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Prince Edward Island Amateur Turns $1,500 into $1.2m at WSOP
Last night in Las Vegas amateur poker player Benny Chen of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island cashed in to the tune of $1.2 million at the World Series of Poker.
The 32-year-old restaurant manager outlasted a field of 6,343 players to win the WSOP's first ever “Millionaire Maker” event, a $1,500 buy-in tournament that guaranteed a $1 million first-place prize.
But after tournament registration closed there was over $8.5 million in the pot, and $1,199,104 waiting for first.
“I was very focused throughout the entire tournament and it really flew by,” he told PokerListings.com after he was presented with his bracelet.
“It still hasn't sunk in but it's an amazing feeling to win.”
Chen defeated Michael Bennington heads-up to close out the victory and become the third Canadian bracelet winner of this year's WSOP, alongside Charles Sylvestre and Michael Malm.
Chen was born and raised in PEI but has lived in Toronto for roughly half his life. Right now he manages a takeout restaurant in Charlottetown called Wayne's with his brother.
He's been coming to the World Series since 2007 and said he plays a lot of poker, but still considers himself an amateur.
His victory last night was far and away his biggest poker score, eclipsing two $95k cashes he snagged in 2008 and 2009, the latter being a 14th-place finish in the PCA main event on the EPT.
“I'm going to have to reevaluate after this series and figure out exactly what I'm going to do in poker,” said Chen.
Chen Introduced to Poker in PEI
Not much has been written about the poker scene in Prince Edward Island, a small maritime province on Canada's East Coast, but according to Chen the scene is good and getting better.
“I learned to play with a lot of friends back home and there are quite a few good players coming out of Charlottetown,” explained Chen.
“We have a casino there. It's mostly No-Limit Hold'em but people are starting to play PLO.”
Canadian champions at major poker tournaments around the world are nothing new, just look at Daniel Negreanu and his recent WSOP Asia Pacific main event win, but big winners coming out of the Canada's far east are far less frequent.
But if we believe what Chen is saying about the growing poker scene in Charlottetown, that could soon change.
Check out PokerListings.com's full live coverage of the WSOP Millionaire Maker right here.
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