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Found 10 results

  1. This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts - the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’ll be wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game. May One of the craziest stories of the year broke in May when it was revealed that high-stakes poker pro Chad Power had been victim to a home invasion robbery of nearly $1,000,000 in cash and casino chips. However, the Henderson Police Department arrested a suspect who was charged with multiple felonies including Burglary with a Deadly Weapon, Conspiracy Home Invasion, and Theft after the suspect went out and purchased a Dodge Hellcat Charger with a $30,000 cash down payment and also purchased a 2018 Maserati Levante SUV under his mother’s name with another $60K in cash. On the felt, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu returned for Round 2 of High Stakes Duel II with Negreanu looking to get even, however, once again, Hellmuth pulled off the win. Negreanu promised that there would be a third match sooner than later leaving Hellmuth still feeling slighted despite his back-to-back wins. “I’ve given Daniel credit the whole way from start to finish and I haven’t said one negative word about him. He was pretty condescending in the first match. I felt it was super condescending, and this match he handled himself much better,” Hellmuth said. “But even still, he’s preaching down to me about ranges, and I’m thinking to myself, I’ve just won 24 out of 26 heads-up matches against pros and they have me rated as a fucking underdog every match. It just blows my mind, but I just never quite get that respect, and that’s ok with me. I just want to keep winning.” There were plenty of other winnings taking place in May with a trio of World Poker Tour events coming to a conclusion. The pandemic had forced the WPT to delay a number of its high-profile final tables for more than a year and in the middle of the month, they gathered in Las Vegas to crown three consecutive champions. First up was Veerab Zakarian who took down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $674,840. “Waiting this long, you didn’t know what to expect. You don’t know, you keep waiting for it,” Zakarian said after the tournament ended. “Most people, after the pandemic, they didn’t have anything to look forward to so I was glad to have something to look forward to.” [caption id="attachment_637581" align="alignright" width="250"] Brekstyn Schutten[/caption] The next day it was Balakrishna Patur’s turn in the spotlight as he won the delayed 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $1,015,000, defeating Matas Cimbolas in heads-up play. It was the second year in a row that Cimbolas finished as the LAPC runner-up. Finally, Brekstyn Schutten took down the largest event in the 19-year history of the WPT when he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1,261,095. While all of that is nice, the most prestigious contest of the year came to a conclusion in May when Niklas Astedt was named, by the poker community and his peers, as the All-Time #1 Number One. For the better part of a month, PocketFives ran a social contest asking the poker community to vote, March Madness-style, to see which of the (then) 60 former worldwide #1-ranked online pros stood above the rest. The finals came down to Astedt and online great Chris Moorman with Astedt edging out Moorman with 54% of the vote. “The PocketFives rankings really motivated me over the years,” Astedt said after being crowned the winner. “I’m super happy and proud that so many people voted for me.” Speaking of Chris Moorman, he was one of three popular player profiles to be featured this month. Moorman reflected on his career and his recent winning of his first SCOOP title. READ: “Old Guy” Chris Moorman Happily Proves He’s Still Got It Sami Kelopuro had been on an amazing heater and talked with PocketFives in a rare interview on the secret to his recent success and how he planed on taking it easy after his intense grind. READ: After Winning $4.4M, Sami Kelopuro is Taking It Easy - For Now Finally, after winning the first-ever GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event, Mathias ‘KingKongJoel’ Joelsson talked about what it was like to win a seven-figure score. READ: Mathias Joelsson Has ‘King Kong’ Plans After $1.25M GGSF Score By the end of the month, another Brazilian earned themselves an Online Player of the Month title, as Dalton Hobold took the title in May. June It had already been announced that the World Series of Poker was going to be moved to the fall, but in the middle of June, the complete schedule (before the addition of online events) of the last WSOP at the Rio was announced. It was an 88 gold bracelet schedule that hoped to bring back a sense of normalcy after a year away. READ: 5 Things: The WSOP Schedule Gives Players a Comfortable Return Home While players had the WSOP to look forward to, the 2021 U.S. Poker Open was taking place in the PokerGO Studio with familiar faces winning large sums of money. Stephen Chidwick, Jake Schindler, Ali Imsirovic were all at the top of the earners list for the series but David Peters dominated them all, winning more than $2.6 million and taking home the Golden Eagle trophy. READ: David Peters, Old Guard, New Faces Shine Bright as U.S. Poker Open Hellmuth’s three-peat over Negreanu was completed earning him the $400,000 prize and bringing his series record to 6-0 and bringing High Stakes Duel II to an end with Hellmuth opting to cash out and start over in the coming months. Brian Altman also notched his third win, but for him, it was taking home his third World Poker Tour Main Tour title at WPT Tampa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. The reigning WPT Player of the Year put himself in the race for WPT all-time title, just one behind Darren Elias’ four, and picked up $613,225 in the process. READ: WPT POY Brian Altman Writes His Own Script For Success In other WPT news, the 2021 WPT Online Series Main Event reached a conclusion as well with Christian Rudolph earning his first WPT title and $487,442. Plus, the WPT held its WPT Heads Up Poker Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. An online tournament, it featured some of the biggest names in the game including Doug Polk, Tow Dwan, Sam Greenwood, Anthony Zinno, Brad Own, and eventual winner Phil Ivey who took down the invite-only event for $400,000. Another popular profile published in 2021 was on poker vlogger Jaman Burton and his recent move to Las Vegas. In it, he discusses how the social climate in St. Louis pushed him to make a move, the future of his vlog, and finding new inspiration in Sin City. READ: Jaman Burton and The Drawing Dead Find New Life In Las Vegas The string of Brazilian crushers taking down the Online Player of the Month continued in June as Geraldo Cesar Neto earned the honor for the first time in his career. July The poker world was shocked and saddened in July when six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Layne ‘Back-to-Back’ Flack unexpectedly passed away at age 52. An outpouring of condolences for Flack’s family poured out from the poker community as a mainstay personality from the early days of the poker boom will be certainly be missed. Before that, Daniel Negreanu was back making headlines. After his loss to Doug Polk earlier in the year and then falling three times to Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel, Kid Poker’s ability to close in a big spot was being questioned by some in the poker world. He quickly responded with a victory during the PokerGO Cup series, not only winning the $50,000 NLHE event for $700,000 but, with a little thanks to Cary Katz in the final event of the series, taking the PokerGO leaderboard title and trophy for an additional $50,000 score. READ: The Anatomy- and End - of Daniel Negreanu’s Tournament Futility All month long, the World Series of Poker was running online bracelet events with some notable names adding to their poker resume including David Peters, Manig Loeser, and Chris Moorman who grabbed the victory in one of the final events of the series for his second career bracelet. But the big WSOP news was the rumor (which turned out to be true) that the World Series of Poker would be on the move in 2022, leaving its long-standing home of the Rio to set up shop on the Strip at Bally's and Paris. [caption id="attachment_637583" align="alignright" width="250"] Andrew Moreno[/caption] July also saw a pair of celebrated live wins as Andrew Moreno battled through the 1,325-entry field of the first-ever $10K Wynn Millions to walk away with a life-changing $1.460 million score. The final three agreed to chop the majority of the prize pool, creating two more millionaires as Clayton Maguire finished as the runner-up for $1.443 million and Toby Lewis grabbed the bronze for $1.235 million. Dapo Ajayi also earned a career-defining win after taking down WPT Choctaw for $558,610, making it the second time that Viet Vo would come up just one spot short in the same tournament, finishing in second place for $372,415. Brazil’s Dalton Hobold earned Online Player of the Month honors in May, in July he opened up about how he was almost scammed out his entire career by someone he trusted. READ: Rising Star Dalton Hobold Almost Had Poker Career Derailed by Scam Another month, another Brazilian at the top of the Online Player of the Month leaderboard, as Renan Carlos Bruschi took home the honors in July. August August was another massive month when it came to online poker as PokerStars announced the start of their biggest World Championship of Online Poker with $100 million guaranteed and the World Series of Poker Online kicked off on GGPoker. Both series featured poker superstars taking home titles including Christian Rudolph and Ivan Zufic taking down early WCOOP titles and Joao Simao and Samuel Vousden earning gold bracelets. It was also the month where Erik Seidel made history, taking down 2021 WSOP Online Event #11 ($10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller) for $977,842 and his ninth career gold bracelet, tying Johnny Moss. Soon after, he talked with us about winning his ninth bracelet online made it special for him. “Winning any WSOP event is special,” Seidel said when asked where his online bracelet ranks. “This one was extra great for me because it was so unexpected. Getting through 600+ players and then the prize was close to one million, which I think is my biggest WSOP cash, felt really amazing. Might be my favorite.” READ: Erik Seidel’s Online WSOP Bracelet Victory Might Just Be His Favorite In addition to Seidel winning the WSOP edition of the Super MILLION$, a pair of perennial champions added to their MILLION$ resume. Niklas Astedt scored his third title and Michael Addamo kept the all-time wins record with his fourth. For Addamo, it was just a sign of things yet to come. READ: 50 Things To Look Forward To At The 2021 WSOP After Phil Hellmuth vanquished Fox Sports commentator Nick Smith in a bottle episode of High Stakes Duel, the re-match everyone was waiting for was booked. The Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan hype train was rolling and the show did not disappoint. However, after seven wins in a row, Hellmuth was defeated as Dwan dethroned Hellmuth to become the new High Stakes Duel champion. READ: Three Takeaways From Tom Dwan's Victory Over Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel III [caption id="attachment_637584" align="alignleft" width="250"] Brock Wilson[/caption] A pair of profiles proved to be popular this month as 26-year-old high-stakes tournament pro Brock Wilson talked about his major move from New York to Las Vegas to pursue the poker dream. Plus, Ryan Hagerty scored an online bracelet in July and sat down to talk with us about his roller coaster of a year grinding the tournament scene. A victory for Alex Theologis in the WSOP $25,000 Super High Roller Championship locked up the August Online Player of Month. Finally, after six years as the President and Editor-in-Chief of PocketFives Lance Bradley stepped away to pursue new opportunities and left by spotlighting some of his favorite stories he published over the years.
  2. It took some time, but finally, Thomas Muehloecker can call himself a GGPoker Super MILLION$ champion. At his ninth final table of the season, 12th of his career, Muehloecker survived the tough final table to capture his first career Super MILLION$ victory and the $311,933 first-place prize. It had been a bit of a journey for the accomplished Muehloecker, who had made more Super MILLION$ final tables than any other player without taking one down. Even though he hadn't won one prior to this week, he had plenty of accolades to show for his Super MILLION$ persistence. His career 22 in-the-money finishes brought him more than $2.2 million in earnings and landed him in the top 10 on the Super MILLION$ All-Time leaderboard. But now, Muehloecker can rest easy knowing that he’s no longer on the list of the best players in the field without a title. And just like all of those other times when he didn't win, this week's final table was stacked with top-tier talent. Muehloecker started the day with the chip lead but was forced to face down tough competition including the likes of Elio Fox, Ottomar Ladva, Timothy Adams, and four-time Super MILLION$ champ Niklas Astedt. It took nearly thirty minutes for the first player to hit the rail. With the blind at 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante) a short-stacked Alex Kolonias moved all-in for his final five big blinds holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="js"] and was quickly called by Astedt on the button holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5h"], shipping the pot to Niklas Astedt’s ace-high and ending Kolonias’ bid to mount a comeback in ninth place for $48,496. The very next hand it was ‘Graf Tekkel’ who put himself at risk when he moved all-in from under the gun with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"]. It folded around to Timothy Adams on the button who woke up with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] and, after a few seconds, shoved his 20 big blind stack. Both of the blinds let go of their hands and ‘Graf Tekkel’ was looking to spike an ace to stick around. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"][poker card="8h"], bringing that ace, but also the case king, improving Adams to a set. The turn was the [poker card="th"], leaving ‘Graf Tekkel’ looking for an ace to improve but the river came the [poker card="qd"] ending the hand and ending the Russian’s run in eighth place for $61,199. The blinds increased to 25,000/50,000 (6,000 ante) and despite earning the previous knockout, Adams remained the short stack at the table. Holding the [poker card="9h"][poker card="9c"], Adams put in a raise to 110,000 from the hijack. When it folded around to ‘MarkyAurelio’ in the big blind, the Brazilian three-bet to 325,250 with the [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"]. With 20 big blinds behind, Adams decided to four-bet ship his stack and was snap-called by ‘MarkyAurelio’. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="8d"] flop put ‘MarkyAurelio’ ahead in the hand and left Adams looking for a nine to survive. However, the turn came the [poker card="3h"] and the river was the [poker card="jh"] eliminating Adams in seventh place for $77,231. With the blinds at 35,000/70,000 (8,500 ante), Muehloecker opened from under the gun to 147,000 holding [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"]. When the action reached Astedt on the button, he three-bet to 412,000 with his [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"]. The blinds got out of the way and Muehloecker made the call. The pair took a flop of [poker card="ts"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3h"], giving Muehloecker top set which he checked over to Astedt. Astedt fired for 540,000 and Muehloecker simply called. The turn came the [poker card="4c"] and Muehloecker checked it to the four-time Super MILLION$ champ again. Astedt, took a moment and went for it all, bluff-shoving his remaining 2 million in chips and was snapped off by Muehloecker’s set. Astedt was drawing dead to the [poker card="9s"] river, finishing in sixth place for $97,462 while Muehloecker built a considerable chip lead with five left. Later in the level it was a battle of two Estonians as Ottomar Ladva, with roughly 15 bigs, opened from middle position to 154,000 with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and when it folded back to his countryman ‘ExVang’ in the small blind with the [poker card="qs"][poker card="ts"], he three-bet shoved his final 1.2 million. Muehloecker let go of his big blind and Ladva made the call, having just 646 in chips behind. The board ran out [poker card="jc"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="6h"], never really giving Ladva’s pocket nines much of a sweat as ‘ExVang’ fell in fifth for $122,993. Ladva, scored another double up through Meuhloecker when his pocket tens bested Muehloecker’s pocket fours just before he was about to strike again. The blinds rose to 50,000/100,000 (12,500 ante) when ‘MarkyAurelio’ raised to 200,000 on the button with his [poker card="8s"][poker card="8c"]. From the small blind, Ladva shipped his 5.3 million stack holding the [poker card="th"][poker card="9h"] and after Fox folded his big blind, ‘MarkyAurelio’ called for his tournament. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="tc"], giving Ladva middle pair along with straight and flush draws to improve while ‘MarkyAurelio’ needed help to survive. The [poker card="2s"] turn changed nothing and when the [poker card="7d"] hit the river, ‘MarkyAurelio’s day was done. The Brazilian finished in fourth place and collected $195,872. Ladva surged to the chip lead with, Muehloecker right behind him. Fox was sitting in a distant third, with a stack of just over 10 big blinds. Three hands after ‘MarkyAurelio’ busted, Fox was looking to double up. Muehloecker opened the button to 250,000 with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"] and after Ladva let go of his small blind, Fox shipped his final 1 million with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="6s"] and Muehloecker quickly called. Fox was ahead preflop but all of that changed when the flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"][poker card="4s"] bringing Muehloecker bottom pair. Fox needed a six or to pair the jack on the board to stick around. The turn came the [poker card="5d"], changing nothing. Finally, the [poker card="qd"] completed the board, and Fox was forced to settle for third place and a $195,872 payday. At the start of heads-up play, Muehloecker held a slight chip lead over Ladva. From the get-go, Muehloecker ran hot. He picked up key pots and went from a slight lead to extending it to roughly three-to-one. On the final hand, it was a clash of big hands that helped Muehloecker to his first career title. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante) Muehloecker raised the button to 252,000 holding the [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and Ladva quickly three-bet to 888,000 with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"]. Muehloecker just called and the pair took a flop of [poker card="8h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"] keeping Muehloecker’s queens in the lead but giving Ladva a number of backdoor draws. Ladva led for 451,500 and Muehloecker put in a raise to 1.1 million. Ladva, with no time remaining, made the call leaving himself with just over 2 million and creating a pot of more than 4 million. The turn was the [poker card="6c"], and Ladva checked it to Muehloecker who put him to a test for the rest of his chips. Ladva decided on a call needing a club or an ace with one card to come. The river was the [poker card="5d"] and Ladva wrapped up as the runner-up, good for $247,182 while Thomas Muehloecker finally added a Super MILLION$ win to his resume and locked up the first-place prize of $311,933. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results - 11/30 Thomas Muehloecker - $311,933 Ottomar Ladva - $247,182 Elio Fox - $195,872 ‘MarkyAurelio’ - $155,213 ‘ExVang’ - $122,993 Niklas Astedt - $97,462 Timothy Adams - $77,231 ‘Gref Tekkel’ - $61,199 Alex Kolonias - $48,496
  3. Niklas Astedt stood up from the final table and said his goodbyes. It was a close call, but his first World Series of Poker bracelet would have to wait for another day. And that seems to be ok with him right now because, after all, he is Niklas Astedt, and if history is any indicator - his time will come. For the uninitiated, Astedt, the 31-year-old savant from Sweden, is a generational talent when it comes to online poker. He’s one of the most respected players in the game today, and for many who have followed his successful online career - he’s perhaps the best ever. It's undeniable, Astedt is in a category all by himself. And his career results tell the story. A brief recap of his extensive resume includes Astedt as the #1-ranked online player in the world a record 10 different times for a total of 97 weeks. He’s currently second on the Online All-Time Money List and he’s won multiple titles in nearly every major online tournament series, most using his famous screen name ‘Lena900’. His accomplishments make it so the notoriously private pro finds himself constantly in poker headlines. Now he smiles as he sits down for a brief chat, well aware that another headline is right around the corner. The missed chance at a bracelet fades away as it is likely just another ending to a tournament in a string of thousands of tournaments. Besides, what Astedt’s really excited about today isn’t a bracelet at all, it’s a Championship Belt. Astedt was the runaway winner of the PocketFives #1 Number One contest this past May. The contest asked the poker community to vote and declare who is the all-time #1-ranked pro in online poker history. ‘Lena900’ topped the list that included the titans of online poker. Names like Fedor Holz, Sami Kelopuro, and Chris Moorman all fell as Astedt was named the winner. The prize, a one-of-a-kind #1NumberOne Championship Belt. It’s a trophy Astedt seems excited for but also an honor bestowed by his community that is not lost on him. “Poker is tough because no one knows who’s the best right?” Astedt said, discussing how it feels to be acknowledged as one of the best. “The only thing you have is your peers telling you kind of that they’ve seen you as a good player. That’s the only validation you get of being [good]…so, of course. Yeah, definitely, I like hearing that, especially from my peers, playing the same kind of stakes. That makes me feel good.” The first impression of Astedt is that he's both soft-spoken and sincere. You may have to lean in a little to hear him. But his quiet confidence has been earned after years of what is a legendary dedication to the online grind. From his first time atop the Online Poker Rankings in 2016 to his meteoric rise on the Online All-Time Money List beginning in 2017, to his four GGPoker Super MILLION$ titles, Astedt has been one of the most reliable, consistent winners at the highest stakes online. Now, after years of grinding, he admits he may be pulling back from his non-stop schedule in the near future. “Up until maybe a year ago…or two years ago…I did play a lot, a lot, a lot of poker. And I mean, where did the motivation come from? I don’t know. I always wanted to be among the best and it takes a lot these days to do that. Both studying and playing, but for me, now, I enjoy competing more than the grind. “My next three years are probably not going to be as grind-heavy as it’s been. I’m going to pick and choose a little bit more. Also for me, the games aren’t as big anymore. I can play Sundays and I can play the series. There is a lot of series, but still, it’s not an everyday grind. I wouldn’t play a Tuesday anymore just because, I don’t do that anymore.” Astedt has been playing online poker for nearly half his life. He got his start the way many young players have. During the mid-2000’s poker explosion the vibrations were felt as far as Sweden where a teenage Astedt and his friends started playing home game tournaments. It wasn’t long before Astedt found he had a knack for the game and started to take it more seriously. “I started out playing freerolls,” he said. “Then I borrowed my mom’s credit card and I played on her account when I was 17. I quit school two years earlier than I should have to graduate and I just played poker. “I moved out of my parent's house when I was 20 so I would say that for 11 years I’ve been supporting myself playing poker.” Now known as a tournament pro, when he first started out Astedt was playing mostly cash games. Poker’s learning curve can be steep, and expensive, and Astedt was not immune to its swings. “The first four or five years I was playing a lot of cash and figuring it all out. I was playing the highest cash games there were and then, a few months later, I was playing 10 stakes lower than that. Then a few months later I was playing big stakes again. So I was up and down a lot when I was playing cash games up until I was 24. I had very bad bankroll management in general in my early twenties.” During that time, it was the money that attracted him. He said he found out early that he had an edge and that he could continue to make a good living. But after all of his success over the years, for him, now, he says playing poker is more about the competition than the payday. “I’m somewhere in my career, or whatever you want to say, where I don’t have to care that much about more money kind of so I can pick and choose where I play and more about the competition of it, than pure making money. “I enjoy playing high stakes. I enjoy it when I feel it. I never sell action. I always play on my own. If I can’t play a tournament, I won’t but I like when I feel it. I play better when I feel it.” One thing Astedt hasn’t always cared for though is the notoriety that comes along with a career such as his. There’s no real upside to being poker famous in Sweden and so over the years, he’s had an aversion to cameras, interviews, and, at times, even having his real name in connection to his screen name. It’s all been in the name of security and privacy, not out of indifference or arrogance. But, he acknowledges, that time has passed and anyone who wants to know who ‘Lena900’ is can now find out. “Like now, when I’m here [at the WSOP], I take 10 photos a day with Brazilians and Asian [fans]. Apparently, they’re big fans of mine and that part…I don’t love it as much but I’ll do it, you know? I’m quite easygoing.” He does come off as having a laid-back, humble nature. It's one that doesn’t stifle his competitiveness nor prevent him from praising the competition. “It’s strange when it comes to poker, because maybe the top 20 guys, I don’t play with that much. They usually play the live high rollers. But I think it’s a big jump between mid-stakes or mid-high-stakes and the top, 40 guys that play $5K+ online or $100K live. They are damn good. They put a lot of work into it and that’s what it’s about. And it is quite a big jump, I feel, between playing mid-high and playing high stakes online and live. “The landscape of poker has changed so much. Back then [earlier in his career], it wasn’t that I didn’t play the highest stakes, it was just that the highest stakes was $1,000. You know what I mean? Now the highest stakes are $25,000 online and you can play a schedule on a Sunday for $100,000…$200,000 sometimes if you want to. It’s just so different from what is offered and how the games look today. But I’ve always been in there, competing in the highest stakes there was. “I mean, this year has been crazy though,” he continued. “I’ve had four straight great years, but this one has been particularly crazy with having one $10K every Sunday and me final tabling it every second time. Winning it every third time or whatever…it’s crazy.” Astedt is a player who has essentially done and seen it all, and while he says “I want a bracelet” what he’s really after is the competition. Where the serious competition is, is where you'll find him. And when the World Series is done, he’ll take the Championship Belt back home, put it away, and prepare for another year of battling to beat the best. So he can remain the best.
  4. A dramatic day at the felt saw plenty of big names make the cut on Day 1c of the WSOP Main Event as 600 players battled down to 433 survivors. As in previous days, plenty of the early action saw big names having to battle for their place in the later levels, let alone the next day. Shevlyakov Takes Big Lead after Dramatic Day 1c Russian Aleksandr Shevlyakov Grabs Overall Lead in Main Event With Day 1a - 1c having now taken place, a total of 1,968 players have now sat down in this year’s WSOP Main Event. From that number, only 1,392 remain in with a chance of scooping millions of dollars by winning the most-coveted WSOP bracelet of them all. It is Russian player Aleksandr Shevlyakov who has the chip lead not just on Day 1c but in the WSOP Main Event overall after an astonishing day at the felt saw him bag up 392,600 chips, a lead he has from players such as Dylan Nguyen (252,400), Suk-Kyu Koh (237,900), Matt Glantz (236,000) and Veselin Dimitrov (235,000), all of whom complete the top five Day 1c stacks. Surviving or Crashing Out From the start of the day of Day 1c, some of poker’s finest found themselves fighting for their lives. Niklas Astedt was down to just 10,000 chips from his 60,000 starting stack early on, but after a double-up with pocket queens when all the chips were in the middle against [poker card="Ad"][poker card="8s"] on a flop of [8c4d3s], the Swedish online superstar rallied and ended the day on 49,300 chips. Others to scrape through included Tony Miles (53,800), Sam Abernathy (40,500), Erik Seidel (38,700), and Sam Greenwood (27,200), who saw his brother Lucas Greenwood bag up close to four times that amount with 106,900). However, while those luminaries survived, others would fall. All of the following players will have to wait until 2022 and possibly a different location to become world champion, with Andrew Frankenberger, Tony Dunst, Jonathan Dimmig, Bryce Yockey, Eric Hicks, Jonathan Dokler, and Shannon Shorr all crashing out on Day 1c. Other Big Names Thriving Elsewhere in the event, some players who have already enjoyed a very strong World Series were flourishing. Josh Arieh has already got two WSOP bracelets to his name from the 2021 series and four in his lifetime, but his pivotal hand was possibly the most dramatic of all on Day 1c. When Arieh tried to put in a raise pre-flop, he was forced to call a shove worth over 25,000 chips with [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Jc"]. On the flop of [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Js"][poker card="Ts"], he looked in amazing shape to win the hand. However, despite being against one player who was drawing dead with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kc"], the other player held [poker card="As"][poker card="Ks"] and was one card away from what would have been a Royal Flush for the ages. Arieh faded both turn and river, however, with an eight on each street giving him a massive stack and the current second-placed player in the WSOP Player of the Year race bagged up 154,100 chips. The 2019 WSOP Main Event champion Hossein Ensan (84,000) also made Day 2, albeit not with quite as many chips as stars such as JC Tran (175,400), Qui Nguyen (143,800) or Pete Chen (99,700). With Day 1d looking like it will be the busiest day of the WSOP Main Event so far, there’s plenty more action to come across what could be a dramatic few days as three final Day 1 flights conclude the opening day, giving us an idea of exactly what will be on the line in 10 days’ time. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Aleksandr Shevlyakov - 392,600 Dylan Nguyen - 252,400 Suk-Kyu Koh - 237,900 Matt Glantz - 236,000 Veselin Dimitrov - 235,000 Itay Bin Mergy - 233,100 Travis Preng - 232,800 Daniel Barry - 230,600 Andrew Gilmore - 224,600 Howard Arotsky - 215,600 Ryan Leng took time out from what have been an intense few weeks at the felt to justify his play in a curious hand from yesterday’s battle with Dan Cates for the Poker Players Championship title. Leng, who has a win and two runner-up spots this WSOP alone, still found time to be self-critical after that amazing run up the POY leaderboard. https://twitter.com/RyanLeng9/status/1457188162506088448 While finally, despite being happy with his Day 1a stack, poker legend and 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson is refusing to get carried away with his chances... yet. https://twitter.com/TexDolly/status/1457032730470850560 Doyle gets the final word, too, as he responded with a very encouraging message when discussing selling action on Pocket Fives in 2022. “Get hold of me next year and let’s make a deal for the entire WSOP.” Doyle Brunson playing a near-full ticket in a World Series of Poker? We can’t wait already.
  5. A dramatic day at the felt saw Kevin Gerhart claim his fourth WSOP bracelet with his second of this World Series in Event #62, the $1,500-entry Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. Elsewhere, the Poker Players Championship reached its final five players as Eli Elezra grabbed the chip lead heading into the final day and there were bracelet wins for both Eelis Parssinen and Cole Ferraro. Kevin Gerhart Wins Second Bracelet of the Series It was all about Kevin Gerhart in Event #62 as the popular young pro won his second bracelet of the 2021 WSOP and the fourth of his career. Heading into the final table, the chips were remarkably even, with Gerhart marginally ahead of both Matthew Kaplan and Sterling Lopez at the top of the eight-man leaderboard. The first player to bust at the official final table was Dylan Wilkerson as Kaplan, who led the field coming into the final day, vaulted back into the lead when his full house sent Wilkerson out for $18,278 in eighth place. It took no time at all for the next player to leave the action, as Michael Trivett was shot down by Gerhart almost immediately for a score of $23,891 in seventh place. That hand gave Gerhart the lead back and he further strengthened his advantage of the rest of the field when he eliminated Roman Hrabec in sixth place for $31,733 when Gerhart won his second bust-out pot in a row with two-pair. At that stage, Gerhart’s closest rival was hard to pick, with each of the other four men each sitting on roughly 60% of Gerhart’s stack, but Dustin Dirksen stepped forward as the likeliest heads-up opponent after busting Alexandr Orlov in fourth for $42,823. Orlov’s exit was enough to propel Dirksen off the bottom of the counts, but he had slipped slightly by the time he risked it all to double through Gerhart. Once Dicksen doubled, the pressure ramped up on the other remaining players, and Lopez busted in fourth place for $58,695 as a result. Lopez was followed from the felt by Kaplan, as both of Gerhart’s earlier rivals moved to the rail, Kaplan cashing for $81,696. Gerhart took on Dicksen and had a strong lead going into the heads-up battle, with 12.1 million chips playing Dicksen’s 6 million. Although Dicksen took the lead after some early pots, Gerhart grabbed a marginal advantage back by the time the final hand happened and virtually all of the chips were in the middle of the table. Gerhart’s pair of kings was good enough against Dicksen’s jacks, which saw Gerhart’s rail celebrated a fourth WSOP bracelet title, the luckless Dicksen was commiserated in second by the runner-up prize of $115,440. Gerhart had prevented him winning a first-ever bracelet with the hand and took the top prize of $186,789 in the process. WSOP 2021 Event #62 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Final Table Results: Kevin Gerhart - $186,789 Dustin Dirksen - $115,440 Matthew Kaplan - $81,696 Sterling Lopez - $58,695 Alexandr Orlov - $42,823 Roman Hrabec - $31,733 Michael Trivett - $23,891 Dylan Wilkerson - $18,278 Elezra Takes The Lead In $50K PPC After an entertaining day where 10 players dropped to five, Eli Elezra finished the action top of the leaderboard with one day to go in the Poker Players Championship. The $50,000-entry event, which will conclude on Friday, November 5th after a day’s break, began the day with ten top players, all of whom had made it into the money. Mike Wattel was the first player to be busted, exiting proceedings in 10th place for a min-cash worth $82,623 when he lost out to Paul Volpe and it wasn’t long before Daniel Negreanu busted too, leaving in ninth place for $91,595. ‘Kid Poker’ lost with pocket aces again after doing so on a dramatic Day 3, this time being shot down by Ryan Leng’s set of jacks. With eight players left, Nick Schulman, who earlier in the day had spoken out against a perceived slowroll from Negreanu, who later tweeted about how he was happy the hand played out as it did. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1456021223859650562 Schulman’s exit for $106,120 in eighth took place against Chris Brewer, who seemed to grow in power throughout the day, while Matt Glantz, who busted in seventh for $128,256, may have gone out in a split pot by Leng and Elezra, but he was trolled by Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates on his way from the event. https://twitter.com/junglemandan/status/1456034289796141064 That left just one man to leave the party and miss out on the final five. Unfortunately for him and his many fans and investors, that was Josh Arieh, who left in sixth place another great score of $161,422 when his pocket queens in PLO were toppled by Elezra’s two-pair tens and sixes on the turn. With five men remaining, here are the payouts for the players who made it all the way to Day 4 of one of the most difficult tournaments this year’s WSOP will host. WSOP 2021 Event #60 $50,000 Poker Players Championship Results: 6th - Josh Arieh - $161,422 7th - Matt Glantz - $128,256 8th - Nick Schulman - $106,120 9th - Daniel Negreanu - $91,595 10th - Mike Wattel - $82,623 Of the five remaining players, it is Elezra who has the chip lead going into Friday’s showdown for the gold. With a massive 10 WSOP bracelets already won by the five players who will compete to get their name on the Chip Reese Trophy, Elezra’s four is one ahead of Volpe and Leng, each of whom has three to their name. Neither Cates nor Brewer have won WSOP gold so far in their careers but now sit just four opponents away from doing so. WSOP 2021 Event #60 $50,000 Poker Players Championship Final Table Chipcounts: Eli Elezra - 4,620,000 Paul Volpe - 4,360,000 Chris Brewer - 4,325,000 Daniel Cates - 3,875,000 Ryan Leng - 1,625,000 Ferraro Digs Deep To Win Deepstack Championship In Event #61, Cole Ferraro completed a massive comeback win to claim his first WSOP title and the top prize of over a quarter of a million dollars. Eclipsing the others at a dramatic final table, Ferraro’s victory came after the 22-year-old finished second in an event earlier this series. Heading into the final table, Ferraro had a slight chip lead, but that was overtaken by Richard Dixon very quickly as he took out Ronald Slucker in ninth for $25,359. Slucker shoved on a flop of [poker card="6s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4h"] with [poker card="5s"][poker card="5c"] for a flopped middle set. Dixon made the call with his overpair [poker card="7s"][poker card="7h"], but that improved to a straight on 5th street as the [poker card="As"] turn was followed by a [poker card="8d"] on the river. There was a period of no eliminations, but as the blinds rose, that was followed by a number of quick bust-outs. Rubin Chappell left in eighth place for $32,169 when his pocket eights were topped by Bart Lybaert’s pocket queens, before Xiangdong Huang busted in seventh for $41,108 when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8s"] couldn’t win a flip against Dixon’s [poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"]. With six players remaining, Edgardo Rosario busted for $52,914 when he got unlucky post-flop having had the better of it before the community cards fell. Rosario’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qc"] was well ahead of Dixon’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="6d"] but the board of [poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6s"] managed to offer Rosario a flush draw from the flop yet instead give Dixon trips on the river. It wasn’t long, however, before Dixon himself was on the rail, busting in fifth place for $68,604. All-in with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qh"] on a queen-high flop Ferraro had found [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Kc"] and held through turn and river to win with a set of kings and sneak up on Sami Rustom, who had taken the chip lead. Out in fourth for $89,587 was Bart Lybaert, the Belgian player heading home after he thought he was bluff-catching with third pair on a king-high board but saw Ferraro turn over aces in the hole to go into three-handed play with a strong lead. Play was soon heads-up, as Sean Dunleavy was done and left in third place for $117,822. Dunleavy shoved on the river of a hand against Rustom with a set of jacks, but his opponent had rivered a runner-runner flush to take the lead right back. With Rustom holding 70 million chips to Ferraro’s 47 million, it took a comeback win for the bracelet. Ferraro won a handful of important hands where he had to make tough calls before the final hand saw him taking a lead into the action at the crucial moment. Rustom shoved with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"], and after a long time taking consideration of all factors, Ferarro called with [poker card="Td"][poker card="Tc"]. After the board played out [poker card="9s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="Th"], Ferraro had the win and a history-making first-ever bracelet, with the 22-year-old the youngest player to enjoy a first and second so far in the 2021 World Series of Poker. While Rustom won $156,056 for finishing as runner-up, Ferraro’s top prize of $252,491will see him in huge profit for the series and playing the Main Event later in the week. On this form, who would want to face him across the felt? WSOP 2021 Event #61 $600 Deepstack Championship Final Table Results: Cole Ferraro - $252,491 Sami Rustom - $156,056 Sean Dunleavy - $117,822 Bart Lybaert - $89,587 Richard Dixon - $68,604 Edgardo Rosario - $52,914 Xiangdong Huang - $41,108 Ruben Chappell - $32,169 Ronald Slucker - $25,359 Eelis Parssinen Wins First WSOP Bracelet Event #64 saw Finnish online crusher Eelis Parssinen claim a first-ever WSOP bracelet victory as he took the top prize at a final table including players such as Niklas Astedt and Joni Jouhkimainen. With just eight players making the final table, it wasn’t long before the first player busted, with a fast structure to the $5,000-entry event throughout. Parssinen got off to the best possible start when he made quads in a PLO pot to double through Jouhkimainen and move up the ranks, and instead of the Finn floundering, he would continue to rise up the leaderboard during the remainder of the final day. Vikranth Anga was the first player to leave the final table as he lost out with ace-king to Jouhkimainen’s pocket kings when all the chips went into the middle pre-flop. Anga’s exit was worth $53,824 and he was soon joined on the rail by Swedish online sensation Niklas Astedt in seventh place for $70,367 when his [poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"] couldn’t catch Noah Bronstein’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="6h"], a board of [poker card="As"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="7h"] sending Astedt home. After Kyle Arora went out in sixth for $93,425, Jouhkimainen busted in fifth for $125,940. The Finn called off his stack from the big blind with [poker card="9d"][poker card="7s"] only for Ezra Abu Gazal’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Qs"] to eliminate his micro stack. Soon, only three remained after the overnight chip leader, David Prociak, busted for $172,332. Gazal would bust in No Limit Hold’em, when his [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Tc"] lost to Parssinen’s [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] on a nine-high board, with the American earning $239,231 for the run to the podium places. That gave Parssinen 20.6 million chips, almost three times as many as Bronstein who had 8.4 million. Heads-up was a short affair as the Finn wrapped up victory with a flopped set of sixes good enough for Parssinen to claim gold and the top prize of $545,616, while Bronstein cashed for $337,216 as runner-up. WSOP 2021 Event #64 $5,000 NLHE/PLO Mix Final Table Results: Eelis Parssinen - $545,616 Noah Bronstein - $337,216 Ezra Abu Gazal - $239,321 David Prociak - $172,332 Joni Jouhkimainen - $125,940 Kyle Arora - $93,425 Niklas Astedt - $70,367 Vikranth Anga - $53,824 In Event #63, the $500-entry Salute to Warriors, just nine players remain from 169 combatants on the penultimate day of the event. Bradley Rogoff leads the final table with 8,800,000 chips, a fair distance ahead of Eric Zhang with 7,175,000. Elsewhere at the final table, there were stacks in bags for Chris Corbo (4,475,000) and Chulhan Choi (3,900,000) among others, but some weren’t so fortunate as to make the final day, with stars of the game such as Taylor Pollard, Lisa Roberts and Chris Bibb all going close to the final day but eventually missing out. WSOP 2021 Event #63 $500 Salute to Warriors Final Table Chipcounts: Bradley Rogoff - 8,800,000 Eric Zhang - 7,175,000 Guy Hadas - 5,500,000 Christopher Corbo - 4,475,000 Mitch Garshofsky - 4,475,000 Chulhan Choi - 3,900,000 Hlib Kovtunov - 3,475,000 Anthony Mccurdy - 3,350,000 Marty Zabib - 2,700,000 The kick-off of Event #65, the Mini Main Event, is something thousands of players were looking forward to, as evidenced by the 3,821 players who played the freezeout tournament that apes the structure and style of the WSOP Main Event, which kicks off on Thursday. After starting at 11am, the tournament enjoyed a busy opening day, with players such as the Player of the Year favorite Shaun Deeb busting out before the day was through. Others such as WSOP world champion Joe McKeehen went the same way, but some survived, with Thomas Boyden the pick of the 282 who made the cut. Others to feature in the top ten included Farid Jattin (2,240,000) and two-time WSOP winner Georgios Sotiropoulos (2,135,000), while the highest other former WSOP bracelet winner in the counts was Ismael Bojang (1,850,000). WSOP 2021 Event #65 $1,000 Mini Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Thomas Boyden - 3,325,000 Giorgii Skhulukhiia - 3,150,000 Nicholas Verderamo - 2,560,000 Farid Jattin - 2,240,000 Jinkwang Do - 2,150,000 Georgios Sotiropoulos - 2,135,000 Gareth Devereux - 1,995,000 John Longowa - 1,995,000 Nana Sanechika - 1,955,000 Ye Yuan - 1,925,000 Finally, in terms of poker events that is, the $10,000 PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship kicked off and saw 194 players reduced to just 101 on Day 1 of the event. Brian Hastings (447,000) leads the field, but he is in illustrious company in a top 10 that includes Chip Jett (308,500), Nick Schulman (295,000), GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos (282,500) and two-time 2021 WSOP winner Ari Engel, the Canadian sitting on 224,000 chips. Players to bust included Yueqi Zhu, David Benyamine, Bradley Ruben, Rep Porter, Chris Vitch, Robert Campbell, Randy Ohel, Daniel Zack and Joao Vieira. WSOP 2021 Event #66 $10,000 PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Brian Hastings - 447,000 Tommy Chen - 377,500 Chip Jett - 308,500 Nick Schulman - 295,000 Matt Livingston - 289,000 Felipe Ramos - 282,500 Ward Crane - 240,000 Esther Taylor-Brady - 240,000 Ari Engel - 224,000 Dan Colpoys - 223,000 Despite positive actions, not everybody’s WSOP is going to plan. Ronnie Bardah’s luck isn’t changing any time soon by the looks of it. https://twitter.com/RonnieBardah/status/1456041676414148609 Finally, is there a Player of the Year curse to legends of the past? Current combatant Ari Engel thinks so! https://twitter.com/AriEngelPoker/status/1456033927311802370  
  6. This week the World Series of Poker Main Event, in all its glory, returns to the Rio for what is strongly rumored to be the very last time. Thousands of players - both pros and recs - will pony up the $10,000 buy-in in hopes that after more than two weeks, it will be they who will stand alone, earning life-changing prize money and be crowned the new World Champion. The Main Event is one of the most unique tournaments in all of poker. The payday alone is enough to bring out the masses. But when you add the prestige and tradition of the Main Event bracelet, just playing in the event has become part of the poker dream. And if we’ve learned anything over the 16 years that the Main Event has taken place at the Rio it’s that the spotlight of the Main Event is likely to feature players the greater poker world does not yet know. Perhaps it will be a young up-and-coming grinder who will take center stage or perhaps a recreational enthusiast who was bought in by their family looking to take their once-in-a-lifetime shot. This tournament has proved it’s impossible to predict what will happen and who will emerge, that’s what makes it special. That’s also why picking players who will go on deep run in the Main Event is equally impossible to predict. But that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Whether you are drafting a team with some friends, playing a little fantasy poker, or getting a little side hustle down on PokerShares you’re going to want to check out this list and consider adding them to your squad. We’re taking into account recent momentum, proven ability to navigate large-field tournaments, and the last half-decade of Main Event results. We’re also looking to see who’s already turned up at the WSOP this year and who may just sit out until 2022. So, enjoy. Here’s a special super-sized, special edition of First-Round Picks for the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event. #1. Niklas Astedt Main Event Cashes: 2 Main Event Earnings: $59,420 The former longtime #1-ranked Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt is in Las Vegas and ready to make a run at the Main Event. Generally considered one of, if not the, greatest online poker player of all time, when this large-field tournament destroyer is in the field it makes him simply unable to pass up. The truth about Astedt is that he doesn’t have a lot of history with the WSOP, just seven total live cashes at the Las Vegas series. However, two of those came in the Main Event (2016, 2019) and he just made the money in the $10K Six-Max this year. Don’t be surprised if when the field narrows, Astedt is in the mix. #2. Paul Volpe Main Event Cashes: 5 Main Event Earnings: $635,129 Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Paul Volpe is no stranger to making deep runs in the Main Event. He has five Main Event cashes in the past 10 years including finishing in 192nd in 2011 ($47,107), 142nd in 2018 ($57,010), and 29th in 2016 for $216,211. His deepest Main Event run was back in 2012 when he finished in 20th place for $294,601. The fact is that in the Main Event (or any tournament, really) Volpe is as good a bet as there is. #3 Yuri Dzivielevski Main Event Cashes: 2 Main Event Earnings: $317,079 The current #1-ranked online player in the world, Yuri Dzivielevski, has been grinding the entire 2021 WSOP and has racked up six cashes to date. However, that’s just momentum headed into the Main Event where Dzivielevski is a proven large-field master. In 2019, he was one of the standout stars of the Main Event and, after being featured on the ESPN broadcast at the same table as Daniel Negreanu, he went on to finish in 28th place for $261,430. Read: Yuri Dzivielevski Enjoying Success, Freedom With Nothing Left To Prove #4. Alexandre Reard Main Event Cashes: 3 Main Event Earnings: $428,978 France’s Alexandre Reard is already having an outstanding 2021 WSOP, having won his first gold bracelet in Event #47 ($5,000 Freezeout) for $428,694. But the reason he’s such a high pick is his long history of crushing in the Main Event. In 2017, he finished in 16th for $340,000, and in 2018 he had another top 100 finish, ending in 92nd for $66,330. Having cashed in the Main in three of the last four years, Reard already knew what it took to make it deep and now he knows how to close out a bracelet event. #5. Andrew Moreno Main Event Cashes: 2 Main Event Earnings: $256,476 Andrew Moreno, the younger brother of "high-quality" poker vlogger Johnny ‘Vibes’ Moreno, is coming off an epic career score. He took down the $10,000 buy-in Wynn Millions in June for $1.46 million dollars and that was just two weeks after he closed out the $1,100 Ultimate Stack at the Venetian for $127K. Moreno has been seen in the WSOP payout lines, making the money in a number of 2021 events, and has a history of going deep in the Main Event, finishing in 28th in 2015 for more than $211,000. It seems the one-time cash game pro thrives when the stakes are at their biggest, making the Main Event a perfect situation for him. Also, Johnny’s not a bad choice either. #6. Daniel Lazrus Main Event Cashes: - Main Event Earnings: - Long Beach, New Jersey’s 31-year old Daniel Lazrus is entering the Main Event with a wave of momentum at his back. In July, he won the first bracelet of his career in the WSOP.com NLHE High Roller Championship for $205,347. Then he made his way to Las Vegas where he earned his second by taking down the massive 2021 Millionaire Maker for an even $1 million score. This would be the perfect time for Lazrus, who was leading the NLHE Player of the Year standings for a good portion of the first half of the series, to break out for his first (and possibly deep) Main Event cash. #7. Joao Vieira Main Event Cashes: 2 Main Event Earnings: $34,347 Current Online All-Time Money List leader Joao Vieira is looking to put his stamp on the Main Event. In 2019, he earned his first bracelet in the incredibly tough $5K Six-Max where he won $758,011. A great win to be sure, but Vieira is a world-class player and is looking for that televised result that will take his name to the next level. He has two previous Main Event results in Las Vegas, and a pair of cashes from WSOP Europe Main Event in both 2018 and 2019. He’s has all the skill one needs to survive to the endgame, the only question is - is it his time? #8. Kelly Minkin Main Event Cashes: 3 Main Event Earnings: $392,646 Kelly Minkin grabbed the title of Last Woman Standing in the Main Event in both 2015 and 2018, when in both years she finished inside the top 50. But one can’t help but feel like that title means little to Minkin who is pushing to always be the last person standing - full stop. In addition to her two deep runs, Minkin last made the money in the Main in 2019 and, with her doing what needed to be done in order to play this year, she’s in the perfect position to make a run at a final table...and more. #9. Adam Friedman Main Event Cashes: 4 Main Event Earnings: $373,989 Talk about a complete player, Adam Friedman proved that he's one of the best in today's game when he put on a historic performance in the 2021 $10K Dealers Choice, defeating Phil Hellmuth and winning the event for the third time...in a row. His $10K three-peat should be credentials enough to want to grab him in the Main Event, but a deeper looks shows that Friedman also crushes in the Main. He's cashing in the Main Event four times in his career with three top 200 finishes. If you add on the confidence he's going to feel heading into the Main, that makes him a top-tier choice to lead a squad. #10. Maurice Hawkins Main Event Cashes: 1 Main Event Earnings: $38,453 When it comes to the Main Event, Maurice Hawkins has the resume of the ideal player to succeed. He should be making deep run year in and year out. He’s the all-time leader in WSOP Circuit rings with 14 and knows how to battle against the type of player who comes to Las Vegas to take a shot in the Main Event. He’s a proven stack builder with more than $2.6 million in WSOP earnings. The interesting part about Hawkins is, when it comes to the WSOP Main Event, he’s had little success. He has a top 300 finish back in 2012 and nothing since. It’s surprising but perhaps he skipped a few, took some bad beats. Whatever has kept Hawkins from making his presence felt in this event we expect to end this year. #11. Tyler Cornell Main Event Cashes: 4 Main Event Earnings: $189,499 Early in the series Tyler Cornell captured his first WSOP bracelet when he took down the $25,000 High Roller for $833,00 - a career-high score. But prior to his early WSOP win, Cornell already had a stellar WSOP resume having cashed in the live Main Event four different times (2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019). Last year, he cashed in multiple online Main Events. First, he made the final table of the August GGPoker $5K Main Event in which he finished in 8th place for more than $328,000. Then in December, he tacked on another $35K with a deep run in the WSOP.com Main Event. #12. Faraz Jaka Main Event Cashes: 4 Main Event Earnings: $95,874 It’s hard to believe that Faraz Jaka has yet to win a WSOP bracelet, especially because of his reputation of being able to build mountains of chips in just about any tournament he plays. He has four career WSOP Main Event cashes (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019) and more than $1.5 million in WSOP earnings. If you take a close look at Jaka’s resume you can see just how many times he was on the verge of earning that career-defining score. This may be the year that this cashing machine makes headlines in the Main. Second Time Around It's one thing to make it to the final table of the Main Event once, it's remarkable to even consider doing it again (see: Mark Newhouse). While we didn't rank the following five players in our original twelve, it would be silly to sleep on any of these players in the Main Event. Phil Hellmuth Main Event Cashes: 8 Main Event Earnings: $1,333,618 Sixteen-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth has a knack for knowing how to play against recreational players. He’s the 1989 Main Event champ and has eight Main Event cashes in his career. Now, he’s only made the money once since 2015, but Hellmuth is on a heater in 2021 and this could be the year he returns with a deep run in the Main. Joe McKeehen Main Event Cashes: 2 Main Event Earnings: $7,707,826 Joe McKeehen has a reputation for being two things - one of which is being a master of navigating large field MTTs. Of course, everyone knows he won the Main Event in 2015 for $7.6 million. Since then he’s earned another two gold bracelets and made five World Poker Tour final tables. His latest WPT score took place earlier this year when he finished as the WPT Venetian runner-up for just over $490K. Of all the Main Event winners in the past 10 years, McKeehen might just be the favorite to make it back to the final table. Damian Salas Main Event Cashes: 5 Main Event Earnings: $2,493,281 Of course, Damian Salas might have something to say about which Main Event Champion is best suited to repeat. Salas, the winner of the 2020 online-live hybrid Main Event for a combined score of over $2.5 million ($1.5 million international, $1 million in the heads-up portion in Las Vegas) already had Main Event final table experience before his win last year. In 2017, Salas finished in seventh place for a $1.4 million score and he’s actually made the money in five of the last 10 Main Events which is more than enough proof that he’s always going to be a threat to make it back to a final table. READ: Desire To Remain Elite Drives New World Champ Damian Salas Cliff Josephy Main Event Cashes: 6 Main Event Earnings: $3,604,078 PocketFives Legacy Award winner Cliff Josephy is sometimes more well-known for his history of backing players during the online boom than his poker playing prowess. But make no mistake, Josephy has proven time and time again that he’s just as good at the game as those players he backed. Plus, he has a Main Event resume most would envy. He’s cashed six times since 2008 and made the final table in 2016 where he fell just two spots shy of being called a World Champion, earning $3.4 million for third place. He showed up for the Seniors Event this year, so we expect him to show out in the Main Event. Kenny Hallaert Main Event Cashes: 4 Main Event Earnings: $1,645,463 The ESPN story on Kenny Hallaert has been that he’s the tournament director who finally is getting the chance to show off what he can do on the felt. But those in the know understand that Hallaert has been beating online tournaments for years and cracked the worldwide top 20 back in 2017. He has nearly $6.8 million in online earnings and has earned partypoker POWERFEST and multiple PokerStars SCOOP titles. In the Main Event, he always brings his A-game. He’s cashed in the Main Event four times, three of which were top 125 spots and a peak performance of sixth-place in 2016 where he collected $1.4 million. - As we mentioned, there are going to be thousands of players in the Main Event, making it tough to narrow down our picks. Players like Antonio Esfandiari, Allen Cunningham, Davidi Kittai, Eoghan O'Dea, and Jake Schindler all have stellar records in the Main Event and would have likely been in contention to make the list, but it's hard to know if they'll show. So choose wisely and enjoy the next couple weeks of non-stop coverage of the return of the Main Event. The action kicks off with Day 1A on Thursday, November 4, and doesn't end until a winner emerges on Wednesday, November 17. (images courtesy: PokerGo)
  7. The latest day of poker action has concluded at the home of the World Series of Poker, the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With two more bracelets won, there was also a pivotal day at the felt in the prestigious Poker Players Championship as Ryan Leng ended the third day on top of the leaderboard. Leng Leads from Arieh and Cates as 10 Remain in PPC Bracelet Hunt The third day of action in the $50,000-entry Poker Players Championship saw the remaining 35 players play down to just 10 who will return tomorrow to battle for the WSOP bracelet they all want to win and $954,020 up top. Leader of the pack with one day to close it out is Ryan Leng, who totalled 4.5 million chips by the close of play, but Leng will not have it easy with some of the best players in the world hot on his heels. Josh Arieh is closing to taking the lead from Leng, with both men having won gold already this Autumn at the Rio. Arieh has over 3 million chips, and both he and Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates (2.3 million) will harbor hopes of overtaking Leng before they reach the line. Elsewhere, a rollercoaster day for Daniel Negreanu ended with ‘Kid Poker’ surviving a brutal bad beat with Chris Brewer’s pocket eights getting there against the Canadian’s pocket aces when all the chips were in the middle pre-flop. Negreanu got through the money bubble and eventually ran his stack up to 700,000 by close of play. Others could not make it, and all of Adam Friedman, Alex Livingston, and Chris Vitch busted outside the money despite starting the day in the top 20% of the field. Others found the same fate, with Anthony Zinno, the current WSOP Player of the Year, busted before the money too, but some superstars of the game survived to fight another day. Eli Elezra (1,880,000) continued his great form this series, while Nick Schulman (1,280,000) and Day 2 chip leader Paul Volpe (900,000) will have designs on one of the most coveted bracelets of them all, and of course, getting their name on the Chip Reese Trophy. WSOP 2021 Event #60 $50,000 Poker Players Championship Final 10 Chipcounts: Ryan Leng - 4,500,000 Josh Arieh - 3,025,000 Dan Cates - 2,310,000 Chris Brewer - 2,025,000 Eli Elezra - 1,880,000 Matt Glantz - 1,575,000 Nick Schulman - 1,280,000 Paul Volpe - 900,000 Daniel Negreanu - 780,000 Mike Wattel - 670,000 Jean-Luc Adam Wins Super Seniors For First Bracelet The $1,000-entry Super Seniors event reached a conclusion with Frenchman Jean-Luc Adam earning his first-ever WSOP bracelet and the top prize of $255,623. With nine making the final table, Adam led from the start of that finale as overnight leader David Slaughter bust in 10th place for $18,837. Out in ninth place, just a few minutes after the final table began, was Gary Pagel, who earned $23,762 when his shove with [poker card="4s"][poker card="4h"] ran into Eugene Solomon’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"]. An ace on the flop doomed Pagel and he was followed from the room just a few minutes later by Reginald Powell. Powell cashed for $30,269 when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kc"] couldn’t come back against Alex Katsman’s [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jc"], as the board gave the latter a flush on [poker card="As"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qc"]. Girish Apte departed in seventh place for $38,932 when his [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jc"] ran into Bill Stabler’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kh"], with a queen-high board no help at all. Not long afterwards, Joseph Richards joined him, as his [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] couldn’t get anywhere against the eventual winner Adam, whose [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Qh"] held to send Richards home with $50,559. Katsman went in fifth for $66,284 after his pocket eights couldn’t hold against Solomon’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"], a flush on the river condemning Katsman to the exit door. He only lasted a couple of hands less than Bill Stabler, who won $87,722 when his shove with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="3c"] ran into Adam’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="7h"] and lost to a flush on the turn. Three-handed, Scott Sukstorf was short and his laddering ended when his shove when short with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8s"] ran into Adam’s [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Kh"]. A nine-high board sent Sukstorf home and gave Adam the lead into heads-up, with the Frenchman having 24 million to S0lomon’s 13 million. It was soon all over, Solomon moving all-in on a board showing [poker card="Jh"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4s"] with [poker card="Th"][poker card="9h"] and Adam calling with [poker card="Js"][poker card="7h"]. Solomon’s bluff still had a chance to catch an eight for a straight, but the [poker card="Ac"] river gave his opponent the well-earned title of WSOP champion. WSOP 2021 Event #58 $1,000 Super Seniors Event Final Table Results: Jean-Luc Adam - $255,623 Eugene Solomon - $157,986 Scott Sukstorf - $117,181 Bill Stabler - $87,722 Alex Katsman - $66,284 Joseph Richards - $50,559 Girish Apte - $38,932 Reginald Powell - $30,269 Gary Pagel - $23,762 Tag Team Crowns Winners In Event #59, the $1,000-entry Tag Team event, Mike Ruter and Samy Dighlawi won through after an intense three-hour heads-up battle saw the pip Tomer Wolf and David Landell to the crown and $113,366 top prize. Another team to star on the final day were Amanda Botfeld and her father David, who reached third place for a score of $49,512. In an emotional post on social media before the final, the younger of the pair thanked the elder statesman of the duo for their support and guidance. https://twitter.com/amandabotfeld/status/1455571669511139328 WSOP 2021 Event #59 $1,000 Tag Team Event Final Table Results: Mike Ruter & Samy Dighlawi - $113,366 Tomer Wolf & David Landell - $70,074 Amanda Botfeld & David Botfeld - $49,512 Michael Newman & Robert Ormont - $35,542 Alfie Adam & Vidur Sethi - $25,928 Benjamin Miner & Dmitriy Uskach - $19,226 Holly Babbitt & Michael Babbitt - $14,494 Zachary Erdwurm & Steven Jones - $11,114 Scott Johnston & Bob Fisher - $8,670 $600 Deepstack Down To 40 In Event #61, the $600-entry Deepstack, Perry Ernest proved strongest as he survived a busy Day 2 with the chip lead, holding 10.5 million by the time chis went into bags at the end of the night. With Sai Ruston (7,150,000) and Marc Rangel (6,800,000) in closest pursuit, the total field of 3,916 entrants is now down to just 40 payers, with only Barry Shulman (2,425,000) and Mark Seif (950,000) having won WSOP gold before. Players to bust on the day included Brandon Sheils, Philippe Souki, Philip Tom, and Kenny Hsiung, as well as Brett Apter and Day 1 chip leader Robert Hankins. WSOP 2021 Event #61 $600 Deepstack Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Perry Ernest - 10,500,000 Sami Ruston - 7,150,000 Marc Rangel - 6,800,000 Richard Dixon - 6,430,000 Edgardo Rosario - 5,859,000 Jean Francois Alexandre - 5,480,000 Nicolas De Bari - 5,100,000 Ronald Slucker - 5,030,000 Fernando Viana Da Costa - 5,000,000 Rubin Chappell - 4,400,000 Just 13 Left In $1,5000 PLO 8 In Event #62, the $1,500-entry PLO8 tournament, Matthew Kaplan topped the leaderboard with 3.1 million chips on a day where everything changed for the former chip leader. Day 1 ended with Japanese player Tsugunari Toma sitting on one of the biggest leads anyone has built during this World Series of Poker. Toma, however, crashed and burned as Kaplan went in the opposite direction, barely lasting half the day as others such as Kevin Gerhart (2.9 million) and Dustin Dirksen (2.4 million) both thrived. Others to make the top 10 chip counts included Sterling Lopez (1,350,000) and Michael Trivett (730,000), with Gerhart the only remaining bracelet winner of the 13 players who are left, with British player Richie Allen still hanging onto a chance of debut gold with 515,000 chips at the next big blind of 50,000. WSOP 2021 Event #62 $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: Matthew Kaplan - 3,145,000 Kevin Gerhart - 2,900,000 Dustin Dirksen - 2,400,000 Roman Hrabec - 1,800,000 Sterling Lopez - 1,350,000 Dylan Wilkerson - 1,240,000 Tamon Nakamura - 1,145,000 Alexandr Orlov - 1,015,000 Bryant Bustamante - 805,000 Michael Trivett - 730,000 Players Turn Out For Salute To Warriors The opening day of the $500-entry Salute to Warriors event saw a great turnout, with 1,738 entrants reduced to just 169 players by the end of Day 1. Chip leader when the day closed was Andrew Moon, who was the only player to bag over a million chips with 1,274,000. He was followed in the chip counts by Taylor Pollard (866,000) and John Song (711,000), who along with Nicholas Verderamo (653,000), were the only three who amounted over half the impressive Moon’s dominant stack. With $40 from each player’s entry going towards the United Services Organization, a huge prize pool of $712,580 and a top prize of $102,465 means that plenty of money was raised for a great cause with big-name players such as Shuan Deeb donating along the way, although unfortunately for Deeb fans, the WSOP Player of the Year chaser didn’t make the Day 2 chip counts. WSOP 2021 Event #63 $500 Salute to Warriors Top 10 Chipcounts: Andrew Moon - 1,274,000 Taylor Pollard - 866,000 John Song - 711,000 Nicholas Verderamo - 653,000 Senthuran Vijayaratnam - 629,000 Terry Wheeler - 617,000 Kyle Besaw - 584,000 Alan Percal - 580,000 Marty Zabib - 557,000 Arnaldo Gordon - 536,000 Niklas Astedt Bags Big Stack In $5K NLHE/PLO Mix In the final event on the schedule, David Prociak (2,405,000) leads from Niklas Astedt (1,345,000) and Joni Jouhkimainen (1,215,000) in the $5,000-entry Event #64. With NLHE and PLO on the menu, other big names to bag top 10 chipcounts included Tommy Le (1,050,000), Uri Reichenstein (1,010,000) and Shar Levi (945,000), with players like Jason Somerville (690,000), Stefan Schillhabel (445,000) and Dan Smith (310,000) all still in with a chance of glory. WSOP 2021 Event #64 $5,000 NLHE/PLO Eight-Handed Top 10 Chipcounts: David Prociak - 2,405,000 Niklas Astedt - 1,345,000 Joni Jouhkimainen - 1,215,000 Greg Dyer - 1,175,000 Tommy Le - 1,050,000 Oliver Bosch - 1,020,000 Uri Reichenstein - 1,010,000 Shahar Levi - 945,000 Barak Wisbrod - 865,000 Corey Zedo - 785,000
  8. Niklas Astedt has done it yet again. Sweden’s former worldwide #1-ranked online poker legend, won his record-tying fourth GGPoker Super MILLION$ title on Tuesday, this time for $315,882. Astedt has no shortage of ways he can win a tournament, but when he’s on a heater it’s almost unfair. Astedt knocked out six of his final eight opponents, the majority of which he had dominated by picking up premium hands in key spots. That said, it wasn’t all just rungood for Astedt who, after starting the day eighth in chips, made all the right moves to put himself in a position to win against a tough final table that included Damian Salas, Chris Puetz, Christian Rudolph, Rui Ferreira, and Artur Martirosian. Nearly thirty minutes into the final hand, one of Russia’s premier players, Artur Martirosian, hit the rail. After his [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"] was cracked by China’s ‘d7777’s [poker card="9c"][poker card="8h"], Martirosian was sitting on the short stack. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000 (6,000 ante), chip leader ‘0asis’ made it 100,000 to go holding [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and when it folded to Martirosian in the big blind, the Russian defended holding the [poker card="9d"][poker card="4d"]. The flop came [poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2h"] giving ‘0asis’ a set. Martirosian checked it over to ‘0asis’ who checked it back. The river was the [poker card="9c"], giving Martirosian top pair. Martirosian led for just over 117,000 and ‘0asis’ shoved. Martirosian called and found himself drawing dead to the [poker card="as"] river. Martirosian exited in ninth place for $49,109. Two hands later, Astedt opened from early position to 275,000 with his [poker card="ad"][poker card="ac"]. It folded around to Chris Puetz in the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] and the Austrian shoved for nearly 1.4 million. Astedt called instantly and the board ran out [poker card="4s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="kh"] keeping Astedt’s pocket aces ahead the entire time and ending Puetz’s run in eighth place for $61,974. Astedt did double duty just minutes later when ‘RRomashka’ opened to 100,000 from middle position with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"]. When the action reached Astedt in the small blind, he just called with the [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"]. Then from the big blind, Rui Ferreira three-bet shoved more than 1.2 million holding [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. ‘RRomashka’, with fewer chips called for his tournament and when it was back to Astedt, who had both covered, he stuck it all-in as well. A three-way all-in with three pocket pairs. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"] leaving ‘RRomashka’ looking for a nine or running cards. Ferreira picked up a gutshot straight draw if he could find one of the final two kings and Astedt held a healthy lead. The turn was the [poker card="5s"], leaving both Ferreira and ‘RRomashka’ with a less than 5% shot at hitting their hand. Both missed when the [poker card="qc"] completed the board. ‘RRomashka’, with fewer chips, is the seventh-place finisher for $78,209 and Ferreira settled for sixth and its $98,696 payday. Five-handed play lasted for over an hour, and the blinds had climbed to 70,000/140,000 (17,500 ante) when Astedt used another big hand to take out another dangerous opponent. This time it was 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Damian Salas. From under the gun, Astedt opened to 280,00 holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"] and when it reached Salas on the button, he shipped his final 15 big blinds. Astedt, again, snap-called with a dominating hand and the pair watched as the board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="9h"][poker card="6s"][poker card="7s"][poker card="jh"]. Astedt dragged another big pot and Salas was out in fifth place for $124,550. Christian Rudolph, who started the day fourth in chips, was slowly slipping in the chip counts with just four left. Eventually, after Rudolph lost an important pot to Astedt, he was left with just fewer than five big blinds. It all came to a head when Astedt put in a raise to 400,000 on the button with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"] and Rudolph, in the big blind defend with [poker card="kd"][poker card="2c"], leaving himself just over one big blind behind. The flop came [poker card="6h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"] and Rudolph committed the last of his stack. Astedt called, leaving Rudolph looking to hit his gutshot straight draw or his overcard. The turn was the [poker card="7d"], bringing in a straight for Astedt and the best Rudolph could hope for was to hit one of the two remaining eights for a chop. The river was the [poker card="2s"] and Rudolph was out in fourth place for $157,177. Astedt built a substantial chip lead over his final two opponents. But after ‘0asis’ bested ‘d7777’ in a big hand where ‘0asis’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"] dominated ‘d7777’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"], ‘0asis’ got healthy and ‘d7777’ was left with just four big blinds. ‘0asis’ completed the elimination just a couple of hands later when they got it all-in preflop holding [poker card="as"][poker card="8s"] against ‘d7777’s [poker card="qh"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="8c"][poker card="5s"]3c] flop kept ‘0asis’ in the lead with ace high. The turn came the [poker card="2h"], leaving ‘d7777’ looking for a queen or a ten to stay alive. However, the river was the [poker card="ah"], giving ‘0asis’ top pair and sending ‘d7777’ out in third with a career-high $198,351 score. After the elimination, ‘0asis’ held a slim chip lead over Astedt when heads-up began. It was a short back-and-forth affair with the chip counts of both remaining tight. However, after the next break, with the blinds up to 125,000/250,000 (30,000 ante) ‘0asis’ pulled way ahead, grabbing a three-to-one chip lead. But Astedt isn’t considered one of the best of all time for nothing. The Swede battled back and brought the stacks back to even. Then the deciding hand of heads-up took place. The blinds had climbed to 175,000/350,000 (45,000 ante) when Astedt called on the button holding [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"]. ‘0asis’ raised to just over 1 million in the big blind with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"]. Astedt shoved for 7.8 million and ‘0asis’ called leaving themselves with less than a small blind behind. The flop came [poker card="8c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4s"], leaving ‘0asis’ needing some help. The [poker card="9h"] turn changed nothing and when the [poker card="4h"] hit the river, the massive pot was shipped to Astedt. ‘0asis’ was all-in the very next hand with [poker card="8h"][poker card="5h"] and Astedt held [poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"][poker card="3c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3d"] and ‘0asis’, the start of day chip leader, ended up as the runner-up which was good for $250,311. Once again, Niklas Astedt took down the GGPoker Super MILLION$, this time for $315,882, and became one of just three players to have won an event in both Season One and Season Two. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (9/28) Niklas Astedt - $315,882 ‘0asis’ - $250,311 ‘d7777’ - $198,351 Chris Rudolph - $157,177 Damian Salas - $124,550 Rui Ferreira - $98,696 ‘RRomashka’ - $78,209 Chris Puetz - $61,974 Artur Martirosian - $49,109
  9. Gabi Livshitz eliminated five of the final six players - including one of the most dominant players in PocketFives history - on his way to victory in Event #17($400 PLOSSUS) of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online on GGPoker Sunday night to earn his first WSOP bracelet and a six-figure score. Having arrived at the final table with just a touch more than 10 big blinds, Shihhui Wang never managed to escape the danger zone. With blinds at 300,000/600,000, Livshitz raised to 1,200,000 holding [poker card="jc"][poker card="ts"][poker card="9d"][poker card="8h"] from middle position before Wang jammed for 3,933,594 from the cutoff with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"] flop gave Livshitz two pair and wrap. The turn was the [poker card="6d"] and the [poker card="9s"] river gave Livshitz a straight to bust Wang in seventh. Livshitz had to wait nearly 25 minutes to find his second victim. From the button, Livshitz opened to 1,400,000 and then called when Lasse Enojarvi raised to 5,250,000 from the button. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] and Livshitz checked. Enojarvi moved all in for 4,135,424 and Livshitz called. Enojarvi tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"][poker card="2d"] but got bad news when Livshitz showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"][poker card="th"][poker card="6s"] for a flopped straight. Neither the [poker card="7h"] turn nor the [poker card="tc"] river were any help and Enojarvi was out in sixth place. Five-handed play carried on for 37 minutes before Livshitz ended yet another player's tournament. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Niklas Astedt raised to 3,500,000 and Livshitz called from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] and Livshitz bet 7,718,750 and Astedt called all in for his last 6,539,398. Livshitz showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"] which gave him a slight lead over Astedt who tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"][poker card="th"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="qd"] turn gave Livshitz two pair and when the [poker card="7h"] river completed the board, Astedt was shown the exit in fifth place. With Livshitz holding nearly half of the chips in play, the final four players played for 40 minutes without sending anybody home. That all ended after a pre-flop raising war between the two shortest remaining stacks. First to act, Idris Ambraisse raised to 2,400,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"]. Yuri Suvorov bumped it up to 8,400,000 from Ambraisse's immediate left with [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2s"]. Livshitz and Shengchao Zhu both folded and Ambraisse moved all in for 24,512,632 and after a full minute of tanking, Suvorov called. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"][poker card="9c"][poker card="js"] to give Suvorov the nut flush and eliminate Amrbaisse in fourth. Over the next 30 minutes of three-handed action, Suvorov took the chip lead from Livshitz but eventually conceded it back, setting up Livshitz to resume his duties as table captain. Suvorov conceded hi button and Livshitz limped from the small blind before Zhu raised to 4,800,00 from the big blind. Livshitz popped it up back up to 14,400,000 and Zhu called. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] and Livshitz potted it to 29,400,000 with Zhu holding 33,145,442. Zhu moved all in and Livshitz called. Zhu showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"][poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] but Livshitz turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. Neither the [poker card="6s"] turn or the [poker card="3h"] river changed anything and Zhu was gone in third place. Livshitz started heads up play against Suvorov with 65% of the chips in play. The two played for just four minutes before Livshitz put the finishing touches on a dominating performance. Suvorov raised to 4,800,000 and Livshitz re-raised to 14,400,000 and Suvorov called. After the [poker card="kd"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"] flop, Livshitz bet 17,520,000 and Suvorov called all in. Livshitz was ahead with [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3s"] while Suvorov was hoping for his [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"][poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"] holding to improve. The turn was the [poker card="7c"] and the river was the [poker card="7s"] to eliminate Suvorov in runner-up position and give Livshitz his first WSOP bracelet and $152,165.44. The event attracted a total of 4,576 entries from 3,486 unique players to build a total prize pool of $1,738,880 to easily surpass the $1,000,000 guarantee. Final Table Payouts Gabi Livshitz - $152,165.44 Yuri Suvorov - $89,236.81 Shengchao Zhu - $52,317.61 Idris Ambraisse - $43,949.86 Niklas Astedt - $35,065.02 Lasse Enojarvi - $19,673.48 Shihhui Wang - $22,107.05
  10. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Niklas Astedt, the former worldwide #1-ranked pro and one of the most decorated online poker players in history, captured this week’s GGPoker Super MILLION$ title, the third of his career, and added the $337,599 first-place prize to his more than $22.4 million in career recorded online earnings. Astedt fought through this week’s field of 171 entries to reach a record-extending thirteenth Super MILLION$ final table. A favorite in any field, the winner of the PocketFives #1 NumberOne award was, once again, faced with top-tier competition en route to the win. Newly minted PokerStars pro Benjamin Rolle, Canada’s #1-ranked Mike Watson, 2019 WSOP Main Event finalist Dario Sammartino, and the start of day chip leader Kahle Burns all made the final nine, but in the end, it was Astedt that became just the second player in Super MILLION$ history to record more than two victories. On the very first hand of the final table, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante) current worldwide #5-ranked pro Mike Watson opened to 88,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. After ‘Neel’ called from the button holding [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"], Astedt three-bet to 332,500 from the small blind. When the action got back to Watson, he moved all-in for just over 1 million in chip and when ‘Neel’ released his hand, Astedt quickly called putting Watson at risk. The flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2c"], leaving Watson looking for help to survive. The turn was the [poker card="jd"], opening the door for a gutshot straight if he could catch one of the two remaining kings. But the river came the [poker card="9h"] and Watson’s day was over in just one hand as he exited in ninth place for $52,486. While Watson was felted quickly, the rest of the table had a mind to stick around for a while. The eight players passed chips around for more than an hour and twenty minutes before the next player hit the rail. The blinds were up to 35,000/70,000 (8,500 ante) and Dario Sammartino found himself sitting on the short stack with fewer than 10 big blinds left. The action folded to him in the small blind and he shipped all-in for just over 550,000 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="2c"] and Benjamin Rolle, in the big blind, made the call with a dominating [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="8h"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"] flop offered Sammartino some chop opportunities to go along with his outs. The turn was the [poker card="kh"], keeping kickers in play. The [poker card="6s"] river was no help to Sammartino and the former 2019 WSOP Main Event final tablist added another $66,235 to his bankroll for an eighth-place finish. After the hand, Rolle, who started the day ninth in chips, has climbed to third overall. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante), Eelis Parssinen woke up with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] in the small blind. With the table folding to him, he put in a raise to 200,000 and a short-stacked ‘oldfishing’ decided to defend his big blind with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"] flop gave ‘oldfishing’ a pair and a flush draw and when Parssinen bet 120,000 into him with his aces ‘oldfishing’ went with his hand and moved all-in. Parssinen quickly called and the pair saw a turn of the [poker card="js"], sending ‘oldfishing’s two pair into the lead. However, the river came the [poker card="3h"], giving Parssinen a better two pair and ending ‘oldfishing’s run in seventh place for $83,585. India’s ‘Neel’ found themselves slipping in the chip counts and when the blinds hit 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante) he was looking for a spot to pick up some chips. When it folded to him in the cutoff, he put in a raise holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"] to 900,000, leaving himself with roughly 5 big blinds behind. On the button, Astedt looked at [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] and put in a raise to 2.2 million, more than enough to put everyone left in the hand all-in. The blinds both folded and when it came back to ‘Neel’, he eventually shipped all-in. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"], giving ‘Neel’ outs to a gutshot straight. The [poker card="7s"] turn changed nothing and when the [poker card="qs"] river hit, Astedt picked up the healthy pot and increased his chip lead to roughly double the next closest player. ‘Neel’, who won his way into this week’s Super MILLION$ on a $525 satellite, parlayed that seat into a $105,482 payday for his sixth-place finish. After ‘Neel’ departed, Brazil’s Rodrigo Selouan was firmly in last place with roughly six big blinds in his stack. Four hands later, Rolle opened the button to 240,000 with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] and after Astedt folded his small blind, Selouan defended his big blind with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="4d"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2s"] flop gave both players a pair and when Selouan checked it over to Rolle, the new PokerStars Pro put in a bet of 120,000. Selouan check-shipped his stack of just over 500,000 and Rolle snap-called. The [poker card="js"] and [poker card="jh"] completed the board sending Selouan out in fifth for $133,113. Six hands later it was Parssinen’s turn to be all-in. During the same level, Astedt opened first-to-act to 240,000 with [poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"]. Four-handed, and on the button, Parssinen three-bet shoved his 14 big blind stack holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"]. When the action returned to Astedt, he made the call and the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7s"], giving Parssinen top pair but providing Astedt with additional flush outs and backdoor straight outs. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] giving Astedt open-ended straight outs as well. Parssinen couldn’t dodge all of Astedt’s outs as the [poker card="js"] river gave Astedt the flush and the hand. Parssinen, who started the day second in chips, wrapped up in fourth place which was good for $167,983. Three-handed play lasted twenty minutes with start-of-day chip leader Kahle Burns looking up at both Rolle and Astedt, each of which had more than three times his stack. The blinds were up to 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante) when Burns completed his small blind holding [poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] and Rolle checked his option in the big blind with [poker card="9s"][poker card="6s"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4s"] flop brought a pair for Rolle and the action checked through. The turn was the [poker card="td"] and again, the action went check-check. The [poker card="9h"] hit the river pairing both, but improving Rolle to two pair. Burns led the river for 462,000 and after a few moments, Rolle moved all-in. Burns took just a few seconds before making the call for the rest of his stack and seeing the bad news. Burns took home $211,988 for his third-place finish. Heads-up play between Rolle and Astedt started with Rolle having a 10 big blind chip lead. Astedt quickly clawed back the chip lead and was on the verge of closing it out a number of times until Rolle turned the tides once again. It became an entertaining back and forth affair with both players finding themselves on the brink of elimination multiple times. After Astedt picked off a river bluff attempt by Rolle with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000 (50,000 ante) - one of the longest Super MILLION$ in recent history - Rolle found himself left with fewer than 10 big blinds as Astedt continued to apply maximum pressure. The final hand had Rolle shipping nearly 3 million on the button with [poker card="9d"][poker card="6d"] and Astedt making the quick call in the big blind with his [poker card="kh"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="4d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2d"] flop looked good for Rolle, giving him flush and straight outs to go along with pair possibilities. The turn was the [poker card="as"] and Rolle was left looking for one of his 17 outs. The [poker card="jc"] was not one of them and Rolle, who rose up from the shortest stack at the start of the day, bowed out as the runner-up and collected $267,520. Niklas Astedt picked up $337,559 for his third Super MILLION$ victory. The former worldwide #1-ranked pro joins Michael Addamo as the only two players to win a Super MILLION$ in both Season One and Season Two. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (8/24) Niklas Astedt - $337,599 Benjamin Rolle - $267,520 Kahle Burns - $211,988 Eelis Parssinen - $167,983 Rodrigo Selouan - $133,113 'Neel' - $105,482 'oldfishing' - $83,585 Dario Sammartino - $66,235 Mike Watson - $52,486
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