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A busy day on both Day 1f and Day 2abd of the WSOP Main Event saw a wizard take his seat, several huge names power to the top of the leaderboard and the biggest single day of action in the Main for over two years. It was an incredible day of action as the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas played host to some of the world’s best poker players. Hellmuth Arrives in Style on Day 1f, Chips Up Before Close It’s impossible to start anywhere other than the grandest of entrances from the man famed for his exuberance at the World Series. Phil Hellmuth, a.k.a. The Poker Brat. Waiting until the end of the day, and playing only the final two levels, Hellmuth arrived shortly before the dinner break as, dressed head to toe in white as ‘Gandalf the White’, the 16-time bracelet winner was accompanied by 16 models - one for each bracelet, natch - two fighting characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, who appeared to be Saruman from the Oscar-winning films. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1458296604536967178 With the hoopla to one side, once Hellmuth sat down, he improved on his starting stack in no time at all, bagging up 94,500 with which to attack tomorrow’s Day 2cef. He wasn’t the only one taking part in Day 1f, with some legends of the felt playing the flight, such as Fedor Holz (161,600), Scotty Nguyen (52,200), Michael Mizrachi (212,300), and Chris Moneymaker (75,800), the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner who finally couldn’t resist the clarion call any longer. Elsewhere, players such as Liv Boeree played for the first time in a while, bagging up 90,000 after claiming not to ‘remember how to play’ after such a long time away from the felt. https://twitter.com/Liv_Boeree/status/1458166021412376578 The chip leader at the close of Day 1f was Adam Walton with a massive stack of 334,000 chips, but he had stellar company in the upper echelons of the leaderboard, with Michael Mizrachi (212,300), Henrik Hecklen (210,000) and Cate Hall (197,000) all bagging top 10 stacks. Others weren’t so fortunate, with players such as Justin Lapka, David Benyamine and Robert McMillan all falling by the wayside during the day’s play. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 1f Top 10 Chipcounts: Adam Walton - 334,000 Tung Nguyen - 328,200 Hannes Speiser - 282,100 Arkadi Onikoul - 266,300 Ryan Hartmann - 243,200 Young Ko - 240,300 Jung Woo - 231,900 John Bagosy - 224,700 Christopher Fischer - 219,000 Terence Clee - 218,700 Day 2abd Sees Doyle Brunson Bust but Jason Koon Crush One of the biggest clashes on Day 2abd of the Main Event was the match-up between Doyle Brunson and Jason Koon. One is a classic poker legend and 10-time bracelet winner, the other has just signed for GGPoker and won his first-ever bracelet this series. Sadly for ‘Texas Dolly’ fans, only one would prevail and it was not to be the man in the cowboy hat, as fellow player Kyna England tweeted of her shock at a bizarre first Main Event experience. https://twitter.com/Kyna_CooL/status/1458222692767703046 Rameez Shahid (731,700) led the field after Day 2, but plenty of others with experience are chasing him down, with David Coleman (613,000), Johan Schumacher (597,000), Robert Cowen (596,400), Nick Petrangelo (490,200), Anton Wigg (490,000), Mustapha Kanit (473,300), Brittney Stout (394,900), and Kathy Liebert (285,500) amongst them. With 145 players choosing a Day 2 entry for the first time in the tournament’s half-century of history, that led to the field topping 6,500 with Day 2cef the last possible opportunity for players to put down $10,000 and battle for the legendary world champion’s WSOP bracelet. Plenty of big names were unsuccessful in their bid for poker immortality, with players such as Asi Moshe, Sam Grafton, Adam Friedman, Rep Porter, Maria Konnikova, Melanie Weisner, Kelly Minkin, Mikita Badziakouski, Jeff Gross and Kevin Martin all departing on Day 2abd. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 2abd Top 10 Chipcounts: Shahid Rameez - 731,700 David Mock - 679,700 Damien Steel - 649,000 Farhad Jamasi - 635,000 Raul Martinez - 628,100 Steve Foutty - 620,000 Mitchell Halverson - 617,600 Scott Davies - 615,100 David Coleman - 613,500 Kayvon Shahbaz - 599,200 Shaun Deeb on the Hunt in Little One for One Drop Finally, on Day 1b of the $1,111-entry Little One for One Drop, 901 total entries were whittled down to just 297 survivors. The chip leader at the close of the second opening flight was Trent Wilt, who bagged up 516,200, but Wilt was followed by some big names armed with plenty of chips like David Tran (501,600), Seongmin Lee (461,700), Evgeni Toureusk (401,400), Quirin Heinz (386,100), Sam Cohen (270,000), Michael Acevedo (252,000), Shaun Deeb (85,000), and Bill Klein (68,000). Deeb is a particular player to watch as he goes for the Player of the Year title with a deep run in this event possibly crucial to that aim. With Day 1c being the final flight to take part in if players want to advance to Day 2, the total of 1,389 entries so far in this event could well be doubled. Players who busted on Day 1b included Pamela Balzano, Natalie Bromley, DJ Alexander, Asi Moshe and Kyna England WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Top 10 Chipcounts: Trent Wilt - 516,200 David Tran - 501,600 Seongmin Lee - 461,700 Evgeni Tourevski - 401,400 Quirin Heinz - 386,100 Jaspal Brar - 379,100 Ari Oxman - 376,400 Blerim Imeri - 332,400 Marco Damico - 316,000 Jonathan Ingalls - 312,800 Finally, he may have busted the Main Event, but for a while there, Landon Tice felt the same as the rest of us and achieved the peace of mind only grinding a short stack can inspire. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1458332577811427328
Drama, excitement and Doyle Brunson. Poker fans had all their Christmases come at once on Thursday night as the ‘Godfather of Poker’ himself, ‘Texas Dolly’, made an appearance at the 2021 WSOP and sat down in the Main Event. On what was a dramatic opening day in many different ways, Brunson survived to battle again on Day 2. Doyle Brunson Takes The Main Event Stage It’s been many years since the 1976 and 1977 WSOP Main Event world champion sat down in the world’s biggest poker tournament. In fact, his appearance in the Super Seniors event earlier this series looked very much like a one-off. It transpired not to be, however, as Brunson sat down on Day 1a of the Main, with 522 other players putting down $10,000 to play in the one that every poker player on the planet wants to win. Fellow poker professional Felipe Ramos was beyond excited that a hero to him and millions of other poker players was in the building. https://twitter.com/FelipeMojave/status/1456420740027215872 A 10-time WSOP bracelet winner, Brunson escaped Day 1 with more than double the chips he started with, coming through the day in 41st place on 151,000 chips. That was less than half of the total amassed by the Day 1a chip leader Mustapha Kanit (363,500), who ended the day top of the leaderboard on which 348 survivors sat. Elsewhere in the top 10, Alex Livingston (319,200), Fabian Quoss (273,800) and Billy Baxter (248,600) totalled big numbers of over four times their initial stack, with other big names such as Adrian Mateos (212,500), Yuri Dzivielevski (197,200), Perry Friedman (195,500), JJ Liu (180,200), and the 1983 WSOP Main Event winner Tom McEvoy (96,900) all bagging up decent stacks. There was a moment of controversy during the opening day of the Main Event as police locked down the Rio amid a ‘situation’ during the evening, with an unrelated crime leading some of those who were on hand to serve and protect to step in and do just that. https://twitter.com/JohnnieVibes/status/1456478253711982592 It would appear that the man was in possession of a suspicious package, with British actor, poker pro and WSOP event runner-up Sam Razavi turning detective to solve the crime. https://twitter.com/Sam_Razavi/status/1456540017384329223 Among those to fall on Day 1a was the reigning world champion Damian Salas. The Argentinian busted in the first level after his [poker card="As"][poker card="Qc"] was all-in and at risk against Peter Gould’s [poker card="5s"][poker card="5s"], with the latter making a straight on the board of [poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"]. Others to fall at the first fence included Calvin Anderson, Upeshka De Silva, Dylan Weisman and Jake Schwartz, whose lead in the race to become 2021 WSOP Player of the Year took a big hit. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Mustapha Kanit - 363,500 Rittie Chuaprasert - 345,700 Alex Livingston - 319,200 David Fong - 298,500 Fabian Quoss - 273,800 Billy Baxter - 248,600 Dragana Lim - 237,700 Vladimir Vasilyev - 232,000 Vidur Sethi - 226,200 Ayaz Mahmood - 221,200 Eric Zhang Wins Salute To Warriors Event #63, the Salute to Warriors, cost $500 to enter and concluded on Day 36 of the 2021 WSOP with Eric Zhang the champion for $102,465. With the USO receiving a charitable donation of over $64,000 from players’ buy-ins before the final table, Anthony Mccurdy was the first to bust the nine-handed final table, earning $9,857 when his [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"] ran into Chulhan Choi’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kd"] and was unable to overtake the cowboys on the gallop to the river with all the chips in pre-flop. Next to bust was Chris Corbo, who went in eighth for $12,471 when his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qc"] couldn’t catch Mitch Garshofsky’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ts"]. The ten-high board condemned Corbo to the rail and he was joined by Hlib Kovtunov, whose [Ah[poker card="5h"] couldn’t catch a card against Zhang’s [poker card="2c"][poker card="2s"], which made quads by the river to send the Ukrainian home in seventh for $15,943. When short-stacked Marty Zabib busted in sixth for $20,592 and was then followed by another shortie, Mitch Garshofsky, going in fifth for $26,866, just four remained, with Zhang making waves. So too was Bradley Rogoff, who busted Choi in fourth place for $35,406 when pocket tens survived against Choi’s pre-flop short-stack shove with [poker card="Qd"][poker card="9d"]. Rogoff couldn’t hang on, however, busting next himself for $47,125 when he shoved from the small blind with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="7d"] and was looked up by Guy Hadas in the big blind with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qs"], a seven on the flop providing cruel hope for Rogoff, who saw a queen on the river dash his chances onto the rocks. Heads-up, Hadas still had work to do to overtake the dominant Zhang, who had 25.2 million to his opponent’s 15.6 million. Zhang, however, was not to be caught, and extended his lead before the final hand where his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Jc"] was all he needed to call when Hadas shoved on the turn of a board showing [poker card="Qs"]Ts][poker card="2h"][poker card="Kh"]. Hadas had pushed with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="5h"], but could find neither straight nor flush on the [poker card="Ad"] river, which confirmed Zhang’s victory for $102,465 and his first WSOP bracelet in his first WSOP event of the series. WSOP 2021 Event #63 $500 Salute to Warriors Final Table Results: Eric Zhang - $102,465 Guy Hadas - $63,344 Bradley Rogoff - $47,125 Chulhan Choi - $35,406 Mitch Garshofsky - $26,866 Marty Zabib - $20,592 Hlib Kovtunov - $15,943 Christopher Corbo - $12,471 Anthony Mccurdy - $9,857 Mini Main Down To Five The Mini Main Event, which costs $1,000 to enter, saw its penultimate day take place on Thursday, as Greek player Georgios Sotiropoulos reached the final table with a huge chip lead. Piling up a whopping 105,550,000 chips, Sotiropoulos has more than double his nearest challenger Jordan Meltzer (39,000,075) and three times as many as Wataru Miyashita from Japan, who is third in chips with 35,900,000. Elsewhere in the final five, James Patterson (26,600,000) and James Rubinski (22,325,000) know that they have a lot of work to do to catch the runaway chip leader, who is the only man of the five to have won a WSOP bracelet before. In fact, Sotiropoulos has two in his past, and must now be a huge favorite to win a third tomorrow when the lights hit the Thunderdome felt. WSOP 2021 Event #65 $1,000 Mini Main Event Final Table Chipcounts: Georgios Sotiropoulos - 105,550,000 Jordan Meltzer - 39,000,075 Wataru Miyashita - 35,900,000 James Patterson - 26,600,000 James Rubinski - 22,325,000 Josh Arieh Cracks $10K PLO Top 10 Danny Chang is the chip leader with just 12 players remaining in the $10,000-entry PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better, otherwise known as Event #66. Chang has a big lead, too, with 3,620,000 chips to his name, almost double those of Dan Colpoys, his fellow American and closest challenger. Elsewhere in the chipcounts, there is a strong spot for Josh Arieh, who bagged up 1,015,000 on the night, a shade under another 2021 WSOP bracelet winner in Russian player Anatolii Zyrin (1,155,000). With British mixed game player Adam Owen (955,000) and John Esposito (480,000) both in the field, it’s sure to be a dramatic and decisive final day in equal measure. WSOP 2021 Event #66 $10,000 PLO8 Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Danny Chang - 3,620,000 Dan Colpoys - 2,040,000 Matt Woodward - 1,600,000 Anatolii Zyrin - 1,155,000 Josh Arieh - 1,015,000 Adam Owen - 955,000 Aaron Kupin - 500,000 John Esposito - 480,000 Alan Sternberg - 410,000 Jason Riesenberg - 360,000 Finally, we couldn’t let you go into the night without a look at what every poker player desires more than anything this Winter - the 2021 WSOP Main Event bracelet. https://twitter.com/WSOP/status/1456339540931592195
Tyler Cornell conquered the $25,000-entry NLHE High Roller Event #6 to win his maiden WSOP bracelet in Las Vegas as he took down a final table featuring Adrian Mateos and Mustapha Kanit among others. The five-handed final day of High Roller action aside, four other events moved closer to a conclusion with plenty of drama along the way. Cornell Captures First Career Bracelet Cornell’s victory in the $25,000-entry High Roller saw the American claim his first WSOP bracelet. The action began with Adrian Mateos at the bottom of the chip counts, but he was not the first player to bust. Italian pro Mustapha Kanit moved all-in with [poker card="As"][poker card="Kh"] on a flop of [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="6s"] and was well behind Jonathan Jaffe’s [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Tc"]. The turn or river needed to hit Kanit’s cards or find one of the three remaining tens in the deck, but the [poker card="9c"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river doomed him to a fifth-place finish worth $216,842. With four players left, the lead changed hands a number of times, with Adrian Mateos doubling back into contention and holding the chip lead himself, a stunning turnaround from his position going into play. Jaffe had failed with an ambitious bluff in the previous hand when he got his last big blind into the middle preflop with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="5h"], only to be called then eliminated by Michael Liang’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kc"] on a board that played out [poker card="Jc"][poker card="9s"][[poker card="4s"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6h"]. Jaffe’s finish was worth $286,202. Three-handed play lasted a long time, even after Cornell’s flopped trips left Mateos short. Despite two double up, it was soon adiós to the only WSOP bracelet winner who remained when Mateos moved all-in pre-flop with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9c"] and was called by Cornell with [poker card="9s"][poker card="9d"]. The eight-high board sent Mateos out in third place for $381,870. Heads-up saw Cornell go into battle with an overwhelming lead of 9:1 in chips. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Michael Liang’s fearless approach earned him not one but two double-ups to suggest he might be back in with a shot at glory and his own first WSOP bracelet. Cornell, however, was not to be denied his moment and eventually got it in good with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="2c"] against Liang’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="2d"] pre-flop. The ace-high flop of [poker card="Ad"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3d"] put Cornell into a terrific position to seal the victory and although the [poker card="Td"] offered Liang hope of a miraculous runner-runner flush, the [poker card="2h"] river denied him and gave Cornell the hand and the WSOP bracelet with it. Liang’s runner-up finish was worth $515,014 but it was Tyler Cornell who went wire-to-wire to win the biggest prize of the 2021 World Series of Poker so far, $833,289, and of course the fabled WSOP gold bracelet. Event #6 $25,000 NLHE High Roller Final Table Results: Tyler Cornell - $833,289 Michael Liang - $515,014 Adrian Mateos - $381,870 Jonathan Jaffe - $286,202 Mustapha Kanit - $216,842 Mohammad Arani - $166,102 Paul Newey - $128,654 Adam Hendrix - $100,773 Five Left To Fight For $500,000 in the Reunion The Reunion has already made waves at the WSOP on its return to the Rio and from 12,973 official entries, just five hopefuls remain in the hunt for the WSOP bracelet and $513,604 top prize. Across a grueling 17 hours of play, 678 players lost their tournament lives, and with just five players left, it is Long Ma who leads the final table with 260 million chips. Ma is followed in the chip counts by Guiliano Lentini (133.9 million), Alex Vazquez (114. million), and Max Tavepholjalern (114.3 million), with Michael Eddy bringing up the rear, short-stacked with 27.6 million. Plenty of big names lost their stacks along the way, with legends of the felt such as Ryan Leng (248th for $2,940), Barry Greenstein (201st for $3,350) and Ronnie Bardah (75th for $6,081) Ryan Laplante led the field late on but plummeted to bust in 19th place for $18,117. Adrian Buckley was the final WSOP bracelet winner to bust in 9th place for $53,625, meaning whoever wins will be a first-time champion. The tournament overall has been nothing but a huge success, attracting plenty of amateurs and recreational players, along with former WSOP world champions such as Greg Raymer. https://twitter.com/FossilMan/status/1444839310218260483 The $600-entry Event #8 saw an amazing 4,527 entries across Day 1, creating a prizepool of over $2.3 million. It was Krisd Gabrialian who prevailed as chip leader by the end of the day, with his stack of 3,230,000 dwarfing even his nearest challengers, Shahriar Assareh (2,300,000) and Brandon Hatter (1,875,000). As this video shows, attendances at the Rio are clearly not affected in a negative way by the pandemic protocols that need to be followed. https://twitter.com/RobGardnerLive/status/1444742969051926530 $600 Deepstack Brings Out The Crowds With so many players arriving to take part in a $600 competition, many have questioned the prestige of a WSOP bracelet with the buy-in being this low. Popular poker pro Matt Berkey advocates the change in direction, however, in a refreshing Twitter post. https://twitter.com/berkey11/status/1445196214161473538 With Day 1 also a good day for players such as former WSOP bracelet winners Joey Weisman (1,375,000), Craig Varnell (1,245,000), Eric Baldwin (965,000), and Seth Fischer (955,000), just 216 players from that mammoth field remain to play down to a winner on Day 2 and a top prize of $281,604. Event #8 $600 NLHE Deepstack Top 10 Chipcounts: Krisd Gabrialian - 3,230,000 Shahriar Assareh - 2,300,000 Brandon Hatter - 1,875,000 Brad Albrinck - 1,760,000 Roland Rokita - 1,705,000 Noam Muallem - 1,540,000 Nathan Manuel - 1,500,000 Ari Mezrich - 1,490,000 Stephen Seffense - 1,455,000 Michael Ung - 1,405,000 Henson Leads Dealer's Choice, Another Deep Run For Hellmuth Event #7, the $1,500-entry Dealer’s Choice already looks like being remembered as one of the most enjoyable events of the series, especially for those who played in it. With just 11 players surviving to the final day, it is Ray Henson (1,365,000) who will go into the final day as the chip leader. Henson is just a three-bet clear of two highly talented players in Ian O’Hara (1,310,000) and Christopher Lindner (1,260,000), so everything is to play for. https://twitter.com/Ray_Henson/status/1445333920162009096 Of the other survivors on a day where 88 players were cut down to less than a dozen, there are still four former WSOP bracelet winners with chips, as Andrew Kelsall (835,000), Overnight chip leader Nathan Gamble (480,000), Naoya Kihara (400,000) and Adam Friedman (330,000) all go into the final day with genuine hope of repeating the feeling of winning gold yet again. Finishing inside the money but outside the top dozen players were Eli Elezra (20th for $3,593) and Phil Hellmuth, who departed in 18th place for $4,429 before updating his fans on his first two events and cashes so far this series. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1445328408800497666 Event #7 $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Final 11 Chipcounts: Ray Henson - 1,365,000 Ian O'Hara - 1,310,000 Christopher Lindner - 1,260,000 Jaswinder Lally - 880,000 Andrew Kelsall - 835,000 Nathan Gamble - 480,000 Jeremy Heartberg - 405,000 Naoya Kihara - 400,000 Adam Friedman - 330,000 Craig Chait - 235,000 Adam Kipnis - 175,000 $10K Omaha Gets Underway The final event of the day to bag up chips and call it a night was the $10,000-entry Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event, one of many mixed game events that take place early on the schedule. It was Michael Noori who managed to bag the biggest stack with an impressive 345,000 chips. He's closely followed by the very familiar name of Jerry Wong, however, who reached the final table of the WSOP Main Event just five years ago. With poker legends David Benyamine (198,000) and George Wolff (172,000) both in the top 10, there is all to play for with players of real quality on every table. Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: Michael Noori - 345,000 Jerry Wong - 279,000 Chad Eveslage - 278,000 Andrew Yeh - 255,000 Christopher Vitch - 210,000 David Benyamine - 198,000 Aditya Prasetyo - 181,000 Todd Rodenborn - 173,000 George Wolff - 172,000 Erik Sagstrom - 172,000 Finally, if the Rio diet or armchair diet are overwhelming you with a dangerous combination of carbohydrates or couch potato chips, you'll want to see GGPoker's attempt to make us all feel like we need to hit the treadmill to turn back time. Welcome, Jason Koon. Just take a seat in a high roller and stop making us look bad! https://twitter.com/GGPoker/status/1444804239990181894