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  1. A fantastic day of action in the World Series of Poker saw three bracelets won by first-time winners as well as the first day of action in the $100,000 NLHE High Roller. Leo Margets was the first female player to win an open bracelet in the 2021 World Series of Poker as she closed out The Closer, winning $376,000 and claiming a maiden bracelet. Margets Makes History in The Closer With just 63 players remaining in the hunt for the bracelet, Margets began the day in the chasing pack as Alex Kulev of Bosnia led the field. That lead would be maintained for much of the final day of the event, but with a little luck and a lot of skill, Margets made good on her attempt to become the first female open event winner late in the 2021 World Series. The final table was reached in record time as just nine players remained, with Kulev still king in waiting. At that point, Margets had managed to get third on the leaderboard, but Kulev’s lead was such that she had just over half of his stack. Canadian player Ben Underwood busted in ninth place for $35,131 when his short stack shove with [poker card="Qh"][poker card="6s"] couldn’t get there against Aleksandr Shevliakov’s [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jd"] as the board ran out with queens on flop and river but low cards elsewhere. There was quickly another elimination as Chris Moorman, online poker legend and short stack heading into the final, busted with ace-high against Margets. Moorman’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="5h"] started the hand behind against Margets’ [poker card="Ad"][poker card="9c"] and the board of [poker card="Kc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"] saw Margets’ kicker play to send Moorman out with a cash worth $44,740. In seventh, Shevliakov was the victim as the post-dinner session that would find a winner began with his elimination for $57,525. Shevliakov called off Kulev’s shove and was in horrible shape, holding [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qh"] against Kulev’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ks"]. The seven-high board sent the Russian home at the Bosnian’s expense as the chip leader took yet more control. In sixth place, Cherish Andrews earned $74,680 when her [poker card="Ad"][poker card="3h"] couldn’t catch Stephen Song’s [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qh"] as the board, which initially looked great for Andrews on the flop of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3s"], was fine on the [poker card="3c"] turn but took a turn for the worse on the [poker card="Qc"] river. With five players left, it looked like everyone was playing for second behind Kulev as he continued to dominate, busting two more players in a single hand as his [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qc"] held against Arturo Segura’s [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Th"], condemning him to a fifth-place finish worth $97,865 and Marc Lange, whose [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kc"] was overtaken on the board of [poker card="Jh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="Qd"] board. Another queen on the river and another player out, Lange earning $129,460, the first six-figure score of the event, for crashing out in fourth. Three-handed, Kulev’s stack of 38 million dwarfed both Song (6 million) and Margets (4 million), but no limit hold’em being what it is, no-one’s lead is ever safe for more than a couple of all-in hands. Margets had chipped up a little to 7 million by the time Song departed in third for $172,855, but Kulev, whose pocket nines beat Song’s [poker card="Kc"][poker card="8h"] shove, was up to 40 million and looking like it was a matter of time before he booked a first WSOP win. Heads-up began with the stroke of luck Margets needed. Miscounting her stack to 2.5 big blinds rather than 7.5, she shoved with [poker card="9c"][poker card="4d"] and when Kulev called with the dominating [poker card="As"][poker card="9s"], she looked doomed. But the board had other ideas, coming [poker card="Js"][poker card="7s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="8c"] to double her up in fortuitous fashion and give her 15 bigs to play with. Suddenly, Margets had all the momentum, and 3:1 down in chips, she doubled again when her shove with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="4c"] held in spectacular style when Kulev’s [poker card="Kh"][poker card="8h"] was shot down by quad fours after the board played out. Grinding to level up the chips, Margets had a slim lead by the time the pair saw a flop of [poker card="9s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3s"] and all the chips went into the middle. Kulev held [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9d"] for top pair, top kicker, but Margets had the flush draw and bottom pair with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"]. The turn of [poker card="5c"] gave her trips and holding through the [poker card="Th"] river, her miraculous comeback was complete as Spanish pro Margets won her first-ever WSOP bracelet in the most dramatic of circumstances. WSOP 2021 Event #83 $1,500 The Closer Final Table Results: Leo Margets - $376,850 Alex Kulev - $232,920 Stephen Song - $172,855 Marc Lange - $129,460 Arturo Segura - $97,865 Cherish Andrews - $74,680 Aleksandr Shevliakov - $57,525 Chris Moorman - $44,740 Benjamin Underwood - $35,131 Badziakouski Wins Brilliant First Bracelet in High Roller In Event #85, the $50,000-entry High Roller, it was Belarussian poker crusher Mikita Badziakouski who reigned supreme and took the title and his first WSOP bracelet. Badziakouski had a huge task on his hands to do so, with one of the toughest final tables in this or any World Series to negotiate. However, from being one of the shortest stacks when the final table began, the Belarussian modern poker legend added another reminder to others of his poker prowess with an impressive performance. Ryan Leng was the first player to leave the nine-handed final table and it came as no surprise purely due to the 2021 WSOP powerhouse entering play with seven big blinds. Most of them went into the middle before the flop, with a little going in on the flop with [poker card="5h"][poker card="5d"], but Ren Lin had [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Kh"] and the cowboys shot down Leng’s hopes on a board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="Td"][poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"]. Leng cashed for $131,982. In eighth place, it was the turn of Joao Vieira to depart, earning $167,152 for his run to the final table. All-in pre-flop for just a couple of blinds, Vieira had [poker card="Ah"][poker card="4h"], but he was called by both Carlos Villamarin with [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"] and Jason Koon with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="9c"]. The board of [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"][poker card="Qc"][poker card="2s"] saw a little more money go in, but it eventually went to showdown and Villamarin’s pocket fives - of course - won the day. Shortly after that hand, Villamarin himself was on the rail. All-in pre-flop with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Jh"], he was in horrible shape against the [poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"] belonging to Stephen Chidwick and the Brit held with ease across the [poker card="9h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="9s"] board to leap up the leaderboard and leave Villamarin on the rail with $214,496. With six players left, Chidwick held the lead, but not for long. Badziakouski took over and grabbed the chip lead. It was one he would not relinquish easily, as Ali Imsirovic busted in sixth place for $278,840 when Ren Lin’s [poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"] got there against Imsirovic’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qd"] on a board of [poker card="Jd"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2c"][poker card="Tc"], with Lin’s middle pair on the flop surviving two streets of outs including two overs and any diamond. At this stage, Mike Matusow was singing the praises of Daniel Negreanu’s late registration...well, kind of. https://twitter.com/themouthmatusow/status/1462634694315438082 Stephen Chidwick had been left super-short by the chip leader and departed in fifth place for $367,153. Chidwick’s [poker card="5d"][poker card="2h"] couldn’t catch against Koon’s [poker card="Qs"][poker card="5c"] with all the chips in pre-flop and a board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kd"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="4h"][poker card="6d"] playing out. Koon was the next to bust, crashing out in fourth place for $489,585 when his [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kc"] couldn’t find any help against Badziakouski’s [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Qs"]. The eight-high board sent the GGPoker ambassador out before the podium places and while the Belarussian Badziakouski led, hopes were high for both Negreanu and Lin to make a comeback. Those hopes were to be ruthlessly dashed by the champion in waiting. Negreanu was eliminated by Badziakouski next as the Belarussian went about taking down his final three opponents in a brutal display of poker dominance. The Canadian shoved with [poker card="Jh"][poker card="5h"] and Badziakouski called with [poker card="As"][poker card="6h"], the board of [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Ad"] delivering Kid Poker from the competition for another great score of $661,041, but missing out on the bracelet once again. Heads-up could have been a non-event, Lin trailing Badziakouski as he did by almost four-to-one in chips. Despite that opening deficit, however, Lin chipped up to take the lead, and for a while, it looked like Badziakouski might struggle. But the partypoker pro is made of strong stuff and he railed to lead once again before the final hand. Li, short-stacked, shoved for just under seven big blinds with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="7s"] and Badziakouski called it off with [poker card="As"][poker card="5h"]. The board of [poker card="8h"][poker card="9d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="9c"] saw the Belarussian emerge from one of the toughest final tables of the Autumn the winner and the proud owner of his first-ever WSOP bracelet, along with the $1.46 million top prize. Li, defeated, had to settle for the runner-up prize of $903,610. WSOP 2021 Event #85 $50,000 NLHE High Roller Final Table Results: Mikita Badziakouski - $1,462,043 Ren Lin - $903,610 Daniel Negreanu - $661,041 Jason Koon - $489,585 Stephen Chidwick - $367,153 Ali Imsirovic - $278,840 Carlos Villamarin - $214,496 Joao Vieira - $167,152 Ryan Leng - $131,982 [caption id="attachment_637303" align="alignright" width="700"] Mikita Badziakouski won his first WSOP bracelet too, claiming a terrific victory in the $50,000 NLHE High Roller[/caption] The final event of the night to conclude produced a winner inside 14 hours of play as Michael McCauley won his maiden bracelet in the $1,000-entry Event #86, the Super Turbo event. In an event where the great and good took to the felt, some stars busted out early, such as Phil Hellmuth, Shau Deeb and Barny Boatman, whose tale of disaster started with such positivity... https://twitter.com/barnyboatman/status/1462472736895242244 ...but ended in a cold as ice defeat. https://twitter.com/barnyboatman/status/1462529376059154433 Others were running hot and chief amongst them was the leader of the WSOP Player of the Year race, Josh Arieh. Having seen the Poker Brat bust earlier, Arieh dug in his spikes and stuck around all the way to 10th place, earning $10,604, but most importantly, more points to go next to his name on the POY leaderboard. Others to cash but miss out on the final table included Ryan Riess (152nd for $1,606), Landon Tice (130th for $1,606), and Michael Lech (124th for $1,757). Down to the final table, Dara O’Kearney was the first player to bust when his queen-jack couldn’t catch Andrew Wilson’s ace-four. After Marc Lomeo lost a coinflip with pocket fives against Luigi Curcio’s ace-king, Curcio himself busted when he and Filippo Ragone bothlost out to McCauley in a double elimination. With just five players left, only the Israel player Yuval Bronshtein had won a WSOP bracelet before, but he crashed out in fourth after Rajvir Dua had departed in fifth. Indian player Neel Joshi had led for a long time in the run-up to the final table but could last no longer and left in third place when his start-stack shove with king-deuce ran into McCauley’s pocket sixes. Wilson was only a little shorter than the chip leader, but he was on the rail when his shove for 15 big blinds with [poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"] saw a call from McCauley with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Jh"] and the board of [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8d"] gave the American player his first-ever WSOP bracelet. WSOP 2021 Event #86 $1,000 Super Turbo Final Table Results: Michael McCauley - $161,384 Andrew Wilson - $99,742 Neel Joshi - $72,031 Yuval Bronshtein - $52,679 Rajvir Dua - $39,022 Filippo Ragone - $29,282 Luigi Curcio - $22,263 Marc Lomeo - $17,153 Dara O'Kearney - $13,395 Holz Leads The $100K On Day 1 of the $100,000-entry High Roller, Fedor Holz showed once again why he is still one of the most dangerous high stakes players in the world as he topped the 28 players who survived from 53 entries. Holz’ stack of 3,415,000 was marginally ahead of David Peters’ 3,305,000 as a top-quality field produced some big stacks belonging to superstars with plenty of bracelets between them. Oddly, however, while there are 8 bracelets between the top 10 players, only three players of that number have won one, with Michael Addamo (3) coming into Day 2 sixth in chips with over 1.8 million, behind Holz (2) and Peters (also 3). With big names such as Sam Grafton (2,120,000), Sorel Mizzi (1,380,000), Sam Soverel (1,070,000), Dan Smith (665,000), and Ben Heath (610,000) all in the Top 20, the potential late registration of both Phil Hellmuth and Josh Arieh could yet decide the destiny of the WSOP Player of the Year title. Players such as Darren Elias, Stephen Chidwick, and Jason Koon all busted on Day 1 but will have the chance to rebuy before the first card hits the felt on Day 2. WSOP 2021 Event #87 $100,000 NLHE High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Fedor Holz - 3,415,000 David Peters - 3,305,000 Orpen Kisacikoglu - 3,040,000 Sam Grafton - 2,120,000 Bill Klein - 1,885,000 Jonathan Little - 1,625,000 Seth Davies - 1,260,000 Laszlo Bujtas - 1,240,000 John Lilic - 1,190,000 Michael Addamo - 885,000 Finally, we stay with Koon as the GGPoker ambassador and first-time WSOP bracelet winner this series paid tribute to a great player given little credit apart from in the past few days. Sincerity rocks, people. https://twitter.com/JasonKoon/status/1462499757369139201  
  2. A dramatic day at the felt in two big tournaments saw history made inside the Rio Hotel & Casino as two more WSOP bracelets were won in two of the biggest tournaments of the Autumn. A Career-High Score For Adrian Mateos In Event #82, the $250,000-entry Super High Roller, Adrian Mateos went wire-to-wire as he took down the spectacular buy-in event for a top prize of $3.2 million and his fourth WSOP bracelet at the age of just 27. Just five players began the final day, with Mateos’ stack almost as big on its own as the four others combined. After a period of play that saw Keith Tilston drop down the ranks, the American was the first player to bust when his shove with [poker card="As"][poker card="3s"] over the opening bet from Mateos saw the Spaniard call it off with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"]. The board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] gave Mateos a turned straight and sent Tilston home for a result worth $632,124. With four players left, Mateos now had more than the rest of the table combined. It was Ben Heath who busted the next player, however, as Seth Davies busted in fourth for $930,791. Davies shoved from the small blind with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="7c"] and Heath called it off from the big blind with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jd"]. The ten-high board produced no drama and play was three-handed. After a period of play that saw Heath and Mateos battle for the lead, trading it on several occasions, Kincaid hit the rail when his [poker card="9s"][poker card="9h"] was no match for Mateos’ [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ah"] on the ace-high board. Kincaid, who had been a lot shorter earlier in the event, cashed for an impressive $1.3m. Heads-up, Heath was looking at a 2:1 deficit to overcome, but he was unable to do so in a final hand that saw Mateos’ [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Tc"] good on a board of [poker card="7c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="2s"] against Ben Heath’s [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. Heath cashed for $2 million, but Mateos’ victory was worth $3.26 million, the biggest cash of an already astounding career at the live felt where he has now won over $25 million. WSOP 2021 Event #82 $250,000 Super High Roller Final Table Results: Adrian Mateos - $3,265,262 Ben Heath - $2,018,148 John Kincaid - $1,370,575 Seth Davies - $930,791 Keith Tilston - $632,124 Ausmus Denies Bracelet To Both Hellmuth and Negreanu A ding-dong battle saw Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both just miss out on glory as Jeremy Ausmus won his third WSOP bracelet at the direct expense of his two highly-decorated opponents. The final table of nine kicked off with the departure of Veselin Karakitukov, who was the first player to win a six-figure score for their efforts, his cash worth $108,753. After the exit of Ben Lamb in eighth place, Josh Arieh busted in seventh, meaning he needed Hellmuth not to win in order to maintain his place at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. That happened, but not before a period of play when players were three-handed where each man had the lead. Hellmuth seemed to have all the momentum at one stage, but Daniel Negreanu was the thorn in his side. The same was true in reverse as at one point, Negreanu only needed to fade the river to eliminate his old frenemy in third place. Instead, the Poker Brat survived with a miracle on the river, leading to Hellmuth going to his rail whooping in the Thunderdome. Negreanu, frustrated at the missed opportunity, tipped his chair over in disgust. The Canadian would bust soon after, but Hellmuth still had work to do in order to claim the bracelet. He was unable to do so, getting it all-in with two pair on a flop of [poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"] where Ausmus had flopped the straight. That held through turn and river as Hellmuth saw his hopes of a full house disappear and dreams of that 17th WSOP bracelet go with it. The race for 2021 WSOP Player of the year looks likely to go to the final event, with Arieh making Day 2 of the $50,000 NLHE Event and Hellmuth needing to late reg and run deep to take the top of the leaderboard. WSOP 2021 Event #84 $50,000 PLO High Roller Final Table Results: Jeremy Ausmus - $1,188,918 Phil Hellmuth - $734,807 Daniel Negreanu - $519,764 Alexander Pedersen - $376,376 Laszlo Bujtas - $279,168 Jared Bleznick - $212,223 Josh Arieh - $165,452 Ben Lamb - $132,370 Veselin Karakitukov - $108,753 Jason Koon Leads The $50K High Roller In the $50,000-entry NLHE High Roller Event #85, Jason Koon bagged the biggest stack as some superstars of the felt gathered in his slipstream. With 35 players surviving from the 101 entries that took part, Koon’s stack of 2,405,000 is ahead of fellow first-time WSOP bracelet winner in 2021, Ole Schemion (1,760,000). With greats such as Stephen Chidwick (1,700,000), Shaun Deeb (1,650,000), Dan Smith (1,450,000) and Mikita Badziakouski (1,325,000) all in the top 10, there are going to be fireworks on Day 2, with Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both likely to register as part of the late reg frenzy that is possible before Day 2 starts. With Michael Addamo (1,145,000) eight in chips and former WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen (610,000) and WSOP Player of the Year leader Josh Arieh (570,000) all in with a great shout of victory sitting in the top 20 stacks, there was no place in the Day 2 seat draw for Nick Petrangelo, Elio Fox, Sergio Aido, Dario Sammartino, Anthony Zinno, Brian Rast, Dominik Nitsche, Ben Heath, Scott Seiver, Sam Grafton or Fedor Holz. WSOP 2021 Event #85 $50,000 NLHE High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Jason Koon - 2,405,000 Ole Schemion - 1,760,000 Stephen Chidwick - 1,700,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,650,000 Ranganath Kanchi - 1,565,000 Dan Smith - 1,450,000 Mikita Badziakouski - 1,325,000 Michael Addamo - 1,145,000 Darren Elias - 1,144,000 John Brooks - 1,085,000 The Closer Prepares To Shut It Down Finally, on Day 1b of The Closer, the $1,500-buy-in event saw Alex Kulev bag the biggest stack with a mammoth stack of 2,685,000. He’s clear of Giorgiy Skhulukhiya (2,425,000) in second place but even further ahead of Marc Lange (1,320,000) in third place. Players such as Leo Margets (1,300,000), Ryan Riess (1,070,000), Cherish Andrews (600,000), Landon Tice (330,000), and Melanie Weisner (280,000) all made the cut for Day 2, which will see 61 players fight all the way from seven tables to the bracelet, with stars such as Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Ari Engel, Felipe Ramos, and Joseph Cheong all missing out on grabbing end-of-day stacks on Day 1b of the event. WSOP 2021 Event #83 The Closer Day 1b Top 10 Chipcounts: Alex Kulev - 2,685,000 Giorgiy Skhulukhiya - 2,425,000 Marc Lange - 1,320,000 Steven Steinmetz - 1,300,000 Leo Margets - 1,300,000 Ryan Riess - 1,070,000 Noah Bronstein - 1,010,000 Michael Wang - 1,010,000 Jonathan Borenstein - 960,000 Mitchell Halverson - 930,000 Landon Tice grabbed a bag, and while he was doing so, he couldn’t help but admit to being a fan of the Poker Brat. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1462269836512292867  
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