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Largely unknown Mixed Games player Jesse Klein won his first WSOP bracelet after taking down a final table stacked with stars at the 2021 World Series of Poker. The recruitment firm owner went from recreational hopeful to WSOP winner on a final day full of drama as one $25,000 event ended and another began. Hellmuth Rants, Glaser Denied As Klein Pulls Out The WIn All the focus at the start of the third day of WSOP action was on the final table of Event #2, the $25,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event which saw another mixed game specialist, British player Benny Glaser, go into the final table with the lead. It took little time for Matt Glantz to become the first casualty of the day as Phil Hellmuth took out his fellow American in Razz with a ten-five, with Glantz paired up and drawing dead on 6th street. Glantz cashed for $52,211. Next to go was DJ Buckley, who lasted just a few minutes more to bust in eighth place for $61,549. Buckley’s elimination to Ben Yu precipitated an extended period of play without a bust-out, but it was not short of drama as Hellmuth exploded at the end of losing a hand to eventual champion Klein. Folding on the river, Hellmuth declared his opponent’s start as "insane" and it was to serve as the opening bout in a war of words between the pair. It was some time before Yu busted in seventh place for $75,260, but that was only the warm-up act to another blow-up from Hellmuth as Klein scooped a second big pot against the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. The Poker Brat was back as Hellmuth left the table, pacing the floor and cursing at his lack of fortune. Just a few hands later, Hellmuth was gone, out in sixth place for $95,329 after bricking every street in Seven Card Stud against Chad Eveslage. After the event, Hellmuth was keen to point out the benefits of his staying power in bringing his A-Game to the Rio. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1444470919204769803 Hellmuth’s bust-out started a flurry of them. Philip Sternheimer was crushed in the same format by Glaser to leave in fifth place for $124,935. The same winner of that hand took out the aforementioned Eveslage in fourth for $169,218 when Glaser’s pair of sevens with a low ace was enough to win both Hi and Lo to send his American rival to the rail. Glaser led at that stage, but over the course of two hours without an elimination, each man had their periods of domination as the chips moved between each man. French player David Benyamine’s neck was on the block when he lost on 7th street to Klein, who won the pivotal pot to go into heads-up with a massive lead of 10.1 million to Glaser’s 1.5m. Klein won his maiden bracelet not long after the final duel began, with his victory in a Seven Card Stud hand ending an entertaining event. While Glaser, who had already won three WSOP bracelets in his career called off his stack with a smile and will enjoy the second-place prize of $341,274. For Jesse Klein, however, it was the fulfillment of a dream as the recruitment firm owner capped an enjoyable two-day sojourn to Sin City with a WSOP bracelet and $552,182 score. Event #2 $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Final Table Results: Jesse Klein - $552,182 Benny Glaser - $341,274 David Benyamine - $236,626 Chad Eveslage - $169,218 Philip Sternheimer - $124,935 Phil Hellmuth - $95,329 Ben Yu - $75,260 DJ Buckley - $61,549 Matt Glantz - $52,211 Jake Daniels Leads $25K NLHE, Michael Addamo Outsted Many of the H.O.R.S.E. field took to the 6th event on the schedule, the $25,000-entry NLHE High Roller that kicked off on Day 3 of the WSOP. With 135 entries in total, it was Jake Daniels who ended Day 1 top of the pile, bagging up 1,182,000 chips by close of play as one of only two players to "crack a milly." While Daniels was steady throughout, he did not dominate the leaderboard until the final two levels, eliminating Eric Worre and Daniel Negreanu to vault himself to the top of the chip counts, with Michael Liang (1,028,000) and James Chen (835,000) his nearest challengers. Elsewhere in the top 10 players, Jake Schindler (667,000) and Chance Kornuth (570,000) will be major threats when the action resumes on Day 2. Several superstars made the upper echelons of the leaderboard, but plenty of big names hit the rail too. Australia’s most successful tournament player of all-time, Michael Addamo busted both bullets so will not be eligible for re-entry on Day 2. Others to lose their stacks on Day 1 included Stephen Chidwick, Brian Altman, Kenny Hallaert, Koray Aldemir, Sam Grafton, Joseph Cheong, Ryan Riess, Jeremy Ausmus, Upeshka De Silva, and Niall Farrell whose epic journey to the World Series was common among those from outside the United States. At the close of play on Day 1, just 54 players made the counts, but with entry and re-entry possible on Day 2 right up until the start of play, that number is sure to swell with some of the best players in the world going for gold. Galen Hall was among those to express his relief at playing some live poker for the first time in a very long time. https://twitter.com/galenhall/status/1444423233160187904 Some of the biggest players in the world have already been drawn together for Day 2, with battles between Jake Schindler, Adrian Mateos and Mikita Badziakouski at one table just a single example of the level of quality in the event. Whoever grabs a final table place at the end of Day 2 will have earned it. Event #6 $25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Jake Daniels - 1,182,000 Michael Liang - 1,028,000 James Chen - 835,000 Scott Eskenazi - 747,000 Jake Schindler - 667,000 Clayton Kalisek - 610,000 Alexandros Theologis - 594,000 Chance Kornuth - 570,000 Ankush Mandavia - 553,000 Brian Rast - 551,000 Brobyn Bags 5 Million During Reunion Day 2 The Reunion, otherwise known as Event #4 on this year’s 2021 WSOP schedule, saw a huge number of entries on Day 1b, as 4,455 players took to the felt and made it into the money. Several high-profile players busted out before 204 players bagged up for the night, with Maurice Hawkins, Shaun Deeb, and Brad Owen just three of the Day 1 casualties. Others thrived at the felt, however, and by close of play, it was Robert Brobyn who bagged the biggest stack of chips, an incredible 5,015,000 of them. That total was way clear of Brobyn’s nearest challenger on the day Tyler Jamieson (3,040,000) and Brobyn’s lead represents the overall tournament lead after two days. Others to pile up plenty of chips on Day 1b included two former WSOP bracelet winners in the form of Ronnie Bardah, who proved a ‘Survivor’ with 2,005,000, and Jeremy Wien (1,640,000). WSOP 2021 Event #4 $500 The Reunion Top 10 Chipcounts: Robert Brobyn - 5,015,000 Tyler Jamison - 3,040,000 Jared Ambler - 2,450,000 Ya Yun Liu - 2,445,000 Ryan Messick - 2,410,000 Elvis Toomas - 2,375,000 Darryl Ronconi - 2,030,000 Ronnie Bardah - 2,005,000 Randy Rhee - 1,990,000 Mark Lilomaiava - 1,765,000 Connor Drinan, Rob Mizrachi Top Omaha 8 Final 15 Event #5, the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, saw 230 players whittled down to just 15 by the close of Day 2. Of those 15 players, only Connor Drinan and Robert Mizrachi have won WSOP bracelets before, but with both men at the top of the chipcounts, it could be a ding-dong battle on the final day to see whether Drinan wins his second, Mizrachi wins his fifth or a new player gets their hands on the gold. Day 2 of the event saw players such as Brian Hastings and Shaun Deeb hit the rail on the day the bubble burst with players such as Max Pescatori (80th for $2,400), David ‘Bakes’ Baker (75th for $2,400), Randy Ohel (48th for $3,200), Ari Engel (41st for $3,634) and former two-time WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Hughes (18th for $5,580) all make the money. It’s the potential shoot-out between Drinan and Mizrachi that has us salivating, however, as the final day of the event on Monday will crown a winner. WSOP 2021 Event #5 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: Connor Drinan - 2,415,000 Robert Mizrachi - 1,410,000 Sandy Sanchez - 1,380,000 Pearce Arnold - 1,160,000 Carl Lijewski - 1,095,000 Curtis Phelps - 1,080,000 Kris Kwiatkowski - 1,045,000 Yehuda Buchalter - 1,020,000 Michael Moed - 965,000 Scott Baumstein - 900,000
Niall Farrell, also known as 'Firaldo' online, is one of just nine players on the planet who have won poker's live 'Triple Crown'. With a World Poker Tour, Europen Poker Tour, and World Series of Poker victory to his name, the Scotsman is not only one of the most respected players in the poker community, he's also one of the most well-liked. Farrell achieved that lofty ambition four years ago by winning a WSOP bracelet. Since then, he has turned 30, become a father, and, so far, survived a global pandemic - all with his trademark grin in place. For any British player traveling to Las Vegas, the options for travel have been vast. From quarantining practices to making sure a double vaccination has been administered a clear fortnight before the first event they play. And that’s been only the start of it. But Farrell is heading to Las Vegas for this year's World Series of Poker, and like many others traveling from Europe, he has not found it without its logistical difficulties. “There are three options, but I’ll probably end up going via Mexico,” he laughs. “I’m looking forward to it. We could all do without all the other things we need to do [to get there], but needs must, I guess!” Those ‘other things’ include the necessity for players to receive both doses of the COVID vaccine before entering the Rio after a 14-day period where the vaccine has fully worked. Farrell is "pro-vaccine", but perhaps not for the reasons you might think. “I don’t think it’s a question of whether you agree with it or not. I don’t think the World Series is doing it for the greater good of humanity, I think they’re doing it for liability reasons as a business," he said. "It’s the same as if they said every time you play at the Rio, you must pay $20 to come in. It’s not like they’re a health board and they’re trying to bring the numbers down in Nevada. It’s their policy. If you want to go, you’ve got to do it.” Farrell’s positive nature about the vaccine is down to his belief that scientists are doing what is right for people, not just players. “I’m pro-vaccine,” he says. “Generally, in spots like this, I just trust people who are a lot smarter than me to figure out the best things to do, then do it. I understand some people have their misgivings.” The Scottish pro, who has over $6.2 million in live tournament winnings alone, admits that after not playing as much since becoming a father, he might have skipped this autumn’s WSOP. After no live series in 2020, however, it’s a must for someone who plans a WSOP schedule every year. “I look at how many buy-ins I can play, and the World Series is one of the softest things you’ll play all year. It’s one of the biggest money-earners you’ll have all year. You can’t really miss it. I’ll be out there full time and I’m going to play everything $25k and down. If I have a really good summer, I’ll play some of the higher stuff.” Farrell doesn’t perceive the lack of players who have refused the vaccine as having a huge effect, with the WSOP on target to pull in massive numbers in his opinion. It’s a big change from the first time he played it over a decade ago. “I was just starting out as a ‘professional’,” Farrell recalls. “I only played six bracelet events, they were $1,000 and $1,500 entries only and I was grinding the $600 tournaments." Farrell stayed in a house rented by his backer, and with his poker-playing friends. It was a time of hunger in more ways than one. “We were all pretty skint at this point so, weirdly, my strongest memory from my first trip to Vegas was finally being allowed to play 'The Big 33' on Full Tilt and winning it the first time I played! It’s changed a lot now. Back then, it was a shot to take, now it’s more like a grind where you’re going to play pretty much everything and try to make a good chunk of your money for the year.” The recent influx of Pennsylvanian events and other smaller-field bracelet events has taken away some of the prestige for a player who admits to being legacy-oriented. “I think it has diluted it,” he tells us. “Joe Cada has won two bracelets; one was the Main Event and one was another for absolute bombs. If some other guy says ‘Oh yeah, I’ve won two bracelets’ and one was a 38-runner on WSOP PA and the other was a hyper-turbo flip on GGPoker, obviously I’m saying ‘Joe’s count and yours don’t really mate.’” One of Farrell’s proudest achievements is the WSOP bracelet he won in 2017 that sealed his Triple Crown. It had a final table with players such as Ryan Riess, Claas Segebrecht, Ole Schemion, Antoine Saout, Sylvain Loosli, and Benjamin Pollack, who Farrell toppled heads-up. Farrell admits that his American friends wind him up about his bracelet not having been won on U.S. soil. “My response to them is always ‘This is how you decide if a bracelet event counts: Was Philip Hellmuth Junior in the field?’ And for mine, he was, so it counts. I was the worst player at the table - that has to count for something!” Farrell only traveled to Rozvadov on that occasion because of the chance that he could win the Triple Crown - and because friend and fellow pro Sam Grafton persuaded him to play it. A happy blend of serendipity and skill led to success. Now, heading back to Sin City, Farrell believes that an early win could help kickstart a successful series. “It’s obviously nice if you instantly win something and you know you’ve got a winning trip. You know that regardless of what happens the rest of the summer you’ve made some money. Maybe it affects how you play subconsciously; it’s a relief to know that you’ve locked up a winning summer and you can start making arrangements to change your dollars.” This autumn will, of course, be the final time that the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino hosts the World Series of Poker and Farrell will miss it. “As much as we bitch about the Rio, I’ve been going there for a decade, so it will be a little bit sad in a way. Also, one of my favorite Irish bars is going to be in walking distance from Bally’s next year when I bust, so that can’t be good. Having to go on the Strip is not ideal.” The WSOP Main Event is the one tournament everyone wants to win and Farrell is no different, having played in it nine of the last 10 years. “It’s the biggest event of the year and although I’ve not personally been super lucky - I got 150th in 2012, my friends have done really well in it, Pius [Heinz] won it and Daniel Strelitz should have won it but punted it off like the little idiot he is.” It’s clear that Farrell loves everything about the WSOP Main Event. Declaring it the ‘greatest tournament in the world’, the freezeout element of the $10,000 buy-in event is its biggest plus. “The playing field couldn’t be any more level. It’s you against the world. It’s the tournament I look forward to most every year, and the event you’re saddest to bust. You always have the post-Main Event bender in Vegas which is a bit rough, but it’s a phenomenal tournament.” Farrell admits to being "on and off a wee bit" when it comes to putting in the practice and has steered clear of higher-stakes games in recent weeks. He has plans to ramp up the action post-WSOP however...whatever the outcome of his epic journey to Sin City. “I’ve played a little bit to keep some semblance of sharpness about me. When I get back from Vegas, I’m going to throw myself back into it a bit.” The Triple Crown winner is going to hit Vegas hard and that might mean a lot more time at the felt than in years gone by. The Scottish poker legend’s appetite for a Vegas bracelet is larger than ever, and perhaps the World Series will benefit from the energy that the Scotsman's presence will undoubtedly provide.