green, from Anchorage, Alaska, was eighth, and Jeremy Harkin, from Troutdale, Ore., was ninth.

The top 27 finishers in the 284-player field collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included "Miami" John Cernuto (12th), Dan Heimiller (19th), and Barry Greenstein (24th).

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

Related Links
North Carolina Gambling
Nevada Gambling

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