“The Chainsaw” Reflects on 100 WSOP Cashes Milestone

Jeff McMillan
Posted on: June 04, 2023 05:32 PDT

Allen Kessler has established himself as one of the true characters of the game of poker in recent years. From questionable food choices to slot machine hunting to very particular critiques of every structure in existence, “The Chainsaw” has carved out his spot as one of the biggest characters in the poker lexicon. But through all of it, his accomplishments on the felt have perhaps been lost in the shuffle and gone under the radar. 

Kessler recorded a milestone 100th career WSOP bracelet after cashing in Event #9 $1,500 Seven Card Stud for his second of the 2023 WSOP. 

The milestone was announced to the field of players in the room, who gave the WSOP veteran an ovation.

Kessler’s career began back in 2001 where he collected his first career cash. Four years would pass before his name surfaced again on the payout sheets with two more cashes in 2005 before doubling that amount to four in 2006. 

Breakout year in 2010

He would steadily collect more causes until 2010, which became a breakout year for Kessler which is when he started to really realize he could be a full time pro and make a bunch of cashes.

I caught up to him to ask a few questions about his WSOP journey. 

“It just started on its own. I had a disastrous 2009 campaign and came back in 2010 and just started playing events I liked and I kept cashing. 

They only paid 10% of the field then, and there were far fewer events. 

I wasnt chasing the number of cashes record until the final week or so when I realized I had a shot at that. 

It was close, but I was the only player with double digit cashes that year.” 

And indeed that is the case as Kessler rebounded from his 2009 shutout (the only one in his career since he started playing regularly) to lead the WSOP in cashes in 2010. Kessler confirmed that 2010 was his favorite WSOP year of his career as it also included a runner’s up finish to Frank Kassela in a loaded $10,000 Stud Hi/Lo Championship field that also included the likes of Jen Harman, Steve Zolotow and John Juanda, a who’s who back in 2010. That result for $276,485 is still his largest career WSOP cash.

Kessler cashes by year:

2023: 2 (so far)

2022: 10

2021: 5

2019: 10

2018: 12

2017: 8

2016: 6

2015: 8

2014: 5

2013: 3

2012: 6

2011: 3

2010: 10

2008: 3

2007: 1

2006: 4

2005: 2

2001: 1

I’m more recent years, Kessler has expanded in his drive to get as by making appearances over in Rozvadov, Czech Republic which can be seen especially in 2018, which is his most prolific cashing year to date with twelve total cashes including four in Rozvadov that year. And he has kept up that pace with double digit cashes in both 2019 and 2022.

Responding to “min-cash” criticism 

Of course as is always the case in poker, success will breed criticism and create “haters”. Some people are not as thrilled with Kessler’s accomplishments and have labeled him as just a min-casher.

“They're wrong”, replied Kessler sternly. 

“I have 100 cashes now and I think 10 of those are final tables.I do have a lot of min cashed as well, but look at the past few days. I outlasted 95% of the field in the mystery millions and just made the final 4 tables of $1500 stud 

Those appear to be min cashes when people look at the amounts, but in reality they aren't.”

Future WSOP goals 

I also asked Kessler what his goals are now that he has reached the 100 cash milestone. 

“I was chasing 100 for awhile I have no real number of cashes goal now, at this point it's winning a bracelet.

There are only a handful of players who have been heads up four or more times since the moneymaker era. I retweeted that list a few days ago, and am proud to be one of them.” 

Time will tell if Kessler will get that elusive bracelet. But what a story for him and for poker it would be if he were to get one. I think it’s safe to say that most of us in the poker world are rooting for him to get it one day.