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Like all soldiers, Ken Griffin was ingrained with a relentless desire to win. In only his third event at the World Series of Poker, that’s exactly what he did.

Griffin, a 34 year-old from Texas, captured his first Gold Bracelet early Tuesday morning. The win came in Event #45, a No Limit Hold’em match featuring a $1,000 buy in. A field of 2,890 participants signed on for a shot at the winner’s seat, bringing the prize pool to $2,601,000.

A ten-year member of the United States Marines, Griffin has spent long stretches on active duty in Iraq. Following his honorable discharge, he has returned to the Middle East to serve as a private contractor. Now, he’ll have some flashy new jewelery to display to his fellows.

Initially, Griffin wasn’t expected to attend the WSOP. Yet, having returned to the states to care for his ailing mother, he somehow found himself seated once action began on Sunday. So does his mom figure into his new found chunk of change?

“Oh, absolutely,” said Griffin. “I’m transferring money to her account as soon as I get it. You know, she’s a senior, working-class, she’s going through chemotherapy and medicine is expensive. She lives pay-check to paycheck, so I’m looking really forward to helping her out.”

Ken Griffin wins the gold bracelet from Event #45 at the 2011 WSOP.

Perhaps the biggest name at the Event #45 Final Table (other than the eventual winner) was Antonio Esfandiari, who managed to earn $58,288 for his seventh place finish. And, though he finished outside of the final nine, Phil Hellmuth’s 28th place knockout snagged him his 83rd career WSOP cash, furthering his mark on the all-time leaderboard. This time, he took home just over $10,000.

Here’s how the rest of the final table wound up:

#1 – Kenneth Griffin ($455,356)
#2 – Jean Luc Marais ($282,676)
#3 – Philip Hammerling ($199,366)
#4 – Eric Baudry ($143,991)
#5 – Andrew Teng ($105,262)
#6 – Jonathan Lane ($77,873)
#7 – Antonio Esfandiari ($58,288)
#8 – Aaron Massey ($44,138)
#9 – Jeremiah Siegmund ($33,813)

In total, the top 297 finishers received a return on their investment. The minimum payout was set at $1,898, the first of which went to Crisoldo Bautista of the Philippines.