Matthew Ashton, David “Bakes” Baker & Dan Kelly
Matthew Ashton’s 2013 WSOP was one he soon won’t forget — he has a career year with four final tables, won his first bracelet in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and took the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race.
Ashton got out of the gate with a third-place finish in the fifth event of the series in a $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Mixed event. Mike Gorodinsky went on to win the event but Ashton outlasted Owais Ahmed, George Danzer and Julie Schneider.
Five days later Ashton found himself at the final table of the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. Ultimately, he found himself on the short end of a heads-up match with Mike Matusow but the $164,700 softened the blow. It was an all-star final table that also featured Mike Leah, David “Bakes” Baker, Gavin Smith and Vladimir Shchemelev.
A full week would pass before Ashton put together another incredible run in a $2,500 Seven Card Stud event. He found himself elbow-to-elbow with Frank Kassela, Michael Mizrachi, Scott Seiver and David Chiu. Ashton would finish in eighth place for his “worst” cash of the series.
The three different deep runs in different disciplines was merely a warm up for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. After five days of play, Ashton won the most coveted bracelet of all pro players along with $1,774,089 to pass Daniel Negreanu for the lead in the WSOP POY race.
The final table was rounded out by legends David Benyamine, Danzer, Minh Ly and Jonathan Duhamel.
All in all, Ashton walked away from the 2013 WSOP with $2,043,492 in earnings.
David “Bakes” Baker
If David “Bakes” Baker had won a third career WSOP bracelet, he would have easily had the best series of anybody. Baker strung together an incredible eight cashes, four final tables, a runner-up finish in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 event and earned $415,944.
Bakes finished the WSOP in fourth place in the WSOP POY rankings just 12 points away from third place. Baker started the summer with a 19th-place finish in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event and a day later he final tabled the $3,000 Shootout event for sixth place.
The next event he played, $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, he finished in fourth place for almost $80,000 behind Ashton and Matusow. A whopping three days passed before he turned up at another final table, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, which drew a field of 2,105 players. He finished in eighth place for just shy of $50,000.
Baker would wait two weeks before collecting another cash; a 38th-place finish in another huge field $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event. He shook off the cash by making a serious run in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 event.
Baker collected his single largest cash for the series for $156,674 at a final table that included Konstantin Puchkov, Jeffrey Lisandro, Jon Turner and Layne Flack.
That same week, he went deep in the $2,500 Six-Max Limit Hold’em event for 10th place and then hopped in the arguably toughest event of the summer — the $25,000 Six-Max No Limit Hold’em tournament. He put together another deep run and cashed out in 15th place for $53,781.
Dan Kelly made his name as an online wizard as “DJK123” and made the transition to live tournament poker successfully with a bracelet to his credit in the first $25,000 Six-Max NLH event in 2010.
Kelly finished the 2013 WSOP with eight cashes, two final tables and $465,975 in the black. His largest cash came from his sixth-place finish in the $1,500 “Millionaire Maker” for $302,104.
Two days prior to that, he finished sixth in the $5,000 Eight-Max NLH event for more than $80,000. He then cashed three times in one week — 180th in a $1,500 NLH event, 16th in $1,500 HORSE and 12th in the $5,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event.
He capped off his summer by finishing 10th in the $3,000 Six-Max NLH event, 20th in the $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event and 17th in the $5,000 HORSE event.
The Death of Richard Turnbull and Kevin “Phwap” Boudreau’s Collapse
The poker community was rocked by the tragic death of longtime WSOP dealer Richard Turnbull on June 20. The 86-year-old dealer had been dealing at the WSOP for 38 years of the 44 years it has existed. No one person could claim a closer connection to the WSOP.
Turnbull was originally from Reno, Nevada, and was killed while attempting to cross a busy Las Vegas road in a hit-and-run accident.
“We’re devastated to hear one of the WSOP’s own is no longer with us,” the WSOP said in a statement. “Richard Turnbull has been dealing poker for 38 years, has been an American hero serving his country as part of the Navy in World War II and was emblematic of all that is good. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family.”
Turnbull was given the honor of announcing, “Shuffle up & Deal” in the 2012 WSOP Casino Employees Event.
Kevin “Phwap” Boudreau was an up and coming poker player with 13 WSOP cashes to his credit. He had two cashes in the 2013 WSOP when he collapsed on June 14 while on a dinner break.
It was discovered that Boudreau had a massive brain hemorrhage due to a congenital condition he had since birth. He was diagnosed with AVM — arteriovenous malformation — which is an abnormality of veins and arteries inside the brain. Initially the prognosis was grave, he was induced into a coma and required dangerous brain surgery.
The 25-year-old player was known as a very friendly high-stakes cash game player and was a member of the “Ship It Holla Ballas” crew. He was held in Las Vegas while in critical condition and was moved to a hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to be closer to his family while recovering.
A fundraising site was set up to help Boudreau’s family handle the cost of his medical bills. It can be found at YouCaring.com by searching for Kevin “Phwap” Boudreau.