At around this time last night, Frank Kassela ended Day 2 with the chip lead, as play was paused two spots before the money. Today, those 18 players returned to whittle their way down to a winner and Kassela was able to ride that lead all the way to his first WSOP bracelet.
Kassela is truly a self-made man. After getting out of the army, he borrowed $7,000 from his parents to start a business. Now he's a multi-millionaire. Kassela made a WSOP final table before, back in 2005 when he was four-handed in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em event. He picked up pocket aces and got his money in against Johnny Chan, who spiked a queen to take him out. Chan went on to win his tenth bracelet that night while Kassela would have a five-year wait to earn his first.
Kassela also noted in his post-game interview that while this event was starting, he was still playing in Event #12, $1,500 Limit Hold'em. He bubbled off the final table in 10th place and had he not busted then and there, he would not have played this tournament.
Tonight's final table was one of the 2010 WSOP's toughest. Kassela had to get past Dario Minieri, POY points leader Vladimir Schmelev, Kirill Rabstov, John Juanda, Steve Zolotow, Jennifer Harman and runner-up Allen Kessler in order to claim the $447,446 first-place prize. That's nine WSOP bracelets right there, and now Kassela is proud to call himself a member of that fraternity.
Congratulations to Frank Kassela, truly one of the good guys of poker, on his first WSOP bracelet. It's been a long time coming and is certainly well-deserved.