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  1. The notion of a poker hand representing a poker player is not a new one. For decades, ten-deuce has been known as the ‘Texas Dolly’. So-called after Doyle Brunson, the hand struck notoriety thanks to being the winning hand in back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Events in 1976 and 1977. Last week, Phil Hellmuth’s queen-four call for his tournament life - and subsequent suck-out success - went viral. Playing against Alex Foxen in the 2022 U.S. Poker Open, the so-called ‘Poker Brat’ become associated with the hole cards around the world... but how long will that last? From Will Smith-related memes to Hellmuth’s own reaction to the hand, how has a week in the spotlight given queen-four off the unlikeliest of popularity boosts? The Hand Takes Place Whichever way you look at it, Alex Foxen and Phil Hellmuth played out one of the most virally viewed poker hands in history on PokerGO during the 2022 U.S. Poker Open. With both men in the running for not only the Event title but the leaderboard victory at that stage, Foxen saw Hellmuth’s three-bet and four-bet enough to set the Poker Brat all in with a call. Hellmuth weighed things up as co-commentator Brent Hanks, working alongside Jeff Platt in the PokerGO booth, stated what every viewer was feeling. “This a guy who can dodge bullets but can’t get away from queen-four? I am shocked that he’s taking time making this decision. It is not a decision.” It was, however, and as Hellmuth declared ‘I guess I better play to win.” He put in his remaining chips, deciding not to leave himself with nine big blinds. Of course, a queen came on the flop and to add insult to injury, another queen on the river gave Hellmuth the crucial double-up. No nines arrived across the board left Foxen perplexed, and he shot a look of wonderment slowly around the PokerGO Studio. “What did we just witness? What the heck was that?” said Hanks. The whole world was about to provide a different answer to that question. Poker Twitter Blows Up No sooner had the hand played out were PokerGO themselves sharing what has become one of the most popular poker hands in living memory for people to watch. Quotes, retweets, likes and engagements alone sent the hand around the globe faster than you could locate your push-fold charts to prove the call 'wrong'. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1507474159030321155 Some of the comments on Poker Twitter have predictably been brilliant. “I swear the next time I'm dealt a [queen-four], I am shoving my chips in,” said one Poker Brat fan. “Instead of calling for my 'one time' I will announce ‘For Phil!’”. Many Hellmuth supporters came out in defense not only of their man but the hand itself. “I secretly love [queen-four],” one said. “It's my oddball hand.” Another represented many dozens with their assertion that: “From here on out, the queen-four will be known as ‘The Hellmuth’ or ‘The Brat’ People will be playing it like the [seven-deuce] game. Poker rooms across America will be talking about the hand!” They already were. The Memes Take Over From the moment the clip was shot out of the PokerGO social media cannon, the poker circus that exists online was in raptures. Max Pescatori hinted that an element of jealousy would waft through high roller games everywhere https://twitter.com/maxpescatori/status/1507533575054409733 Hellmuth himself shared the effect that the internet had enjoyed having on queen-four. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1507669423636692997 Plenty of fans were on Hellmuth’s side, and more than happy to show this runaway train of a meme subject would not be stopped by anything in its way. https://twitter.com/FPLFledgling/status/1507831077762736128 When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Poker Twitter moved at speed to appropriate the action to Hellmuth’s hand. https://twitter.com/jsmith84poker/status/1508287597067468804 While intelligent debate was thin on the ground, that didn’t mean the very best couldn’t parody it, and Phil Galfond’s post was a thing of beauty and a joy forever. https://twitter.com/PhilGalfond/status/1507837664216567808 Hellmuth even shared an amended hand ranking chart, giving new power to this craziest of calling hands. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1507667976891166720 Could ‘The Hellmuth’ Stand the Test of Time? One fan’s assertion that Johnny Chan could have prevented Hellmuth winning his iconic WSOP Main Event in 1989 really set the controls of the out of control juggernaut to ‘crazy’. “Your 1989 WSOP win showed up on my YouTube feed today,” they said. “Funny thing is if he played [queen-four] against your [pocket nines] he would have won. I think there's something magical about your hand.” Magical or not, Hellmuth didn’t win either the USPO event or any other event with the hand in question. So can it really stand the test of time? Eager to show that it might, the Poker Brat was on the road to a meet up game later in the week, and what would his first hand be? You’ve guessed it. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1509035404581736452 There’s a 'Queen-Four' Facebook group, and before long, you just know there will be t-shirts. If the hand catches on at the World Series, then the memes will all come out for a second airing. Hellmuth himself, as is so often the case, seems in charge of the hand’s destiny. Doyle Brunson played ten-deuce in not one but two vital spots. Both times he won a WSOP Main Event as a direct result, but while Hellmuth may not have the opportunity to do so, what the Poker Brat has in 2022 is a much more powerful media machine to feed. If Phil Hellmuth makes a final table at the 2022 World Series of Poker, then the Poker Brat will be waiting for two hole cards in particular to go crazy with on a live stream. Setting aside the value he’s stacking up by less experienced hopefuls presuming he is playing queen-four along the way, Hellmuth should absolutely play it under the lights. If queen-four makes it to mainstream television, we might never hear the last of a hand that is living in the moment for far longer than anyone gave it the chance of doing. All in? You'd better believe it.
  2. The recent PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown featured 32 of the best poker players on the planet. After three days at the felt, it was Chino Rheem who emerged victorious to claim $400,000 and the title as the end of an important chapter in his chequered poker career was brought to the happiest of conclusions. Daniel Negreanu is in Pre-WSOP Form Though he missed the money, Daniel Negreanu came into the PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown with a tough path ahead of him. In the first round, Kid Poker took care of Jared Bleznick on the feature table, building a sizeable lead before finishing off his opponent and progressing to a meeting with Tamon Nakamura. Nakamura provided a stiff challenge, but an early pot for Negreanu when his pocket tens turned top set against the Japanese player’s inside straight draw and flush draw worked the Canadian to almost level in chips and he would eventually prevail at the feature table. He may have lost to Darren Elias, but Negreanu is warming up for the World Series of Poker nicely. [caption id="attachment_638152" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Daniel Negreanu performed well at the felt, looking happy with his form and the game in general.[/caption] Elsewhere on Day 1, in the ‘Spades’ section, there were unexpected defeats for Sam Soverel and Shaun Deeb, who slid out after a dramatic and high-quality defeat to long-time rival, Shannon Shorr. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTi3JEAcEuw Darren Elias Knows How to Close The four-time World Poker Tour winner Darren Elias had an excellent run in the event, making it all the way to the final showdown, where he eventually lost out for the runner-up prize of $200,000. It could be argued, however, that Elias’ performance was the strongest in the entire Showdown, with his opponents among some of the best players ever to have looked down at hole cards. In the opening round, Elias took care of Landon Tice in the first match to conclude, with the final hand seeing Elias’s ace-king beat Tice’s dominated ace and ease the former’s progress. The second round didn’t get any easier for Elias, however, as he faced - and beat - Erik Seidel. The former WSOP Main Event runner-up proved a tricky opponent, but Elias again prevailed, only to face Daniel Negreanu in the next round, with his Round of 16 and quarterfinal opponents having won over $85 million in tournaments between them. Elias got the better of Negreanu and then took on the impressive Justin Young, who had beaten two of the favorites for the trophy on his way to the semifinals. Now in profit, Elias once again came out on top, making the final when he had worked himself 3:1 up in chips before winning a flip with ace-queen against Young’s pocket threes. The Big Guns Are Out for Hellmuth "My opponent gave me the double bird, and was out of line [with] his verbal attacks." ~ Phil Hellmuth There was no question about the most dramatic fall-out from the opening round inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA. Phil Hellmuth was the favorite to progress against Eric Persson in the $25,000 buy-in event. That result didn’t materialize, however, and when Persson won, a disgruntled Hellmuth trudged off complaining of the behaviour of his opponent. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1517361856779759616 While the verbal sparring had been even, Hellmuth perceived Persson’s flipping of the[ ‘double bird’ to be over the line, leading to a small explosion on Poker Twitter. Eventually, however, Hellmuth, ever the bigger man after the event, made a live apology during Persson’s next round victory over Dan Shak. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1517620869693988865 Persson might have triumphed against the Poker Brat and much-fancied Shak, but couldn’t make profit as he lost out to the whirlwind that is Isaac Kempton. Favorites Can Still Lose to Underdogs Many of the PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown games went against the favorite pre-match. Ali Imsirovic came into the Showdown on the back of perhaps his most difficult week in the game and exited immediately after being busted by Jake Daniels in the opening round. Others faced the same fate, with stars of the game such as Alex Foxen losing to Justin Young in the quarterfinals, Scott Seiver falling in the opening round to Isaac Kempton and Jeremy Ausmus losing inside the PokerGO Studio as he became one of Chino Rheem’s many victims on route to the title being decided. By the time the event reached the semifinal stage, it was one where every player was guaranteed a return of $100,000 on their stake of $25,000. Darren Elias was the only player of the four to have put his action on sale on Pocket Fives, once again making huge profit for investors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2dhO_jn8Y Chino Rheem is on the Redemption Trail "We’re back on the right track. God willing." ~ Chino Rheem Chino Rheem’s victory came with more than a heavy dose of irony in a week overshadowed for many by the cheating allegations that have peppered Twitter all week. Rheem, who openly admitted many of his problems early in his career came down to his reliance on drink or drugs, credited his sponsor and his many supporters in helping him turn his life around. “We’re back on the right track. God willing, thank God, if I can just stay there,” he said after the final victory against Darren Elias. “Honestly, once I made the money, once I won the first three matches, I was like, ‘whatever happens from here it’s all good.’ Things went my way, and I’ll take it, obviously. I can’t complain at all.” In achieving some inner peace, Rheem has proved something of a redemption story in the game and during a period in poker where many are being asked to look for the same sort of redemption by acting in good faith in the here and now, Rheem’s win confirms it can be done. With one of the toughest sets of players to win against, his victory against Darren Elias saw a superb tournament close out in dramatic fashion as four men made the money and in Rheem’s case, win his 14th ranking tournament victory across a rollercoaster poker career. PokerGO Heads Up Showdown Final Results: Chino Rheem - $400,000 Darren Elias - $200,000 Isaac Kempton - $100,000 Justin Young - $100,000
  3. The recent Hustler Casino Live poker stream made stars of non-poker players and showed that even global legends like Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan were beatable over a short period of time at a lively table. With online legends such as YouTube sensation 'MrBeast', chess superstar Alexandra Botez and cash game player extraordinaire Alan Keating all taking their seats, it would be easy to fade into the background. One player who was never going to do that, however, was video gaming legend Ninja, a.k.a Tyler Blevins. Hitting the Heights in the Hustler Game “It gave me a lot of confidence and I played better throughout the night.” Sitting down in the $100/$200 no limit hold’em game, the Fortnite legend made a neat profit, running up a return of $144,300, including in this dramatic hand. https://twitter.com/Ninja/status/1521188485406740480 After the event, Blevins told us that the reaction to the hand, via Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media outlets has been incredible. “I haven’t been part of a moment like this for a while!” he said. “I got really lucky that I was next to Hellmuth. He was helping me with some decisions I was making. I almost never called on a draw, and I was proud of myself. He was giving me a lot of positive reinforcement after some of my plays. It gave me a lot of confidence and I played better throughout the night.” After the game, Blevins took to Twitter and offered up the most meme-friendly image of the year so far in poker. https://twitter.com/Ninja/status/1521213789307240449 Hellmuth and Blevins got on like a house on fire and the feeling was mutual as we found out when we reached out to Hellmuth this week. The Poker Brat confirmed to us that the two men will meet up again soon. “We got to talking before we started - he told me about his charity events and I thought it was incredible,” says Blevins. “Then he told me what he was known for. I was like ‘Don’t worry about it man, I blow up all the time too!’ It was a match made in heaven being next to each other.” Ninja's Plan Works Out “I’ve found a new passion because win or lose I was having so much fun.” If the other players expected Blevins to arrive simply hoping to have fun, they would have underestimated the gaming legend. “I was going there to not lose,” he says. “I told my friends I was trying not to be the first one out. In the back of my head, I was like ‘I could win this’. There were players who could throw off Phil, and Alexandra was one of those. Every time that happened, I thought I could do well if I got reads on people and played smart.” It turned out that Blevins did exactly that. Winning six figures, he may have fallen slightly short of the $400,000 in profits that both Botez and Jimmy ‘MrBeast’ Donaldson took home, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless. “Keating and Mr. Beast were going all-in [a lot]. I was sitting there thinking ‘One of these guys is going to bluff me.’ If I played an elite table of eight or nine other players, I’d probably get torn apart, but it would be a learning experience. I’ve found a new passion because win or lose I was having so much fun that night.” [caption id="attachment_638172" align="aligncenter" width="992"] Ninja always wears a smile at the poker table and his personality seems made for the game.[/caption] Blevins and His Background in... Poker? Blevins may be known by his hot-shot Fortnite nickname Ninja, but he actually played poker long before he picked up a game controller and slayed his way to notoriety. When he was a teenager, poker was on TV all the time. The boy who would become probably the most famous gamer in the world idolised Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson among others. However, his early plans to play the game ran into trouble. “We took apart the ping pong table and bought legitimate poker chips,” he laughs. “We’d have $5 or $10 buy-ins with all of our friends. Back in the day, I’d make stupid calls for a straight or flush draw even if it wasn’t open-ended.” Blevins showed none of that naiveté on the Hustler stream, perhaps because of the memories of his first experience playing poker as a youngster. “There was a year or two when I was paying attention and I was never good at it!” he describes. “I was lucky and would always go for the draws. I’d need one club and call 500 chips - you don’t do that! I won one out of ten matches and thought I was good enough. I played online for a bit and got slammed.” Back in the Game "I don’t consider poker gambling." Over a decade may seem like a long time to take a break from the game, especially as it was during that era that poker experienced its biggest period of growth in poker. During that time, Blevins became ‘Ninja’, crushed Fortnite and changed gaming as an industry. Put simply, Ninja is the most popular streamer in history in the most definitive video game of recent times. It’s his competitive edge that he believes has drawn him back to poker. “I’m well off, but I don’t not like losing money,” he admits. “I don’t like gambling that much. I have fun and don’t consider poker gambling. I’m definitely looking forward to playing more now.” Blevins has a renewed passion for the game he moved away from as a youngster. In fact, he is already playing online, but you won’t be seeing his trademark blue hair and wide Detroit smile on any avatar...yet. “I’m going anonymous for now,” he says with a smile. “I’ve already made an account on a poker website and I’m up like $2,500 right now. I bought in for $1,000 and I’m up to $3,500 playing some $10/$20. It’s so cool.” Which Fortnite Players Could Play Poker? [caption id="attachment_638171" align="alignright" width="400"] Ninja has plenty of offers to get right back into the poker action.[/caption] "He probably plays a little bit like Phil Hellmuth." If you watch Fortnite, then you’ll know that Ninja is great friends with many other players on the hugely popular video game. In sheer numbers, Ninja’s followers are in the millions across YouTube and social media channels. His videos have piled up total 2.49 billion views on YouTube alone. But who else from his world could join the poker party? “I think SypherPK and CouRageJD could play,” he says. “I know CouRage plays poker and Sypher is very analytical, although he might be an overthinker. He probably plays a little bit like Phil Hellmuth. I was watching [Hellmuth] all night and I don’t think he got in unless he was sitting very pretty. He was very methodical in the hands he played, and I could pick out a couple of Fortnite players who are like that.” Blevins has had some great feedback from the poker community, with Hellmuth one of many looking for Blevins to bring his ‘Ninja’ skills back to the felt very soon. It very much sounds as if the gaming legend is just as passionate about doing so as his new poker peers. “I’m very content and able to take the experience. I really felt like I did well because of my experience in gaming. Let’s say I’m very happy right now.” Could Ninja play at the World Series of Poker? We wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen, and whether he wins or loses, one thing is guaranteed. The man known as Ninja will always play with a smile on his face.  
  4. Phil Hellmuth is the reigning champion of PokerGO's High Stakes Duel once again after defeating Tom Dwan in the Round 3 high-stakes heads-up rematch for $400,000. The three-hour match featured mostly measured play with only a few wild swings and no major eye-popping moves. For the most part, Hellmuth and Dwan appeared content to let the game come to them with Hellmuth getting the better of Dwan in a number of critical big spots. The table talk was also fairly muted as well. There were no real "Poker Brat" moments and Dwan, who often appeared unphased throughout the first hours of the match, only showed signs of slight frustration toward the end. Once Hellmuth found a way to seize the momentum he didn’t let up. The 16-time WSOP champ was making hands when necessary and keeping Dwan off balance with some interesting pre-flop raises that kept the chips coming his way. As expected, in the early going the stacks stayed relatively close with Dwan holding a small edge throughout the first hour. One notable hand that took place early, with the blinds at 300/600 (600 ante), Hellmuth limped the button holding [poker card="th"][poker card="td"] and Dwan checked his option with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="4c"]. The flop came out [poker card="jc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="3c"] and Dwan checked it over to Hellmuth who put out a bet of 600. Dwan check-raised his flush draw to 2,500 which Hellmuth called. The turn was the [poker card="qs"], adding a straight draw to Dwan’s outs. It was the [poker card="6c"] that completed the board and Dwan hit his flush. Dwan led for 8,700 and Hellmuth went into a brief tank before releasing his hand. “F*** me,” Hellmuth said as he got up to take a lap and walk it off. By the end of the hour, however, the stacks were even again. Roughly ninety minutes in, during the 500/1000 (1000 ante) level, the pair finally played a significant pot. Dwan put in a raise on the button to 2,600 with his [poker card="kd"][poker card="2d"] and Hellmuth, who held a slight lead, made the call with the [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"]. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4d"] giving Hellmuth top pair and Dwan a flush draw. Hellmuth checked to Dwan who fired another 3,600 and was snap-called by Hellmuth. The turn brought the [poker card="ah"], giving Hellmuth a king-high flush draw as well and after he checked, Dwan fired for 9,600 more. Hellmuth then check-raised to 19,200 and after a moment of consideration, Dwan called. “I’m very likely to check the river here…but who knows,” Hellmuth said right before the [poker card="9s"] completed the board. Hellmuth made good one that statement and checked, with only king-high Dwan seemed to weigh all his options but ended up conceding the 50,800 chip pot with a check back. [caption id="attachment_637821" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Tom Dwan during High Stakes Duel III[/caption] As the match stretched into the third hour, Hellmuth won a string of hands and jumped out to a modest lead. Then Hellmuth found a way to widen the gap. With the blinds at 400/800 (800 ante) Hellmuth limped the button holding [poker card="7h"][poker card="4d"] and Dwan put in a raise to 5,600 with his [poker card="th"][poker card="td"]. Hellmuth responded with a chunky three-bet to 21,000 and after a moment, Dwan made the call. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2h"] flop saw Hellmuth hit middle pair. But when Dwan checked to him, he opted to check back. The turn brought the [poker card="7c"], improving Hellmuth to trip. Dwan checked again and this time Hellmuth bet out 17,000. Dwan made the call and the pair saw the [poker card="9h"] complete the board. Dwan checked yet again and Hellmuth followed through with another bet, this time for 37,000. Dwan went into the tank, used some of his time bank, and eventually made the call. Hellmuth dragged the 150,000 chip pot and got out a three-to-one lead. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1486544492018556928?s=20 Hellmuth started the fourth hour with another big hand. At 500/1000 (1000 ante) Dwan called on the button holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="ts"] and Hellmuth, who had been putting in big raises with smaller holdings all match long, made it 10,000 to go with the [poker card="3c"][poker card="2c"]. Dwan made the call and the flop came [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] giving Hellmuth bottom pair, open-ended straight draw, straight flush draw, The action checked through, and the [poker card="ac"] hit the turn, giving Hellmuth the straight flush. Hellmuth bet 6,000 and, with the king of clubs in his hand, Dwan made the call. The river was the [poker card="3s"], putting a straight on the board. Hellmuth checked it over, clearly hoping for a bet from Dwan who ultimately checked back and was shown another huge hand by Hellmuth who climbed to holding 80% of the chips in play. The end came soon after. Hellmuth called on the button with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and Dwan looked down at [poker card="8h"][poker card="8c"] in the big blind and put in a raise to 7,000. Hellmuth took a look at Dwan’s stack and went for the final blow, shipping it all-in. Dwan looked to the side and made his final stand with a call. With nothing left to do but watch, the pair saw a board of [poker card="kd"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"] award the hand and match to Hellmuth. The friends got up and shook hands with Hellmuth quickly declaring “I know you’re rematching…this time for $800K” to which Dwan replied, “Yea, it’ll be a big one.” With Hellmuth back as the High Stakes Duel champion, he still needs to win two more matches in a row in order to cash out. To get there, he would need to win the $400K buy-in and an $800K match for a potential $1.6 million payday. Dwan now has the option to re-challenge Hellmuth in Round 4 would only need to win two in a row in order to walk away.
  5. PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel III returns this week as Tom Dwan and Phil Hellmuth sit down for a rematch of the heads-up battle that saw Dwan end Hellmuth’s seven-match winning streak and seize control of the High Stakes Duel title. On Wednesday, January 26 at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m PT), Dwan and Hellmuth will go at it again. The biggest difference this time around is that the stakes are doubled. Both Dwan and Hellmuth will put up $200,000 for a $400,000 prize pool and the winner will move on to Round 4, where, depending on who wins, a brand new situation will arise. In the last round, Dwan and Hellmuth had no trace of their 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship feud. Instead, the pair exchanged compliments before putting on an entertaining five-and-a-half-hour match in which Dwan wore down Hellmuth with some surprisingly straightforward play. So what’s on tap for the rematch? Here are a few items to keep in mind while tuning in to Round 3 this week. Hellmuth’s Confidence At An All-Time High While poker players and pundits have debated Hellmuth’s style of play over the years, no one has ever questioned his confidence. His supreme belief in self is part of the show when putting “The Poker Brat” on the air for all to enjoy. And even though he lost to Dwan in the previous round, one must assume that Hellmuth’s hubris is at an all-time high after his inarguable excellent 2021 World Series of Poker performance. For those that need a refresher, not only did Hellmuth bink WSOP bracelet #16 in the $1,500 2-7 No Limit Lowball Draw, the one tournament on his bucket list that he really wanted to win (“I wanted that bracelet so badly,” he said at the time) but he also made the final table in seven different events. That included the $50,000 High Roller PLO ($734,807) and the $10,000 Dealers Choice ($153,493) both of which he finished as the runner-up. If a card or two falls differently, we could be talking about Hellmuth looking forward to bracelet #20 and having an eight bracelet lead on his closest competition. Even though the majority of his 2021 WSOP success was mixed games (he had two NLHE results, neither were deep runs) it’s not as if Hellmuth has been transitioning to mixed games full time. When he hasn’t been sitting courtside at Golden State Warriors games, making profitable football picks, or hitting the gym, Hellmuth has been occasionally splashing around in high limit No Limit games. As he was here with Dwan himself: https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1470266909195059200?s=20 In short, look for Hellmuth to arrive in both bravado and style, perhaps even more than his usual fanfare. Ready to continue his vibe from 2021 right into 2022. Will Tom Dwan let his inner ‘Durrrr’ come out to play? The last time these two matched up in High Stakes Duel, there was a decidedly different Tom Dwan from the reputation he gained from his days in High Stakes Poker over 10 years ago. Dwan’s approach was rather measured, forsaking some of the high-flying plays he crafted during his online poker days playing under the ‘Durrrr’ pseudonym that brought him a reputation that is likely going to land him in the Poker Hall of Fame one day. So while Hellmuth will be looking to employ some #WhiteMagic and #POSITIVITY, fans might wonder if Dwan counter by putting Hellmuth in tough spots with a variety of creative plays. Or will he stick to the script of his original victory and let the game come to him, picking his spots here and there and while letting a potentially volatile Hellmuth simply blow up if things don’t go the way of the Brat. The dynamics of heads-up Sit & Go’s are different than that of full or even short-handed cash games, but the mere thought that Dwan might draw up and pull off a play as he did back in the day is one of the reasons he continues to be a fan-favorite to this day. Here's what's REALLY on the line. PokerGO is selling this heads-up match as a $400,000 battle with each player putting up $200,000. But in reality, it’s much more than that. This is High Stakes Duel III (Round 3) and according to the previously laid out rules, a champion needs to win three times in a row (before Round 4) in order to cash out. Hellmuth did this when he ran the table on both Esfandiari and Negreanu. If that doesn’t take place a champ needs to get (at least) back-to-back victories beginning in Round 4. With that in mind, Dwan has only won once. So, at a minimum, if Dwan wins this upcoming match, he’ll need to win in Round 4, at double the stakes, in order to cash out. Round 4 will have a total prize pool of $800,000 easily making it one of the largest televised heads-up matches, save for situations like the Super High Roller Bowl where the money separating the final two can stretch into seven figures. There would be even more pressure on Hellmuth if he wins. It’s three wins in a row, so his victory in Round 1 over Fox Sports personality Nick Wright doesn’t play. In order for Hellmuth to cash out he needs to get to a minimum of Round 5 where, according to the rules, the buy-in would be $800,000 - $1.6 million on the line. That’s 2.5x the buy-in of the SHRB, an event that Hellmuth has repeatedly skipped over the past couple of years. It’s closing in on Big One For One Drop money. What makes Hellmuth’s rematch of Dwan so surprising is, if he wins, is he willing and able to go the distance to cash out for the third time? Finally, what’s on the dinner menu? Aside from the poker, one of the highlights of each of the previous matches has been Hellmuth’s appetite at the table…and we’re not talking about poker chips. Sushi, turkey sandwich, burgers, and, of course, a can of BreinFuel and a super-sized bag of Sour Patch Kids. Who knows what it will be this time but whatever Hellmuth’s tableside snacks are Ali Nejad and the commentary team should have plenty of ammo to crack a few jokes as Hellmuth fuels more than his hunger for action at the table. Need a PokerGO account? Sign up for an annual membership using the promo code “SWEAT” and get a free $20 deposited in your PocketFives Staking account!
  6. Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan are set to renew their rivalry in an all-new $400,000 heads-up High Stakes Duel III (Round 3) set to take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 26. Hellmuth, the former champion, had gone 7-0 in the High Stakes Duel heads-up Sit & Go format prior to facing off against Dwan last August. First, he disposed of Antonio Esfandiari three times in a row and shortly after performed the same threepeat against Daniel Negreanu. After a one-and-done vanquishing of Fox Sports commentator Nick Wright, Hellmuth’s next charge was to avenge his 2008 bad beat loss at the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship over fan-favorite high roller Tom Dwan. However, Hellmuth’s HSD streak came to an end during High Stakes Duel III (Round 2) as Dwan played a more measured match, forsaking many of the high-flying moves that showcased him as a young phenom on poker television. He simply “took care of business”, collected the $200,000 prize pool, and eliminated Hellmuth, putting a stop to the streak. READ: Three Takeaways From Tom Dwan’s Victory Over Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel Even though he was defeated, Hellmuth had the option to rechallenge Dwan at double the stakes and that is exactly what he’s done. And now, nearly five months after he surrendered the High Stakes Duel belt, Hellmuth is back to, once again, try to put that beat on Dwan. Here’s what’s at stake: No matter who wins the $400,000, Dwan or Hellmuth, according to current High Stakes Duel rules, they can’t simply walk away with the money. The winner will have to face another challenger at double the stakes. If it’s Dwan, he’ll only need to face (and defeat) one more opponent in order to cash out as a player needs to win three matches in a row before Round 4 in order to put that money in the bank. That opponent could be Hellmuth, who would still have one more option to rematch left. If it’s Hellmuth, he would need to win another three straight, taking this season to a minimum of Round 5. At that point, the buy-in would be $800,000 per player for a total of $1.6 million making it easily one, if not the, largest televised heads-up matches of all time. All of the action can be caught on January 26 on PokerGO at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT). The first hour of the match will be streamed for free on YouTube.
  7. 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.
  8. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. In the aftermath of the Polk-Negreanu high-stakes, heads-up challenge, news of two more high-profile challenges have emerged and Lance and Donnie break both of them down on this week's episode of The FIVES! First, 15-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and season one High Stakes Duel winner Phil Hellmuth looks poised to be Daniel Negreanu's next challenger. But what will the format be when (and if) it takes place and will it be enough to satisfy the fans? At the same time, 21-year old poker phenom Landon Tice and high-stakes businessman Bill Perkins have publically agreed on a 20,000 hand challenge to start in May. Tice has also agreed to spot Perkins a 9bb/100 advantage - meaning in order to win, Tice will need to win more than $720,000. Finally, the guys discuss all of the most important breaking news from this week in the world of poker. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  9. [Editor's Note: At the time that this article was written, it had been announced that Josh Arieh had clinched the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year title. However, an online tournament result had not yet been included, leaving open the possibility for Ben Yu to win the POY on the last day of the series. We are leaving the article as written and today's events will be reflected in tomorrow's recap.] On a dramatic final day of the race to become WSOP Player of the Year, Josh Arieh finally saw off the dogged challenge of Phil Hellmuth as Arieh, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner in 2021 and four-time bracelet holder in his career, earned the coveted title of 2021 WSOP Player of the Year. In additional action, the final high roller of the series found a familiar name at the top of the leaderboard as Michael Addamo took charge of the $100K NLHE headed into the final day of the series. Addamo Adds Up Chip Lead Once Again The final two events of the 2021 World Series of Poker are racing towards the line as Michael Addamo and Ben Yu have put themselves in pole position to win big as they take leads into the last two final tables of the WSOP in Las Vegas. The $100,000-entry Event #87 is a High Roller event that saw players able to late register up until the start of Day 2, and stars such as Brian Rast, Ole Schemion, Elio Fox, Stephen Chidwick, Dominik Nitsche, Mark Herm, Jason Koon, David Szep, Sean Perry, Jeremy Ausmus and Rok Gostisa all got involved before the first deal, with the field confirmed at 64 players in total, with just 39 remaining at the start of play. That number was reduced almost immediately, with Shaun Deeb crashing out to David Coleman and Brian Rast almost on the rail in his first hand as he shoved for 600,000 chips at blinds of 20,000/40,000 with [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"], a hand called by Cary Katz with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kc"] which held to double up and leave Rast on fumes. Rast, a five-time WSOP bracelet winner after his win earlier this series, would later rally, but still missed out on the money places, as did Phil Hellmuth, who quickly realized that he needed to win or come second in Event #88 to win the Player of the Year race. Hellmuth wasn’t the only one on the rail without money as David Peters, David Coleman, Jason Koon and the aforementioned Cary Katz all missed the money, along with Mark Herm, who was busted on the bubble in 11th place. Arieh wisely chose to give late-regging for $100,000 a miss. Fedor Holz was the first player to make money as he was eliminated in 10th place for $167,869 when his ace-high shove couldn’t hold against Sorel Mizzi’s king-queen, a queen on the river winning the Canadian the pot and sending the German to the rail. Addamo had the lead as the nine-handed final table kicked off, with 9.5 million chips to Sam Sovrel’s closest stack of just over 6 million. Bill Klein was the first player to depart the final nine as he busted with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jc"] to Addamo’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qc"]. The money all went in on the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2h"] flop, but neither the [poker card="6c"] turn or [poker card="8h"] river could save him and he cashed for $186,909 in ninth place. He won his first-ever WSOP bracelet earlier in the week, but he busted in eighth place for $217,274 when his shove with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8h"] ran into Addamo’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="9s"] to bust on a board of [poker card="Kc"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="Td"][poker card="Ks"]. Sam Grafton was the next player to lose his stack as he busted in seventh place for $263,227. Calling a raise from Henrik Hecklen, Grafton went to a flop of [poker card="Th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4s"] and both players checked it. Grafton checked the [poker card="9s"] turn too, but Hecklen didn’t, firing a bet that the British player called. On the [poker card="6d"] river, Grafton check-called Hecklen’s shove after using several time extension chips, but the Brit’s time was up as he called, showed [poker card="Ac"][poker card="9d"] for a pair of nines and was shown Hecklen’s [poker card="Qd"][poker card="8h"] for a rivered straight. After an extended period of play where Addamo used his stack to chip up even more, Mizzi was the player to miss out on the final day as he shoved with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="7c"] and was called by Addamo with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="7s"]. The board ran out [poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="Qc"][poker card="9s"] as the unfortunate Mizzi saw his dominating hand overtaken on the turn to end play for the night and give Addamo a big lead heading into the final day, holding as many chips on his own as his four opponents do combined. WSOP 2021 Event #87 $100,000 High Roller Final Table Chipcounts: Michael Addamo - 19,620,000 Henrik Hecklen - 5,445,000 Sam Soverel - 5,165,000 Kevin Rabichow - 4,250,000 Sean Perry - 3,920,000 Ben Yu Leads Final Day in $5,000 8-Handed Event #88 The drama was palpable in the $5,000-entry NLHE 8-Handed Event #88, the final live event on this year’s WSOP schedule in Las Vegas. Phil Hellmuth, who could not reach the latter stages of the $50,000 or $100,000 events of the past couple of days, needed a deep run in the event. In fact, once Arieh crashed out, Hellmuth quickly established what he needed to do. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1463030770637754368 Arieh was still in the building and as the tension built, the leader of the POY race busted, giving him a chance to join the anti-rail. https://twitter.com/golferjosh/status/1463006906285391874 Sadly for Hellmuth and his many fans, the Poker Brat fell short as he called all-in with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="5h"] on a board of [poker card="Ts"][poker card="8h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] against Jason Brazeau’s [poker card="8c"][poker card="4c"] for a pair of eights. Hellmuth’s elimination saw the 16-time record WSOP bracelet winner concede defeat and congratulate Arieh on his victory. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1463061249034358784 Arieh replied, “You're always gonna be the goat [Greatest of All Time] buddy! I appreciate you more than you know.”, tweeting a picture of the title celebrations. https://twitter.com/golferjosh/status/1463079737480253441 After Hellmuth’s departure, many big names fell, as players such as Faraz Jaka, Romain Lewis, Joao Simao, Andrew Kelsall, Dominik Nitsche, Justin Lapka, Justin Saliba, and Brandon Sheils all missed out on the final day. With just 30 players bagging up Day 2 chips from the 531 entries in total, Ben Yu (2,515,000) leads the final day field. Uri Reichenstein (2,070,000) is his closest challenger, while there are top 10 stacks for some of the best players to have sat down at the felt this World Series in Shaun Deeb (1,680,000), Ramon Colillas (1,500,000), and Alexandre Reard (1,048,000), who will shoot for his second 2021 bracelet tomorrow afternoon. WSOP 2021 Event #88 $5,000 8-Handed NLHE Top 10 Chipcounts: Ben Yu - 2,515,000 Uri Reichenstein - 2,070,000 George Wolff - 1,770,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,680,000 Matyas Kende - 1,635,000 Ramon Colillas - 1,500,000 Danny Wong - 1,330,000 Justin Liberto - 1,285,000 Clayton Maguire - 1,100,000 Alexandre Reard - 1,048,000 Daniel Negreanu’s World Series of Poker came to a close and ‘Kid Poker’ was happy to post his scores from his final rollercoaster ride at the Rio. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1463082905802969092 Owais Ahmed commented that “It's sick, almost unfathomable, how many final tables and top 3 appearances [Negreanu] has at the Rio, but never won a bracelet in the building. I'm sure he'll be happy to see a location change.” in a comment liked by Negreanu himself. Bring on Bally’s. Everyone has made the ‘walk of shame’ from the famous poker venue for the last 17 years, but for Martin Jacobson, the Swedish WSOP Main Event winner whose best result of his career came inside the Rio, it was emotional. https://twitter.com/Martin_Jacobson/status/1463073395499692039 Finally, not everyone is going to be sad to see trips to the Rio go down and the temperature go up from May next year at Bally’s and Paris. https://twitter.com/kittykuopoker/status/1462932645155782661
  10. With the World Series of Poker Main Event completed and a new World Champion in Koray Aldemir crowned, one of the last major awards of the series to be handed out this fall will be to the winner of the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year. Headed into the last weekend of the 2021 schedule, there is plenty of drama left to be had as the final WSOP events to take place at the Rio all have the potential to shake up the leaderboard and provide a potential surprise ending to this year’s tightly-run race. One person, looking for as little drama as possible is current POY frontrunner (and PocketFives’ own) Josh Arieh. After a series performance that includes two bracelet wins and a final table appearance in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, Arieh simply needs to hold in order to have his banner hanging in the halls of the new home of the WSOP when it moves to the Strip in the summer of 2022 READ: Q&A With Josh Arieh: Enjoying Life, Seeing Success At The WSOP While a nearly 600 point lead is substantial, it’s by no means insurmountable. He understood this when, earlier in the week he announced on Twitter that he had to make his way back to Atlanta and that his WSOP was over - meaning that he wouldn’t have an opportunity to improve his position. But days later, circumstances changed for Arieh and he booked a flight back to Las Vegas in order to try and regain the heat had throughout most of the series and lock down a place in WSOP history. One of those players Arieh needs to contend with is the 16-timer Phil Hellmuth who, after an in-the-money finish in the $777 WSOP Online event and a final table appearance in the $10K Razz Championship, has vaulted right back into the race. He currently sits in second place, and has made it well-known that he’s angling to win the POY award. Although he’s sitting in a solid position right now, the remaining schedule doesn’t quite favor Hellmuth. His reputation for being “less than” at mixed games has been obliterated during the 2021 series, but unfortunately for him, there are no more small field/big point mixed game Championships for him to run deep in. Now, in order to make up the points he needs to catch Arieh, he’s going to have to get back to basics and dominate in No Limit Hold’em. Of the nine events that he can still register for while in Las Vegas, eight are NLHE with the lone stand out being the $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha. Perhaps the route for Hellmuth is to focus on grinding out a deep run in one of the larger field, smaller buy-in events like The Closer, the $1,000 Turbo, and the $5,000 8-Handed. This brings up another, and perhaps the most interesting aspect of the late POY race - the emphasis on High Rollers late in the schedule. Of those nine events, four have a buy-in of $50,000 or more. While both Hellmuth and Arieh are regular runners in the $50K PPC, playing in the NLHE shark-infested waters of the $50,000-$250,000 NLHE events is a totally different game. The fields will be replete with the biggest crushers in the game today, including the likes of Michael Addamo, Ali Imsirovic, and Justin Bonomo. Fields that some of those that are looking to close the POY race may not have a lot of experience against. There’s a lot of leaderboard points at stake in these remaining High Rollers and if someone can put together a run, as Michael Addamo did in PokerGO’s Poker Masters and Super High Roller Bowl prior to the WSOP, there’s plenty of points there to upend the POY leaderboard. That bodes well specifically for someone like Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu, sitting near the top of the Total Cashes leaderboard with 16 in the series, currently sits in 16th place on the POY leaderboard - one of the highest positions for the tight-knit crew of nosebleed MTTers. He’s 1,200 points behind Arieh and it would be a tough task to rack up that many points in such a short amount of time. However, in the $250,000 Super High Roller - in which he still has a shot to win - there are no less than 1,228 points for first place. There will likely be more than 1,100 points up for grabs for all of the High Rollers and should Negreanu keep cashing at his current pace it may just be enough to make a last-minute surge. Another player that the same scenario holds true for is Scott Ball. Ball, an NLHE specialist, has two WSOP bracelets - both won this series - and now has plenty of bonus bankroll to chase the POY. He took down the $5K Six-Max (one of the toughest tournaments of the series) for $562,667 and then best the massive field in the Little One For One Drop for another $396,445. He’s also proven he’s not afraid to fire $50Ks, scoring an 11th place finish an earlier $50,000 buy-in NLHE this series for $87,500. Ball, having a career series, is just over 700 points away from the lead and if his heater continues he could be a dark horse late in the race. Other storylines that have the potential to emerge include early POY favorite Anthony Zinno, making a deep run in the $50Ks, as we know he plans on playing them. Look to see if Aldemir, currently in fourth place, returns to the series well-rested after his marathon win in the Main Event to fire in high rollers which have been his bread and butter for years. Finally, Shaun Deeb, currently sitting in tenth place, would love nothing more than to make a deep run in the $50K PLO to upend one of his best friends in Arieh and make history for himself by becoming a two-time POY winner. The best part about this race is that it ends in Las Vegas. Despite WSOP Europe kicking off this coming week, the winner will be determined at the Rio, as it is meant to be. To view the current 2021 WSOP Player of the Year standing - click here.
  11. A dramatic day at the felt in two big tournaments saw history made inside the Rio Hotel & Casino as two more WSOP bracelets were won in two of the biggest tournaments of the Autumn. A Career-High Score For Adrian Mateos In Event #82, the $250,000-entry Super High Roller, Adrian Mateos went wire-to-wire as he took down the spectacular buy-in event for a top prize of $3.2 million and his fourth WSOP bracelet at the age of just 27. Just five players began the final day, with Mateos’ stack almost as big on its own as the four others combined. After a period of play that saw Keith Tilston drop down the ranks, the American was the first player to bust when his shove with [poker card="As"][poker card="3s"] over the opening bet from Mateos saw the Spaniard call it off with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"]. The board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] gave Mateos a turned straight and sent Tilston home for a result worth $632,124. With four players left, Mateos now had more than the rest of the table combined. It was Ben Heath who busted the next player, however, as Seth Davies busted in fourth for $930,791. Davies shoved from the small blind with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="7c"] and Heath called it off from the big blind with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jd"]. The ten-high board produced no drama and play was three-handed. After a period of play that saw Heath and Mateos battle for the lead, trading it on several occasions, Kincaid hit the rail when his [poker card="9s"][poker card="9h"] was no match for Mateos’ [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ah"] on the ace-high board. Kincaid, who had been a lot shorter earlier in the event, cashed for an impressive $1.3m. Heads-up, Heath was looking at a 2:1 deficit to overcome, but he was unable to do so in a final hand that saw Mateos’ [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Tc"] good on a board of [poker card="7c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="2s"] against Ben Heath’s [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. Heath cashed for $2 million, but Mateos’ victory was worth $3.26 million, the biggest cash of an already astounding career at the live felt where he has now won over $25 million. WSOP 2021 Event #82 $250,000 Super High Roller Final Table Results: Adrian Mateos - $3,265,262 Ben Heath - $2,018,148 John Kincaid - $1,370,575 Seth Davies - $930,791 Keith Tilston - $632,124 Ausmus Denies Bracelet To Both Hellmuth and Negreanu A ding-dong battle saw Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both just miss out on glory as Jeremy Ausmus won his third WSOP bracelet at the direct expense of his two highly-decorated opponents. The final table of nine kicked off with the departure of Veselin Karakitukov, who was the first player to win a six-figure score for their efforts, his cash worth $108,753. After the exit of Ben Lamb in eighth place, Josh Arieh busted in seventh, meaning he needed Hellmuth not to win in order to maintain his place at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. That happened, but not before a period of play when players were three-handed where each man had the lead. Hellmuth seemed to have all the momentum at one stage, but Daniel Negreanu was the thorn in his side. The same was true in reverse as at one point, Negreanu only needed to fade the river to eliminate his old frenemy in third place. Instead, the Poker Brat survived with a miracle on the river, leading to Hellmuth going to his rail whooping in the Thunderdome. Negreanu, frustrated at the missed opportunity, tipped his chair over in disgust. The Canadian would bust soon after, but Hellmuth still had work to do in order to claim the bracelet. He was unable to do so, getting it all-in with two pair on a flop of [poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"] where Ausmus had flopped the straight. That held through turn and river as Hellmuth saw his hopes of a full house disappear and dreams of that 17th WSOP bracelet go with it. The race for 2021 WSOP Player of the year looks likely to go to the final event, with Arieh making Day 2 of the $50,000 NLHE Event and Hellmuth needing to late reg and run deep to take the top of the leaderboard. WSOP 2021 Event #84 $50,000 PLO High Roller Final Table Results: Jeremy Ausmus - $1,188,918 Phil Hellmuth - $734,807 Daniel Negreanu - $519,764 Alexander Pedersen - $376,376 Laszlo Bujtas - $279,168 Jared Bleznick - $212,223 Josh Arieh - $165,452 Ben Lamb - $132,370 Veselin Karakitukov - $108,753 Jason Koon Leads The $50K High Roller In the $50,000-entry NLHE High Roller Event #85, Jason Koon bagged the biggest stack as some superstars of the felt gathered in his slipstream. With 35 players surviving from the 101 entries that took part, Koon’s stack of 2,405,000 is ahead of fellow first-time WSOP bracelet winner in 2021, Ole Schemion (1,760,000). With greats such as Stephen Chidwick (1,700,000), Shaun Deeb (1,650,000), Dan Smith (1,450,000) and Mikita Badziakouski (1,325,000) all in the top 10, there are going to be fireworks on Day 2, with Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both likely to register as part of the late reg frenzy that is possible before Day 2 starts. With Michael Addamo (1,145,000) eight in chips and former WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen (610,000) and WSOP Player of the Year leader Josh Arieh (570,000) all in with a great shout of victory sitting in the top 20 stacks, there was no place in the Day 2 seat draw for Nick Petrangelo, Elio Fox, Sergio Aido, Dario Sammartino, Anthony Zinno, Brian Rast, Dominik Nitsche, Ben Heath, Scott Seiver, Sam Grafton or Fedor Holz. WSOP 2021 Event #85 $50,000 NLHE High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Jason Koon - 2,405,000 Ole Schemion - 1,760,000 Stephen Chidwick - 1,700,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,650,000 Ranganath Kanchi - 1,565,000 Dan Smith - 1,450,000 Mikita Badziakouski - 1,325,000 Michael Addamo - 1,145,000 Darren Elias - 1,144,000 John Brooks - 1,085,000 The Closer Prepares To Shut It Down Finally, on Day 1b of The Closer, the $1,500-buy-in event saw Alex Kulev bag the biggest stack with a mammoth stack of 2,685,000. He’s clear of Giorgiy Skhulukhiya (2,425,000) in second place but even further ahead of Marc Lange (1,320,000) in third place. Players such as Leo Margets (1,300,000), Ryan Riess (1,070,000), Cherish Andrews (600,000), Landon Tice (330,000), and Melanie Weisner (280,000) all made the cut for Day 2, which will see 61 players fight all the way from seven tables to the bracelet, with stars such as Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Ari Engel, Felipe Ramos, and Joseph Cheong all missing out on grabbing end-of-day stacks on Day 1b of the event. WSOP 2021 Event #83 The Closer Day 1b Top 10 Chipcounts: Alex Kulev - 2,685,000 Giorgiy Skhulukhiya - 2,425,000 Marc Lange - 1,320,000 Steven Steinmetz - 1,300,000 Leo Margets - 1,300,000 Ryan Riess - 1,070,000 Noah Bronstein - 1,010,000 Michael Wang - 1,010,000 Jonathan Borenstein - 960,000 Mitchell Halverson - 930,000 Landon Tice grabbed a bag, and while he was doing so, he couldn’t help but admit to being a fan of the Poker Brat. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1462269836512292867  
  12. Koray Aldemir, the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event world champion, sits on top of the poker world this morning after the result of his career saw him win the $8 million top prize in the Las Vegas spectacular earlier today. Aldemir's The New Main Event Champ Since the moment Aldemir beat George Holmes in a stunning hand that you can read all about here, the poker world has reacted with overwhelming positivity to one of the most liked and well-respected poker peers in the game. The final three kicked off with Aldemir in a large amount of control, of course, but the focus wasn’t all on the players. Many observers felt that the final table chips being colored up so regularly denied everyone watching on TV the chance to see players push huge piles of the fun discs over the line. What’s the solution to the situation that has irked so many? https://twitter.com/AlexFungali/status/1461101741160734724 As yesterday’s final nine departed the Thunderdome, each one of them was naturally disappointed. A day on, each might have been reflecting on what winnings they have made rather than any imagine extra, and Chase Bianchi, who busted in ninth place for $1 million will have a fun callback to make to his landlord. https://twitter.com/Chase_Bianchi/status/1460600006801453062 As happens every year, when it gets down to the equity of a poker hand being worth millions, the final three players do slow down. Hey, every decision they make is priceless. Scott Seiver, an advocate on speeding up play in virtually every other event, came to the trio’s defense. https://twitter.com/scott_seiver/status/1461194881460629508 Sam Greenwood had to tip Aldemir for glory before the final table began, but wanted to make it clart ere was no comeback if it all went wrong. https://twitter.com/SamGreenwoodRIO/status/1460644748830646277 Erik Seidel also knows the winner of the Main, apparently for the first time in a long time. https://twitter.com/Erik_Seidel/status/1461043639954513920 Phil Hellmuth was on his way to making the final day of the $10,000 Razz Championship, but still had time for a Sit ‘N’ Go with Vince Vaugh and a few friends. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1461097693615435782 Finally, Patrick Leonard is on WhatsApp terms with the new world champion and somehow managed to avoid a side bet on the Main Event. That’s why they call ‘Pads’ the sharpest tool in any box. https://twitter.com/padspoker/status/1460605744424828932 When the event was concluded, Aldemir’s dramatic win lived long in the memory of viewers worldwide as the German won $8 million for taking down the title and busting George Holmes heads-up after Jack Oliver had departed in third. WSOP 2021 Event #67 Main Event Final Table Results: Koray Aldemir - $8,000,000 George Holmes - $4,300,000 Jack Oliver - $3,000,000 Joshua Remitio - $2,300,000 Ozgur Secilmis - $1,800,000 Hye Park - $1,400,000 Alejandro Lococo - $1,225,000 Jareth East - $1,100,000 Chase Bianchi - $1,000,000 Himmelspach Takes $1,500 Freezeout The next bracelet winner on a busy day at the Rio felt was Chad Himmelspach, who won the $1,500-entry Event #75 Freezeout tournament after a heads-up victory against German player Stefan Reiser. It was when six players were left that Himmelspach started to make moves up the leaderboard, with a massive five-bet pre-flop leading to his eventual heads-up opponent Reiser open-folding pocket tens. When he eliminated Tarun Gulati in sixth place for $50,021 with his own [poker card="Th"][poker card="Tc"] holding against Gulati’s [poker card="As"][poker card="9s"], Himmelspach approached the top of the counts with 9.6 million chips. With the bust-out of Ori Hasson in fifth place for $66,447, Kaue De Souza vaulted himself up the leaderboard, [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"] able to get there against the Israeli player’s [poker card="7d"][poker card="7d"] across the [poker card="4s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jd"] board. The Brazilian, however, was the very next player to bust, dropping down the pecking order before a shove with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="9s"] against overnight leader Renmui Liu’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="2h"] fell to a deuce on the river. Liu himself was out in third place for $121, 580, the first six-figure score of the tournament, when his short-stack shove with [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jd"] was called by Himmelspach with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] which held. That pot was a small one, but the eventual winner had built a healthy lead at the right time. With almost three times Reiser’s chips, Himmelspach saw the chip sway this way and that for over two hours until he was finally in a similar position of control. Himmelspach called his opponent’s shove, holding [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"] and looking pleased to see Reiser had been shoving light with [poker card="9d"][poker card="3h"]. The board of [poker card="Th"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="4s"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="Ad"] saw the event end in the American’s favor, winning him a debut bracelet and the top prize of over a quarter of a million dollars in stunning fashion. WSOP 2021 Event #75 $1,500 Freezeout Final Table Results: Chad Himmelspach - $270,877 Stefan Reiser - $167,418 Renmei Liu - $121,580 Kaue De Souza - $89,344 Ori Hasson - $66,447 Tarun Gulati - $50,021 Nicholas Hubers - $38,121 Seth Evans - $29,416 Louison Vincent - $22,986 Joanello Scores First Bracelet In Fifty Stack The third and final bracelet of the day to be won came in the Fifty Stack finale in a more secluded corner of the Rio, where Paulo Joanello of Brazil won his first-ever bracelet and $321,917 in the process. The heads-up battle was, once again, an intriguing one as both Joanello and his opponent, Toby Price, were locked in battle for some time, before the former’s overpair survived the all-in on the flop by top pair holder Price. At a fast final table, perhaps the two biggest challengers in terms of know-how were Elio Fox and Scott Hall, but the pair bust in seventh and ninth place respectively. In the end, it was the Brazilian rail who celebrated, and wildly so, as the Rio erupted with a sound worthy of its namesake’s carnival attendees thousands of miles south of the world-famous poker venue in which their latest celebrated son won gold. WSOP 2021 Event #77 $1,500 Fifty Stack Final Table Results: Paulo Joanello - $321,917 Toby Price - $198,970 Martin Bicanik - $146,061 Ron Moisescu - $108,349 Roongsak Griffeth - $81,228 Axel Hallay - $61,550 Elio Fox - $47,145 David Morel - $36,508 Scott Hall - $28,585 Dzivielevski Leads $10K Razz Final Table The final day of the $10,000 Razz Championship is sure to be a thrilling one, with Yuri Dzivielevski (1,126,000) the chip leader and both Erik Seidel (227,000) and Phil Hellmuth (133,000) in the mix, albeit short-stacked. With the Brazilian chip leader’s closest challengers being Yehuda Buchalte (874,000) and John Monnette (861,000) there is class everywhere among the final 13 players. With Hellmuth firing for his 17th bracelet, an amount that would extend the Poker Brat’s current record amount of 16 wins, and Erik Seidel aiming to win his 10th bracelet, anything could happen on what is sure to be a tense and exciting final day. WSOP 2021 Event #78 $10,000 Razz Championship Final Day Chipcounts: Yuri Dzivielevski - 1,126,000 Yehuda Buchalte - 874,000 John Monnette - 861,000 Erik Sagstrom - 845,000 Roland Israelashvili - 647,000 Benny Glaser - 552,000 Shirley Rosario - 398,000 Brad Ruben - 316,000 Carlos Villamarin - 299,000 Everett Carlton - 231,000 Erik Seidel - 227,000 Phil Hellmuth - 133,000 Matt Vengrin - 54,000 Bounty Hunters Invade Poker Hall of Fame In the unique Event #79, the $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty event, just 71 players of the 469 who entered made the money places, with 63 staying through the end of the day. Top of the shop after Day 1 is Marc Rivera, with the Philippines player bagging up 721,000 chips by the end of the night. Elsewhere in the top 10 chip counts, Jerry Wong was second in chips (700,000), while Christian Pham sneaked into 10th place with 402,000. Other star names such as Maria Lampropulos (383,000), Ole Schemion (333,000), and Joao Vieira (75,000) all made the next day’s play, with plenty of bounties and big names missing out, as WSOP Master of Ceremonies Vince Vaughn - costing a $10,000 bounty - as well as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Scotty Nguyen, Barbara Enright, Linda Johnson, Tom McEvoy, Jack McClelland, Phil Hellmuth, and Eli Elezra, the latest Hall of Famer from 2021, made their exits. WSOP 2021 Event #79 $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty Top 10 Chipcounts: Marc Rivera - 721,000 Jerry Wong - 700,000 Payam Karami - 630,000 Eder Murata - 560,000 Laurent Polito - 486,000 Phil Scaletta - 462,000 Abhinav Iyer - 442,000 Sonia Shashikhina - 425,000 Michael Acevedo - 419,000 Christian Pham - 402,000 Chino Rheem In Top 5 of $3K Six Max Finally, Event #80 saw 10 hours of play conclude with just 122 players in seats and Ruslan Nazarenko in the lead with 616,500 chips. Closing in on the leader were Chino Rheem (500,000) and Maxx Coleman (496,000), with Uri Reichenstein (357,500) also making the top 10. With others such as Anatolii Zyrin (280,500) and Ali Imsirovic (268,500) both making the cut, others missed out, with Craig Varnell, David Williams, Chance Kornuth, Shaun Deeb, and 2019 champion from the event Alan Sternberg all hitting the rail. WSOP 2021 Event #80 $3,000 Six-Max PLO Top 10 Chipcounts: Ruslan Nazarenko - 616,500 Chino Rheem - 500,000 Maxx Coleman - 496,000 Steven Forman - 460,000 Michael Moncek - 445,500 James Mordue - 419,000 Joseph Haug - 358,500 Uri Reichenstein - 357,500 Michael Hudson - 334,500 Robert Emmerson - 316,500 And finally, as the World Series of Poker winds to a close over the next few days, players will be returning to countries all over the world to explain to friends, family, and complete strangers what it is they did all October and November. Good luck, all. https://twitter.com/Martin_Jacobson/status/1460701887599038464
  13. Day 2cef of the WSOP Main Event saw strong performances from many big names as the field narrowed and some former champions enjoyed revisiting the WSOP felt on Day 2 of the Main Event for the first time in over two years. Moneymaker and Nguyen Among Former Winners to Star on Day 2cef Chris Moneymaker was one of the standout performers on Day 2cef as the 1,807 surviving players from Days 1c, 1e, and 1f combined to play out a dramatic day at the felt. Moneymaker, who now represents America’s Cardroom after over a decade at the felt wearing the PokerStars patch, had an incredible session of five two-hour levels, running up a huge stack of over half a million chips as he ended the day with 531,600 chips. Moneymaker's surge to the top of the chip counts came on two critical hands, both against the same opponent, Bryan Reyes. In the first, Moneymaker flopped a set of deuces against Reyes' pocket aces for a pure double. Then when holding the bigger stack, the pair clashed again. The cameras caught up with the action with the blinds at 800/1,600 (1,600 ante) after Moneymaker raised holding [poker card="as"][poker card="ad"] and Reyes put in a three-bet to 14,600 holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="kd"]. Moneymaker went with the in position four-bet to 40,500 and after a trip in the tank, Reyes made the call. The flop came [poker card="qs"][poker card="6d"][poker card="6c"] and Reyes checked it over to Moneymaker who put in a small bet of 25,000 and Reyes again made the call. The turn was the [poker card="5h"] and Reyes, checked again. This time Moneymaker slid out 65,000. With 200,000 left in his stack and after giving it a thought, Reyes moved all-in sending Moneymaker into the tank. An anguished Moneymaker stood and paced, concerned that Reyes flopped a set of queens. "It's no fun when the rabbit has the gun," he said. Then suddenly Moneymaker called and the cards were on their back. The river came [poker card="td"] and Reyes hit the rail and Moneymaker shot to the top of the chip counts. https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1458655860960411650?s=20 https://twitter.com/jeffplatt/status/1458665926191054848?s=20 Moneymaker may have made the top 10, but he doesn’t lead the Main Event at this stage. That honor is reserved for Conrad De Armas, who bagged up an incredible 744,000 chips, and that’s enough for the overall lead above Day 2abd conqueror Rameez Shahid (731,000). Hot on De Armas’ heels are several big names, with Adam Walton (673,100), Keyu Qu (664,900), Cameron Mitchell (642,000), and Daniel Lowery (625,200) the closest to De Armas’s stack. Behind them lurk dangerous top 10 chip stacks belonging to Matt Glantz (580,000), Artem Dedusha (577,100), Daniel Soltys (540,700), and the aforementioned Moneymaker, who won the 2003 WSOP Main Event 18 years ago. Outside the top dozen players, big names are armed to the teeth with raising chips, with Tyler Cornell (487,000), 2016 world champion Qui Nguyen (479,100), Jake Daniels (340,000), Robert Campbell (327,000), Robert Mizrachi (311,300) and Liv Boeree (289,500) all finishing inside the top 50 players on Day 2cef. Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth was able to make Day 3, but only with a short stack of 25,400 and will return to a battle to make the money, let alone push for another deep run this World Series. With 1,810 players taking to the felt on Day 2cef, just 915 players survived to Day 3, and they’ll join the 1,440 who made it through yesterday for a total field of 2,355 players who’ll play to the money tomorrow. With the World Series of Poker announcing that 1,000 places will be paid, here are the amounts paid out to the final nine players who reach the final table: WSOP 2021 Main Event Final Table Payouts: $8,000,000 $4,300,000 $3,000,000 $2,300,000 $1,800,000 $1,400,000 $1,225,000 $1,100,000 $1,000,000 While all those players will be looking towards Day 3 with determination to dominate the money bubble, plenty of big names on the rail will be looking at the next day’s play with only envy for what might have been. Vanessa Kade was an early bust-out, the popular player moving all-in on the river of a double-paired nine-high board with seven-four off-suit only to be called and eliminated by Jorge Ribeiro with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Js"] in a pot worth over 100,000 chips. Sam Greenwood was another to crash out early, his turned trip tens losing out to Abbas Moradi’s trip tens, with Moradi’s king kicker ahead of Greenwood’s jack. Plenty of other legends of the felt joined Kade and Greenwood on the rail too, as 2019 WSOP Main Event winner Hossein Ensan, Dash Dudley, Paul Volpe, Brandon Cantu, Kevin MacPhee, 1998 world champion Scotty Nguyen, Brandon Adams, Erik Cajelais, David ‘ODB’ Baker, Nathan Gamble, 2018 Main Event runner-up Tony Miles, Mike Watson and 1988 Main Event runner-up Erik Seidel all busted on Day 2cef. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 2cef Top 10 Chipcounts: Conrad De Armas - 744,000 Adam Walton - 673,100 Keyu Qu - 664,900 Cameron Mitchell - 642,000 Daniel Lowery - 625,600 Jorge Arriola - 594,200 Matt Glantz - 580,000 Artan Dedusha - 577,100 Aristeidis Moschonas - 555,400 Daniel Soltys - 540,700 Brian Rast Among Big Stacks on Day 1c of Little One for One Drop Event #68, the $1,111-entry Little One for One Drop, saw a dramatic Day 1c play out with Brian Rast near the top of the chip counts at the close of play. It was Oscar Alache (518,800) who grabbed the chip lead by the end of the third and final Day 1 flight, but Charles Lee (504,400), Thomas Eychenne (429,600), and Rast (459,000) will all hunt down the leader with hope and chips in equally large measure. Others to survive the Day 1c action included Jason Wheeler (210,000), Kevin Song (206,500), Lily Kiletto (140,000), and Asi Moshe (49,700), all of whom will be hopeful of running up a stack on Day 2 with which to attack the later levels. Some who fell by the wayside on Day 1c and therefore won’t have the chance to do so include David Liu, Arash Ghaneian, and James Adkins. WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Day 1c Top 10 Chipcounts: Oscar Alache - 518,800 Charles Lee - 504,400 Brian Rast - 459,500 Paul Lee - 443,700 Thomas Eychenne - 429,600 Idris Ambraisse - 379,400 Tomoya Matsumura - 376,800 Sunny Wong - 376,700 Peter Cross - 363,700 Liran Betito - 322,200 Deeb, Leng, Racener all Survive Day 1 of Event #69 A busy day at the felt on Day 1 of Event #69, the $1,500-entry Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better event, saw players such as five-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb, John Racener and Ryan Leng all make the cut to escape a day of terrific action. With 372 entries in total, only just under half the field would make the cut, with players such as Benny Glaser, Brandon Shack-Harris, Joao Vieira, John Cernuto, David Williams, Gershon Distenfeld, Frank Kassela, and Scott Bohlman all failing to survive across a cut-throat session of poker. Others thrived, however, with Jermaine Reid the pick of them, piling up 208,500 chips by the close of play, followed in the counts by James Hoeppner (167,000) and David Martin (166,000) who ran in second and third in chips respectively. Shaun Deeb (143,000) ended the day in the top 10, along with Mike Watson (137,000) and Matt Savage, the legendary poker tournament director bagging 126,000 by the end of Day 1. Other big names hover ominously in Reid’s wake, with stars of the 2021 WSOP such as Ryan Leng (112,500), John Racener (109,500), and Brian Hastings (96,500) all chasing yet another deep run. Former bracelet winners Andrew Kelsall (40,000) and Ari Engel (32,000) have work to do but the skills to make up for a slower starting day when Day 2 kicks off tomorrow. WSOP 2021 Event #69 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: Jermaine Reid - 208,500 James Hoeppner - 167,000 David Martin - 166,000 John Hoang - 165,000 Susan Genard - 165,000 Eric Crain - 153,000 Chip Jett - 148,000 Shaun Deeb - 143,000 Mike Watson - 137,000 Matt Savage - 126,000 Michael Gagliano tweeted about a rather awkward situation in which standing up to take a stretch at the poker table led to laughter all round. https://twitter.com/Gags30poker/status/1458580622566248448 Alex Livingston may have made the Day 3 seat draw already, but don’t let that make you think he isn’t already thinking of the final table. Quite a lot. https://twitter.com/rumnchess/status/1458702536173441027 Finally, after winning the WSOP Main Event and seeing his name - well, his 2003 name - give birth to an ‘Effect’, Chris Moneymaker is just like the rest of us and gets excited about a double-up in the Main Event. Who wouldn’t? https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1458655860960411650
  14. The WSOP Main Event made the money on Day 3 as 2,362 players were whittled down to just 1,000 as the clock ticked down hand-for-hand in the final level of the day. With players such as Chris Moneymaker, Stephen Song and Chris Dowling all bagging million-plus stacks, it was a dramatic day of action at the Rio in Las Vegas. Bubble Bursts at the Last in Las Vegas The WSOP Main Event money bubble is a special atmosphere, the kind that has to be experienced to be believed, but for the 1,000 players who made the cut on Day 3, it was unforgettable. https://twitter.com/JohnnieVibes/status/1459078055117287424 The day began with the elimination of Phil Hellmuth in a hand that was brutal for the 1989 champion to take, his pocket jacks all-in and at risk against pocket eights only for his opponent to hit and the Poker Brat to depart. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1458880964881305600?s=20 Some time before the actual bubble, one of the most incredible hands of this or any WSOP Main Event took place live on the PokerGO stream at the feature table. Five players went to a flop of [poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"] and it was checked through, despite Ugur Ozgur Secilmis holding [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] and Chang Liu holding the nuts with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4c"]. the turn of [poker card="6c"] gave Secilmis quad sixes in an amazing turnaround, but despite this, all five checked again to the [poker card="5s"] river. On the river, Secilmis led for 55,000 and when Liu raised to 225,000, raised to set Liu all-in. The American made the call quickly, flipping over quads and expecting to scoop a vital double-up. Instead, as his Turkish opponent turned over pocket sixes for quads over quads, the table was stunned as Liu busted with quads in the WSOP Main Event. https://twitter.com/pokergo/status/1459040437788762113?s=21 As ever, the real drama came in the hands just before the bubble burst. One in particular saw the rollercoaster of emotions that players feel writ large as Sebastian Gahl was all-in and at risk with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="5c"] on a board showing [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="2d"] against Randy Ohel’s [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Qs"]. On the dramatic river card of [poker card="Qc"], nearby players cheered in the mistaken belief that Ohel’s rivered set of queens was the winning hand without spotting that it was a club and therefore gave Gahl the flush. Once players were told of this, the Amazon Room was a chorus of boos instead. When it was over, the ‘bubble boy’ was Kevin Campbell, who was all-in with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ad"] against Chris Alafogiannis’ [poker card="Ac"][poker card="9c"], which managed trip nines on a dramatic board of [poker card="9h"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="9s"] that sent the Rio into raptures. As the room reacted with whoops and cheers, Jack Effel offered Campbell a chance to play the WSOP Main Event in 2022 and one player had the temerity to capture the moment in a slightly different way. https://twitter.com/PaulShadyoda/status/1459095275629207559?s=20 https://twitter.com/dklappin/status/1459090407674060800 With everyone locking up $15,000 min-cash, the chip leader at the close of play ended up being Jessica Cai, who bagged up 1,796,000 chips, marginally more than Thailand's Phachara Wongwichit (1,773,000). Players such as Stephen Song (1,557,000) and Chris Moneymaker (1,432,000) will both be hoping it is their year, with the latter going for the title 18 years after his era-defining victory of 2003. https://twitter.com/jeffplatt/status/1459221310454865920?s=20 Plenty of big names busted before the bubble burst, with Anthony Zinno, Justin Bonomo, Ben Lamb, Ole Schemion, Greg Mueller, Faraz Jaka, Andy Black, Niall Farrell, Jerry Yang, Liv Boeree Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Pat Lyons, Joseph Hebert, and Chris Hunichen WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 WSOP Main Event Top 10 Chip counts: Jessica Cai - 1,796,000 Phachara Wongwichit - 1,773,000 Joshua Paige Remitio - 1,671,000 Ehsan Amiri - 1,574,000 Stephen Song - 1,557,000 Neel Choksi - 1,552,000 Andreas Kniep - 1,509,000 Chris Dowling - 1,485,000 Chris Moneymaker - 1,432,000 Johan Martinet - 1,365,000 Solitro, Alache, and Jackson Star on Day 2 of Little One for One Drop A busy day of action on Day 2 of the Little One for One Drop event saw three Day 1 flights combine into a massive second day of action. With the $1,111-entry event seeing the 3,797 field reduced to just 229 players, with some superstar names at the top of the leaderboard. Mathew Solitro (2,300,000) bagged up the chip lead, closely followed by Day 1c chip leader Oscar Alache (1,980,000) and David Jackson (1,935,000), with players like Sorel Mizzi (1,280,000), Melanie Weisner (610,000) and Joe Cheong (510,000) not too far back. With other legends such as Phil Laak (500,000), 2019 WSOP Main Event winner Hossein Ensan (345,000), and 2021 bracelet winner DJ Alexander (320,000) all making Day 3, there are sure to be some very exciting moments as the next day of action brings us closer to finding out who the next bracelet winner will be. WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Top 10 Chipcounts: Mathew Solitro - 2,300,000 Oscar Alache - 1,980,000 David Jackson - 1,935,000 Jan Wagner - 1,720,000 Idris Ambraisse - 1,605,000 Lingkun Lu - 1,590,000 Chris Vickrey - 1,565,000 Edward Pak - 1,475,000 Masaki Nakamura - 1,450,000 David Singontiko - 1,450,000 Event #69 Sees Dozen Remain in Bracelet Hunt The $1,500-entry Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Event #69 has just 12 players remaining in the hunt for the latest WSOP bracelet and bracelet winners John Racener (1,220,000) and John Monette (1,165,000) who lead the way heading into the final table of the event. With other bracelet winners of the past Carol Fuchs (940,000) and Norwegian player Espen Sandvik (255,000) still in the hunt, a dramatic final day is in the offing on Friday night as the final dozen will return to battle for the bracelet and $113,459 top prize. WSOP 2021 Event #69 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: John Racener - 1,220,000 John Monnette - 1,165,000 Esther Taylor - 1,100,000 John Hoang - 1,065,000 Peder Berge - 962,000 Carol Fuchs - 940,000 Jermaine Reid - 725,000 Joseph Ranciato - 705,000 Espen Sandvik - 255,000 Joseph Kupresanin - 240,000 Negreanu Loses to Royalty, Calvin Anderson Sits Top 5 Daniel Negreanu suffered a bad beat as he busted from the $1,500-entry Bounty PLO Event #71. All-in with two pair, the Canadian busted to Colossus winner Anatolii Zyrin. The Russian had a flush draw and got there on the turn, but even worse/better was to come for the video blog-filming Kid Poker, as the ten of diamonds on the river gave his opponent a royal flush. At the end of play, Mourad Amokrane held the chip lead, with 1,066,000 the only seven-figure stack in the room. Jaime Lewin (712,000) and Nikolay Yosifiv (674,000) were Amokrane’s nearest challengers, with Calvin Anderson (525,000) the biggest name in the top 10 on a day when players such as Ryan Laplante, Ryan Hughes, Ian Steinman and Avi Cohen all missed out on bagging an end-of-day stack. WSOP 2021 Event #71 $1,500 Bounty Pot Limit Omaha Top 10 Chipcounts: Mourad Amokrane - 1,066,000 Jaime Lewin - 712,000 Nikolay Yosifov - 674,000 Miltiadis Kyriakides - 578,000 Calvin Anderson - 525,000 Paulo Villena - 483,000 Ryan Coon - 468,000 Matthew Mlsna - 465,000 Blake Napierala - 461,000 Manuel Ruivo - 448,000 Jon Aguiar highlighted the difference between a 40 big blind stack in 2008 and 13 years later in 2021. https://twitter.com/JonAguiar/status/1458964113497808898 GGPoker ambassador may have lost the last longer bet for the remote control against his wife, Natalie Hof Ramos, but he couldn’t help wishing his love good luck as the German progressed to Day 4. https://twitter.com/FelipeMojave/status/1458920630909222943 Finally, few of us will ever get to experience it, but for everyone feeling a little FOMO at not being in Vegas, we’d look away now if we were you. This is how it feels to make Day 4 of the Main Event, whoever you may be. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1459092723957260293
  15. A busy day on both Day 1f and Day 2abd of the WSOP Main Event saw a wizard take his seat, several huge names power to the top of the leaderboard and the biggest single day of action in the Main for over two years. It was an incredible day of action as the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas played host to some of the world’s best poker players. Hellmuth Arrives in Style on Day 1f, Chips Up Before Close It’s impossible to start anywhere other than the grandest of entrances from the man famed for his exuberance at the World Series. Phil Hellmuth, a.k.a. The Poker Brat. Waiting until the end of the day, and playing only the final two levels, Hellmuth arrived shortly before the dinner break as, dressed head to toe in white as ‘Gandalf the White’, the 16-time bracelet winner was accompanied by 16 models - one for each bracelet, natch - two fighting characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, who appeared to be Saruman from the Oscar-winning films. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1458296604536967178 With the hoopla to one side, once Hellmuth sat down, he improved on his starting stack in no time at all, bagging up 94,500 with which to attack tomorrow’s Day 2cef. He wasn’t the only one taking part in Day 1f, with some legends of the felt playing the flight, such as Fedor Holz (161,600), Scotty Nguyen (52,200), Michael Mizrachi (212,300), and Chris Moneymaker (75,800), the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner who finally couldn’t resist the clarion call any longer. Elsewhere, players such as Liv Boeree played for the first time in a while, bagging up 90,000 after claiming not to ‘remember how to play’ after such a long time away from the felt. https://twitter.com/Liv_Boeree/status/1458166021412376578 The chip leader at the close of Day 1f was Adam Walton with a massive stack of 334,000 chips, but he had stellar company in the upper echelons of the leaderboard, with Michael Mizrachi (212,300), Henrik Hecklen (210,000) and Cate Hall (197,000) all bagging top 10 stacks. Others weren’t so fortunate, with players such as Justin Lapka, David Benyamine and Robert McMillan all falling by the wayside during the day’s play. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 1f Top 10 Chipcounts: Adam Walton - 334,000 Tung Nguyen - 328,200 Hannes Speiser - 282,100 Arkadi Onikoul - 266,300 Ryan Hartmann - 243,200 Young Ko - 240,300 Jung Woo - 231,900 John Bagosy - 224,700 Christopher Fischer - 219,000 Terence Clee - 218,700 Day 2abd Sees Doyle Brunson Bust but Jason Koon Crush One of the biggest clashes on Day 2abd of the Main Event was the match-up between Doyle Brunson and Jason Koon. One is a classic poker legend and 10-time bracelet winner, the other has just signed for GGPoker and won his first-ever bracelet this series. Sadly for ‘Texas Dolly’ fans, only one would prevail and it was not to be the man in the cowboy hat, as fellow player Kyna England tweeted of her shock at a bizarre first Main Event experience. https://twitter.com/Kyna_CooL/status/1458222692767703046 Rameez Shahid (731,700) led the field after Day 2, but plenty of others with experience are chasing him down, with David Coleman (613,000), Johan Schumacher (597,000), Robert Cowen (596,400), Nick Petrangelo (490,200), Anton Wigg (490,000), Mustapha Kanit (473,300), Brittney Stout (394,900), and Kathy Liebert (285,500) amongst them. With 145 players choosing a Day 2 entry for the first time in the tournament’s half-century of history, that led to the field topping 6,500 with Day 2cef the last possible opportunity for players to put down $10,000 and battle for the legendary world champion’s WSOP bracelet. Plenty of big names were unsuccessful in their bid for poker immortality, with players such as Asi Moshe, Sam Grafton, Adam Friedman, Rep Porter, Maria Konnikova, Melanie Weisner, Kelly Minkin, Mikita Badziakouski, Jeff Gross and Kevin Martin all departing on Day 2abd. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 2abd Top 10 Chipcounts: Shahid Rameez - 731,700 David Mock - 679,700 Damien Steel - 649,000 Farhad Jamasi - 635,000 Raul Martinez - 628,100 Steve Foutty - 620,000 Mitchell Halverson - 617,600 Scott Davies - 615,100 David Coleman - 613,500 Kayvon Shahbaz - 599,200 Shaun Deeb on the Hunt in Little One for One Drop Finally, on Day 1b of the $1,111-entry Little One for One Drop, 901 total entries were whittled down to just 297 survivors. The chip leader at the close of the second opening flight was Trent Wilt, who bagged up 516,200, but Wilt was followed by some big names armed with plenty of chips like David Tran (501,600), Seongmin Lee (461,700), Evgeni Toureusk (401,400), Quirin Heinz (386,100), Sam Cohen (270,000), Michael Acevedo (252,000), Shaun Deeb (85,000), and Bill Klein (68,000). Deeb is a particular player to watch as he goes for the Player of the Year title with a deep run in this event possibly crucial to that aim. With Day 1c being the final flight to take part in if players want to advance to Day 2, the total of 1,389 entries so far in this event could well be doubled. Players who busted on Day 1b included Pamela Balzano, Natalie Bromley, DJ Alexander, Asi Moshe and Kyna England WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Top 10 Chipcounts: Trent Wilt - 516,200 David Tran - 501,600 Seongmin Lee - 461,700 Evgeni Tourevski - 401,400 Quirin Heinz - 386,100 Jaspal Brar - 379,100 Ari Oxman - 376,400 Blerim Imeri - 332,400 Marco Damico - 316,000 Jonathan Ingalls - 312,800 Finally, he may have busted the Main Event, but for a while there, Landon Tice felt the same as the rest of us and achieved the peace of mind only grinding a short stack can inspire. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1458332577811427328
  16. Phil Hellmuth is hoping to conjure a little #WhiteMagic at this year’s 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event and he kicked it off by making a flamboyant entrance to the Rio in full The Lord of Rings cosplay. Hellmuth, who has a penchant for making a promotion-packed commotion before taking his seat at the $10K buy-in tournament, chose to arrive as Gandalf the White (as opposed to Gandalf the Grey) for Day 1F. Hellmuth is either a big fan of the series or perhaps it's a nod to the resurrection of his bracelet chase here in 2021. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1458245640211689472?s=20 Walking behind Hellmuth were what looked like three other characters from the J.R.R. Tolkien lore - a couple of "elves" and another spell caster. We're not quite sure in which of the legendary classic novels had Gandalf followed by a number of Bitcoin Latnium models, but there were 16 of them - one to represent each of his WSOP bracelets. https://twitter.com/GGPoker/status/1458297842569650180?s=20 PokerNews' social media grabbed some nice footage of Hellmuth making his way down the main corridor flanked by Dan 'Jungleman' Cates dressed as Saruman. Not completely inappropriate as Cates, the 2021 $50K Poker Players Championship bracelet winner, could still be considered a wizard at the table. In the video below you can hear Hellmuth deliver the classic "You shall not pass!" line to which Cates said something inaudible in reply. Then both actors showed off their dynamite bo staff skills before resuming their walk. Hellmuth, a pro at these entrances, then gave his fellow performer a note to say the line again "louder so they can hear you." https://twitter.com/PokerNews/status/1458275045382361092?s=20 Now that it's over, Hellmuth is going to try and cast a spell on the competition and make a deep run in the Main Event and add to his mystical 2021 WSOP. [note: Matusow said that as soon as Hellmuth sat down and the cameras were gone, he instantly went to change out of costume - not even waiting for the dinner break that was 10 minutes away.]
  17. The fourth Day 1 flight of the WSOP Main Event saw over 2,500 players either qualify for or directly buy-in for $10,000 as the biggest poker tournament in the world saw its biggest day yet. With some of the best players in poker taking their shot at millions on Day 1d, there were major casualties and superstars bagging big stacks. Baker and Shak in the Mix The chip leader in the Main Event is Russian player Aleksandr Shevlyakov from Day 1c with 392,600 chips, but Day 1d’s best-performing player, Adedapo Ajayi, will be proud of the 340,900 he bagged up by close of play. With David ‘Bakes’ Baker (247,300) and Dan Shak (229,200) also grabbing top 5 stacks by the end of Day 1d, there was a lot of talented competition going on to Day 2. Others who thrived on Day 1d included James Chen (209,400), Shyam Srinivasan (206,000), and Cliff Josephy (198,600), who tweeted about his excitement at playing the Main Event yet again, the luster of the competition never losing its thrill to one of the World Series’ most respected regulars. https://twitter.com/JohnnyBaxPoker/status/1457624568303026180 Other big names made Day 2 with big stacks too. Yevgeniy Timoshenko (194,800), Nick Petrangelo (180,000), Matt Berkey (179,800), Greg Mueller (176,700), Ben Heath (176,000), Roland Israelashvili (173,700), Jun Obara (169,400), and Melanie Weisner (125,200) all making the cut. Newhouse Survives Scary Start Mark Newhouse, famed for finishing ninth two years on the trot in the Main Event, had a dramatic start to the day when he was all-in and at risk with pocket kings against two players with pocket aces. Newhouse hit a king on the river to treble up, but while that pot put him on well over twice his starting stack, he drifted a little later in the day to end on 83,000 chips. Plenty of others weren’t so fortunate to bag up a stack, with Adam Levy, Michael Ruane, Jason Somerville, Joseph Cheong, Greg Raymer, Brandon Shack-Harris, John Esposito, Joe McKeehen, Ryan Laplante, Julien Martini, Phil Laak, and David Williams all out by the end of Day 1d. With over 600 players busting and just 1,939 players making it through to Day 2, one of the players to depart was Michael Graydon, whose stirring story has been one that has resonated with so many poker players and fans. https://twitter.com/michael_graydon/status/1457482479820967936 Over 4,500 players have now played in the 2021 WSOP Main Event, so with two more Day 1 flights to come, possibly the busiest of the event so far, could we see a record attendance? That’s yet to be revealed, but what we do know from Day 1d is that some of the best players in the world are moving on to compete on Day 2. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Adedapo Ajayi - 340,900 Zachary Grech - 318,400 Wooram Cho - 252,100 David ‘Bakes’ Baker - 247,300 Dan Shak - 229,200 Jill Sodafsky - 224,500 Alex Goulder - 218,500 Taylor Howard - 214,200 Ivan Galinec - 211,300 Mike Gao - 210,000 With so many European players now on their way to Las Vegas in order to take their seats in the WSOP Main Event, one player from Dublin wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as others. https://twitter.com/max_silver/status/1457507287900229632 Finally, with many rumors around Phil ‘The Poker Brat’s Main Event entrance this year, the man himself has dressed up for a picture of him as ‘The Greatest Showman’, but it appears that it may well have been an early bluff ahead of some genuine ‘White Magic’. Whenever Hellmuth makes a value bet on the river, we’d expect him to utter the immortal line, “You shall not pass!” https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1457579806019571713
  18. It was another hectic week at the 2021 WSOP with one of the biggest tournaments of the year stepping into the spotlight and top-tier players adding to their WSOP legacies. The $50,000 Poker Players Championship brought out the stars and has played down to a final table with Eli Elezra holding the overnight chip lead. Plus, a pair of potential future Hall of Famers in Shaun Deeb and Brian Rast have won their way into rarified air by both winning their career fifth bracelet, and four was the magic number this week with four different players earning their fourth career bracelet. And, of course, Phil Hellmuth took to Twitter to a gripe about the WSOP Player of the Year formula. So let’s get into it, here are the five biggest storylines that made headlines during Week 5 of the WSOP! Hellmuth Goes Off On Player of the Year We’re getting peak Hellmuth here in 2021. He’s winning bracelets, dropping eff-bombs, and burning down the house. After a relatively quiet week from the 16-time champ, it looks like he finally took a look at the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year standings and didn’t like what he saw. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1455092561769472002?s=20 Hellmuth’s fast start to the WSOP has cooled off (so far) in the back half of the schedule with the lead he enjoyed for a few days having slipped away. From the looks of it, this might be the first time Hellmuth has really understood what it takes to win this award, part of which is an unwavering dedication to the grind by playing and trying to cash in everything in sight. READ: Five Former WSOP Players of the Year On How To Win It In 2021 However, Hellmuth has some support out there for his call to revise the POY formula. Daniel Negreanu, a constant contender over the past few years, has been lobbying for WSOP officials to streamline the number of results that are counted, making it so that a min-cash in a lower buy-in holds far less weight. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1455114358757871616?s=20 As of the time of publication, Hellmuth has slipped into fourth place behind two of his series nemesis - Jake Schwartz, who took over the lead, Kevin Gerhart is in second after his second series bracelet win, and Anthony Zinno, who set the Brat off in the $10K Stud. It’s tight at the top, with Shaun Deeb and Ari Engel rounding out the top 6. $50K Poker Players Championship Takes Center Stage For many popular poker players, the $50K Poker Players Championship is the actual Main Event of the World Series of Poker. It’s a mix of nine different games, played by the elite-of-the-elite in those games for an enormous sum of money. This year was no different as 63 runners, including some of the biggest names in the game, gathered in the Amazon room to battle for a spot in the final five players. Late on Tuesday night (Day 3) the players battled to burst the money bubble. Eventually, 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Robert Campbell saw his tournament come to an end when he was ousted in 11th place. The next day the final 10 returned and it didn’t take long for Milke Wattel to be eliminated in 10th for $82,623. Daniel Negreanu surged and then fell, leaving it all on the felt as he exited in ninth place for $91,595. Then, Nick Schulman busted in eighth, swiftly leaving to pick up his $106,120, the first of the six-figure payouts. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1456012324372815874?s=20 When the table combined to seven, everything slowed down. Way down. The table battled nearly all day with chips and the chip lead being passed back and forth. In the end, Matt Glantz fell in seventh place collecting $128,236, and was followed by Josh Arieh, appearing at his second final table in as many years, busting in sixth place for $161,422. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1456026758638145540?s=20 Eli Elezra held the overnight chip lead, followed by Paul Volpe, Chris Brewer, Dan Cates, and Ryan Leng. https://twitter.com/junglemandan/status/1456295274075148291?s=20 The final five will play to a winner on Friday, November 5 where one player will have their name added to the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy and collect the $954,020 first-place prize. Five Bracelets For Deeb, Rast There has been an uncanny number of three-time career WSOP bracelet winners at the series this year. However this week, it was the five-timer club that added a couple new, very notable members. First, Brian Rast took down the $3K Six-Max for his fifth career bracelet for $474,102 and in the process made a case for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. “Really, the number one thing at this point is kind of just making the Poker Hall of Fame,” Rast said to PokerGO after his win. “I mean, I feel like, I think I’ve done enough in my career and I turn 40 on November 8, so less than two weeks.” https://twitter.com/tsarrast/status/1453640943832166404?s=20 Another likely future Hall of Fame nominee is Shaun Deeb who put on an impressive performance to take down the $25,000 PLO High Roller for $1,251,860, just the third million-dollar score of the series and vaulting him into the 2021 earnings lead. Like, Rast, when all was said and done, Deeb had an eye on the future. But it’s not the Hall of Fame he was looking forward to, it was tracking down Hellmuth in the bracelet chase. “Oh, I’m going to pass Phil [Hellmuth] eventually. It’s going to take me a while, but I’m going to pass Phil. He’s a great player when he’s sharp, but he can’t play every day like me,” he said. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1454743417095790600?s=20 As noted above, Deeb’s win thrust him into the top 5 of the 2021 POY race. Four Is The New Three Earlier in the series, Anthony Zinno picked up his third and then fourth career bracelet. This week he welcomed Brian Yoon, Ben Yu, Farzad Bonyadi, and Kevin Gerhart into the club of players who picked up their fourth in 2021. Most recently, Yoon took down the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship for a handsome $240,341 score. His list of bracelets is certainly impressive with prior wins the 2013 Little One For One Drop for $663,727, the 2014 $5K 8-Max for $633,341, and then he won the 2017 $1,500 Monster Stack for $1,094,349. His latest victory puts him up over $3.4 million in earnings. Ben Yu’s WSOP resume is equally impressive having won the $10,000 Six-Handed NLHE Championship for $721,453, his 11th cash of the 2021 series. Looking back on Yu’s success shows him winning four bracelets since 2015 including the $10K Limit in 2015 for $291,456, the $10K Limit 2-7 Championship in 2017 for $232,738, and the $50,000 NLHE High Roller in 2018 for more than $1.6 million. Yu moved into fourth place on the NLHE POY leaderboard behind Daniel Lazrus, Pete Chen, and Jason Koon and 6th on the overall leaderboard. Joining them is Farzad Bonyadi, who took down the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship for $297,051 (on the same day as Rast won his 5th bracelet) for the fourth of his career. His first bracelet win dates back to 1998 when he won a $2,000 Limit Hold’em event for $429,940. Six years later, in 2004, he took down a $1K Limit 2-7 for another $86,980. His third came in 2005 when he won a $2,500 NLHE tournament for $594,960. Finally, on Wednesday, Kevin Gerhart won his second bracelet of the series, fourth overall, in the $1,500 PLO 8 for a $186,789 score. Gerhart won the $10K H.O.R.S.E. earlier this year for a $361,124 payday and has an online bracelet from 2020 and a $1,500 Razz win in 2019. A big week for multiple bracelet winners. Distenfeld Donates to A Good Cause Last week, the poker community showed up for a fellow player who is faced with an unthinkable future but wanted to make one of his poker dreams come true. This week, another act of incredible generosity took place when Gershon Distenfeld pledged his entire winnings from his victory in the $1,500 NLHE Shootout to charity. Distenfeld earned $204,063 with the victory and every single dime is going to be put to the benefit of others. Distenfeld has made no secret that he’s been graced with more than enough wealth to take care of his family and so he plays poker for the competition and, in the result he wins, to help others. “My wife Aviva and I have been blessed with financial means and it’s a core value of ours to give both our money and our time to help make the world a better place,” he told PokerNews after his win. He followed up with a call to action for all bracelet winners to donate 1% of their winnings to the charity of their choice.
  19. Shaun Deeb completed his latest masterful victory at the World Series of Poker, as he took down the $25,000-entry PLO High Roller to win $1.25 million and his fifth WSOP bracelet. At the final table, Deeb raced to an early double, dominating the final thereafter to beat overnight leader Ka Kwan Lau heads-up. Deeb Goes from Mushroom to Pushing Buttons Before the action got going, Deeb had a message for his many fans who would be tuning in to see if his chip stack would ‘mushroom’ as the lights were on him and his four opponents. https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1454579446707470336 Deeb couldn’t wait to get going and carried an air of optimism with him into proceedings. From the moment he almost instantly doubled up, Deeb was on the march and swept all before him. Bulgarian Veselin Karakitukov was first to bust the final day, exiting in fifth for $276,870 at the hands of Deeb. The now five-time WSOP bracelet winner would take out the payer he doubled through as the table kicked off, too, as Maxx Coleman was eliminated by the champion-in waiting in fourth place for $381,394. John Beauprez fell to Deeb in third place for $537,295 before Ka Kwan Lau, who had begun the day with the chip lead, was overcome by Deeb heads-up. Deeb, who busted every single one of his opponents as he stormed to victory, told PokerGO after the final table that he was determined to chase down Phil Hellmuth’s total of 16 WSOP titles. “Oh, I’m going to pass Phil [Hellmuth] eventually,” Deeb said casually. “It’s going to take me a while, but I’m going to pass Phil. He’s a great player when he’s sharp, but he can’t play every day like me. When he wins a bracelet, he’s not hopping in the next event like I’m going to do, and that’s going to help me out. Plus, I think online I’m a stronger player and there are so many more online bracelets. I’m going to catch him one day. It’s going to take me a decade or two, but I’ll be there.” Hellmuth himself was quick to praise his ‘nice guy’ opponent on Twitter. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1454743417095790600 WSOP 2021 Event #53 $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Final Table Results: Shaun Deeb - $1,251,860 Ka Kwan Lau - $773,708 John Beauprez - $537,295 Maxx Coleman - $381,394 Veselin Karakitukov Bulgaria $276,870 David Benyamine France $205,655 Ben Lamb U.S.A. $156,387 Charles Sinn U.S.A. $121,816 In the race to win WSOP Player of the Year, Deeb has moved to with just 129 points of his long-game adversary, The Poker Brat, with Anthony Zinno still top of the pile after 53 completed events. WSOP 2021 Player of the Year Standings: Anthony Zinno - 2,627.88 Jake Schwartz - 2,614.45 Phil Hellmuth - 2,598.59 Shaun Deeb - 2,470.69 Ari Engel - 2,214.41 Julia Top of the Shop for Maiden Bracelet Nicholas Julia won a debut WSOP bracelet with a stunning mixed game win in the Nine-Game Mix final after toppling Kristan Lord heads-up. Dominating the final table, Julia brought about the final table of six and immediately reduced it to just five as he busted seventh-placed Kenny Hsiung ($17,017) and sixth-placed Robert Mizrachi ($23,352) in the same hand. Once five remained, Kristan Lord busted Robert McLaughlin, with Lord’s pocket kings holding against McLaughlin’s pocket nines. Julia then busted Aditya Prasetyo in fourth place for $47,164 before Justin Liberto slid out to Lord in third for a payday worth $69,341. Heads-up, Julia had a strong 2:1 chip lead and sealed the deal when a hand of Razz saw the winner end with an eight-six and had Lord drawing dead by the river, standing to shake his conqueror’s hand and claim a runner-up prize of $104,210, a result dwarfed by Julia’s $168,608 win and a first-ever WSOP bracelet. WSOP 2021 Event #54 $2,500 Nine-Game Mix Six-Max Final Table Results: Nicholas Julia - $168,608 Kristan Lord - $104,210 Justin Liberto - $69,341 Aditya Prasetyo - $47,164 Robert McLaughlin - $32,808 Robert Mizrachi - $23,352 Christopher Cummings Bags Monster Lead in Seniors Event Christopher Cummings piled up an astonishing total of 22,650,000 chips which sees him with more than double his nearest competitor after Day 3 of the $1,000-entry Seniors Event, Event #52 on the schedule. Cummings is followed in the chipcounts by Dennis Jensen (9,700,000) and Daniel Lujano (9,325,000) but has one of the biggest leads at this stage of any of this year’s WSOP chip leaders. With just 16 players left from the 148 players who started the day, others didn’t make the cut, with Barry Greenstein (89th for $5,592), Eli Elezra (47th for $11,437) and Pat Lyons (26th for $20,016) all losing their stacks throughout the day. WSOP 2021 Event #53 $1,000 Seniors Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Christopher Cummings - 22,765,000 Dennis Jensen - 9,700,000 Daniel Lujano - 9,325,000 Eric Sunde - 7,350,000 Todd Hansen - 7,315,000 Stuart Hosen - 7,305,000 Louis Cheffy - 7,065,000 Jonathan Ingalls - 5,850,000 Daniel Stebbins - 5,695,000 Robert Davis - 5,380,000 On a huge day of action in the $400-entry Colossus, Frank Flowers bagged over 1.2 million chips on Day 1b, as he topped the 697 Day 1 survivors, with 778 players from the total of 5,182 entries making the money. A total of 1,181 players will take to the felt on Day 2, the remnants of a total field of 9,399 as The Colossus once again lived up to its name. On Day 1b, Flowers may have risen highest, but he wasn’t the only one to enjoy a day in the sun, as Timothy Keenan (1,172,000) and Dwayne Hillock (1,031,000) both ran him fairly close at the top of the leaderboard. WSOP 2021 Event #55 $400 Colossus Top 10 Chipcounts: Frank Flowers - 1,217,000 Timothy Keenan - 1,172,000 Dwayne Hillock - 1,031,000 Keith Doering - 1,024,000 Andrew Heckman - 1,000,000 Kao Chieng Saechao - 994,000 Eric Stamey - 984,000 Mikhaile Richards - 950,000 Anant Patel - 925,000 Michael Thach - 886,000 On Day 2 of the $10,000-entry Six-Handed Event #56, Bulgarian Boris Kolev (2,185,000) managed to grab the chip lead as he was chased into the chipcounts by Asi Moshe (1,980,000) and Matt Berkey (1,765,000). Other big names in the top 10 include WSOP Main Event final table player Vojtech Rusicka (1,450,000) and Roland Rokita (1,010,000), with nine players from the 19 players who survived topping seven figure stacks. Players such as Bertrand Grospellier, Niklas Astedt, Joao Vieira and Ryan Laplante all failed to progress as the 136 players who began the day were whittled down to less than two dozen who will push to make the final day tomorrow. WSOP 2021 Event #56 $10,000 Six-Handed NLHE Top 10 Chipcounts: Boris Kolev - 2,185,000 Asi Moshe - 1,980,000 Matt Berkey - 1,765,000 Nikita Kuznetsov - 1,560,000 Vojtech Ruzicka - 1,450,000 Ariel Mantel - 1,395,000 Steve Yea - 1,130,000 Fabian Gumz - 1,100,000 Roland Rokita - 1,010,000 Ben Yu - 995,000 The sixth event of the day to take place was the $10,000-entry Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw event, with Shaun Deeb again the highlight. Having just won the $25,000-entry PLO High Roller to claim his fifth bracelet, Deeb late-regged Event #57 and quickly ran up a stack to end the day fourth in chips in a stunning display of both stamina and skill. The chip leader at the end of an 80-entry Day 1 was Danny Wong (340,000), followed as he is in the counts by Michael Trivett (315,000) and Nathan Gamble (257,000) as well as the aforementioned Deeb who sits with 251,000. WSOP 2021 Event #57 $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Top 10 Chipcounts: Danny Wong - 340,000 Michael Trivett - 315,000 Nathan Gamble - 257,000 Shaun Deeb - 251,000 Matt Valeo - 238,000 Aditya Prasetyo - 235,000 Oscar Johansson - 222,000 Kevin Gerhart - 217,000 Michael Noori - 214,000 Brian Yoon - 204,000 Finally, Ronnie Bardah may be a Survivor veteran, but he can’t handle a big chipstack... unless it’s his, presumably. https://twitter.com/RonnieBardah/status/1454528687882137602 As fellow player Jon Aguiar commented, “Tell me your WSOP isn't go well without telling me your WSOP isn't going well.” Hang in there Ronnie, if you can survive to another day, you’ll always be a champion to us.
  20. 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)
  21. The 33rd day of action at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas produced two more WSOP bracelet event winners as Brian Yoon and Anatolii Zyrin both claimed gold for the fourth and second time respectively. For Brian Yoon, it was a 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw victory that saw him overcome the chip leader heading into the final seven, Danny Wong. Yoon Topples Wong after Epic Three-Handed Action With seven players remaining, Wong led with just over 1.5 million chips, with Yoon trailing him on 1.25m. It took almost no time for the first player to be busted, albeit a short time after an extended period of play that had seen ‘Crazy’ Mike Thorpe busted in eighth place to bring about the final table. Jordan Siegel was the unlucky player to leave in seventh for $31,690 when his hopes were ended by the runaway chip leader Wong. The winner in that hand almost instantly claimed another scalp, taking out the talented Brandon Shack-Harris for a sixth-place finish worth $41,270. Shack-Harris, who has cashed on multiple times this series and has been one of the under-the-radar stars of the 2021 WSOP, crashed out with a rough nine eclipsed by Wong’s rough eight. Six became five when Joao Vieira busted for $54,993, as Brian Yoon began his ascent to the top of the leaderboard. Wong was still winning more pots, however, and looked destined for the win such was the rate at which he was raking in chips. Don Nguyen let in fourth for $74,939, before his conqueror, Wil Wilkinson, was busted in third for $104,381 after a period where each of the three remaining players held the lead. By the time Wilkinson busted in third, it had been hours since Nguyen’s elimination. A dinner break, multiple exchanges of the chip lead and just two remained for the bracelet battle. Wong had the lead with 3 million chips to Yoon’s 2.3m, but Yoon’s experience told as the multiple bracelet winner applied pressure on Wong, who remains without gold despite this closest of calls. Wong had the chance to double back in drawing one with seven-high against Yoon’s ten-high completed hand, but a king as his fifth card finished off Wong to give Yoon the bracelet and top prize of $240,341, Wong consoled in some small part by the $148,341 runner-up prize. WSOP 2021 Event #57 $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Final Table Results: Brian Yoon - $240,341 Danny Wong - $148,341 Wil Wilkinson - $104,381 Don Nguyen - $74,939 Joao Vieira - $54,993 Brandon Shack-Harris - $41,270 Jordan Siegel - $31,690 Zyrin Wins Second Bracelet after Colossal Victory Anatolii Zyrin won the $400-entry Colossus to claim the massive $314,705 top prize and his second WSOP bracelet after beating Michael Lee heads-up. Heading into the final, it was Lee who held a big chip lead, but the dangerous Zyrin hovered in the middle of the pack and came through in the final stages to claim victory. It was Penh Lo who was the first player to bust the nine-handed final table, busting in ninth for $32,240. Lo was all-in with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] but couldn’t hold against Eric Kim’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"] as the board played out [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"] and gave Kim a big stack too. With eight players remaining, Lithuanian player Vincas Tamasauskas was sent home by the leader after misfortune on the river. Raising for all but one chip pre-flop, Tamasauskas had [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qd"] and was called only by Lee with [poker card="As"]Jh], with Tamasauskas tossing in the final chip on the flop and getting a quick call. The board of [poker card="6c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="Js"] was a brutal one for the Lithuanian to take, with Lee’s rivered jack sending him home for $40,885. By the time the next player busted, Lee was still leading, but Zyrin had risen almost to the top of the chipcounts, even after Lee’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kh"] was enough to see off Martin Gavasci in seventh for $51,180 when Gavasci’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Jc"] was dominated to defeat, a king on both turn and river improving Lee’s advantage of the rest of the field. At that stage, Zyrin was spiking, losing one pot then winning an even bigger one, but some players’ stacks were going in only one direction and Eric Kim slid out of contention when his [poker card="Tc"][poker card="Td"] couldn’t hold against Zyrin’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Jh"], the board of [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Js"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"] paying the eventual winner off in a crucial flip. Had he lost it, Zyrin would have been very short, but instead, he suddenly looked a massive threat to others’ hopes. Zyrin was starting to build momentum and wasn’t done with the eliminations, immediately taking out another opponent, David Ripley, in fifth for $86,650. Ripley - believe it or not - was all-in and at risk with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="8s"], but Zyrin held [poker card="Ah"][poker card="7c"] and with his foe down to four big blinds, hoovered them up after the [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Ac"][poker card="4c"] board played out. Phuoc Nguyen had been quiet for some time, but couldn’t afford to hang about with the blinds escalating. His last chips went into the idle pre-flop with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Th"], but he had run into a monster, with Kevin Rand holding [poker card="As"][poker card="Kh"] and no help came to save Nguyen, who busted in fourth place for $112,730. Three-handed play lasted some time, but Rand was always playing catch-up to both Lee and Zyrin and despite doubling on several occasions, couldn’t keep doing so. He bowed out for a result worth $147,595 when his all-in with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="9c"] started ahead of Zyrin’s [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jd"] but ended behind on the tantalizing board of [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="8h"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"]. Zyrin won that hand and in doing so went into the heads-up battle with 235 million chips, a considerable chunk more than Lee’s 140 million at a big blind of 6,000,000. Despite some brave attempts to play back and double into the lead, Lee’s stack went south and when a flop of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Js"][poker card="8h"] came, Lee bet holding [poker card="Kc"][poker card="2d"], getting a call from Zyrin. The turn of [poker card="Qh"] saw both players check, but on the [poker card="Tc"] river, Zyrin check-shoved a big bet from Lee and when the latter called, he saw that his rivered straight was no match for Zyrin’s turned flush as the Russian held [poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"]. While Lee collected $194,450 for finishing as runner-up, he’d failed in his attempt to win his first WSOP bracelet, instead seeing Zyrin win his second and the top prize of $314,705. WSOP 2021 Event #55 $400 Colossus Final Table Results: Anatolii Zyrin - $314,705 Michael Lee - $194,450 Kevin Rand - $147,595 Phuoc Nguyen - $112,730 David Ripley - $86,650 Eric Kim - $67,025 Martin Gavasci - $51,180 Vincas Tamasauskas - $40,885 Penh Lo - $32,240 Slaughter Leads Super Seniors It was a massive Day 2 of the Super Seniors Event, with just 65 players remaining at the close of the action. There were some very big names in the field on the day the money bubble burst, but while some made the cut, such as Sammy Farha, James Hess and Dan Shak, others such as Barry Greenstein and Karl Pregitzer didn’t, the latter losing to Farha along the way to the 2003 WSOP Main Event runner-up making the money. With two days of the event to go, Slaughter (1,835,000) will be chased keenly by his nearest challengers Randall Bolick (1,755,000), and Bill Stabler (1,725,000) in the coming levels, with play expected to go down to the final table on Day 3. WSOP 2021 Event #58 $1,000 Super Seniors Top 10 Chipcounts: David Slaughter - 1,835,000 Randall Bolick - 1,755,000 Bill Stabler - 1,725,000 Reginald Powell - 1,565,000 Andrew Bodewin - 1,355,000 Jean-Luc Adam - 1,140,000 Robert Chow - 1,100,000 David Smith - 1,080,000 Steve Miller - 1,025,000 Joseph Neiman - 975,000 Tag Team Down to Ten Teams as Weisner and Liu Lose Out There are just ten teams left in the $1,000-entry Event #59, the Tag Team event which sees teams of two players take over from each other when their comrade is against the ropes. On what was a very busy day, only 10 teams of two would stay in the hunt by the close of Day 2, with players such as Melanie Weisner and Xuan Liu falling by the wayside albeit after a great run. https://twitter.com/melanieweisner/status/1455424613781884930 Others fell to the same fate, with PokerGO presenting team Brent Hanks and Jeff Platt shot down when their pocket kings ran into pocket aces to bust. The duo, who dressed as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth throughout, would not make the top 10, but Michael Newman and Robert Ormnt did, bagging up the lead with over 2.9 million chips, far and away the biggest stack with their nearest foes Tomer Wolf and David Landell some way back on 1.9 million. WSOP 2021 Event #59 $1,000 Tag Team Final Table Chipcounts: Michael Newman and Robert Ormont - 2,960,000 Tomer Wolf and David Landell - 1,900,000 Mike Ruter and Samy Dighlawi - 1,700,000 Holly Babbitt and Michael Babbitt - 1,345,000 Alfie Adam and Vidur Sethi - 1,315,000 Benjamin Miner and Dmitriy Uskach - 1,065,000 Zachary Erdwurm and Steven Jones - 850,000 Amanda Botfeld and David Botfeld - 790,000 Scott Johnston and Bob Fisher - 455,000 Mike Lutz and Matt Krebs - 430,000 Paul Volpe, Jungleman Top $50K PPC Day 2 The second day of action in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship took place at the Rio and in particular, one player was less than happy with their exit. With 44 players beginning the day, Phil Hellmuth was one who joined the field late to eventually swell the numbers to a total of 63 entries. Things did not go to plan for the Poker Brat. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1455434490583552002 With just 35 players remaining in with a chance of winning one of the most coveted bracelets at this or any World Series of Poker, Paul Volpe (1,092,000) leads the field from Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates (944,000) and Adam Friedman. Plenty of other big names litter the leaderboard, of course, with Daniel Negreanu worth singling out for mention, purely because of the way he has made Day 3 of the event. Down to just 77,000 overnight with no option of rebuying, Kid Poker survived on a big stack of 655,000. With no Shaun Deeb making the cut, ‘DNegs’ could be one to watch as the tournament progresses as players battle to get their hands of the Chip Reese trophy. WSOP 2021 Event #60 $50,000 Poker Players Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Paul Volpe - 1,092,000 Daniel 'Jungleman' Cates - 944,000 Adam Friedman - 913,000 Alex Livingston - 872,000 Chris Vitch - 849,000 George Alexander - 820,000 Brian Rast - 790,000 Yuval Bronshtein - 775,000 Chad Campbell - 764,000 Nick Schulman - 723,000 Deepstack Championship Gets Underway In Event #61, the $600-entry Deepstack Championship, Robert Hankins grabbed the chip lead with 868,000, though this is one of the slimmest leads for some time in 2021 WSOP Events. Hankins leads by a three-bet from Samuel Taylor (838,000) and Radoslav Stoyanov (830,000), with others such as KC Vaughan (743,000) and Ping Liu (702,000) also well placed in the top 10. WSOP 2021 Event #61 $600 Deepstack Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Robert Hankins - 868,000 Samuel Taylor - 838,000 Radoslav Stoyanov - 830,000 Dhaval Mudgal - 786,000 Justin Arnwine - 779,000 KC Vaughan - 743,000 Matas Budginas - 719,000 Ping Liu - 702,000 Nissar Quraishi - 687,000 Alan Ferraro - 686,000 Toma Tops $1,500 PLO Leaderboard In tournament terms, the last event to take place on the schedule was Event #62, the $1,500-entry PLO8 event, which saw Japanese player Tsugunari Toma pile up one of the biggest Day 1 leads of the series. Toma amounted 1,076,000 chips, by far and away more than anyone else and almost as much as his nearest three challengers combined stacks. Day 2 will see the play whittle down to just a handful of players, so watching exactly how Toma gets on will be vital as it looks like anyone who wishes to play for the win will have to go through him first. WSOP 2021 Event #62 $1,500 PLO Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts: Tsugunari Toma - 1,076,000 Steve Chanthabouasy - 393,000 Paul Holder - 380,000 Maury Barrett - 373,000 Michael Trivett - 342,000 Raymond Henson - 339,000 Sean Remz - 333,000 Nathan Gamble - 328,000 Andrew Yeh - 318,000 Dustin Dirksen - 314,000 Finally, with the World Series of Poker just a matter of two days away, one former champion in particular can’t wait to get into the mix and will hope for some cheers of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!’ to echo around the Rio one more time. https://twitter.com/JosephHachem/status/1455324002138738690
  22. Two more WSOP bracelets were won at the Rio on Sunday night as Ben Yu claimed his fourth gold bracelet of his career with a victory in the $10,000 NLHE Six-Handed for $721,453 and Robert McMillan perservered in Event #52, the Seniors Event, for his first-ever WSOP gold and $561,060 as he closed out a famous victory. Ben Yu Wins Fourth WSOP Bracelet Ben Yu won his fourth WSOP bracelet as he closed out the six-handed Event #56 in style, beating Nikita Kuznetsov heads-up to win $721,453. At an exciting final table, play kicked off between the final six players with Mike Sowers holding a big lead with 4.8 million chips to Kuznetsov’s 3.8 million. At that stage, Yu was the short stack, but he still had 49 big blinds to play with, and with WSOP victories in 2015, 2017, and 2018 to call on, he proved dogged enough to grab bracelet number four. The first player of the six to bust was former four-time WSOP bracelet winner Asi Moshe, with the Israeli going down with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="9d"] after his top pair on the flop was shot down by Sowers’ flush after his [poker card="As"][poker card="8s"] hit a flush on the river to win through and condemn Moshe to sixth and $97,660. With five players left, Sowers may have risen to chip leader, but Yu was making moves too, albeit in smaller pots. Steve Yea was busted in fifth place for $137,303 when all-in with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Kd"] against Ariel Mantel’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"], with all the chips going into the middle pre-flop. The board of [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Td"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6h"] sending Yea home and further boosting Sowers’s stack. Mantel was on a mission too, however, and a double-up through Sowers opened up the whole tournament. Yu grabbed some from Sowers too as sharks circled in the water. Sowers lost more chips either side of the dinner break and suddenly was out of the event, all-in with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8s"] against Yu’s [poker card="Kd"][poker card="6d"] and delivered from the felt by a king on the river. Sowers had banked $198,205 for his deep run and Mantel had it even better when he cashed in third place for $293,578. After some perfectly timed aggression from Kuznetsov weakened Mantel’s stack, the latter was all-in with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Js"]. Yu, by far the chip leader at this stage, called with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="7h"] and both he and his heads-up opponent watched in delight as the board of [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="9h"] busted the unfortunate Argentinian and send Kuznetsov into raptures. “My friend,” he exclaimed in the Thunderdome. “Russian people love you!” Heads-up, Yu had an almost unassailable lead, sitting with 16.8 million playing his Russian frenemy’s 2.8 million. While Kuznetsov had laddered, he could not manage a further ascent, and fell away when his [poker card="2s"][poker card="2c"] was shot down by Yu’s [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jh"], who had no little trouble holding through the sweaty [poker card="As"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="8d"] board. Yu’s victory, worth $721,453, gave him his fourth bracelet, with his Russian opponent winning $445,892 for coming second. WSOP 2021 Event #56 $10,000 Six-Handed NLHE Final Table Results: Ben Yu - $721,453 Nikita Kuznetsov - $445,892 Ariel Mantel - $293,578 Mike Sowers - $198,205 Steve Yea - $137,303 Asi Moshe - $97,660 McMillan Closes Out Emotional Seniors Victory When the nine-handed final table began, McMillan was one of the shortest stacks, sat on just 6 million chips, way behind Christopher Cummings, who had started the day as chip leader and continued that trend to the final table, sat behind 24.3 million as the action got underway. That lead had increased by the time that Daniel Lujano became the first player to bust, crashing out in ninth place for $58,425 when his shove with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="2s"] ran into Jonathan Ingalls with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="8s"] and couldn’t catch up. Next to go was Todd Hansen, who busted in eighth place for $73,873 when Ingalls again claimed another victim. This time, Ingalls had [poker card="Ts"][poker card="Tc"] and put his opponent all-in, with Hansen calling with [poker card="8s"][poker card="8d"] on a flop of [poker card="Kd"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"], but the turn [poker card="2c"] and river [poker card="2d"] couldn’t save Hansen. Ingalls was on the rise and he wasn’t the only one, with Dennis Jensen also chipping up, specifically at the expense of Louis Cheffy when he busted in seventh for $94,030. Cheffy shoved with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ks"], but would need to hit as Jensen called with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qc"] and didn’t on the jack-high board. Despite those heroics, Jensen spent the next mini session watching the stack he’d worked so hard to accumulate disappear. On a board showing [poker card="Kc"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="8d"], Jensen led out then called off Robert Davis’ all-in. Jensen was at risk with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Tc"] for top pair on the flop, but he was behind Davis’ [poker card="7s"][poker card="3s"] and stayed there through the [poker card="2s"] river to bust in sixth for $120,484. In fifth place, it was the overnight chip leader Christopher Cummings who fell after the day got away from him and he cashed for $155,401 instead of playing for the title. Cummings moved all-in with [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Tc"] and was called by Daniel Stebbins with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ad"]. The queen-high board provided no sweat for Cummings, who was drawing dead by the river. With four players left, Ingalls met with his exit as Davis claimed another scalp. This time, Davis had [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Th"] and Ingalls was all-in pre-flop and at risk with the dominated [poker card="Ks"][poker card="9s"]. The board of [poker card="Jc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="7c"][poker card="9d"][poker card="2d"] saw Ingalls hit his card on the turn only for it to provide his opponent with the winning straight as he crashed out in fourth place for $201,753. Three-handed, Davis had a big lead, sitting with 73 million chips to McMillan’s 21 million and Stebbins with just 14.2 million. That changed as Stebbins doubled through Davis with jacks holding against queen-ten suited and as play continued, the stacks evened up with each man grabbing the initiative at a different time. Stebbins it was who busted third for $263,640, but when he did so it was to the new chip leader in McMillan. Stebbins rivered a straight with [poker card="Th"][poker card="7h"] on a board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Js"][poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8h"], but the same card gave McMillan and unassailable full house with the [poker card="8s"][poker card="8c"] in his hand for Stebbins to depart. McMillan, so short earlier in the day, now had a better than 2:1 chip lead. It took next to no time for the winner to close it out. McMillan raised to a flop of [poker card="Qh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2d"] then saw a turn of [poker card="Kd"], sitting with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="9c"]. Davis had come all that way with [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"] but put McMillan to the ultimate test with a shove on the turn, only for McMillan to find the call and watch the end the tournament play out in his favor when the [poker card="Ks"] landed on the river. WSOP 2021 Event #52 $1,000 Seniors Event Final Table Results: Robert McMillan - $561,060 Robert Davis - $346,743 Daniel Stebbins - $263,640 Jonathan Ingalls - $201,753 Christopher Cummings - $155,4016 Dennis Jensen - $120,484 Louis Cheffy - $94,030 Todd Hansen - $73,873 Daniel Lujano - $58,425 Less Than 50 Remain In COLOSSUS In Event #55, the massive Colossus event, which costs just $400 to enter, saw 1,181 players whittled down to just 49 by the close of play, with four former WSOP bracelet winners in Anatolii Zyrin (9,675,000), Vincas Tamasauskas (6,025,000), Brett Apter (3,000,000) and Carlos Chang (1,775,000) all making Day 3. The Day 2 chip lead is held by Rafael Fernades with 23,300,000 chips, who is followed in the counts by John Trinh (18,850,000) and Elad Kubi (18,675,000), meaning a big lead is in place for Day 3. With others such as Avi Cohen (12,675,000) and Matthew O’Meara (12,400,000) also making the top 10, it’s a stellar field who will return to battle for the bracelet on Day 3. WSOP 2021 Event #55 $400 Colossus Top 10 Chipcounts: Rafael Fernandes - 23,300,000 John Trinh - 18,850,000 Elad Kubi - 18,675,000 Michael Lee - 16,900,000 Avi Cohen - 12,675,000 Matthew O'Meara - 12,400,000 Penh Lo - 12,175,000 Yonatan Basin - 12,000,000 Lucas Kulbe - 11,925,000 Alexandre Malod - 11,900,000 Wong Leads $10K 2-7 Triple Draw Final 8 Event #57 saw 43 Day 2 players play down to just eight as Danny Wong had the kind of dominant day at the Rio that many of us can only dream of. Wong bagged up an incredible 1,755,000 chips by the close of play, with second-placed Brian Yoon (1,170,000), the only other player with over a million chips. Elsewhere in the final eight, players such as Joao Vieira (290,000) and Brandon Shack-Harris (275,000) will both be attempting to prove that a short-stacked player can win from this position yet again, but others won’t have that chance having busted on Day 2. Those included stars of the felt such as Dan Smith, who finished 9th for $24,910, Nathan Gamble (10th for $20,057), and five-time bracelet winner and POY boss Shaun Deeb, who departed in 13th place for $16,552. WSOP 2021 Event #57 $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Final Table Chipcounts: Danny Wong - 1,755,000 Brian Yoon - 1,170,000 Wil Wilkinson - 945,000 Don Nguyen - 565,000 Jordan Siegel - 300,000 Joao Vieira - 290,000 Brandon Shack-Harris - 275,000 Mike Thorpe - 110,000 Doyle Brunson Plays The Super Seniors In the Super Seniors Event #58, there was a magical moment inside the Rio as Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson arrived to play, sitting down in Level 6 of the popular event. Brunson, who wore his trademark cowboy hat, is now 88 years old and looks unlikely to add to his incredible haul of 10 WSOP bracelets. Despite that, he remains a poker legend and while he lasted only an hour, his face ended up on thousands of people’s camera rolls. Brunson would not make Day 2 of the event, leaving the Rio in his ride-on chair to applause from many players and fans at the felt, but another WSOP legend did make the cut. Sammy Farha finished second to Chris Moneymaker in 2003 as the WSOP Main Event of that year precipitated a ‘poker boom’ we are all still enjoying the reverberations from. Farha totaled 204,100 by the close of play, good for one of the biggest stacks that remain as players such as Jack McClelland, Bill Klei, and Lisa Roberts all joined Doyle on the rail. Now that would be some cash game if they decided to set it up. Finally, it’s not just fans on the rail whose heads turned when Doyle Brunson zoomed into the room on his motorized cart. The 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth couldn’t wait to snap a selfie in the name of positivity. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1454953641442299906 WSOP 2021 Event #58 $1,000 Super Seniors Event Selected Chipcounts: Farhad Davoudzadeh - 414,000 Steve Schneider - 433,000 Gary Bain - 235,000 Ron Lemco - 231,600 Arthur Schiavo - 222,800 Randy Vee - 222,000 Hal Marcus - 220,000 Sammy Farha - 204,100 Martin Yates - 175,000 Valerii Lubenets - 175,000 Tag Team Back Again In Event #59, players joined forces to play in a ‘Tag Team’ event that cost $1,000 to enter and seemed to bring with it Hallowe’en fancy dress as standard. Jeff Platt - who reached fourth place in Event #43, the Double Stack, teamed up with fellow PokerGO broadcaster Brent Hanks to pay tribute to Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu in the... weirdest way possible. https://twitter.com/BuffaloHanks/status/1454948036937863171 At the felt, Hanks and Platt did very well, making the top 10 with 166,500 chips by close of play. The chip leaders were Mike Ruter and Samy Dighlawi (338,000), while the intriguing and powerful duo of Xuan Liu and Melanie Weisner bagged up 159,000 to put themselves in a very strong position for the win too. WSOP 2021 Event #59 $1,000 Tag Team Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Mike Ruter & Samy Dighlawi - 338,000 Haven Werner & Thomas Taylor - 295,000 Keith Doering & Bill Schaeffer - 235,500 Nikita Luther & Kunal Patni - 195,000 Mike Watson & Sarah Goddard - 169,500 Jeff Platt & Brent Hanks - 166,500 Alexey Mishuk & Alon Eldar - 160,000 Alon Eldar & Unknown - 160,000 Melanie Weisner & Xuan Liu - 159,000 Nellie Park & Joey Weissman - 144,500 Yockey Leads $50K PPC Day 1 Finally, Event #60 took place, with the $50,000 Poker Players Championship one of the highlights of the schedule for many fans, especially those of mixed games. With 43 entries on Day 1, there could well be just as many entries on Day 2, with registration closing after 10 levels and a break. One player barely got into his seat before he was all-in, but Scott Seiver survived and his opponent ended the night as the short stack. https://twitter.com/scott_seiver/status/1454938088753360902 With 39 players still in the hunt from their initial stack, only Jake Schwartz, Matt Ashton, Michael Noori, and Albert Daher went to the rail and will not be able to re-enter. Daniel Negreanu ended the day on just 77,000 chips. It was a different story for Bryce Yockey, who led the field with 653,000 chips by the time the bags came around, with 2019 WSOP Main Event runner-up Dario Sammartino (520,500) and Chris Vitch (504,500) his closest challengers. Others to thrive on Day 1 included Eli Elezra (460,500), Randy Ohel (457,000), Shaun Deeb (448,500), Yuval Bronshtein (440,500) and Brian Rast (437,000), all of whom made the top 10, while the aforementioned Seiver eventually bagged up 366,000 chips. WSOP 2021 Event #60 $1,000 $50,000 Poker Players Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Bryce Yockey - 653,000 Dario Sammartino - 520,500 Chris Vitch - 504,500 Eli Elezra - 460,500 Randy Ohel - 457,000 Shaun Deeb - 448,500 Yuval Bronshtein - 440,500 Chad Campbell - 439,000 Brian Rast - 437,000 Ryan Leng - 433,000
  23. Incredible heaters and heartwarming stories took focus during a wild week of the 2021 World Series of Poker. This year's historic WSOP is now officially past the halfway point and this week has forged some of the memories that won't soon be forgotten. Hellmuth surged (then lost) the 2021 Player of the Year lead, Michael Addamo booked another incredible high roller win, and the three-time bracelet winner club added a brand new wing to the clubhouse. Plus, a deep run by broadcaster Jeff Platt and the poker community rallying, once again, to show how generous it can be when someone is in need were other bright spots this week. Let’s kick off the second half of the series by taking a look at the five biggest storylines to emerge from Week 4 of the World Series of Poker. Hellmuth, Zinno Top Player of the Year Race Much has been made of Phil Hellmuth’s red hot start to the 2021 World Series of Poker and how he broke through to win his record-extending 16th career bracelet. Well, after five final tables, his bracelet victory, a runner-up finish, and six total cashes, he grabbed the POY lead from his series nemesis, Anthony Zinno, earlier this week. Then, days later, Zinno took it right back. Now the series is halfway done and if Hellmuth wants to add that Player of the Year title to his poker resume, he’s going to have to take fewer days off and put his nose to the grindstone for the duration. Otherwise, one of the many challengers that are vying for the title are going to freeze him out once again. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1452052614737055747?s=20 This includes Anthony Zinno who looks to build on his slim lead by continuing to run deep in nearly every event he registers in. Also, Jake Schwartz, who is currently sitting in third place, is having the best series of his career as well. Other potential suitors for the POY include Daniel Negreanu, who after finishing 8th in the recent $10K NL 2-7 surged over 2,000 POY points and into 6th. Ari Engel just wrapped up a final table appearance at the $1,500 Shootout and moved into 4th place as well. Another player with his eye on the prize is Dan Zack, tied with Negreanu in leading all cashes with 13, sitting in 8th place on the leaderboard. This makes the upcoming $50K Poker Players Championship an important POY event. The winner is likely to receive over 1,000 POY points and will become an immediate contender for the title. If Hellmuth can make a deep run, he may just be able to solidify himself as the frontrunner the rest of the way. Speaking of which, this is how Hellmuth plans on making his entrance into the $50K. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1453515820106092548?s=20 Addamo Keeps On Adding On When it comes to high-stakes No Limit Hold’em, Michael Addamo is the current king and there’s no telling when his incredible (now over a month-long) sun run will come to an end. For those that need a quick recap: Addamo came to town early to play PokerGO’s $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl. While waiting, he took down the second-to-last Poker Masters event ($50,000 buy-in NLHE) for $680,000. Then two days later he won the Poker Master Main Event ($100,000 NLHE) for another $1.16 million. Those back-to-back victories allowed him to swoop in and pick up the Poker Masters Purple Jacket to boot. As if that wasn’t enough winning, he went on to actually win the event he came to town for. He dominated the $300K buy-in Super High Roller Bowl for $3.4 million and, while he was waiting around for the WSOP to start, went deep in an Aria high roller - an incredibly underreported $200K in which he took third place for $544K. Then guess what happened? He actually busted out of a tournament. That’s right. He fired two shells into the WSOP’s opening $25K high roller and didn’t make a dime. Heater over? Not quite. Addamo must have decided that winning was better than not winning and came back to take down the next WSOP High Roller, this time it was a $50K. For the second time in a month, he was heads-up against Justin Bonomo and just got there in the final hand to win another $1.13 million. There’s so much winning from Addamo, it’s impossible to provide a “quick recap.” So, what’s next for Addamo? Likely he’ll stick around and play the $10K Main Event, and the four High Rollers on the back half of the schedule (two $50Ks, a $100K, and the $250K Super High Roller) and we’ll all get to see just how hot this amazing heater will get. Jeff Platt Dims The Lights It took double-checking the chip counts at the end of Day 2 of the $1K Double Stack to make sure the headline was right - PokerGO presenter, podcaster, and all-around poker media superstar Jeff Platt held the overnight chip lead with some outrageous number of chips in front of him headed into Day 3. https://twitter.com/Bloodlow/status/1453071712371691522?s=20 Well, Platt’s a popular guy and so for the next two days, Poker Twitter was ablaze as he continued his march to the final table. His friend Ben Ludlow, jumped on the rail and started reporting all of Platt’s key hands as he built a tower of chips. And as his stack grew, so did his rail, creating a spectacle rivaled only by Hellmuth winning bracelet #16. https://twitter.com/Bloodlow/status/1453135469768679426?s=20 What made this even more amazing was that Platt was named as a sideline reporter for the WSOP and so, as he was preparing to take a seat at the Double Stack final table, a camera crew showed up and they put him to work…commentating on himself. https://twitter.com/Bloodlow/status/1453129220096348163?s=20 It was a fun 48 hours as one of poker’s good guys enjoy some run good. In the end, Platt fell in fourth place but he walked away into the arms of a legion of fans and friends, collecting a career-high score of $160,662. https://twitter.com/Bloodlow/status/1453243894200680458?s=20 Poker Backs One of Their Own Poker player Michael Graydon received some terrible news earlier this year: he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. https://twitter.com/michael_graydon/status/1453238351671304199?s=20 So when he let the poker world know via Twitter that he’d like to play the Main Event and needed help selling pieces the generous poker world swiftly responded and within two hours, Graydon had sold out 70% (at no markup) and could start making plans for to play the Main. The generosity took another step, when MJ Gonzales, one of Daniel Negreanu’s noted poker coaches, made an additional offer - he would give Graydon the entire buy-in and have him keep 100% of himself. Maria Ho offered to pay for his flight out and, upon suggestion, Phil Galfond gifted him training from Run It Once. https://twitter.com/therealmjpoker/status/1453370845649276930?s=20 https://twitter.com/MariaHo/status/1453379867710410761?s=20 https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1453464980758544387?s=20 There was an outpouring of support from some of poker’s brightest stars and, while maybe this wasn’t the biggest story of this week, it’s certainly one worth following. Three Is The Magic Number If you think you’ve been seeing an inordinate number of players winning their third career WSOP bracelet, you are not mistaken. In addition to the aforementioned Addamo winning his third in the $50K High Roller, PocketFives’ own Josh Arieh broke a 16-year drought and won his third in the $1,500 PLO this week. Then just days later, Kevin Gerhard won his third in the $10K H.O.R.S.E while at the same time Bradley Ruben scored #3 in the $1,500 Razz. But that’s not it, when Anthony Zinno defeated Phil Hellmuth in the $10K Stud tournament, that was his third (he’s since won his fourth). Chance Kornuth took home the third of his career in the $10K Short Deck and David ‘Bakes’ Baker made it three with his victory in the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball event. Finally, while it wasn’t his third bracelet (it was his fourth) Adam Friedman made it three in a row when he took home his third consecutive $10K Dealers Choice bracelet this year.
  24. The World Series of Poker’s $50,000 Poker Players Championship is heralded by many top-flight players in the poker world as the real championship event of the series. In order to lay claim to the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, a player not only needs to have an expert-level mastery of the entire mix of games, but also needs to face down the "best of the best" in terms of competition. In short, it takes a well-rounded, complete player in order to win. The truth is, making picks for the $50K is a tough task - especially this year. Everything needs to be considered from a player’s history in the event to the momentum they have when it gets started. Plus, it's hard to know if some of the top talents that normally would never miss the PPC will even show up (ex. Phil Ivey). So, taking all of that into consideration, we’re shooting our shot and dropping the latest edition of First-Round Picks with the names and ranks of the players we think are most likely to not only run deep in 2021 but hoist the trophy when the last chip has been collected. These players are first-rounders for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. #1. Shaun Deeb Unlike the Super High Roller Bowl, where Michael Addamo was sun running headed into the event, there’s no clear top pick when it comes to the Poker Players Championship. The field attracts an absolutely elite field of players who are proficient in all the games. Honestly, an argument can be made for a multitude of grinders to be ranked #1. Here’s why it’s Shaun Deeb. In the past five years of the $50K Poker Players Championship, only one player has made the money three times - Shaun Deeb. In 2017 he finished in seventh place for $164,286, in 2018 a 10th place finish brought him $111,447, and then in 2019, he made the final table falling in fifth for $232,058. History shows Deeb loves to compete in the PPC and the PPC has loved him back. An undeniable master of mixed games, Deeb has proven time and time again that he knows how to close. He’s a four-time WSOP bracelet winner with more than $5 million in earnings at the series alone and each of his bracelets has come in different disciplines. Impressive, but that's not all he brings to the table. To back that up take a look at what he’s done online. He holds five PokerStars SCOOP titles, all in mixed games and, even more impressively eight World Championship of Online Poker titles, only two of which are in NLHE. In summary, Deeb is dangerous in any tournament against any opponent. The 2018 WSOP Player of the Year is off to a fast start in terms of cashes in 2021, with nine at the time of this writing (tied for third overall), including a final table in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud. If there’s one thing going against him it's that while he’s racking up scores, he’s not really breaking through into the deepest parts of the tournaments yet. It’s unlikely he’s even close to satisfied right now. His goal of earning the 2021 Player of the Year title is going to require some stronger second-half results and the PPC could do just the trick to get him back in the thick of things. #2. Michael Mizrachi It feels silly to not have Mizrachi, the only player to win this event three times, as the top pick…after all, like we just said, he’s won it THREE TIMES. But one has to wonder just how lucky can one guy be. He first took the PPC down in 2010, earning a massive $1,559,046 payday. He did it again just two years later for another $1.4 million. Finally, in 2018, Mizrachi completed the hat trick and earned his third spot on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy for more than $1.2 million. In addition, he also scored fourth place in the event in 2016 for another $380,942. He has a knack for owning this event and just last week he made an appearance at the 2021 series, finishing in 11th place in the Eight Game Mix. One should expect Mizrachi to find his way into this $50K and shouldn’t be surprised if he makes a deep run. But Mizrachi is also a high-risk, high-reward play because in addition to being one of the toughest players he’s also a blowtorch, and had been known to burn bright but flame out early. All eyes will be on the 3x champ to see what happens this year. #3. Brian Rast No matter how long Brian Rast is away from the poker tables, when he returns to them he’s as dangerous an opponent as you will find. A two-time winner of the PPC, Rast took it down in 2011 for $1,720,328 and then again in 2016 for $1,296,097. Rast also went deep in 2018 where he finished in 8th place for over $144,000. Additionally, he’s already found himself deep in a pair of Championship Events already. First, he finished in 15th place in the $10K Omaha 8 Championship for $18,750, and then just three days later, Rast nearly made the final table in the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship where he fell in 11th place for another $18,506. Add to that a cash in the NL 2-7 Lowball event and it feels like Rast is simply getting warm before making a big splash in the PPC. For Rast, the real question is - will he be in the field? The fact that he’s been playing in the series already is a good indication that he will, but with career earnings of more than $21 million (and we gotta assume a ton of BTC for as often as he tweets about it), perhaps he just wakes up and says “not today.” #4. Benny Glaser The UK’s young mixed game phenom Benny Glaser has all the makings of a PPC champion. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner almost exclusively plays non-NLHE variants with his WSOP wins coming in Omaha 8 and Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw. In addition, Glaser has come very close in a number of other WSOP mixed game events including a runner-up finish this year in the $25K H.O.R.S.E. bringing him a $341,274 payday. His WSOP resume reads of a player who excels at any game that involves any number of cards. The warning signs in picking a crusher like Glaser are that his last bracelet win was back in 2016, however his 2018 fifth-place finish in the PPC shows he’s more than capable of getting to the end. #5. Phil Hellmuth After capturing his record-extending 16th WSOP gold bracelet in Deuce to Seven Hellmuth declared that the $50K PPC title is what he wanted next. The truth is, in previous years Hellmuth wouldn’t be in the top 10 first-round picks, much less the top 5. But this is 2021 and The Poker Brat is on a mixed game sun run that no one could have predicted. You’ve already heard the stats: five final tables, all in mixed games, with a bracelet in hand. He’s off to the best start to a WSOP in his lengthy career and is currently sitting atop the Player of the Year race at the halfway point in the series. Sure, he has his doubters and they would be quick to point out that Hellmuth’s only cash in this event came back in 2011 (when he finished in 2nd place for more than $1 million) and that this field will be the elite of the elite. But isn’t that who he’s been playing in the series so far? So, it may be risky picking Hellmuth this high, but in 2021 it’s an even riskier proposition not to. #6. Dan Zack Dan Zack may be the savvy pick at number six. He’s another one of the crop of young crushers who consistently proves he has a mastery of all the games. He also hasn’t kept it a secret how much he’d love to win Player of the Year, for which he currently is sitting in 12th place. He's just one big score away from being in the thick of it. At the time of this writing, Zack leads all cashes in 2021 with 11 total, including a final table in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix and a (soft) final table bubble in the $10K Stud where he finished in 10th place. He won his first gold bracelet in 2019 in the $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw, but doesn’t have a history in the PPC. Expect that to change. #7. Daniel Negreanu There’s nothing Daniel Negreanu would love more than to win a bracelet and the trophy in this particular event. He’s stated it so many times that, along with the Player of the Year title, this is the tournament he consistently looks forward to the most. There’s no need to expand on the six-time WSOP bracelet winner’s resume except to note that in the past five years, Negreanu has made the money twice (including a final table in 2017) for a total of just under $400,000. The real reason “Kid Poker” is so high on this list is, in addition to his skill of course, is his momentum. He has plenty of it headed into this event. Negreanu has cashed ten times in the series (thus far) including a final table in the $3K H.O.R.S.E. and a final table bubble in the $25K H.O.R.S.E. The question will be if with everything he has going on being one of the game’s biggest ambassadors, can he let everything else fall to the wayside and zero in on what he really wants. If he’s feeling it, and he wants it - he’s a legit threat to win it all. #8. Anthony Zinno What a year it’s been already for Anthony Zinno who is currently the only two-time bracelet winner of the series. In back-to-back fashion, Zinno famously earned gold in the $10K Stud for $182,872 after being the subject of a classic Hellmuth rant. Then he came right back and took down $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. for another $160,636. In non-mixed game news, Zinno reminded people that’s he’s also a No Limit Hold’em crusher with a 12th place finish in the $50,000 High Roller for another $80,000, making it six cashes for the series. And if you hadn’t heard, Zinno created a club of which he’s the only member. With four WSOP bracelets and three World Poker Tour titles, he proved he’s one of the best in the game today and he heads into the PPC with a massive wave of momentum. Looking for action in the $50K PPC? Check out PocketFives Stakingwhere we will be selling pieces for Daniel Negreanu, Josh Arieh, Felipe Ramos, Matt Glantz, Daniel Weinman, and more. Sign up today and get in the action (many at no markup!) Sleeper Picks Julien Martini France’s mixed game master may be well-known for his runner-up finish at the PokerStars PSPC, but he’s also one of the more coveted players for WSOP $25K fantasy due to his ability to grind the entire schedule. While he’s off to a slow start at this year’s WSOP (3 cashes so far), don’t be surprised to see him turn it around in the PPC. David ‘ODB’ Baker Baker just got off a deep run in the $1,500 Razz where he finished in fifth place for $20,732. A two-time bracelet winner, one for a $2,500 8-Game Mix, Baker’s big question mark is if he’ll come out to play or prefer to sweat college or pro football with the tournament starting on the weekend. Ben Yu Three-time bracelet winner Ben Yu has been racking up cashes this year, with a total of 9 as of this writing. He finished in 7th place in the $25K H.O.R.S.E. for more than $75,000 and busted in 20th in the $5K Six-Max for another $21,838. He’s been making the money consistently, now it’s just time for him to break through and capture bracelet number four. The $50K Poker Players Championship gets underway on Sunday, October 31 and the final table will be played out live PokerGO on Friday, November 5.
  25. Ryan Hansen won his first-ever World Series of Poker title as he got the better of Japanese opponent Kosei Ichinose to claim a debut bracelet and top prize of $109,692 as the latest champion won gold at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Hansen Takes It To The Limit Event #44 was a tournament that plenty of big names battled for, with the $3,000-entry Six-Handed Limit Hold’em event seeing legends such as Joe McKeehen (23rd for $4,830), Nick Schulman (21st for $5,597), Dan Zack (19th for $5,597) and Mike Matusow (16th for $6,668) all run deep without making the final table. Terrence Chan was one player who didn’t make it that far and upon realizing that it would be his final tournament at the Rio, put out a poignant post on Twitter. https://twitter.com/tchanpoker/status/1452159434025627651 When just six players remained, Kevin Erickson led the way with a big stack of 2.3 million chips, Hansen his nearest challenger with 1.4 million and everyone else with six-figure chip stacks. It was Steve Chanthabouasy who busted first of the six, losing his last with [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Tc"] against the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8h"] of Ichinose on a board of [poker card="7s"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="As"][poker card="Jc"]. Chanthabouasy’s run to sixth place was worth $17,486. Despite starting the final day as chip leader, Kenny Hsiung would go next, drifting short before busting in fifth place for $23,688. Hsiung’s [poker card="Qc"][poker card="9d"] saw him commit his last chips on a flop of [poker card="Qs"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"], but Ichinose had [poker card="Qh"][poker card="5s"] and held through the [poker card="4c"] turn and [poker card="Ah"] river. It was the turn of Ken Deng to be eliminated in fourth place for $32,864 when he committed his stack on the turn of a board showing [poker card="8h"][poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"][poker card="Th"]. Deng held [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jd"] for a gutshot, but Hansen had [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Js"] and when the [poker card="Jh"] landed on the river, made a flush to take the tournament into three-handed play. It was Erickson who left in third place for $46,669, with Ichinose again the benefactor from the hand. Ichinose had [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kc"] and although he was in bad shape pre-flop against Erickson’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kh"], calling off the remainder of Erickson’s stack post-flop was easy and the [poker card="3d"] turn and [poker card="9s"] sent Ichinose into heads-up play with an exact 2:1 chip lead. That lead was not immediately vanquished - it was Limit after all - but Hansen made quad eights just five minutes into heads-up to claim a vital pot and he managed to turn around the lead before an extended period of play saw the chips see-saw wildly. Both men held the chip lead and momentum as the epic duel swung both ways before its conclusion. After getting Ichinose short, Hansen managed to close it out with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="4h"] holding against his Japanese opponent’s [poker card="Js"][poker card="Ts"], winning the top prize of $109,692 and his first WSOP bracelet, with Ichinose cashing for $67,796 as runner-up. WSOP 2021 Event #44 $3,000 Limit Hold'em Final Table Results: Ryan Hansen - $109,692 Kosei Ichinose - $67,796 Kevin Erickson - $46,669 Ken Deng - $32,864 Kenny Hsiung - $23,688 Steve Chanthabouasy - $17,486 Jeff Platt Leads $1K Double Stack In Event #43, the $1,000-entry Double Stack event, chip leader at the close of play was Jeff Platt, with the popular poker broadcaster and player bagging up a massive 3,315,000 chips. While Platt was the only player to end the day with over 3 million chips, he was followed in the top 10 by some big names and stacks, including Sylvain Naets (2,740,000), Kathy Stahl (2,485,000), and Matthew Vaughan (2,255,000) all likely to be threats on Day 3. Plenty of others made it through, with Niall Farrell (960,000), Day 1b chip leader Terry Presley (865,000), and former WSOP Main Event winner Martin Jacobson (590,000) all making it through. Others weren’t fortunate, with two-time WSOP 2021 bracelet winner Daniel Lazrus, GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos and online poker legend Chris Moorman all eliminated on Day 2. There’s no easy way to leave the table after busting a World Series of Poker event, but Shannon Shorr put his two pennies worth into the mix, with plenty of entertaining comebacks. https://twitter.com/ShannonShorr/status/1452400548024516608 WSOP 2021 Event #43 $1,000 Double Stack Top 10 Chip Counts: Jeff Platt - 3,315,000 Zach Daly - 2,905,000 David Guay - 2,900,000 Sylvain Naets - 2,740,000 Avraham Azulay - 2,715,000 Gene Harrill - 2,610,000 Kathy Stahl - 2,485,000 Matthew Vaughan - 2,255,000 Sihao Zhang - 2,250,000 Josue Aguirre - 2,175,000 Witz Ends The Day Atop The $10K PLO Event #45 saw just 18 players survive the day as Jonathan Witz bagged up the biggest stack, ending the day with 2,620,000 chips. He was followed by players such as Arthur Morris (2,390,000) and Day 1 chip leader Chris Sandrock (1,900,000), with WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Zack (1,845,000) not far behind. Elsewhere, other gold-holders Tommy Le (1,000,000), Dylan Linde (780,000), Mike Matusow (715,000), Eli Elezra (650,000), and Jeremy Ausmus (600,000) will all feel confident that their experience will see them through to the final, while some big names to fall short included 2019 WSOP Player of the year Robert Campbell, Brandon Wong, and John Racener. WSOP 2021 Event #45 $10,000 PLO Championship Top 10 Chip Counts: Jonathan Witz - 2,620,000 Arthur Morris - 2,390,000 Chris Sandrock - 1,900,000 Daniel Zack - 1,845,000 Kyle Montgomery - 1,430,000 Artem Maksimov - 1,400,000 Anderson Ireland - 1,305,000 Nader Younes - 1,190,000 Tommy Le - 1,000,000 Jordan Spurlin - 960,000 Only 120 Left In $800 Deepstack In Event #46, Alejandro Andión led the remaining 120 players who survived a tumultuous Day 1 where 2,053 entries paid $800 and took their chances in pursuit of gold. Andión totaled 2,400,000 at the end of Day 1, a considerable distance ahead of Joel Orum (1,705,000) and Tomasso Briotti (1,675,000), both of whom took podium places heading into Day 2. With players such as Eric Baldwin (720,000), Anthony Marquez (250,000), and John Gorsuch (240,000) making the cut, others weren’t so fortunate, with Ryan Riess, JJ Liu, Kathy Liebert, Ari Engel, and Jesse Sylvia all busting, along with 16-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. This was all after Hellmuth seemed to get the ideal preparation, too. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1452052614737055747 WSOP 2021 Event #46 $800 Deepstack Top 10 Chipcounts: Alejandro Andión - 2,400,000 Joel Orum - 1,705,000 Tommaso Briotti - 1,675,000 Jonas Wexler - 1,630,000 William Blais - 1,600,000 Koray Aldemir - 1,380,000 Xiao Yu - 1,345,000 Virab Zakaryan - 1,345,000 Itzhak Ashkenazi - 1,325,000 Gregory Giannokostas - 1,275,000 Daniel Negreanu Bags Top 10 Stack In $5K Freezeout In the final event of the day to conclude, there were some very big names to make the top 10 in the $5,000 Freezeout Event #47. While Jamie Sequeira (1,070,000) was the only player to ‘crack a milly’, Daniel Negreanu (617,000) and Daniel Lazrus (597,000) both had spectacular starting days at the felt, with the latter having registered immediately after busting the Double Stack event in the money. Others to thrive included Joni Jouhkimainen (559,000) and WSOP Main Event runner-up Tony Miles (429,000), while some players not to make the Day 2 draw included Chance Kornuth, Paul Newey, Thomas Boivin, Taylor Paur, Brian Yoon and Manig Loeser. WSOP 2021 Event #47 $5,000 Freezeout Top 10 Chipcounts: Jamie Sequeira - 1,070,000 Benjamin Chalot - 733,000 Daniel Rezaei - 702,000 Daniel Negreanu - 617,000 Daniel Lazrus - 597,000 Ivan Galinec - 561,000 Joni Jouhkimainen - 559,000 Johan Martinet - 450,000 Jongwook Lee - 430,000 Tony Miles - 429,000 It’s been an eventful weekend on ‘Poker Twitter’ with Ben Lamb feeling his surname entitles him to wade in on the merits of how much mustard goes with ketchup... kind of! https://twitter.com/BenbaLamb/status/1451998818912800770 Finally, is there a truer tweet from the World Series than this simple gem? We’re not saying we’d sign up to what comes next, but if ever there was a heads-up opponent you wanted to beat... https://twitter.com/sandler1860/status/1451930351194951681
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