Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #16 The Brunson 10 and the WSOP
On the outset of the 2010 World Series of Poker, a contest was set up with a group of hand picked poker players to earn a spot among an up and coming elite group. Doyle Brunson played the role of grandmaster for DoylesRoom.com choosing a few young online poker pro’s to represent the site known as “The Brunson 10”. Already with 6 players inked as representatives of the site and wearing the Brunson 10 logo, the group was looking to get closer to completing their group and add another name to the impressive list of poker pro’s. The seventh spot was going to be given to a player who finished the World Series of Poker with the most Player of the Year points. The front runners for the 7th spot were David “Doc Sands” Sands, Faraz “The-Toilet” Jaka, and the soft spoken Dan “djk123” Kelly, and they would put on a contest for the ages.
It was Sands who got the ball rolling in the contest between the trio with an 8th place finish in event #5, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event. The $67,221 that he took for the final table was a notable accomplishment, but it was the points that players were after, and Sands started off strong with 35 of them. It didn’t take long for another score to come from the group as Faraz Jaka got on the board with a 31st place finish in event #6, the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout. The finish gave Jaka a $16k score and put him on the scoreboard with 7 points. Then in event #16 Sands booked another cash in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em 6-max tournament with a 46th place finish. The 5 points gave him 40 points on the series and an early lead, but the WSOP series of events weren’t even a third of the way through.
It took Dan Kelly till event #20 to get onto the score board, and he did so with a min cash in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event, finishing in 62nd and getting 5 points for his leaderboard score. But Sands would respond with 2 more cashes, a 69th place finish in the $1k No Limit Hold’em event #24 and then an 18th place finish in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event #30. The points earned were 5 and 20 respectively, and Sands began to run away with the contest. A little past the midway point of the series, the score was:
Sands – 65
Kelly – 5
Kelly then booked another score in event #30, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em finishing in 33rd place for another 5 points, and then it was Jaka’s turn in event #35, the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship, where Jaka would finish in 6th place for 43 points, and close the gap. The new score:
Sands – 65
Jaka – 50
Kelly – 10
With 22 events remaining and the Brunson 10 spot on the line trio focused on finishing out the series with as many cashes as they could. Sands booked the next score in event #36, a $1k No Limit Hold’em event, finishing in 53rd for 5 more points. Then it was Kelly who cashed in 50th in event #39, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout for 7 points. Faraz Jaka booked another cash in event #47 the $1k No Limit Hold’em, min cashing in 265th for another 5 points. But in event #52, the race changed.
Dan Kelly ran up a huge stack in the $25,000 Buy in No Limit Hold’em 6-max event and found himself at the final table with a more than 2 to 1 chip lead over 2nd place Frank Kassela. Kassela was leading the WSOP Player of the Year race courtesy of his 2 bracelet wins, and was in search of equaling Jeff Lisandro’s mark of 3 in one series that the Aussie had won the year before. 3rd in Chips was Shawn Buchanan who just seemed to keep cashing at the WSOP, but was without a bracelet to this point. 4th in chips was another online phenom in Jason Somerville with 1.6 million chips, followed closely by Mikael Thuritz who also final tabled the $50k Players Championship earlier in the series, giving him final tables in each of biggest buy in events of the World Series. Rounding out the final table was Eugene Katchalov as the short stack with just 475k chips.
Kathcalov wouldn’t last long exiting in 6th place, and he was followed in chip order by Thuritz in 5th, and Sommerville in 4th. Frank Kassela went broke in 3rd place leaving Kelly with a slight chip advantage heads up for a bracelet. The heads up play didn’t last very long as Kelly wore down his opponent eventually claiming his first career bracelet, and taking a huge lead in the Player of Year standings and the Brunson 10 contest.
When each of the three players were eliminated in the main event a week later, it was Kelly who would emerge as the points leader and book the sponsorship deal. A few weeks later, David Sands was also added to the team making it 8 players. But the race to get there made the WSOP a lot more fun to watch, and one of the top stories of the year.