By: Jason Lake
No matter how you slice it, the World Series of Poker hit a home run this year with the $565 Colossus II No-Limit Hold'em tournament. Some will be disappointed with the turnout; 21,613 entries were registered for this year's event, down from 22,374 when it debuted last year. That includes rebuys – players were allowed back into any of the six starting flights if they busted early. But this was still by far the second-largest live poker tournament on record. And it was a big improvement from the first Colossus in just about every other way.
More Money, Fewer Problems
The big complaint with last year's Colossus was the line-ups. Event organizers were overwhelmed by the turnout, and there was a logjam as people who busted in the money tried to collect. About 1,500 of them waited for hours before getting paid. This year, players were allowed to register online, and the payout line-ups were thinned out by having each starting flight play into the money.
The other concern with the first Colossus was the payout structure itself. The top prize of $638,880 represented just 5.7% of the $11.2-million prize pool. That wasn't a problem this year, as the winner was guaranteed $1 million. Also, 3,245 players finished in the money at the Colossus II, compared to 2,241 players last year. Not much in the way of complaints this time.
Ace on the River
The tournament itself had plenty of drama, though. Benjamin Keeline from St. Louis was the winner after his Pocket Jacks held up against the Ace-Nine of Czech native Jiri Horak. Unfortunately for Horak, he was with his friends on the rail after going all-in, and they misread the board, thinking that he won the hand when the Ace of Spades hit the river. It was the fourth spade on the board; Keeline had the Jack of Spades.
Horak can dry his tears with the $618,000 he won for second place. Meanwhile, Keeline is an instant millionaire – before taxes, at least. The 30-year-old part-timer had amassed about $580,000 in live tournament cashes (including three WSOP cashes, with one circuit ring in 2013) before taking down the Colossus II. Keeline, who now calls Colorado his home, was reportedly near the end of his rope going into the WSOP, and was supporting his poker by driving for Uber.
He'll be back behind the wheel soon. Keeline told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he's going to stick with Uber, and wishes he had that extra source of income the past two years. But first, there's the rest of the WSOP. Six days after winning the Colossus II, Keeline finished 45th at the $,gfgf $1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em for just over $5,800 in prize money.
$1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em for just over $5,800 in prize money.