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Dutch physicist wins WSOP title, $570,9606 July 2010
Marcel Vonk won the sixth and final $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker on Monday night, claiming his first WSOP gold bracelet and $570,960 in prize money.
Vonk, a 36-year-old native of Utrecht, Holland, is a researcher at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, working as a theoretical physicist. His primary focus is on String theory, an advanced concept in quantum mechanics and general relativity.
While poker has certainly become an important part of Vonk's life, he is quick to say that he'd rather win a Nobel Prize in physics than the Main Event title.
"I would choose to win the Nobel Prize," said Vonk. "But, it's close."
He first saw poker played on television, and became interested in the game. He first attended the WSOP last year, cashing in the first event he ever played in, but the $2,745 payday hardly compares to this half-million dollar prize.
"When I first started playing, I was an amateur player," said Vonk. "And while the money means a lot, I play in tournaments because I want to win something. Otherwise, I would play in cash games. The $500,000 is a lot. But the bracelet is almost more important than the money."
With his victory, Vonk became the third Dutch player in the 41-year history of the WSOP to win a gold bracelet, following in the footsteps of countrymen Noah Boeken and Rob Hollink.
Vonk has lived in many places, including Holland, Sweden, France, South Africa, and Portugal.
The runner up was David Peters, from Toledo, Ohio. He is a 23-year-old poker pro. Peters won a Heartland Poker Tour event and has other big cashes, but this was easily his biggest payday, as he took home $350,803 for second place.
Vonk won the tournament holding ace-three vs. Peters' king-eight. Vonk paired his ace on the flop, and Peters was unable to improve, giving Vonk the victory.
Paul Kerr, from Bothwell, England, finished third to cash in for $255,076, while Nathan Jessen, a 22-year-old student from Blair, Neb., won $186,818 for fourth place. Henrik Tollefsen, a 22-year-old poker pro from Trondheim, Norway, finished fifth for $138,107, and Matthew Lupton of Scottsdale, Ariz., was sixth for $103,061.
Mehul Chaudhari, from San Francisco, Calif., was seventh, Espen Moen, from Bodo, Norway, was eighth, and Dustin Dorrance-Bowman, from Austin, Texas, was ninth.
The top 396 finishers in the 3,844-player field collected prize money. Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Jesse Rockowitz (33rd), Al Krux (118th), James Dempsey (277th), and Toto Leonidas (358th).
Modified from notes provided by Nolan Dalla for www.wsop.com.