It was a day for both recreational player success and elite pro progression at the 2021 World Series of Poker as Phil Hellmuth made his second final table of the series while Jason Koon and Daniel Zack progressed to the semifinals in the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship. Plus, Zhi Wu won a debut bracelet to turn $600 into over $281,000 in one of the best-value events of the 2021 World Series of Poker.
Jason Koon, Dan Zack Make $25K Heads Up Semis
The $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the poker calendar and after Day 2’s play, only four men remain in the hunt the bracelet plenty of big names were after. There were plenty of intriguing match-ups in the Round of 16, but none more so than Jason Koon, the recent GGPoker ambassador taking on Johannes Becker, with Koon coming back to win the titanic tussle, winning four all-in showdowns to first survive then double and finally conquer his opponent.
Elsewhere in the Round of 16, David Peters busted with two pair to a flopped set, while Julien Martini built a big lead only to watch it disappear as his chances went the same way against Bin Weng. Mikita Badziakouski lived up to his favorite tag to progress, as did Jake Daniels, but there were exits for Galen Hall and Cary Katz.
In the quarterfinals, Koon took just 13 minutes to decimate Jake Daniels and become the first player through to the semifinals. Koon’s final hand was pocket queens which won in a flip against Daniels’ ace-king suited. Finnish online player Henri Puustinen joined Koon in the final four when the 21-year-old got the better of Benjamin Reason, and just a few minutes later, Daniel Zack became the third man to reach the semis, with his flush downing Weng’s two-pair to progress.
The final bout of the evening to complete was the match between Badziakouski and Gabor Szabo, and while Szabo was short early on, he ground his way back into contention in a similar manner to Zack, winning from behind as he doubled up with jacks against ace-king. That hand proceeded to give him the momentum to make the last four, all of whom are guaranteed to win $89,787 but will have their eyes on the top prize of $243,981, with the quarterfinal players cashing for $36,280 each.
Phil Hellmuth Makes $10K Omaha Final Table
Event #9 has been one of the most entertaining events of the WSOP so far and with five players remaining, is sure to continue that way at least until Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth leaves the party. Of the final five, Hellmuth has by far the shortest stack, with a little over six big blinds to his name, but if anyone can perform miracles at the Rio, it’s Big Phil.
The chip leader going into the final day will be Ari Engel, who will shoot for his second WSOP bracelet and is the only other player still in the reckoning with a shot at winning multiple bracelets. Engel begins on a massive stack of 3,485,000, with Zachary Milchman (1,660,000), Eddie Blumenthal (1,405,000) and Andrew Yeh (1,105,000) the chasing pack. Hellmuth starts the final day with just 390,000 chips.
If it all goes wrong, Phil, just remember Doyle Brunson’s most recent words on Twitter.
"Accept the fact that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue".
— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) October 6, 2021
WSOP 2021 Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Final Table Chipcounts:
- Ari Engel – 3,485,000
- Zachary Milchman – 1,660,000
- Eddie Blumenthal – 1,405,000
- Andrew Yeh – 1,105,000
- Phil Hellmuth – 390,000
Zhi Wu Takes Home Gold
Zhi Wu won his first WSOP bracelet as he defeated Ari Mezrich heads-up to claim the top prize of $281,604 in the $600-entry NLHE Deepstack Event #6. Heading into the final five with the lead, Wu watched as Chrishan Sivasundaram eliminated Nicholas Zautra just a few minutes into play. Zautra shoved pre-flop for eight big blinds with and was quickly called by Sivasundaram with .
The flop of kept Zautra ahead, as did the turn, but the river sent him home in fifth place for $76,974 and vaulted Sivasundaram into the lead. That didn’t last long, however as Wu busted Ryan Chan in fourth place for $100,330 when his dominated and defeated Chan’s after all the money went in on a flop.
With three players left, Wu was leading, holding more chips than his two opponents combined. The next elimination would be critical and when Wu got it, busting Sivasundaram, it gave him a massive lead heads-up. Sivasundaram was all-in when short with , but Wu called him with from the big blind and the board sent Sivasundaram home in third for $131,675.
Heads-up, Wu let his huge lead of almost 10:1 in chips slide to being only ahead by three big blinds. That was when the final hand played out, with Wu’s raise with called by Ari Mezrich with . The flop of saw Wu continue for a small bet and Mezrich call, but on the turn, Wu’s shove was called by his opponent who was drawing to just two outs, neither of which came on the river.
With Mezrich winning $173,998 for his second-place finish, it was Wu who became the latest first-time bracelet winner is a World Series so far dominated by debutants, taking home the top prize of over a quarter of a million dollars.
WSOP 2021 Event #8 $600 NLHE Deepstack Final Table Results:
- Zhi Wu – $281,604
- Ari Mezrich – $173,998
- Chrishan Sivasundaram – $131,675
- Ryan Chan – $100,330
- Nicholas Zautra – $76,974
The 2021 World Series of Poker has so far been populated by the poker-playing masses in a manner that suggests a second poker boom really could be around the corner. Shannon Shorr is one of hundreds of players to highlight it during the series so far.
These tournies aren’t gonna get off the ground are they? Let’s call it a day @WSOP.
— Shannon Shorr (@ShannonShorr) October 6, 2021
That said, it may be that we see less of Landon Tice than we might have thought at first as the young phenom has admitted a touch of burnout.
It’s a big time in poker right now.
Tournaments, cash games, and everything you can possibly think of.
Additionally, it’s my first “WSOP”
Honestly, I just don’t have the fire at all at the moment.
Call it burnout or whatever, I just need to take some time for myself.
— Landon (@LandonTice) October 6, 2021
Take It To The Limit, One More Time
It is Kevin Erickson who leads the remaining 16 players in Event #12, the $1,500-entry Limit Hold’em event, with just two former bracelet winners still chasing gold. Erickson bagged up 1,435,000 at the end of a nine-hour day at the felt to lead from Mike Lancaster (1,240,000), the only other player to end the day with a seven-figure stack of chips.
Players to cash on the second day of the event after the money bubble burst but fail to make the final day included Anthony Zinno (38th for $3,007), Day 1 chip leader Jeremy Maher (44th for $3,307), former WSOP world champion Joe McKeehen (45th for $3,007) and Philip Tom, who snuck into the money in 64th place for $2,406.
WSOP 2021 Event #12 $1,500 Limit Hold’em Top 10 Chipcounts:
- Kevin Erickson – 1,435,000
- Mike Lancaster – 1,240,000
- Tony Nasr – 885,000
- Guy Cicconi – 830,000
- Ian Glycenfer – 795,000
- John Bunch – 795,000
- Tom McCormick – 775,000
- Yuval Bronshtein – 770,000
- Tina Tateossian – 700,000
- Anh Van Nguyen – 685,000
$3K Freezeout Gets Off The Ground
The first event that kicked off on Day 7 of the 2021 WSOP was Event #13, the $3,000 NLHE Freezeout. At the end of Day 1, just 108 players survived from the total field of 720 entries, with Andrew Jeong the overnight chip leader with 1,003,000 chips.
Chasing down Jeong are players such as Antony Darmani (888,000) and Brandon Caputo (883,000), but there are plenty of other luminaries looking to make hay. Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (335,000), Christian Harder (293,000), and Darren Elias (205,000) will all feel confident of adding to their resumes with yet another major trophy.
Others were not so lucky, with Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, David Peters, Stephen Chidwick, and Erik Seidel all entering but failing to make the chip counts, but the money bubble didn’t burst until late in the day, with Silvio Costa the player to miss out on profit, his ace-queen unable to hit against the pocket tens of four-time WSOP bracelet winner Michael Gathy.
WSOP 2021 Event #13 $3,000 NLHE Freezeout Top 10 Chipcounts:
- Andrew Jeong – 1,003,000
- Antony Darmani – 888,000
- Brandon Caputo – 883,000
- Landen Lucas – 753,000
- Yohwan Lim – 720,000
- Brock Parker – 680,000
- Frederic Heller – 635,000
- Steve Foutty – 612,000
- Ben Farrell – 607,000
- Michael Gathy – 590,000
Heimiller, Albini, Williams Make $1,500 Stud Day 1 Top 10
The opening day of Event #14, the $1,500-entry Seven Card Stud event was the final event to end for the night, with 15 levels of play whittling a field of 260 entries down to just 76 players.
Of those, plenty of well-known pros will be on the hunt for glory on Day 2, with bracelet winners Brendan Taylor (236,500), Kevin Gerhart (220,500), Dan Heimiller (184,000), Steven Albini (174,500) and WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams (172,500) all ending in the top 10 chipcounts at the end of the day. The prizepool of $348,435 will produce a top prize of $82,262 in the event.
WSOP 2021 Event #14 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Top 10 Chipcounts:
- Elias Hourani – 240,000
- Brendan Taylor – 236,500
- Jeffrey Mitseff – 228,000
- Kevin Gerhart – 220,500
- Dan Heimiller – 184,000
- Steve Albini – 174,500
- David Williams – 172,500
- Hal Rotholz – 154,500
- William Buckley – 138,000
- David Singer – 128,000
And finally, with the Seniors Event due to start soon, some players have taken to face-altering apps to prove their elderly credentials. Nice try, Niall Farrell, nice try. We know you’ll do anything to play in the WSOP, but this is ridiculous.
Good morning pic.twitter.com/A4uEFKfrWr
— Niall Farrell (@Firaldo87poker) October 6, 2021