Millionaire Maker Champion Crowned at 2013 WSOPThursday, June 6th, 2013 by Ryan
While we saw a few different gold bracelets given out at the 2013 World Series of Poker on Tuesday, there was one tournament that was more talked about than the Millionaire Maker. We spoke about this event quite a bit yesterday, as the players were fighting down to decide who was going to become a millionaire overnight. It was a pretty great run through the tournament that broke the record for the largest non Main Event field in the history of the World Series of Poker. The event featured a $1,500 buy-in, so with over 6,000 players buying it, it saw a prize pool that was massive, and paid great to each player at the final table.
The action closed out on Monday with ten players coming back on Tuesday to decide who would win the title. When the action began on Tuesday, Ben Chen was holding a slight chip lead against Dan Kelly, but there was an online poker pro by the name of Chris Hunichen who was looking to continue to work his way up the leaderboard. When the action started up, the players got after it right out of the gate. We saw our official final table set just a few hands into the day, as Kelly sent Joe Kuether home in 10th place. It was pocket Aces that held up against A-K of Kuether, but he was still able to go home with a nice $82,205 pay day.
Kelly kept it up from there, and he made sure that the pressure was going to stay on the other players. Soon after that he knocked out Theron Eichenberger when his 5-4 of diamonds hit runner runner to complete his flush and best the A-8o off Eichenberger. This left Kelly as the chip leader, but his intense aggressive play caused him to drop a chunk of his chips, and before long he found himself in third place, and after doubling up Upeshka DeSilva soon after, he was in the middle of the pack. Michael Bennington was sitting atop the leardboard at this point, with Jonathan Gray in second.
The chips that DeSilva earned were then used to knock off Robert McVeigh in eighth place. DeSilva couldn’t keep the hot streak going though, as he took a brutal beat. He was up against Justin Liberto in the hand, when his pocket Jacks looked strong on the K-J-9 board, and the turn and river completed a straight for Liberto and his 8-7. This left DeSilva as our next elimination, and Liberto grabbing a two million chip lead over Chen. The players were tightening up their play a bit, but we saw some tough hands lead to other eliminations from here.
A prime example of one of these hands was when Liberto saw his A-3 hit an Ace on the turn to send home Hunichen and overtake his pocket sixes. The hot streak didn’t stop though for Liberto at this point, because he sent Kelly home next. Liberto had K-Q and hit a King on the river against the pocket eights of Kelly. Liberto looked to be the definition of running good at this point, as he was just rolling, and now had around a five million chip lead over Chen.
Chen decided to take it to another level at this point and ramp up the aggression himself. It took two hands for him to take the lead from Liberto, and from there the two players just went back and forth juggling the chip lead. Liberto was able to grab the chip lead when the dinner break rolled around, with Bennington, Chen, and Gray sitting behind him attempting to work their way up. We didn’t get another elimination for 60 hands though after the break, and Liberto found himself at the bottom of the leaderboard. Chen snatched the lead away, and then knocked off both Liberto and Gray to set up that heads up match between himself and Bennington.
Chen had a very nice 3 to 1 chip lead over his opponent to start things out. Bennington couldn’t overcome the deficit though, and it took seven hands before Bennington called an all-in from Chen. Bennington turned over pocket threes, while Chen had pocket nines for a huge lead. Bennington couldn’t hit one of the remaining two threes or better his hand at all, and this left Chen as our champion of the first ever Millionaire Maker. In total, Chen won $1,199,104 and the gold bracelet, while Bennington took home a very nice second place pay day of $741,902.