The Five Biggest Storylines From Week 6 of the 2021 WSOP

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Dan Cates, Doyle Brunson, and the Main Event were in the headlines in Week 6 of the WSOP. (photos courtesy: PokerGO)

The 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event dominated the headlines at the series this week -and why shouldn’t it? It’s arguably the most exciting and prestigious tournament of the year and nearly every notable name in the game turns on their A-game in order to fight for the biggest prize in poker, the World Championship bracelet.

Even the smallest details surrounding the Main Event turn into major headlines. Everything from who rode into the Rio to play to how much the Main Event is worth this year, all eyes in the poker world are fixed on nearly every bet, raise, and bustout. There were plenty of former World Champions in the house, plus a number of former #1-ranked PocketFivers all of which have their eye on the multi-million dollar prize.

Let’s not waste any more time – here are the five biggest storylines from Week 6 of the World Series of Poker.

$8 Million Up Top For 2021 Main Event Winner

When all was said and done, from vaccination mandates to adding two additional starting flights the Main Event kicked off this week and the magic returned to the Rio for one last time. In total, a very respectable 6,650 players entered the $10,000 buy-in tournament. The total makes it the 10th largest field in Main Event history, a feat unto itself considering the conditions that the series has been under since Day 1.

The prize pool topped $62 million and 1,000 players will enjoy a piece of it. A min-cash gives a return of $15,000 and everyone at the final table will earn seven figures with the top prize coming in at $8,000,000. A hefty prize for sure, with the pressure being applied to the final three where there is a $1.3 million jump between third and second, and a massive $3.7 million difference between runner-up and champion.

Stars Show Up For Main Event

The Main Event is an event unlike any other and one of the best part for fans is to see their favorite players compete in a massive field for one of the largest prize pools of the year. Even in the current conditions, this year is no different as the Rio was flooded with big name stars who made the journey to try and become the next World Champion.

Former World Champions Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Scott Blumstein, Martin Jacobson, Qui Nguyen, and Phil Hellmuth are all making their presence felt. For Hellmuth, it was more about his antics than his on the felt play.

Moneymaker, who has talked about working on his game over the past few years, is off to a fast start surging into the top 20 of the chip counts after Day 2.

But of course, the list of big names who took a shot in the field doesn’t stop with former champs. Daniel Negreanu hit the rail early, as did Damian Salas, former #1s Calvin Anderson and Shaun Deeb, Nick Schulman, Brian Rast, Tony Dunst, Jason Somerville, and Michael Addamo among many others.

But headed into Day 3, the list of notable names in the 2,362 remain plentiful. Those sitting inside the top 100 at the start of the day include Nick Petrangelo, Matt Glantz, David Williams, Tyler Cornell, Mustapha Kanit, Greg Mueller, Brian Altman, and Victor Ramdin.

Jason Koon, Chance Kornuth, Robert Mizrachi, Anthony Zinno, Ben Yu, and Faraz Jaka all have plenty to work with. On the other end former #1 Niklas Astedt, Ole Schemion, Garry Gates, Griffin Benger, and Eli Elezra are among those with some chipping up to do, all sitting under 100k headed into the day.

Last Ride For Texas Dolly (at the Rio)

While he didn’t advance through to Day 3, fans were thrilled to get to watch the return of Doyle Brunson to play in his final Main Event at the Rio. Brunson was featured on the PokerGO broadcasts on two occasions, both Day 1 as well as his Day 2. H accumulated a nice stack, but ran into a couple of tough spots which ultimately found him eliminated on Day 2abd.

Jungleman Comes Back To Win $50K PPC, Leng Confronts Error

The final table of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship turned into an extra-hour affair as Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates battled against Ryan Leng and Paul Volpe three-handed deep into the night, only to emerge with his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet, a spot on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, and the $954,020 first-place prize.

Cates arrived with his hair dyed blue-green and in full Dragon Ball Z cosplay. That, along with his win, might have been the talk of the event but it was a critical hand in Limit Hold’em against Leng where Cates was down to his final bet, all-in with the worst hand, and on the verge of elimination. Leng, with top pair and getting incredible odds just needed to click call in order to eliminate him, but he found a fold instead and ‘Jungle’ scraped his way back and eventually took home the win.

The next day, the fallout from the hand took over Poker Twitter and Ryan Leng had to deal with the fallout from, what Leng himself called a “terrible fold”. He did so head-on. Leng posted his thoughts in a lengthy Twitter thread (which you can read by clicking right here). In the end, Leng didn’t make excuses, he simply vowed to learn from it and continue to move on.

For his part, despite giving Leng the needle at the table when he showed his hand, Cates came to Leng’s defense from the online critics of the fold.

Leng still sits in the top 5 on the Player of the Year Leaderboard.

Josh Arieh Stays Hot, Takes Over Player of the Year Race

Speaking of the Player of the Year race, the new leader is Josh Arieh who added to his point totals this week with a final table appearance in Online Event #7 ($3,200 NLHE) in which he finished in fourth for another $96,049. That makes it two bracelet wins, a final table in the aforementioned $50,000 Poker Players Championship, and the online final table.

He’s having the series of his career in terms of results, something he credits to being a strong place mentally and playing free. With a healthy lead in the POY race, but a there’s lot of poker left to play in the WSOP ‘post-lims’, Arieh has said he’s ready to double down, sell some action on PocketFives, and make a run at having a banner draped at all future WSOP events.

Current POY Top 5

  1. Josh Arieh – 3,110.91
  2. Jake Schwartz – 2,757.37
  3. Anthony Zinno – 2,731.32
  4. Ryan Leng – 2,684.04
  5. Kevin Gerhart – 2,643.23