Commentary

Kassela avoids "Chainsaw" massacre

Updated: June 9, 2010, 12:19 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

The $10,000 seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better world championship has always been a very prestigious event. It was the first split game ever to be played at the World Series of Poker, introduced 32 years ago, and has featured champions who are truly the legends of poker. Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Men Nguyen and Jeffrey Lisandro have been a few of the previous winners and now the name Frank Kassela can be added to the list.

[+] EnlargeKassela
WSOPPhotos.comBusinessman Frank Kassela is the 2010 seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better world champion.

Kassela, a 42-year-old businessman from Las Vegas, NV began playing poker seriously 10 years ago when he moved from Memphis to Vegas to improve on his poker abilities. His focus is split between poker and his business much of the year, but it seems that during the summer, his attention and determination can be found at the Rio. Earning $447,446 for the victory, he now has more than $1.5 million in career tournament earnings and five WSOP cashes.

"Once you start playing poker, you definitely want to win a World Series gold bracelet," said Kassela. "That's why you play tournament poker."

The final table featured some well-known professional poker players including Jennifer Harman, John Juanda, Steve Zolotow, Dario Minieri and Allen Kessler. Collectively, the final table boasted nine WSOP bracelets, the most of any final table played so far at the 2010 WSOP. Kassela would finish the job by defeating "The Chainsaw" Kessler.

"He was in a really bad spot, chip count-wise, when we got heads up," said Kassela of Kessler. "He was down about 4:1. In stud high-low, that's just insurmountable, unless you run into some perfect hands."

This was Kessler's largest career tournament cash, earning $276,485. This was his second runner-up finish in a WSOP event with his previous coming when he fell short to Todd Brunson in an Omaha high-low event in 2005.

It was an impressive feat to see Juanda make his second final table of the WSOP this early, but it was more amazing that Vladimir Shchemelev was making this third appearance. The Russian banker has now finished second in the $50,000 Player's Championship, seventh in the $10,000 seven-card stud world championship and seventh in this event. He currently holds the Player of the Year lead over Michael Mizrachi after 16 events.

Other notable finishers from Event 15 include Jennifer Harman (third), John Juanda (fifth) and Dario Minieri (eighth).

Below are the complete results of Event 15 at the 2010 World Series of Poker:

Event 15: seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better world championship
Buy-in: $10,000
Entries: 170
Prize pool: $1,598,000
Players in the money: 16

1. Frank Kassela ($447,446)
2. Allen Kessler ($276,486)
3. Jennifer Harman ($173,159)
4. Steve Zolotow ($125,379)
5. John Juanda ($97,989)
6. Kirill Rabtsov ($78,142)
7. Vladimir Shchemelev ($63,457)
8. Dario Minieri ($52,366)
9. Gary Benson ($43,833)
10. George Lind ($43,833)
11. Sergey Altbregin ($37,297)
12. Alessio Isaia ($37,297)
13. Marco Johnson ($32,439)
14. Christopher George ($32,439)
15. Blair Rodman ($28,221)
16. Toto Leonidas ($28,221)

Editor's note: Thanks to all the Twitter followers for this headline suggestion.

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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