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Event #54 No-Limit Hold'em

Day 1
Buy-in: $1,500
Players: 2,818
Prize pool: $3,846,570 to the top 297

As we come closer to the end of the 2009 World Series of Poker events, many entrants put up the entry fee and packed the Amazon, Brasilia and Miranda rooms at the RIO. Of course the big names showed up...a lot of them. But instead of saying who showed, it was easier to state who busted out. Sorel Mizzi took an early leave less than one hour into play. Also going to the rail were Dennis Phillips, David "The Dragon" Pham, Eli Elezra, Beth Shak, Gavin Smith, Jeff Madsen, Tom McEvoy, Jonathan Little, Ivan Demidov, Issac Haxton and Alan Smurfit. And these went before the dinner break.

But the chips of these players had to go somewhere. Finishing the day with nice stacks were Hevad Khan having 25,300 chips, Brazilian player Alexandre Gomes with 76,000, Mike Ratcliff 58,200, Jason Wheeler 47,800, Evgeny Serebryakov 36,700 and David Woo with 35,000. Others who will join them include Jason Wheeler, Lily Bui, David Woo, Carlos Mortensen, Vivek Rajkumar, Wooka Kim, Alex Bolotin, Feming Chan and Douglas Carli.

A total of 376 will move on to Day 2. Here are the top 9:
  1. Jon Christensen -- 160,800
  2. Jody Howe -- 126,600
  3. Zsombor Gall -- 114,300
  4. Henry Merchan -- 108,700
  5. Craig Gray -- 104,300
  6. Donald Boivin -- 100,700
  7. Joe Morneau -- 100,300
  8. Nadav Benjosef -- 98,900
  9. Eric Hayes -- 98,400

Day 2

The second round began at 2:00 PM and Day 1 chip leader Jon Christensen got a quick jump on things by raising his stack to 250,000 in the first 30 minutes. He continued to make the Day 3 cut and a chance of earning one of the last gold bracelets available this season. By 3:30 PM, play went hand to hand as the bubble had been reached. It took just 10 minutes for the unfortunate person to bust without receiving anything, but soon after that Hevad Khan was gone in 239th place when his all-in move lost to a player who paired his Jack card on the flop. Khan received $2,923 for his efforts and another WSOP cash to his credit. And we are just getting started!

Men "The Master" Nguyen lost to the pocket 8's of Amit Makhija, and was seen headed to the cashier's cage for his payout. This makes the 65th WSOP cash for the poker icon. Following Men were Scott Epstein, Frank Sinopoli, Allyn Shulman, Denise Molloy, Theo Tran, Thomas Fuller, Kim Wooka, Evgeny Serebryakov, Alex Bolotin and Carlos Mortensen. Amit Makhija also headed for the sidelines when his all-in with pocket K's met with the pocket A's of another player. Van Nguyen, the wife of Men "The Master" Nguyen, finished in 89th place taking home $4,654 for her efforts. Alexandre Gomes finished in 80th after meeting the full house (K's/8's) of Vivek Rajkumar. By 3:00 AM, the tournament director asked everyone remaining to bag their chips to come back for Day 3 action.

Payout Schedule for the final table:

  1. $673,276
  2. $418,122
  3. $276,029
  4. $195,213
  5. $147,131
  6. $117,358
  7. $98,933
  8. $87,855
  9. $81,970
There were 28 players remaining at the end of Day 2. Here are the top 9:
  1. Sergey Konkin -- 1,400,000
  2. Christopher Demaci -- 1,332,000
  3. Joseph Chaplin -- 1,095,000
  4. Mike Ratcliff -- 745,000
  5. Jon Christensen -- 672,000
  6. Jason Wheeler -- 608,000
  7. Arkadiy Tsinis -- 574,000
  8. John Spagnuolo -- 553,000
  9. Eric Hayes -- 550,000

Day 3 -- Final Table

You can read the WSOP summary on this final table below:

The 2009 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Tony Veckey. Veckey has been playing poker recreationally, but seriously, for about two years. This was the first WSOP tournament Veckey had ever entered. He intended to play in the previous No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #51). But it was sold out. He decided to play in this event instead. Veckey collected $673,276 for first place. He was also awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet.

This event was a complete sell out. This was the tenth tournament to reach maximum capacity at this year’s WSOP. This is the most gold bracelet events ever to sell out within a single year. A complete "sell out" means every seat at every available table is sold and additional players are/were turned away at registration. A complete sell out occurs are various numbers, based on the total tables and seats available for tournament use. Events which have sold out this year include: 4, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 39, 43, 51, and 54.


The hand of victory came to Veckey when after 11 hours of play, Jason Wheeler bet 450K when seeing a flop of 8 Q 10. Veckey called and watched as the turn card bricked but Wheeler bet another 1.2 million. After that Veckey moved all-in and Wheeler called. The dealer turned over a Q on the river. Wheeler showed A Q giving him a set of Queens, but Veckey showed J 9 giving him the straight and the championship win.


Tony Veckey

  1. Tony Veckey -- $673,276
  2. Jason Wheeler -- $418,122
  3. Joseph Chaplin -- $276,029
  4. Sergey Konklin -- $195,213
  5. Andrew Malott -- $147,131
  6. Christopher Bonita -- $117,358
  7. Chirstopher DeMaci -- $98,933
  8. David Jaoui -- $87,855
  9. Miha Remic -- $81,970