Poker pro Chris Bell of Raleigh, N.C., was inspired by the first victory of his good friend Gavin Smith so much that he went out the next day and won his first gold bracelet as well at the Rio in Las Vegas.
In Event 46, the $5K PLO/8 tournament, Bell overcame a field of more than 280 players to capture first place and the $327K prize.
“I want to thank Erick Lindgren," he said after his voctory. "I would not be in Las Vegas right now if it weren’t for Erick. "A lot of people had given up on me the last year or so. But Erick didn’t. He’s never told me ‘no.’ He will beg and borrow for his friends. I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. Without a friend like him, I would not be here right now.”
Bell, who graduated from North Carolina State with a business degree in 1994, has one win, four final tables and 14 cashes at the WSOP. His career WSOP earnings total $759,183.