Benny 1Mastermind Chen Wins WSOP 2013 Millionaire Maker
Benny Chen, better known as “1Mastermind” to his high-stakes opponents on Full Tilt Poker, is often recognized for playing nosebleed cash games in the online poker community, but not so much for his live poker tournament play. Don’t get me wrong – up until now, Chen had seen 12 cashes in live events, valued at about $300k dating back to 2008, including 10 cashes in the 2010 World Series of Poker, so he’s nowhere near a novitiate. But if you already knew his name before he won the 2013 WSOP Millionaire Maker for $1,119,104, it was probably more for his action on the virtual felt, such as taking $2.98 million off Ben “Bttech86” Tollerene or $917k off Viktor “Isildur1” Blom on Full Tilt.
Hence forth, Benny Chen shall be known as a high-stakes WSOP bracelet winner, having put up $1,500 to enter World Series of Poker Event #6, the Millionaire Maker, along with 6,342 other hopefuls that helped to build an immense $8.5 million prize pool. The Millionaire Maker’s structure, a multi-flight re-entry event guaranteeing a minimum of $1,000,000 to the eventual winner with a mere buy-in of $1.5k, made it one of this year’s most anticipated events, drawing so much attention that the prize pool actually exceeded its expectations and saw the largest field of any WSOP event in the history of the tournament, outside of the Main Event.
Coming into the final table, Chen – a lone Canadian among an all-American table – held a distinct chip lead, followed closest by the notorious Daniel “DJK123” Kelly, whose illustrious reputation precedes him in the poker world, both live and online. Only 20 years old, Kelly already has a WSOP bracelet and more than $2.6 million in live tournament cashes under his belt, not to mention over $3 million in online tourneys and countless more in cash game contention. Dan Kelly was, by far, the favorite to take the bracelet this day.
As the action got underway, Theron Eichenberger found himself very short stacked, just 8 big blinds to work with. Eichenberger was looking to double-up quick and took his first opportunity by pushing his stack on an opener from Kelly. After a long hesitation, Kelly chose to call, turning over 4d-5d. Theron showed A-8, holding the lead all the way past the flop when a runner-runner gave Kelly the diamond flush. Eichenberger took his leave in 9th, scooping $105,154 as the final table’s first elimination.
With a strong lead, Kelly remained aggressive, but his opponents were having none of it. With several calling Kelly’s hostile bets, Dan found himself sinking to the bottom of the barrel as one of the three shortest stacks, right along with Benny Chen. Kelly made a quick comeback on a flopped full house, doubling through Michael Bennington, while Chen took a 5-hand run that brought him back into the higher ranks. During all of this, Robert McVeigh fell quietly to the rails in 8th, claiming $135,467.
Justin Liberto then took charge, ousting Upeshka Desilva in 7th ($175,713), followed immediately by knocked off Christopher Hunichen in 6th ($229,575). Liberto’s run continued when he mimicked the runner-runner flush of DJK earlier on to relieve Kelly of his seat. Daniel’s 5th place exit earned him $302,104. Only six events into the series, this was Kelly’s second final table of the 2013 WSOP.
The next four hours were uneventful, aside from each player sharing the high- and low-stack spotlight along the way. Benny was left with only 9 big blinds when his ultimate comeback began. He doubled through Bennington, then proceeded to eliminate Justin Liberto in 3rd ($400,408), followed by Jonathan Gray in 2nd ($534,505), culminating in a two-man death-match between Michael Bennington and Benny Chen.
In the beginning of heads-up action, Chen led 3-to-1 in chip counts. Fortunately for the weary audience, what could have been a very long and tedious duel ended after only 5 hands of HU play. With pocket 3’s, Bennington pushed, called by Chen’s pocket 9’s. With that, Chen earned the largest prize pool of the series, $1,119,104, and joins Daniel Negreanu and Charles Sylvestre as one of three Canadians to claim a bracelet in 2013.