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To win a high-profile WSOP bracelet, it takes beating the best over and over again. Just 16 remain in the $25,000-entry NLHE Heads Up Championship and they include some of the best poker players in the world. After the first day of action in the $25,000-entry No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship, players are just three heads-up victories away from playing the bracelet and top prize of $243,981. Star-Studded $25K Heads-Up Championship The early stages of this year’s Heads-Up Championship, one of the most prestigious WSOP bracelets any player can win, were complex given the number of entries. Players were drawn together, with seven of the initial player given a bye to the second round. That meant for some, winning two matches to achieve the $25,000 min-cash. For others, it meant only winning one match. Every table was packed with quality, however, and some of the early skirmishes featured players who could easily have been competing in the final. Cary Katz beat Dimitar Danchev in a topsy-turvy affair, while Daniel Zack got the better of Nick Petrangelo. Kane Kalas was overcome by Mikita Badziakouski, while David Peters took out the in-form Jonathan Jaffe. Other players to lose their chance of glory included Adrian Mateos, Ali Imsirovic, Joao Vieira, and Seth Davies. Day 2 will see both the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals take place, with some intriguing match-ups coming next. Newly appointed GGPoker ambassador Jason Koon will take on Sam Soverel’s conqueror, Johannes Becker in one of the most eagerly anticipated ties, will everything on the line as players shoot for the bracelet in one of the most demanding disciplines of all. Round of 16 Line-Up (consecutive winners to play in quarterfinals): Gal Yifrach vs. Jake Daniels Johannes Becker vs. Jason Koon Ben Reason vs. Galen Hall Henri Puustinen vs. Cary Katz Dan Zack vs. James D’Ambrosio Bin Weng vs. Julien Martini Aleksandr Shevlyakov vs. Mikita Badziakouski David Peters vs. Gabor Szabo Long Ma Crowned Reunion King The Reunion has already been described as one of the events of the Autumn and on Tuesday, it produced the winner, Long Ma, who took the title and massive $523,604 for just a $500 entry. Yesterday’s 17-hour Day 2 was in complete contrast to today’s final which took just over an hour as Ma, an electronics manager and poker tournament enthusiast, eliminated each of his four opponents in double-quick time to win his first WSOP bracelet. The final day action got going almost immediately with a bust-out as short-stacked Michael Eddy became Ma’s first victim. Eddy moved all-in for around five big blinds with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Js"] and Ma made the call with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="8c"], turning an ace on the [poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"] board. Eddy, who had come into play knowing he needed a great deal of luck to survive, cashed for $142,847. Next to go was Alex Vazquez, who busted with [poker card="As"][poker card="Qs"] against Ma’s [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jc"] after a jack on the turn saw Vazquez shove and Ma call on the board of [poker card="Kh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="8h"]. Vazquez cashed for $185,281, but it only strengthened Ma’s already dominant position. That position for Ma got even better when he reduced the battle to a heads-up clash with a big lead. Max Tavepholjalern called off his stack pre-flop after three-betting with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="8d"] and he would need to win a race against Ma who held [poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"]. That didn’t happen as the double-paired board of [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] played out and Tavepholjalern collected $241,766 in winnings. Heads-up saw Ma go into the action with a better than 4:1 chip lead and in no time at all, he had the bracelet. When Lentini open-shoved pre-flop with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jc"], Ma made a snap-call with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="7s"] and watched as the board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="5h"] gave him over half a million dollars and the biggest-field bracelet won so far in the 2021 World Series of Poker. WSOP 2021 Event #4 $500 The Reunion Final Table Results: Long Ma - $513,604 Giuliano Lentini - $317,352 Max Tavepholjalern - $241,766 Alex Vazquez - $185,281 Michael Eddy - $142,847 Anthony Cass - $110,794 Jugal Daterao - $86,462 Derrick Stoebe - $67,886 Adrian Buckley - $53,625 [caption id="attachment_636553" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Long Ma, winner of the biggest-field event of the WSOP so far, the $500-entry The Reunion[/caption] Lally Takes $1,500 Dealer's Choice Another winner took home gold in Event #7, the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event as Jaswinder ‘Jesse’ Lally won the six-handed event for $97,915. Lally, a long-time player but business owner who counts poker as more of a hobby than a career, beat former bracelet winners to the gold at a final table packed with action. Just 11 players returned to the felt at the start of the day, with Craig Chat (11th for $5,612), Adam Friedman (10th for $5,612), and Jeremy Heartberg (9th for $7,307) first to leave the action. When Naoya Kihara busted in eighth place for the same amount and Day 1 chip leader Nathan Gamble left in seventh for $9,768, the official final table was set and it didn’t take long for five more players to hit the rail. Christopher Lindner busted in sixth place for $13,396 when he busted in a Seven Card Stud 8 or Better hand to the eventual winner and Lally, suddenly with all the momentum, added to his list of victims when he busted Adam Kipnis in fifth for $18,839. Ian O’Hara came into play chasing the leader and will have been disappointed to exit in fourth place so near to the gold he has yet to win in his poker career. O’Hara lost out in a three-way Stud hand where Lally’s diamond flush conquered O’Hara’s hand, leaving the young player to quip, “Stud master.” as he left the stage. It wasn’t long before Lally proved himself a master of the event itself, after former bracelet winner Andrew Kelsall brought about heads-up play. Kelsall’s elimination of the overnight chip leader, Ray Henson in No Limit 2-7 Single Draw for $40,062 gave the experience Kelsall 1.7 million chips and a chance of victory, but Lally extended his lead heads-up quite quickly in a Razz hand to race into a 5:1 lead. The final hand saw Lally win a Pot Limit Omaha hand with the nut straight on the turn busting Kelsall’s two-pair after a flush draw fell short on the river and gave Lally his first-ever WSOP bracelet. Kelsall cashed for an impressive $60,514, but Lally’s victory was worth a massive $97,915 and the bracelet was perhaps worth just as much judging by the beaming smile on Lally’s face. WSOP 2021 Event #7 $1,500 Dealer's Choice Final Table Results: Jesse Lally - $97,915 Andrew Kelsall - $60,514 Ray Henson - $40,062 Ian O’Hara - $27,147 Adam Kipnis - $18,839 Christopher Lindner - $13,396 Quick Win For Michael Perrone The third and final winner of the day was Michael Perrone, who took down the super-fast Super Turbo Bounty event which cost $1,000 and lasted just one day at the felt. With 16 hours of play producing plenty of fast-paced bounty action, a prize pool of $1.4m was chopped up, with Perrone crushing dreams on his way to banking over 10% of it. Plenty of big names ran deep, with Shaun Deeb (59th for $2,505), Cate Hall (82nd for $1,731), and Vanessa Kade (227th for $1,065) all making the money. WSOP 2021 Event #10 $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty NLHE Final Table Results: Michael Perrone - $152,173 Pierre Calamusa - $94,060 Jeremiah Fitzpatrick - $69,454 Scott Podolsky - $51,787 Paul Dhaliwal - $38,996 Paul Jain - $29,657 John Moss - $22,783 Badr Imejjane - $17,680 Gabriel Ramos - $13,861 Brock Wilson - $10,980 ElkY Ready To Roll It’s been an incredible start to the 2021 WSOP in terms of attendance with the great and good arriving in style to put down their money and take their chips for a shot at glory, including GGPoker ambassador Bertran ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, who, over a decade on from his first WSOP appearance was still as excited as a first-timer to arrive at the Rio. https://twitter.com/elkypoker/status/1445206290452533248 It’s not only ElkY who is loving this year’s return to the Rio, with WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams delighted to be back amongst it in 2021. https://twitter.com/dwpoker/status/1445486745089294345 Zhi Wu Leads $600 Deepstack Event One of the busiest Day 1s of the World Series so far saw 4,527 players arrive yesterday to play the $600-entry No Limit Hold’em Event #8, but after a thrilling Day 2, just five players remain in with a chance of winning their first WSOP bracelet and a top prize of $281,604. With the prize pool of $2.3 million, 216 players took to the tables and it was Zhi Wu who ended the day with the biggest stack of 46.1 million, ahead of Chrishan Sivasundaram (31.5m) and Ryan Chan (29.2m). With two more players having slightly shorter stacks to play with in Nicholas Zautra (15m) and Ari Mezrich (13.9m) even the short-stacked Mezrich will have eight big blinds to play with. WSOP 2021 Event #8 $600 No Limit Hold'em Final Table Chipcounts: Zhi Wu - 46,100,000 Chrishan Sivasundaram - 31,500,000 Ryan Chan - 29,200,000 Nicholas Zautra - 15,000,000 Ari Mezrich - 13,900,000 Hellmuth, Volpe In Omaha 8 Top 10 Event #9, the $10,000-entry Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship saw some very big names take part in the action, with 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil ‘the Poker Brat’ Hellmuth reaching the final day with an 8th-placed stack of 550,000 chips. The chip leader overnight is Andrew Yeh, whose massive pile of 995,000 represents a chip lead few have enjoyed so far after Day 1, with his nearest challengers Chris Vitch and Alan Sternberg, both of whom are some way back from the pacesetter with 650,000. Other big names hover not far behind, with Paul Volpe (445,000), Day 1 chip leader Michael Noori (370,000), Robert Mizrachi (340,000), and Brian Rast (165,000) all surviving a tricky Day 2. WSOP 2021 Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship: Andrew Yeh - 995,000 Chris Vitch - 650,000 Alan Sternberg - 650,000 Ben Landowski - 630,000 Ken Aldridge - 595,000 Aditya Prasetyo - 560,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 555,000 Phil Hellmuth - 550,000 Khamar Xaytavone - 485,000 Paul Volpe - 445,000 Take It To The Limit Finally, Event #12, the $1,500 Limit hold’em bracelet event saw Jeremy Maher bag the chip lead after Day featured 422 total entries. With a prize pool of $563,370 generated, just under a third of those who took to the felt survived, with the money bubble yet to burst. Day 2 will see plenty of big names in the hunt to reach the final 64 players and enter the money places, before pushing towards the $124,374 top prize and WSOP gold bracelet. They will include the chip leader Jeremy Maher (226,500) and Zinno, who bagged up 217,500 chips ahead of some reputable rivals in the shape of Yuval Bronshtein (141,500), and Barry Greenstein (86,500), and former WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen (60,000) to name just three. With stars such as Dan Shak (55,000), Ronnie Bardah (52,000), and Jason Somerville (48,000) all still in with a shout, it is bound to be a high-caliber fight to reach the final table. Other stars of the felt didn’t survive, with mixed game regulars Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb and David ‘ODB’ Baker all failing to make the Day 2 cut. WSOP 2021 Event #12 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Top 10 Chipcounts: Jeremy Maher - 226,000 Anthony Zinno - 217,500 Truong Tran - 195,000 Kristopher Burchfield - 194,500 John Bunch - 192,500 Aldon Patatanyan - 190,000 John Esposito - 187,500 Mori Eskandani - 173,500 Arthur Cole - 165,000 Tom McCormick - 160,500 Finally, while she may have stepped back from poker in the last few years to raise her family, Vanessa Selbst, always enjoys it when someone asks her if she used to play and knows their friend who also enjoys the game. A bit. https://twitter.com/VanessaSelbst/status/1445534865567461376
It was a day for both recreational player success and elite pro progression at the 2021 World Series of Poker as Phil Hellmuth made his second final table of the series while Jason Koon and Daniel Zack progressed to the semifinals in the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship. Plus, Zhi Wu won a debut bracelet to turn $600 into over $281,000 in one of the best-value events of the 2021 World Series of Poker. Jason Koon, Dan Zack Make $25K Heads Up Semis The $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the poker calendar and after Day 2’s play, only four men remain in the hunt the bracelet plenty of big names were after. There were plenty of intriguing match-ups in the Round of 16, but none more so than Jason Koon, the recent GGPoker ambassador taking on Johannes Becker, with Koon coming back to win the titanic tussle, winning four all-in showdowns to first survive then double and finally conquer his opponent. Elsewhere in the Round of 16, David Peters busted with two pair to a flopped set, while Julien Martini built a big lead only to watch it disappear as his chances went the same way against Bin Weng. Mikita Badziakouski lived up to his favorite tag to progress, as did Jake Daniels, but there were exits for Galen Hall and Cary Katz. In the quarterfinals, Koon took just 13 minutes to decimate Jake Daniels and become the first player through to the semifinals. Koon’s final hand was pocket queens which won in a flip against Daniels’ ace-king suited. Finnish online player Henri Puustinen joined Koon in the final four when the 21-year-old got the better of Benjamin Reason, and just a few minutes later, Daniel Zack became the third man to reach the semis, with his flush downing Weng’s two-pair to progress. The final bout of the evening to complete was the match between Badziakouski and Gabor Szabo, and while Szabo was short early on, he ground his way back into contention in a similar manner to Zack, winning from behind as he doubled up with jacks against ace-king. That hand proceeded to give him the momentum to make the last four, all of whom are guaranteed to win $89,787 but will have their eyes on the top prize of $243,981, with the quarterfinal players cashing for $36,280 each. Phil Hellmuth Makes $10K Omaha Final Table Event #9 has been one of the most entertaining events of the WSOP so far and with five players remaining, is sure to continue that way at least until Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth leaves the party. Of the final five, Hellmuth has by far the shortest stack, with a little over six big blinds to his name, but if anyone can perform miracles at the Rio, it’s Big Phil. The chip leader going into the final day will be Ari Engel, who will shoot for his second WSOP bracelet and is the only other player still in the reckoning with a shot at winning multiple bracelets. Engel begins on a massive stack of 3,485,000, with Zachary Milchman (1,660,000), Eddie Blumenthal (1,405,000) and Andrew Yeh (1,105,000) the chasing pack. Hellmuth starts the final day with just 390,000 chips. If it all goes wrong, Phil, just remember Doyle Brunson’s most recent words on Twitter. https://twitter.com/TexDolly/status/1445818952819490820 WSOP 2021 Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Final Table Chipcounts: Ari Engel - 3,485,000 Zachary Milchman - 1,660,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 1,405,000 Andrew Yeh - 1,105,000 Phil Hellmuth - 390,000 Zhi Wu Takes Home Gold Zhi Wu won his first WSOP bracelet as he defeated Ari Mezrich heads-up to claim the top prize of $281,604 in the $600-entry NLHE Deepstack Event #6. Heading into the final five with the lead, Wu watched as Chrishan Sivasundaram eliminated Nicholas Zautra just a few minutes into play. Zautra shoved pre-flop for eight big blinds with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jh"] and was quickly called by Sivasundaram with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qd"]. The flop of [poker card="7d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2c"] kept Zautra ahead, as did the [poker card="9c"] turn, but the [poker card="Kd"] river sent him home in fifth place for $76,974 and vaulted Sivasundaram into the lead. That didn’t last long, however as Wu busted Ryan Chan in fourth place for $100,330 when his [poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"] dominated and defeated Chan’s [poker card="6c"][poker card="4c"] after all the money went in on a [poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] flop. With three players left, Wu was leading, holding more chips than his two opponents combined. The next elimination would be critical and when Wu got it, busting Sivasundaram, it gave him a massive lead heads-up. Sivasundaram was all-in when short with [poker card="Jc"][poker card="2c"], but Wu called him with [poker card="7d"][poker card="3d"] from the big blind and the [poker card="As"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6s"] board sent Sivasundaram home in third for $131,675. Heads-up, Wu let his huge lead of almost 10:1 in chips slide to being only ahead by three big blinds. That was when the final hand played out, with Wu’s raise with [poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"] called by Ari Mezrich with [poker card="Tc"][poker card="7c"]. The flop of [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="2c"] saw Wu continue for a small bet and Mezrich call, but on the [poker card="3h"] turn, Wu’s shove was called by his opponent who was drawing to just two outs, neither of which came on the [poker card="Jh"] river. With Mezrich winning $173,998 for his second-place finish, it was Wu who became the latest first-time bracelet winner is a World Series so far dominated by debutants, taking home the top prize of over a quarter of a million dollars. WSOP 2021 Event #8 $600 NLHE Deepstack Final Table Results: Zhi Wu - $281,604 Ari Mezrich - $173,998 Chrishan Sivasundaram - $131,675 Ryan Chan - $100,330 Nicholas Zautra - $76,974 The 2021 World Series of Poker has so far been populated by the poker-playing masses in a manner that suggests a second poker boom really could be around the corner. Shannon Shorr is one of hundreds of players to highlight it during the series so far. https://twitter.com/ShannonShorr/status/1445872583224664070 That said, it may be that we see less of Landon Tice than we might have thought at first as the young phenom has admitted a touch of burnout. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1445810713646141453 Take It To The Limit, One More Time It is Kevin Erickson who leads the remaining 16 players in Event #12, the $1,500-entry Limit Hold’em event, with just two former bracelet winners still chasing gold. Erickson bagged up 1,435,000 at the end of a nine-hour day at the felt to lead from Mike Lancaster (1,240,000), the only other player to end the day with a seven-figure stack of chips. Players to cash on the second day of the event after the money bubble burst but fail to make the final day included Anthony Zinno (38th for $3,007), Day 1 chip leader Jeremy Maher (44th for $3,307), former WSOP world champion Joe McKeehen (45th for $3,007) and Philip Tom, who snuck into the money in 64th place for $2,406. WSOP 2021 Event #12 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Top 10 Chipcounts: Kevin Erickson - 1,435,000 Mike Lancaster - 1,240,000 Tony Nasr - 885,000 Guy Cicconi - 830,000 Ian Glycenfer - 795,000 John Bunch - 795,000 Tom McCormick - 775,000 Yuval Bronshtein - 770,000 Tina Tateossian - 700,000 Anh Van Nguyen - 685,000 $3K Freezeout Gets Off The Ground The first event that kicked off on Day 7 of the 2021 WSOP was Event #13, the $3,000 NLHE Freezeout. At the end of Day 1, just 108 players survived from the total field of 720 entries, with Andrew Jeong the overnight chip leader with 1,003,000 chips. Chasing down Jeong are players such as Antony Darmani (888,000) and Brandon Caputo (883,000), but there are plenty of other luminaries looking to make hay. Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (335,000), Christian Harder (293,000), and Darren Elias (205,000) will all feel confident of adding to their resumes with yet another major trophy. Others were not so lucky, with Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, David Peters, Stephen Chidwick, and Erik Seidel all entering but failing to make the chip counts, but the money bubble didn’t burst until late in the day, with Silvio Costa the player to miss out on profit, his ace-queen unable to hit against the pocket tens of four-time WSOP bracelet winner Michael Gathy. WSOP 2021 Event #13 $3,000 NLHE Freezeout Top 10 Chipcounts: Andrew Jeong - 1,003,000 Antony Darmani - 888,000 Brandon Caputo - 883,000 Landen Lucas - 753,000 Yohwan Lim - 720,000 Brock Parker - 680,000 Frederic Heller - 635,000 Steve Foutty - 612,000 Ben Farrell - 607,000 Michael Gathy - 590,000 Heimiller, Albini, Williams Make $1,500 Stud Day 1 Top 10 The opening day of Event #14, the $1,500-entry Seven Card Stud event was the final event to end for the night, with 15 levels of play whittling a field of 260 entries down to just 76 players. Of those, plenty of well-known pros will be on the hunt for glory on Day 2, with bracelet winners Brendan Taylor (236,500), Kevin Gerhart (220,500), Dan Heimiller (184,000), Steven Albini (174,500) and WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams (172,500) all ending in the top 10 chipcounts at the end of the day. The prizepool of $348,435 will produce a top prize of $82,262 in the event. WSOP 2021 Event #14 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Top 10 Chipcounts: Elias Hourani - 240,000 Brendan Taylor - 236,500 Jeffrey Mitseff - 228,000 Kevin Gerhart - 220,500 Dan Heimiller - 184,000 Steve Albini - 174,500 David Williams - 172,500 Hal Rotholz - 154,500 William Buckley - 138,000 David Singer - 128,000 And finally, with the Seniors Event due to start soon, some players have taken to face-altering apps to prove their elderly credentials. Nice try, Niall Farrell, nice try. We know you’ll do anything to play in the WSOP, but this is ridiculous. https://twitter.com/Firaldo87poker/status/1445768446428397573