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  1. Adam Friedman made history at the 2021 World Series of Poker on Wednesday night after winning the $10,000 Dealer Choice event for the third straight year, becoming the first player ever to win a single event three times in a row. In order to do it, had to best a completely stacked final 10 players that included Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, and Phil Hellmuth, who was at his fifth final table and playing for back-to-back bracelets himself. Friedman Finishes Hellmuth For Unprecedented Third Title With the tournament being six-handed, two five-handed tables kicked off the action on the final day. Phil Hellmuth began his quest for glory in familiar company, sat alongside Daniel Negreanu and, Mike Matusow. Negreanu left the party early, busting in ninth place for $25,741, but Matusow lasted beyond Mike Gorodinsky’s elimination in eighth place for the same amount and Matt Glantz going out in seventh for $32,746 after making the unofficial final table. With the final six players gathering, it seemed a three-way battle from the off, with back-to-back $10K Dealers Choice champ Friedman, Jake Schwartz, and Hellmuth himself all above 1.3 million chips, with Carol Fuchs (570,000), Matusow (390,000), and Andrew Kelsall (320,000) all seemingly scrabbling for the next three eliminations. That’s exactly how it turned out, with Kelsall busted by Matusow in sixth place for $42,646 before Matusow himself heading to the rail in fifth place for $56,826. It was Hellmuth himself who busted his friend away from the felt, proving poker is a game without the boundaries of friendships at the felt and the two men exchanged a warm embrace as Matusow left the arena. Soon after, Carol Fuchs was of contention in fourth for $77,437 when she lost a hand of 2-7 Pot-Limit Triple Draw to Friedman. In winning his 16th bracelet earlier this week, Hellmuth beat Schwartz heads-up, but this time Schwartz could only last to the first of the three podium places, busting in third for $107,861. A fairly ridiculous stat for the now three-time reigning champion showed just how difficult it is to beat Adam Friedman in the Dealer’s Choice format. https://twitter.com/Kevmath/status/1451102842622668809   So those omens proved as Friedman, who went into heads-up play with a slight deficit to make up, remained unbeaten to conquer the current king of the World Series under the lights. After the event, Hellmuth himself tweeted to update his fans that he’s about to take a well-deserved break for a couple of days after an epic three weeks at the felt yielded five final tables and a WSOP bracelet. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1451134173314367490 WSOP 2021 Event #36 $10,000 Dealer's Choice Final Table Results: Adam Friedman - $248,350 Phil Hellmuth - $153,493 Jake Schwartz - $107,861 Carol Fuchs - $77,437 Mike Matusow - $56,826 Andrew Kelsall - $42,646 Addamo Crushes High Roller Field to Lead Final Five It goes without saying that Australian high roller Michael Addamo has enjoyed an incredible year at the felt. No one has won more consistently and for such large amounts than he has in online tournaments, but Addamo is not satisfied with dominating the online scene. With five players remaining in the WSOP Event #38, the $50,000 NLHE High Roller, Addamo has almost as many chips as his four remaining opponents put together. Heading into Day 2, Addamo had a significant lead over the field, with more chips than the places between 3rd and 6th combined. Only Erik Seidel was keeping pace with the Aussie in any way, and that situation stayed the case as play found its way to a final table of nine players. At that stage, Addamo had grown his stack to 6.8 million chips, with only Seidel (4.2 million) and Sam Soverel (3.5m) anywhere near him. The first player to leave the nine-handed final table was German player Leonard Maue, who was short-stacked and all-in for eight big blinds with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qd"]. Bin Weng made the call with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kc"] and on a board of [poker card="As"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"] sent Maue home for a result worth $103,635. Next to go was Italian player Mustapha Kanit, who earned $126,141 in eighth place when he busted to Gal Yifrach, one of the four opponents Addamo will face on the final day. Kanit moved all-in with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qh"], but ran into Yifrach’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Ah"], which held with ease on the [poker card="6c"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="4c"] board. Play went on for some time before Sam Soverel was eliminated in seventh place for $157,666. Soverel moved all-in from the small blind with [poker card="Td"][poker card="Th"] but was at risk when Seidel called with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kh"]. The flop of [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="9h"] gave Soverel bottom set, but on the [poker card="Jd"] turn, Seidel made a Broadway straight and after the [poker card="7h"] completed the board, Soverel was on the rail. It was Bin Weng who busted next, calling Justin Bonomo’s three-bet all-in pre-flop. Weng had pocket eights, but Bonomo held pocket nines and no danger on the board saw the man who sits second on the all-time money list double-up, with Weng busted in the next hand to the same opponent. With Addamo involved too, the three-way pot saw Weng eliminated with bottom pair on the flop after Bonomo had flopped a top pair of kings. With Weng’s elimination earning the American $202,236, the final five places were set, with Addamo holding a huge lead over four remaining players, with one super-short opponent Chris Hunichen remaining confident of victory. https://twitter.com/BigHuni/status/1451007106820108290 WSOP 2021 Event #38 $50,000 NLHE High Roller Final Table Chipcounts/Results: Final Day Chipcounts: Michael Addamo - 11,475,000 Justin Bonomo - 4,975,000 Erik Seidel - 4,335,000 Gal Yifrach - 3,160,000 Chris Hunichen - 405,000 Final Table Results: 6th - Bin Weng (U.S.A.) $202,236 7th - Sam Soverel (U.S.A.) $157,666 8th - Mustapha Kanit (Italy) $126,141 9th - Leonard Maue (Germany) $103,635 Josh Arieh Leads $1,500 PLO Just 58 players survived Day 1 of the Pot Limit Omaha Event #39, which cost $1,500 to play and had 821 entries. A mammoth 14 hours of play saw Josh Arieh (1,000,000) finish ahead of players like Ivan Deyra (635,000) and Craig Varnell (566,000) in the top 10 chip counts. Players such as Ryan Leng (847,000) and Robert Blair (852,000) will feel most confident of taking down Arieh on Day 2, as they are closest to the leader, with players like Robert Mizrachi and Shaun Deeb unable to survive the day. WSOP 2021 Event #39 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Top 10 Chipcounts: Josh Arieh - 1,000,000 Robert Blair - 852,000 Ryan Leng - 847,000 Fred Goldberg - 653,000 Gabriel Andrade - 645,000 Ivan Deyra - 635,000 Dien Le - 627,000 Craig Varnell - 566,000 Nitesh Rawtani - 563,000 Zachary Bergevin - 512,000 Seiver, Silver Make $10K H.O.R.S.E. Top Ten Event #40 saw players such as David Williams pony up $10,000 and take their chances in the H.O.R.S.E. event, and there was an air of ambition around the Rio in the early levels, as Williams himself exuded.... even if he was a season out. https://twitter.com/dwpoker/status/1450982507751436290 With 139 entries, just 71 players survived, with legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Anthony Zinno, Eli Elezra, and Paul Volpe all busting, while Qinghai Pan (373,000), Scott Seiver (261,000), Randy Ohel (219,500), and David Benyamine (219,000) all piled up top stacks. WSOP 2021 Event #40 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chipcounts: Qinghai Pan - 373,000 Scott Seiver - 261,000 Andrew Yeh - 229,500 Randy Ohel - 219,500 David Benyamine - 219,000 Marco Johnson - 218,000 Jerry Wong - 217,500 Brett Richey - 215,500 Jesse Klein - 199,500 Nate Silver - 197,000
  2. Three events kicked off the action on a busy opening day of the 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas as the Rio returns to poker action for what is heavily rumored to be the final time. With the $500 Casino Employees event offering the first ‘Shuffle Up and Deal!’ of the series and $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. and $1,000 COVID-19 Relief Charity events also taking place, there was something for every bankroll on opening day. Eveslage the Leader in $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. With 73 entries, the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event #2 attracted some of the best mixed games players in poker, with former #1-ranked Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Matthew Ashton all pitching up to take part from the off. After over 11 hours at the felt, just 47 players remained, with Chad Eveslage well clear of the chasing pack on 860,000 chips. Eveslage, who has never won a WSOP bracelet, was top of the pile by a long way from his nearest challengers of John Monette (589,500) and Jean Gaspard (569,000) and will head into Day 2 in pole position to make a run at the title of this all-new three-day event. Cary Katz was the first player to bust, with Mike Gorodinsky sending Katz home in a Stud Hi-Lo hand where Gorodinsky’s sevens and deuces triumphed. There were strong opening days at the felt for Mike Matusow (421,500), Deeb (321,000), and Negreanu (270,000), all of whom finished above average. Elsewhere, 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (206,000) and legendary WSOP commentator Norman Chad (150,500) both made the cut. Registration is still open until the first card hits the felt when Day 2 resumes at 2 pm Vegas time, so with a prize pool that is sure to grow, there is plenty of excitement ahead for a thrilling event. Event #2 $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chip Counts: Chad Eveslage - 860,000 John Monnette - 589,500 Jean Gaspard - 569,000 Jesse Klein - 490,500 Mike Matusow - 420,500 Adam Friedman - 420,500 Chris Vitch - 371,500 Shaun Deeb - 321,000 Hal Rotholz - 314,000 Randy Ohel - 295,000 Just Five Remain In Event For COVID Relief Event #3, the $1,000-entry COVID-19 Relief Charity took place with 266 players taking to the felt, creating a prize pool of $205,400 and a top prize of $54,844. With 39 players paid, play went down to the final five, with the great and good gathering to play poker and donate money to help those who are most vulnerable at the same time, with the eventual chip leader, Jesse Lonis, ending the night on 2,285,000 chips. Plenty of big names busted outside the money, including three-time WSOP winner Adrian Mateos, fellow three-time winner Upeshka De Silva, and Maurice Hawkins. Hovering halfway down the chip counts for much of Day 1 but also failing to make the money was a former World Champion in the shape of Ryan Riess, who had a serendipitous seat to welcome him to the Rio, the scene of his greatest triumph, with a cameo from legendary WSOP bracelet winner Ron McMillen to boot. https://twitter.com/RyanRiess1/status/1443744580717801494 Once the bubble burst, players such as Ali Imsirovic (32nd for $1,590) Ryan Laplante (31st for $1,590), Pavel Plesuv (26th for $1,817), Shannon Shorr (21st for $1,817), Dylan Linde (20th for $1,817), Ryan Riess (18th for $2,000) and Matt Stout (16th for $2,000) all making the money but missing out on the final table. In the end, of the five players who remain, it was Lonis who led. With just four players between Lonis and a WSOP bracelet - including Jeremy Ausmus and former #1-ranked Steve Gross - it's only Lonis and Asher Coniff yet to win WSOP bracelets. Event #3 COVID-19 Charity Event Final Table Chip Counts: Jesse Lonis - 2,285,000 Jeremy Ausmus - 1,345,000 Asher Conniff - 755,000 Steve Gross - 485,000 Mitchell Halverson - 385,000 "Shuffle Up And Deal" The $500-entry Casino Employees Event kicked off the 2021 WSOP in style, with 419 entries making a prize pool of $175,980. Leo Abbe led the field after the day’s conclusion, sitting on a massive pile of 537,000 chips, with Shaun Weintraub (474,000) and Roberto Reyna (461,000) his closest challengers in an all-American top 10. One player who enjoyed his day at the felt in the first event of the series was Jesse Fullen, who provided commentary on the WSOP Online series for thousands of poker fans to enjoy this summer. Fullen began as he meant to go on, busting a player early then continuing to run up his stack throughout the opening day, ending on 223,000 chips, well above the average. Jon Aguiar was also riding high in the event and advocated the positive atmosphere as one of the benefits of playing in the opening event. https://twitter.com/JonAguiar/status/1443753395865546754 Aguiar busted in 102nd place, outside the money, but he had good company, with former event winner Chad Holloway and Garry Gates, who finished fourth in the 2019 WSOP Main Event both failing to make the money too. With the money bubble bursting on Day 1, just 63 players made a profit on their investment. The bubble didn’t last long and when it burst, Chris Moon was the man eclipsed by the field as he busted with pocket nines to Jason Smith’s ace-ten, with both an ace and ten on the flop doing the fatal damage. In the end, just 50 players remained, with Smith making the top 10 and Abbe the chip leader heading into Day 2 of the opening event with the remaining players battling for a $39,013 top prize. Event #1 $500 Casino Employees Event Top 10 Chip Counts: Leo Abbe - 537,000 Shawn Weintraub - 474,000 Roberto Reyna - 461,000 Andrew Bart - 422,000 Akash Desai - 415,000 Jack Behrens - 363,000 Marco Starnoni - 363,000 Jason Smith - 351,000 James Barnett - 343,000 Daniel Kim - 337,000
  3. It was a busy day inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Tuesday with three gold bracelets being won and a constellation of poker stars battling in the Amazon room. Michael Noori, David 'Bakes' Baker, and Anthony Koutsos all won gold. At the same time, high roller superstar Michael Addamo took the lead in the $50K High Roller, and both Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu made the final 10 in the $10K Dealers Choice event. Michael Noori Earns Monster $610K Score After four days of relentless poker, 3,520 entries played down to a winner in the Thunderdome as Michael Noori won the $1,500-entry Monster Stack for $610,437. Taking down the final table, Noori triumphed against Ryan Leng heads-up after a stunning comeback from less than two big blinds earlier in the day. Heading into the final table, Noori was some way back from the leaders, with Leng leading the way with 57 big blinds to Noori’s 26 big blinds. With ten players at the felt, the man at the top of the leaderboard was Jaesh Balachandran, but he busted in 10th place for $51,286. Balachandran shoved with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Qc"] and was called by Mordechai Hazan with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ad"], with a board of [poker card="9s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"] reducing the field to nine. It was Anthony Ortega who busted next as his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Kh"] wandered into a massive clash against Christopher Andler’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ac"], with a seven-high board sending Ortega home for $64,490. Ortega was followed from the felt by Johan Schumacher who busted in eighth place for $81,573. Schumacher raised then called off his four big blind stack pre-flop with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="6s"] but was well behind Rafael Reis’ [poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"]. The board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="Th"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5c"] saw Schumacher catch a Broadway draw from the flop but he couldn’t find a queen to save his stack. Reis took the lead with that hand, and at that point Noori was struggling on just 13 big blinds, second last on the leaderboard. The eventual winner dropped to short stack when Daniel Fortier was busted in seventh place for $103,784 with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Tc"] committed pre-flop against Mordechai Hazan’s [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Kh"]. Fortier was drawing dead from the turn on a board showing [poker card="8h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Ks"][poker card="Ts"]. Noori needed a double desperately, and it was Hazan who would oblige when Noori three-bet shoved with pocket sevens and was called by Hazan’s pocket jacks. Noori needed help and got it on the [poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"] flop, but still needed to sweat a ten that would have given Hazan an unbeatable straight. However, the [poker card="4d"] turn and [poker card="2d"] river saw Noori double up and that began his epic run to victory. Hazan’s stack was mortally damaged, and he busted next for $132,812 in sixth place. Hazan moved all-in with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qs"] and was called by Leng with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Kc"]. The board of [poker card="9c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="Tc"] saw Hazan on the rail and Leng moved into the lead with 75 million chips, with Noori (45m) his closest challenger at that stage. Charlie Dawson busted in fifth place for $170,943 when his all-in with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"] was called by Leng with [poker card="As"][poker card="Ks"]. The flop of [poker card="Th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4h"] saw Dawson remain in the lead, and that stayed the case with the [poker card="Jc"] turn, but the river of [poker card="Ad"] flipped the script and sent Dawson home in fifth. There was an extended period of play that followed without anyone busting, but eventually, Andler met with defeat for $221,289. He was all-in with [poker card="As"][poker card="2d"] and in real trouble against [poker card="Th"][poker card="Td"] after a board of [poker card="9c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="7d"] played out. Noori winning that hand was vital, with the American vaulting over Reis in the chip counts, though Leng had a massive lead at the time with double his two opponents’ stacks. Reis would bust in third place for $288,101 as he pushed his final eight big blinds over the line with [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Ts"] and was called by Noori with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="7d"]. With a flop of [poker card="8h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"] keeping Reis ahead, the [poker card="7s"] turn changed that and put Noori in command of the hand and the [poker card="4s"] river ended the hand with the Brazilian heading to the cash desk. Heads-up began with Leng holding an almost exact 2:1 chip lead. That was not the case for long, however, as Noori was all-in just ten minutes into the duel with a turned straight topping Leng’s flopped top two pair. Over the next few hands, Leng battled back, but Noori grew his lead after winning some small bets to increase his lead to 3:1 ahead of the final hand. After a board of [poker card="Th"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="7c"] arrived by the turn, Leng attempted a value bluff, raise-shoving [poker card="Kc"][poker card="8c"]. Noori, however, held [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qh"] and made the call, needing to fade kings, nines, fives and clubs to become a first-time WSOP champion. Noori needed to fade a massive 18 outs, but that was exactly what happened when the [poker card="7h"] river eliminated Leng in second place for $377,220 and he fell just short of his second live WSOP bracelet of the 2021 World Series. Noori was the titleholder instead, winning the $610,437 top prize and grabbing gold for the first time in his career, celebrating on the rail with his friends as Leng was left with a rueful smile about what might have been. WSOP 2021 Event #30 $1,500 Monster Stack Final Table Results: Michael Noori - $610,437 Ryan Leng - $377,220 Rafael Reis - $288,101 Christopher Andler - $221,289 Charlie Dawson - $170,943 Mordechai Hazan - $132,812 Daniel Fortier - $103,784 Johan Schumacher - $81,573 Anthony Ortega - $64,490 Jaesh Balachandran - $51,286 'Bakes' Scores Gold In Event #34 Event #34 saw David ‘Bakes’ Baker take down the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw final table after toppling overnight chip leader Peter Lynn heads-up. Six players returned to the felt as Baker, the most experienced player at the table had work to do in order to capture the crown and his third WSOP bracelet. Baker, the only former winner at the final table, used all his experience to get the job done and win his first bracelet in nine years. Afterward, Baker described how desperate he was to win, and ultimately, a combination of his determination and mixed game skills managed to conclude the event in his favor. With play very even between the top stacks during the first three eliminations, Baker really kicked in after play went three-handed. Baker took over and when Stephen Deutsch lost out in third place for a career-high score of $37,194, Baker was better than 6:1 up in chips, closing out the win for a famous victory. WSOP 2021 Event #34 $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Final Table Results: David 'Bakes' Baker - $87,837 Peter Lynn - $54,286 Stephen Deutsch - $37,194 Kristijonas Andrulis - $25,971 Marc Booth - $18,488 Mark Fraser - $13,423 Koutsos Freezes Out The Competition It was a recreational player’s victory in Event #35, the $500-entry Freezeout event, with real estate agent Anthony Koutsos claiming gold after an epic three-hour heads-up match against Charbel Kanterjian. Both Kanterjian and Koutsos started the 10-handed final table as the top two stacks and would eventually take care of most of their opposition between them to get to that epic heads-up battle. After Gilad Grinberg lost a coinflip to bust in 10th place for $12,944, Fausto Valdez did the same. It was Kanterjian who won that hand, pocket sevens flopping a set against jack-ten suited for the chip leader to increase his power at the table and send Valdez home for $16,324. The legendarily named John Moss busted in eighth place for $20,753 before he was joined on the rail by Ronald Ibbetson (7th for $26,595) and Jacob Rich (6th for $34,353). By that stage, Dongsheng Zhang was one of the most powerful players at the table, and he busted Sundiata DeVore in fifth place for $44,725 when Zhang’s [poker card="Ts"][poker card="Tc"] held against DeVore’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"]. Down to four, the next player to go was Jonah Lopas, who moved all-in pre-flop with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="3d"] but was called by Koutsos with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Js"] and couldn’t catch him on the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="9d"] board. Lopas cashed for $58,685 in fourth and he was joined on the rail by Zhang in third for $77,600 when Zhang’s shove with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="9c"] was doomed by Koutsos’ [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qc"] on an eight-high board. Heads-up swung this way and that for a full three hours until the average stack was worth less than 20 big blinds. Koutsos had [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Qs"] and had an easy call when Kanterjian shoved pre-flop with [poker card="8h"][poker card="6c"]. The flop of [poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="3c"] gave Kanterjian hope of a miracle by pairing his six, but after the [poker card="4s"] turn, the [poker card="Ks"] river saw Koutsos take the title and massive $167,272 top prize. Kanterjian took $103,402 for coming second, with Koutsos winning his first-ever WSOP title after his biggest previous cash was for just $5,000 before this defining poker result of his life. WSOP 2021 Event #35 $500 Freezeout NLHE Final Table Results: Anthony Koutsos - $167,272 Charbel Kanterjian - $103,402 Dongsheng Zhang - $77,600 Jonah Lopas - $58,685 Sundiata DeVore - $44,725 Jacob Rich - $34,353 Ronald Ibbetson - $26,595 John Moss - $20,753 Fausto Valdez - $16,324 Sereika Battles Padilha For Super Turbo Bounty Win Karolis Serieka won the fast and furious $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty Event #37, which took just one day to play out to a winner in the early hours at the Rio. With Pedro Padilha bettered heads-up by Sereika, other players such as Pierre Calamusa (4th for 88,436) and Lorenzo Adams (3rd for 88,435) Karolis Serieka won the fast and furious $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty Event #37, which took just one day to play out to a winner in the early hours at the Rio. With Pedro Padilha bettered heads-up by Sereika, other players such as Pierre Calamusa (4th for $65,494) and Lorenzo Adams (3rd for 88,435) coming close but failing to get over the line. WSOP 2021 Event #37 $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty Final Table Results: Karolis Sereika - $195,310 Pedro Padilha - $120,700 Lorenzo Adams - $88,435 Pierre Calamusa - $65,494 Steve Buell - $49,033 Alec Gould - $37,114 Romuald Pycior - $28,406 Alexander Norden - $21,986 Wing Yam - $17,211 Rupesh Pattni - $13,628 Addamo Takes Charge In $50K High Roller A busy first day of action in the $50,000-entry Event #38 saw Australian Michael Addamo bag the chip lead with 5,150,000 chips. His mammoth stack was three times that of anyone other than Erik Seidel (3,730,000), with Gal Yifrach (1,405,000), Dan Smith (1,085,000), and Mustapha Kanit (1,060,000) rounding out the top five chip counts with considerably fewer chips than the dominant Aussie, who has enjoyed a ridiculously successful 2021. With 72 total entries and only 21 survivors, 50 bullets were fired off in vain as players such as recent bracelet winner Jason Koon, former WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen, David Peters, Yiming Li, Cary Katz, Vanessa Kade, Tyler Cornell, Rok Gostisa, Ali Imsirovic, and Jake Daniels all departing without making the Day 2 seat draw. WSOP 2021 Event #38 $50,000 High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Michael Addamo - 5,150,000 Erik Seidel - 3,730,000 Gal Yifrach - 1,405,000 Dan Smith - 1,085,000 Mustapha Kanit - 1,060,000 Chris Hunichen - 995,000 Bin Weng - 975,000 Johan Guilbert - 940,000 David Coleman - 640,000 Leonard Maue - 625,000 Negreanu, Hellmuth Make Final Day of $10K Dealers Choice Adam Friedman has put himself in a terrific position to claim a third win in the same bracelet event after going into the final day with the chip lead in Event #36, the $10,000 Dealers Choice Championship. Last year, Friedman took down the Dealers Choice Championship, and amazingly, the same man is in a position to repeat the trick, going into tomorrow’s final day second in chips with just less than Jake Schwartz. Schwartz led the final day for the longest time and bags up a deserved lead with 1,380,000, but Friedman isn’t far behind on 1,329,000 chips and will be hopeful of what would be an incredible achievement. If Friedman is to fail, it will almost certainly be due to the quality of opponent he faces tomorrow, as both Daniel Negreanu (457,000) and Phil Hellmuth (424,000) hover in his rear-view waiting to pounce. With 22 WSOP bracelets between them, Kid Poker and the Poker Brat will share the felt when their table kicks off tomorrow, with Mike Matusow for company on what looks to be an explosive seat draw with all three men sitting in a row. On the other table, both chips leaders are next to each other, so expect final day drama. WSOP 2021 Event #36 $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship Chipcounts: Jake Schwartz - 1,380,000 Adam Friedman - 1,329,000 Mike Gorodinsky - 465,000 Daniel Negreanu - 457,000 Phil Hellmuth - 424,000 Mike Matusow - 410,000 Matt Glantz - 343,000 Andrew Kelsall - 324,000 Carol Fuchs - 260,000 Joao Vieira - 182,000 Finally, the World Series of Poker has announced that the 10 final nominees have been announced for the 2021 Hall of Fame entries. Who's your pick? https://twitter.com/WSOP/status/1450635341325430786
  4. “I also wanted to say that there are so many deserving nominees who have worked hard to earn a place in the Hall of Fame. More and more great players and builders are starting to turn 40 years old. I really hope that the World Series of Poker begins to induct a couple more nominees each year.” - Eli Elezra, 2021 Poker Hall of Fame inductee. For the second year in a row, just a single person was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. This year, it was Eli Elezra, noted high-stakes cash game pro and four-time WSOP bracelet winner. By all accounts, for his contribution and achievements in the game, Elezra’s inclusion in the Hall is well deserved. But in his brief speech in the Brazilia Room, after thanking his mentors and recounting his journey, Elezra took a moment to acknowledge the other deserving nominees with a hope that they, like him, may also have the opportunity to be so honored. It’s a hope that’s shared by many who follow the Poker Hall of Fame. In 2020, it came a bit of a surprise that the PHOF opted to reduce the already low number of two inductees to a single person, citing a return to the Poker Hall of Fame’s roots and the benefit of time as reasons to keep the election process as elite as it is. “We like tradition,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said in 2020. “One per year is the way it was for the majority of the Poker Hall of Fame’s history. A single inductee seems to promote the prestige of the honor. Most of the finalists these past few years are very young men. I would hope and assume they will all get inducted eventually.” What a difference a year makes. Even when the voting process allowed for two persons per year, the thought that the bottleneck of bringing valued figures of poker into the Hall of Fame was not ready for the flood of future poker greats, inspired by the poker boom. Looking ahead, without change, the Poker Hall of Fame may keep its elitist status but will forgo its credibility. A Hall of Fame isn’t about the number of people in it, it’s about accomplishments. And nearly two decades after a poker explosion extended the love for the game around the world, continuing to cut off more-than-deserving players and builders, makes the Hall look and feel like an old-school popularity contest rather than a celebration of those who have made the game great. That point has never been better illustrated than this year at the 2021 World Series of Poker when players, far younger than the 40 year age requirement, have added bracelets to their resume that reflect the numbers that, as of right now, are part of a legitimate Hall of Fame career. Take a look at the accomplishments of Shaun Deeb, Brian Hastings, and Brian Rast, all three of which earned their fifth career bracelet this fall. Rast, who will turn 40 before the next Hall of Fame nomination process, has made it well-known that the Hall of Fame is on his radar as what he expects to be his next accomplishment and will most certainly be considered next year. “Really, the number one thing at this point is kind of just making the Poker Hall of Fame. I mean, I feel like, I think I’ve done enough in my career…” Rast said immediately after his fifth win. And he’s not out of line in that thinking. In addition to collecting bracelets, Rast also has more than $22 million in live career tournament earnings, good for 24th on the All-Time Money List, and has been known to play cash games at some of the highest stakes available. Those three five-time bracelet winners are followed closely by a swarm of top-tier names, all of whom earned their fourth this series. Adrian Mateos, Ben Yu, Anthony Zinno, Brian Yoon, John Monnette, Benny Glaser, Farzad Bonyadi, Adam Friedman, Kevin Gerhart, and 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh all have great cases for future consideration. The four-time bracelet winner club increased by 33% in just one series and, coincidentally, it’s the same number of bracelets that Eli Elezra has to his credit upon induction. Of course, bracelets alone are by no means the only criteria for being inducted, but they do play a big role. Currently, respect at the highest stakes and, honestly, popularity among the 32 living members of the Hall of Fame (or those who have the most influence within that group) is perhaps even more important under the current system. But with that said, it’s clear that not only is there incredible talent on the rise, but the bar for what it’s going to take in the future to not only get nominated but get elected is also climbing higher. With so much talent rising and becoming eligible over the next five years two things are clear: the first is that the time for the Poker Hall of Fame to adapt to how much bigger the game of poker is today is here. In fact, it’s been here. Also, secondly, should the Hall not adapt, people who were once thought to be a lock for the Hall of Fame one day will be frozen out far longer than they deserve to be due to the pressure of escalating poker resume requirements to be considered by the public for the nomination process as well as for the voters themselves. For example, take a look at the case for Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow. Matusow’s resume looks incredibly close to that of Elezra’s in terms of his bracelet count and his time spent on poker television. It wouldn’t be tough to argue that, in terms of notoriety, Matusow’s influence on the game of poker far outshines many of the more recent inductees. His brash, polarizing personality has been ever-present on the poker landscape since the early 2000s, and, like him or not, he’s been an ambassador for the everyman and a persistent presence on poker television. But at 53 years old, Matusow doesn’t appear to be any closer to an induction into the Hall today from the day he became eligible. In 2020, when the votes cast were made public, Matusow received the third-lowest total votes. Perhaps it’s because the mouth he’s so famous for is a turn-off for those casting the votes. But as Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu has said many times - the Poker Hall of Fame isn’t designated for just the nice guys. If it were, well Matt Savage wouldn’t still be waiting. But even after his sixth nomination, Savage - one of the most influential tournament directors in the game - is still on the sidelines and, like Matusow, will soon be facing the robust resumes of elite players. But he’s also contending with the perceived notion that, if there’s only one spot open, it’s best not to use it for a “builder” or someone who has simply advanced the game as opposed to someone who crushes in it. To further that point, it seemed like when PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg was first nominated in 2020 he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He, along with his son Mark, took online poker to the masses, helped amplify the Moneymaker effect, and - not for nothing - was the architect to bail out thousands of players from the implosion of Full Tilt Poker (something that likely keeps surefire Hall of Fame member Chris Ferguson on the outside, perhaps never to get in). But Scheinberg, even after clearing up all legal ramifications in regards to Black Friday, is not only not a "first ballot" member, he’s now been passed over twice. It’s easy to see a few of these names and, perhaps, argue that they actually don’t belong. That what they have contributed or achieved doesn’t warrant inclusion. But it’s hard to ignore that the impact of poker on the worldwide community is also not well-reflected in the Hall of Fame. Recent nominees including Chris Bjorn, Thor Hansen, and Bruno Fitoussi all deserve another look for their contributions to poker. The end result is a Poker Hall of Fame that looks trapped in time and out of touch with modern poker. But here’s the hope moving forward: as the World Series of Poker leaves the Rio and begins a new era on the strip, perhaps there is a new era of change for the Poker Hall of Fame on the horizon. Not one that loosens the requirements by any means, but, as Elezra said in his speech, acknowledges that there are many deserving people from both the player and builder category who deserve to have the doors of the Hall open while they still around to enjoy being a part of it.
  5. The World Series of Poker’s Poker Hall of Fame announced the list of 10 finalists that will be considered for induction in 2021. The 32 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame will cast their vote from the shortlist, with just one earning the honor of induction on November 17. This year’s shortlist includes (in alphabetical order): Eli Elezra A businessman and four-time WSOP bracelet winner, Elezra has proven himself to be a world-class competitor in both high-stakes tournaments and cash games. He has more than $4.1 million in total live tournament earnings as well as a World Poker Tour title to his name. Additionally, Elezra built a reputation in the Las Vegas cash games and made appearances on High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. Antonio Esfandiari Nicknamed “The Magician”, Esfandiari became one of the more popular personalities of the poker boom (along with his then partner-in-crime Phil Laak). He has three WSOP gold bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and is also well-known as the winner of the first-ever $1 million buy-in Big One For One Drop for which he earned more than $18 million, helping push his lifetime earnings to more than $27 million. Chris Ferguson As a six-time WSOP bracelet winner (including the 2000 Main Event), the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year, and with a total of 142 WSOP cashes for more than $6.8 million Ferguson has one of the best resumes in WSOP history. However, his reputation off the felt took a critical blow in the aftermath of Black Friday as one of the primary parties of Full Tilt Poker and the debacle that followed when players were unable to get paid. Layne Flack Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack is receiving a posthumous nomination after his sudden passing away in July of 2021. Flack was given the nickname “back-to-back” after winning two consecutive events in the 1999 Legends of Poker, and then picked up two bracelets in 2002 and again in 2003. Flack earned more than $5 million in lifetime tournament earnings as well as a World Poker Tour title. Ted Forrest The third six-time bracelet winner on this list is Ted Forrest who has 39 WSOP cashes for just over $2 million. Additionally, Forrest has a World Poker Tour title and a reputation as being an important personality in the early poker boom as well as a member of The Corporation, who took on billionaire Andy Beal made poker famous as The Suicide King in Michael Craig’s book The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside The Richest Poker Game of All Time. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier One of the original online poker celebrities, Grospellier currently sits 47th on the All-Time Money List. With two WSOP bracelets and a WPT Championship victory in 2008, ‘ElkY’ has amassed more than $14 million in live earnings. However, with just one person making it into the Hall of Fame each year, Grospellier may be a long shot to get inducted in 2021. Mike Matusow Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow is one of poker’s most colorful characters but in addition to his polarizing personality, he boasts a decades-long resume of accomplishments. He’s a four-time bracelet winner with just under $10 million in career live earnings and he’s still ever-present at the WSOP today. Matusow’s strength is the impression he left and continues to leave on poker fans worldwide. Michael Mizrachi The top line of Mizrachi’s poker resume reads “Three-time $50,000 Poker Players Champion.” It’s an incredible feat and ’The Grinder’ is the only player to have pulled it off thus far. He’s a five-time WSOP bracelet winner, two-time WPT champion, and has accumulated over $17 million in live earnings and, at just 40 years old, is nominated in his first year of eligibility. Matt Savage The Executive Tour Director for the World Poker Tour, Savage is the most well-known TD in the game today. Nominated as a builder, Savage has been integral to the Tournament Directors Association helping shape the way that tournaments are played today. Isai Scheinberg PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg is one of the most influential businessmen from the poker boom era, getting much of the credit for helping drive the success of online poker both through marketing and the development of his platform. Also nominated as a builder, Scheinberg was key in helping U.S. players get refunded from a defunct Full Tilt Poker and now, with his legal troubles vs. the U.S. government behind him, he’s nominated for the second year in a row. The criteria for nomination into the Poker Hall of Fame remains that players must be 40 years of age, player for high stakes against acknowledged top competition while gaining the respect of their peers. They also need to have stood the test of time. In the builder category, they are judged on the overall growth and success of the game while providing indelible positive and lasting results. The enshrinement ceremony will be held on November 17 to coincide with the final table of the 2021 WSOP Main Event.
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