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Found 25 results

  1. Nine years ago, a 22-year-old Michigan State graduate called Ryan Riess won the World Series of Poker Main Event for over $8.3 million. At the time, he was six months out of college, having spent the last months of his studies alternating between poker dealer. Just a few weeks later, the final hand of the 2013 WSOP Main Event saw the Riess' life change forever. Between winning a World Series bankroll with the last money to his name and today, a decade of growth, fatherhood and memories have seen ‘Riess the Beast’ become one of the most well-respected poker players on the planet. This is the story of the hand that changed Ryan Riess’ young life. Coming into the WSOP With Momentum “It was all the money I had to my name. I chopped it three ways and won $270,000.” Having momentum in poker is something that is spoken about often, and it was one of the main contributions to Riess’ success at the Rio nine years ago in November. After graduating in business at Michigan State, Riess decided to play a WSOP Circuit event in Hammond in October 2012. The cost was not only out of his usual bankroll, but everything he had. “It was a $1,675 buy-in and it was all the money I had to my name,” the 2013 world champion told us. “I chopped it three ways and won $270,000. That was my first ever live tournament cash and how my poker career started.” Two months earlier, Riess had started playing poker full-time. After winning some small cashes in tournaments around Los Angeles, Riess took that momentum into a World Series where he played everything he could afford. “I had a bunch of smaller cashes and was about breakeven - expenses are high - then played the Main Event. I sold pieces to family and friends and swapped pieces. I had a little over 50%, which was good. I had a lot of momentum but was still relatively new to tournament poker. I was starting to become friends with people on the circuit; we were all young at the time and learning together.” Kicking off his Main Event on Day1a, Riess had players such as Mike Matusow and T.J. Cloutier at his table. Despite this, he bagged up plenty of chips, more than double that which he started with. “I was very naïve, which was a good thing. I put my head down; I wasn’t following the other tables or live updates and never thought about how much money I was playing for, so was never scared.” Believing He Could Win “Looking back, I don’t think I was the best player in the world.” Riess may have been a long way off from winning, but that was all to change. In the middle period of the Main Event, he admits that he sat on less than 30 big blinds for “two or three days” but a pivotal coinflip went his way when his pocket nines survived against Rep Porter’s suited king-jack. “The atmosphere was electric,” laughs Riess. “Others might have thought I was trying to run the table over, but I wasn’t; I kept getting good hands. If I lose that hand, I have nine big blinds left. I won the flip and that propelled me to having 50 big blinds and I had a lot more flexibility with my stack.” After Riess won the Main Event, he would state that he was ‘the best player in the world’, but he concedes this wasn’t actually the truth. It was more about the belief he needed to have in order to accomplish his dream. “I think in order to win something, you have to believe it before and then work tirelessly,” he says. “Looking back, I don’t think I was the best player in the world. I wasn’t even in the top 1,000. But I truly believed I was at the time and I think that gave me a chance to win. If I didn’t believe I was the best, I probably shouldn’t even have registered the tournament in the first place.” Winning that hand against Porter would see Riess make the final table, but he was far from the chip leader, who was JC Tran. A host of other more experienced pros were at the final table. “Tran was really unlucky at the final table after coming in as the chip leader and not being able to get much going. I thought the best player at the table was Marc Etienne McLaughlin,” says Riess. “He was very good, very aggressive and I tried to bluff him in a hand on TV when I turned two jacks into a bluff and fours spades almost counterfeited his two spades. He eventually got coolered and that gave me energy because I found it hard winning pots against him. David Benefield is a world class player and he got short and was handcuffed, too.” Benefield and Riess were the only two not to wear sponsorship patches at the final table. “I’ve never accepted any sponsorship deal or worn patches. I turned down a lot of money, but I didn’t want them to say you have to do this interview at this time, wear this shirt, do this social media post. I didn’t want anything to cloud my judgement. I thought the responsibility of what I’ve have to do would be greater than the value of what they were offering me. Maybe if I’d worn a patch, I’d have had to have done other stuff, wouldn’t have studied as much and not won.” Taking on Farber for the Win “As a poker player, that’s the dream. It’s the Super Bowl of our sport.” Riess had never played against Jay Farber before that year’s Main Event, nor did he feel they’d played any significant pots against each other until they were the only two players left. Suddenly, though, one of them was going to win $5.1 million and the other would take $8.3m and become champion of the world. “We started with around the same chips and I just decided to be aggressive. We played around 90 hands and I was raised all 45 buttons. I was very inexperienced. Looking back, I’d fold or limp some hands, but I wanted to put pressure on him. He was only three-betting me with really good hands.” Riess was forcing the action, but admits that while he wanted to raise in order to see flops in position with almost his entire range, he was also getting the run of the deck. “In heads up poker, so much comes down to hand distribution,” he says. “If Jay had my hands and I had his, if it was switched, he probably would have won.” Pre-flop: Ryan Riess: [Ah][poker card="Kh"] Jay Farber: [poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"] Before the flop, riess raised his 45th and final button, and almost immediately got raised all-in by Farber. Riess snap-called and one of the fastest final all-in and calls in Main Event history saw the two men on their feet. Riess admits that he was surprised to see what Farber had shoved with. “I was surprised to see that hand specifically. Maybe if the hand happened again, he might just call, but I was raising every button and I just happened to have it. He might have thought he was getting run over at the table, but I was just getting the cards. Heads up, if you’re losing it can be demoralising. I’ve lost to people heads-up, I actually played Koray Aldemir, our newest world champion - and I was losing pots, got frustrated and ended up doing things out of character. It’s emotionally draining to lose hands heads-up.” Headint to the embrace of his friends and family, Riess was ‘pretty confident’ but knew that anything could happen. He was a 65% chance to become the world champion and the moment was catching up with him. Flop: [poker card="4c"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="Td"] “The flop was really good for me,” Riess says. “He couldn’t hit his queen any more, because it would give me a straight so it was the best flop I could have asked for without flopping a pair. After the flop, having all my friends and family around me gave me such good vibes.” Turn: [poker card="3c"] “Tears already in the eyes of Ryan Riess.” Said the commentary team as the moment that would change Riess’ life played out. The emotion of the achievement that he was about to claim was monumental. [caption id="attachment_638157" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Hunched on the floor of the Rio, Ryan Riess is hit by the emotion of what he might be about to achieve.[/caption] “That’s when it really became real for me. It was the weight of having everyone support me. We’re that close and it was a very surreal moment. I’m glad I won, because if the river was a five, it might have been very hard for me mentally for me to sit back at the table and play my best, because in my head I’d already won.” As Jay Farber commiserated with his coaches, two men Riess himself now counts among his poker friends, Shaun Deeb and Chance Kornuth, tie seemed to stand still. “I’m friends with both of them and we talk frequently. They’re both great - he had great coaches and it’s hard to beat someone with those coaches. I just had better cards on the day. River: [poker card="4d"] Riess collapsed to the ground, his poker ambitions coming true in glorious reality. Nine years on, Riess says he doesn’t watch it back as much as he should. “It brings back such great memories. As a poker player, that’s the dream. It’s the Super Bowl of our sport. To reach the pinnacle of the game that you love is the ultimate dream as a poker player.” Pining for the November Nine Amid a wild atmosphere in the Thunderdome, Riess now believes part of that excitement came down to players returning some time after they’d reached the final table to play it down to a winner. “It was the penultimate year of the November Nine. ESPN flew out a camera crew to my home town. I thought the November Nine was awesome. I’m blessed and honored to have taken part in that. Now they don’t give the players any time at all, family doesn’t even time to fly in and players can’t get sponsorship deals or even get their hair cut!” Riess believes that if the WSOP gave players a week between reaching the final table and playing it out, it would be perfect. “I don’t think a week is too much at all. Four months was really cool, but it’s a long time, and someone’s game could do a 180 in that time with coaching and solvers these days.” Apart from the length of time, however, Riess believes that the November Nine is a concept that could do with a comeback. “I think they should give them a week. It’s the biggest event in our game, so the more hype around it the better.” A decade after he graduated, Ryan Riess is now a name synonymous with poker success and in particular, the WSOP Main Event. He came close to winning the WSOP Europe Main Event too, but despite finishing fourth, calls it ‘the tournament that haunts me most’. [caption id="attachment_638158" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ryan Riess is now one of the most respected former world champions still playing the game. (Photo: King's Casino)[/caption] “I was chip leader with nine and six left. The moment got to me a little bit; I made a lot of mistakes. I wanted to win for the legacy of winning both [Main Events] not the money but I focused too much on how cool that would be, and I let the opportunity slip between my fingertips. If Riess had lost with pocket aces to a pair of tens, he admits he wouldn’t have minded, not being a results-oriented person at all. The fact that it wasn’t luck that he perceives was to blame is what hurt. “I make a mistake, I’m the hardest critic of myself. Martin Jacobson said ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. You almost don’t deserve to win if you’re not trying your hardest.” A Poker Career Without Regret “My focus is my kids and spending as much time with my family as I can.” Nine years after his greatest moment, Riess looks back on his victory as a platform for sustained success and of all the many world champions there have been, few could argue he has been one of the most positive. Aside from that WSOPE near-miss, he has no regrets. His diamond encrusted 2013 WSOP Main Event bracelet sits in a bank in a safety deposit box. “It’s worth a lot of money, so I don’t want it in the house,” Reiss says with a smile. “It’s locked away and I go and look at it now and then. To be honest, I should make a replica of it with cubic zirconia instead of diamonds, but I haven’t got around to it. I have no regrets about my career. I guess I could have grinded harder if I wanted too, but I travelled to a lot of cool places pretty much up to when COVID started and now my focus is my kids and spending as much time with my family as I can.” This year will see the WSOP move from the Rio to Bally’s (soon to be the Horseshoe) and Paris, but Riess holds no fear about the event leaving the venue where he made his name. In fact, quite the opposite. “I won it the first time I played it at the Rio, so maybe it will happen again,” he says. “I’m optimistic about it - I’m sure it’ll be fun. I’ll be playing pretty much all the NLHE tournaments, $25,000 and lower. I don’t feel the need to play the $100,000 buy-ins; the bubbles are stressful, and kids are expensive!” Nine years is a long time in any poker player’s life, but from being a precocious 22-year-old winner of the biggest event on the poker calendar to a family man almost a decade later, it has been some ride for Ryan Riess. Happily, for poker fans, that ride is not finished yet. You can watch the hand that changed Ryan Riess’ life right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MAbaJ9W7Q8    
  2. “I also wanted to say that there are so many deserving nominees who have worked hard to earn a place in the Hall of Fame. More and more great players and builders are starting to turn 40 years old. I really hope that the World Series of Poker begins to induct a couple more nominees each year.” - Eli Elezra, 2021 Poker Hall of Fame inductee. For the second year in a row, just a single person was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. This year, it was Eli Elezra, noted high-stakes cash game pro and four-time WSOP bracelet winner. By all accounts, for his contribution and achievements in the game, Elezra’s inclusion in the Hall is well deserved. But in his brief speech in the Brazilia Room, after thanking his mentors and recounting his journey, Elezra took a moment to acknowledge the other deserving nominees with a hope that they, like him, may also have the opportunity to be so honored. It’s a hope that’s shared by many who follow the Poker Hall of Fame. In 2020, it came a bit of a surprise that the PHOF opted to reduce the already low number of two inductees to a single person, citing a return to the Poker Hall of Fame’s roots and the benefit of time as reasons to keep the election process as elite as it is. “We like tradition,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said in 2020. “One per year is the way it was for the majority of the Poker Hall of Fame’s history. A single inductee seems to promote the prestige of the honor. Most of the finalists these past few years are very young men. I would hope and assume they will all get inducted eventually.” What a difference a year makes. Even when the voting process allowed for two persons per year, the thought that the bottleneck of bringing valued figures of poker into the Hall of Fame was not ready for the flood of future poker greats, inspired by the poker boom. Looking ahead, without change, the Poker Hall of Fame may keep its elitist status but will forgo its credibility. A Hall of Fame isn’t about the number of people in it, it’s about accomplishments. And nearly two decades after a poker explosion extended the love for the game around the world, continuing to cut off more-than-deserving players and builders, makes the Hall look and feel like an old-school popularity contest rather than a celebration of those who have made the game great. That point has never been better illustrated than this year at the 2021 World Series of Poker when players, far younger than the 40 year age requirement, have added bracelets to their resume that reflect the numbers that, as of right now, are part of a legitimate Hall of Fame career. Take a look at the accomplishments of Shaun Deeb, Brian Hastings, and Brian Rast, all three of which earned their fifth career bracelet this fall. Rast, who will turn 40 before the next Hall of Fame nomination process, has made it well-known that the Hall of Fame is on his radar as what he expects to be his next accomplishment and will most certainly be considered next year. “Really, the number one thing at this point is kind of just making the Poker Hall of Fame. I mean, I feel like, I think I’ve done enough in my career…” Rast said immediately after his fifth win. And he’s not out of line in that thinking. In addition to collecting bracelets, Rast also has more than $22 million in live career tournament earnings, good for 24th on the All-Time Money List, and has been known to play cash games at some of the highest stakes available. Those three five-time bracelet winners are followed closely by a swarm of top-tier names, all of whom earned their fourth this series. Adrian Mateos, Ben Yu, Anthony Zinno, Brian Yoon, John Monnette, Benny Glaser, Farzad Bonyadi, Adam Friedman, Kevin Gerhart, and 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh all have great cases for future consideration. The four-time bracelet winner club increased by 33% in just one series and, coincidentally, it’s the same number of bracelets that Eli Elezra has to his credit upon induction. Of course, bracelets alone are by no means the only criteria for being inducted, but they do play a big role. Currently, respect at the highest stakes and, honestly, popularity among the 32 living members of the Hall of Fame (or those who have the most influence within that group) is perhaps even more important under the current system. But with that said, it’s clear that not only is there incredible talent on the rise, but the bar for what it’s going to take in the future to not only get nominated but get elected is also climbing higher. With so much talent rising and becoming eligible over the next five years two things are clear: the first is that the time for the Poker Hall of Fame to adapt to how much bigger the game of poker is today is here. In fact, it’s been here. Also, secondly, should the Hall not adapt, people who were once thought to be a lock for the Hall of Fame one day will be frozen out far longer than they deserve to be due to the pressure of escalating poker resume requirements to be considered by the public for the nomination process as well as for the voters themselves. For example, take a look at the case for Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow. Matusow’s resume looks incredibly close to that of Elezra’s in terms of his bracelet count and his time spent on poker television. It wouldn’t be tough to argue that, in terms of notoriety, Matusow’s influence on the game of poker far outshines many of the more recent inductees. His brash, polarizing personality has been ever-present on the poker landscape since the early 2000s, and, like him or not, he’s been an ambassador for the everyman and a persistent presence on poker television. But at 53 years old, Matusow doesn’t appear to be any closer to an induction into the Hall today from the day he became eligible. In 2020, when the votes cast were made public, Matusow received the third-lowest total votes. Perhaps it’s because the mouth he’s so famous for is a turn-off for those casting the votes. But as Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu has said many times - the Poker Hall of Fame isn’t designated for just the nice guys. If it were, well Matt Savage wouldn’t still be waiting. But even after his sixth nomination, Savage - one of the most influential tournament directors in the game - is still on the sidelines and, like Matusow, will soon be facing the robust resumes of elite players. But he’s also contending with the perceived notion that, if there’s only one spot open, it’s best not to use it for a “builder” or someone who has simply advanced the game as opposed to someone who crushes in it. To further that point, it seemed like when PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg was first nominated in 2020 he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He, along with his son Mark, took online poker to the masses, helped amplify the Moneymaker effect, and - not for nothing - was the architect to bail out thousands of players from the implosion of Full Tilt Poker (something that likely keeps surefire Hall of Fame member Chris Ferguson on the outside, perhaps never to get in). But Scheinberg, even after clearing up all legal ramifications in regards to Black Friday, is not only not a "first ballot" member, he’s now been passed over twice. It’s easy to see a few of these names and, perhaps, argue that they actually don’t belong. That what they have contributed or achieved doesn’t warrant inclusion. But it’s hard to ignore that the impact of poker on the worldwide community is also not well-reflected in the Hall of Fame. Recent nominees including Chris Bjorn, Thor Hansen, and Bruno Fitoussi all deserve another look for their contributions to poker. The end result is a Poker Hall of Fame that looks trapped in time and out of touch with modern poker. But here’s the hope moving forward: as the World Series of Poker leaves the Rio and begins a new era on the strip, perhaps there is a new era of change for the Poker Hall of Fame on the horizon. Not one that loosens the requirements by any means, but, as Elezra said in his speech, acknowledges that there are many deserving people from both the player and builder category who deserve to have the doors of the Hall open while they still around to enjoy being a part of it.
  3. For the better part of Monday night into Tuesday morning, the poker world celebrated the crowning of Josh Arieh as the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year. By all accounts, Arieh clinched it when Phil Hellmuth busted out of the final event of the series, the $5K 8-Handed, leaving Hellmuth as the POY runner-up. Articles, like the one we published Tuesday morning, were written certain of Arieh’s victory. But, like in 2019 when Daniel Negreanu was usurped by Robert Campbell due to a point miscalculation, everyone was wrong. Everyone, except Justin Bonomo: https://twitter.com/JustinBonomo/status/1463258866871779328?s=20 Bonomo had it right. The results from WSOP Online Event #10 (which took place Sunday night) were not yet included in the Player of the Year calculations. So, understandably, when word got around that Arieh had won, well, it was reported he won. But in reality, with the missing point differential, Ben Yu, the chip leader headed into the final day of the $5K 8-Handed, actually had a chance to catch Arieh with an outright victory. And he looked poised to do it. So the sweat for Arieh was back on. https://twitter.com/golferjosh/status/1463275661074837505?s=20 The tournament started the day with just 30 left and with Yu in control. But Arieh had some help from the inside with his friend (and fellow POY competitor) Shaun Deeb still in the tournament. Deeb was looking for his second bracelet of the series and, maybe, an eye on not letting history repeat itself. https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1463272967777841152?s=20 For the better part of three hours, the updates kept coming and Yu remained in the tournament. But with just two tables in play, Deeb and Yu battled in a hand where Deeb took some very important chips off of Yu and left the four-time bracelet winner short stacked. https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1463278563331772419?s=20 Eventually, Deeb busted in 12th place. But the damage was done, Yu couldn’t recover. In the end, the popular Yu ended up finishing in 10th place for $30,286 just narrowly missing out on a last-minute capturing of the POY for himself. After an amazing series with 18 in-the-money finishes and a victory in the $10K Six-Handed Championship, Yu easily earned a 2021 WSOP resume worthy of Player of the Year. But now, finally, the drama came to an end and Arieh can safely celebrate, being officially crowned the 2021 Player of the Year for the 2nd time in 24 hours. https://twitter.com/MattGlantz/status/1463307122909880321?s=20 https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1463256060546879490?s=20  
  4. [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
  5. 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.
  6. 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  
  7. 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
  8. Another dramatic day in the 2021 WSOP Main Event saw big names bust and other stars rise high on Day 5 as Chris Moneymaker busted the Main, Koray Aldemir and Ramon Colillas continued to crush and some of the best poker of the World Series of Poker so far took place in between. Koray Aldemir Leads Final 96 In Main Event Day 5 of the most popular poker tournament in the world saw 292 players reduced to under 100 hopefuls as German pro Koray Aldemir grabbed the chip lead by the last level of the day inside the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. On a day of big bust-outs, especially involving pocket aces, the German professional who has over $12 million in live tournament earnings is in the best position in his career to add a WSOP Main Event title and $8 million to his legacy in a few days’ time. To do that, he’ll have to get through some of the best players in the world, with modern legends such as Stephen Chidwick and Chance Kornuth both surviving Day 5 with chips. Any one of those three players, along with everyone else, will have to avoid the kind of awful luck suffered when aces were shot down by ace-king as the player with the latter pronounced ‘Ace king owes me!” upon winning the hand. David Williams spoke for many in his incredulity at the situation. https://twitter.com/dwpoker/status/1459787752187187200 When the chips were bagged up, it was Aldemir who held the chip lead, bagging up 14.3 million chips, a decent amount ahead of Spanish player Ramon Colillas (12 million) and Jonathan Dwek (12.1 million), both of whom finished in podium positions. There are some serious contenders very close by, however, with Jesse Lonis (8.9 million), Chance Kornuth (5.9 million), Stephen Chidwick (3.7 million), Stephen Song (2.7 million) and Yuri Dzivielevski (2 million) all capable of being chip leader at the end of Day 6 with the skills they possess. One man who won't be playing Day 6 is Jason Koon, who busted along with Chris Moneymaker on Day 5. Koon tweeted his feelings on the matter... https://twitter.com/JasonKoon/status/1459713206180454419 ... as did the 2003 WSOP Main Event champion. https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1459633808320471045 Plenty of others couldn’t get a thing going and busted, but some players were doing great until, as is often the case in no limit hold’em, a few hands sent them to the rail in brutal fashion. https://twitter.com/danmflowery/status/1459633452790136833 WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Top 10 Chipcounts: Koray Aldemir - 14,325,000 Ramon Colillas - 12,000,000 Jonathan Dwek - 10,125,000 Zachary Mcdiarmid - 9,700,000 Jesse Lonis - 8,995,000 Roongsak Griffeth - 8,925,000 Andreas Kniep - 8,515,000 Tonio Röder - 8,000,000 Alejandro Lococo - 7,805,000 Stephen Gerber - 7,700,000 Scott Ball Wins Little One For One Drop In Event #68, the Little One for One Drop, Scott Ball overcame overnight chip leader Michael Shanahan as he won $396,445 and his first bracelet after a thrilling denouement to the popular event. With the $1,111-entry event, which raises money for charity alongside building a bumper prize pool, having 3,797 total entries, there were 10 players left in no time at all on the final day to bring about the final table. At that stage, Shanahan had over 42 million chips, more than double his nearest challenger as he looked to run over his final nine adversaries, but as so often in poker, things didn’t work out like that. The first player to bust, Spanish player Jose Latorre, did so in 10th for $33,939 and was all-in with the best hand, holding [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"], but Sorel Mizzi’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="6s"] overtook him on a dramatic board of [poker card="9h"][poker card="2d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="6d"]. The Canadian Mizzi, cashing in a WSOP event for the first time since 2018, was on the rise and proving that he is still one of the best poker players out there on his day. He wasn’t the only player looking up the leaderboard rather than down as Sebastian Medina from Colombia eliminated another player to vault up the ranks. Medina had the dominating hand of [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Tc"] against Frank Marasco’s [poker card="Js"][poker card="Th"] and a runout of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Ah"][poker card="6s"] saw the American bust in ninth place for $42,389. Next to depart was Seth Fischer, who busted in $53,343 with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qh"] as David Jackson’s [poker card="Kh"][poker card="5c"] overtook him on a board of [poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="Js"][poker card="Ad"] with all the chips going into the middle pre-flop. At that stage, Medina had taken the lead, but Mizzi gained more ground after busting Petro Zakusilov in seventh place for $67,592. The Ukrainian was all-in pre-flop with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="8d"] but was called in two places and Sorel Mizzi’s [poker card="5c"][poker card="2c"] eventually won after he and the overnight leader Shanahan checked down a board of [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Th"][poker card="2s"]. Soon after, Ronnie Ballantyne was out of the event in sixth place for a score of $86,249 as his [poker card="Tc"][poker card="8s"] lost out when all-in pre-flop against Scott Ball’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ts"]. The board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kc"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jc"] was a crusher for Ballantyne and the same fate befell David Jackson in fifth for $110,827 just a couple of minutes later as he lost a race with [poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] against Mizzi’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Td"] on a board of [poker card="Th"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="9h"]. Shanahan was the lowest stack of the four remaining men, but after an extended period of play, everything had turned around and Medina was on the rail in fourth for $143,399. Medina’s pre-flop shove for 13 big blinds with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Js"] was called by the chip-dominant Shanahan with [poker card="As"][poker card="6h"]. On the board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="2s"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qd"], Shanahan made a full house of queens over aces and took the chip lead for the first time since just after the final table began. Mizzi was next to go, busting in third place for $186,824 as his tournament ended as he was dominated and delivered from the event. Mizzi was all-in with [poker card="3s"][poker card="3h"] and needed a lot of help, with Ball holding [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Js"]. The board of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="7s"] saw Mizzi depart and Ball take the chip lead into heads-up with 94 million playing against Shanahan’s 57.8 million chips. Heads-up was a brief but exciting affair. Scott Ball won a series of pots at the beginning of the bout to take a 2:1 chip lead into the final hand. Shanahan shoved with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8h"] but when Ball called with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qc"], the overnight chip leader would need a lot of help. The flop of [poker card="Kh"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3d"] gave Shanahan an eight, but after the [poker card="Kd"] turn, the [poker card="2c"] river ended the event in Ball’s favor, winning him his first WSOP bracelet and $396,445, condemning Shanahan to second place and $245,068. WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Final Table Results: Scott Ball - $396,445 Michael Shanahan - $245,068 Sorel Mizzi - $186,824 Sebastian Medina - $143,399 David Jackson - $110,827 Ronnie Ballantyne - $86,249 Petro Zakusilov - $67,592 Seth Fischer - $53,343 Frank Marasco - $42,389 Mourad Amokrane Scores Gold Another bracelet was won in Event #71, but French player Mourad Amokrane was incredibly dominant at the last as he took just one hand of heads-up play to complete a remarkable victory at the $1,500 Bounty PLO final table. Amokrane, an optician from France, seemed to have X-Ray specs as he took apart the competition, with players such as Kao Chieng Saechao (8th for $13,610) and Jeff Gross (7th for $17,712) both missing out on podium places. With a massive $132,844 top prize and the first bracelet of his amateur career, Amokrane, one of the most modest winners of the series, said he would continue to help people see better after showing us his PLO Bounty skills in the clearest way possible. WSOP 2021 Event #71 $1,500 Bounty PLO Final Table Results: Mourad Amokrane - $132,844 Matt Mamiya - $82,100 Matthew Humphrey - $58,733 Matthew Mlsna - $42,604 Dustin Nelson - $31,344 Paulo Villena - $23,392 Jeff Gross - $17,712 Kao Chieng Saechao - $13,610 Nikolay Yosifov - $10,616 Things Are Getting Crazy In Event #70, another huge Day 1 took place as Day 1c saw 1,907 players reduced to just 87 by the close of play. Only 287 of those made the money, with Justin Arwine (3,280,000) the chip leader. Arwine was followed in the counts by fellow podium placers Eric Baldwin (2,825,000) and Irish player David Lappin (1,940,000), who followed his exit from the Main Event in 242nd place by immediately registering the event and running up a big stack. Others to make the cut included Natalie Hof-Ramos (1,700,000), Michael Cordell (940,000), Tom Hall (740,000) and Ari Engel (725,000) who could still make a push for WSOP Player of the Year with a strong showing in this event. WSOP 2021 Event #70 $888 Crazy Eights Top 10 Chipcounts: Justin Arwine - 3,280,000 Eric Baldwin - 2,825,000 David Lappin - 1,940,000 Paul Fehlig - 1,880,000 Wayne Harmon - 1,800,000 Alex Visbisky - 1,775,000 John Jenkins - 1,740,000 Alan Ferraro - 1,710,000 Natalie Hof-Ramos - 1,700,000 Kharlin Sued - 1,675,000 Mota Leads Event #72 Final Table In Event #72, the $1,500 Mixed NLHE/PLO event, Brazilian Rafael Mota bagged a huge lead going into the eight-handed final tomorrow, with six other countries represented in his seven talented opponents. With 7,515,000 chips, Mota’s stack dwarfes even his closest challenger Motoyoshi Okamura (3,835,000), but with players like Nick Yunis (3,190,000) also attempting to take the title and win a WSOP bracelet, nothing is guaranteed ahead of the final day of the event. WSOP 2021 Event #72 $1,500 Mixed NLHE / PLO Final Table Chipcounts: Rafael Mota - 7,515,000 Motoyoshi Okamura - 3,835,000 Nick Yunis - 3,190,000 Leonid Yanovski - 2,070,000 Mike Takayama - 1,900,000 Jordan Spurlin - 1,740,000 Marc Lange - 535,000 Tim Grau - 360,000 Big Names Bag In $10K Stud 8 Championship In Event #73, the first day of action in the $10,000-entry Seven Card Stud Championship took place, with Gary Benson (331,000) of Australia leading the field at the end of the day, with Adam Owen (289,500) and Denis Strebkov (274,000) close by. With stars of the mixed game circuit such as Shaun Deeb and Scott Seiver (both of whom have 256,000) lurking in the top 10, a tough Day 2 will be in the offing for everyone, especially as players can still register right up to the start of play. Players to bust the event on Day 1 included Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Robert Campbell, Kevin Gerhart, Joe Hachem, John Racener, Nathan Gamble, Ben Yu and Allen Kessler. WSOP 2021 Event #73 $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Gary Benson - 331,000 Adam Owen - 289,500 Denis Strebkov - 274,000 Eli Elezra - 263,000 Shaun Deeb - 256,000 Scott Seiver - 256,000 Alex Livingston - 215,000 Mike Watson - 207,000 Brett Richey - 187,500 Yuval Bronshtein - 183,500 Finally, Greg Jennings highlighted an anomaly in the Matrix as he mentioned how Matt Berkey seems to get taller when he is sitting down, particularly at feature tables, it would appear. Just how tall is Berkey? We wouldn’t bet a single chip on it. https://twitter.com/ZGregJennings/status/1459528701574529025  
  9. Josh Arieh is having one of the best World Series of Poker runs of his two-decade-long career. In fact, perhaps there’s no hotter player on the planet over the past two weeks as Arieh picked up his third career gold bracelet in the $1,500 PLO for $204,766 and then bounced right into the $50,000 Poker Players Championship where he made the final table for the second year running, finishing in sixth place for $161,422. The moment he busted out of the PPC, he snap-registered for the $10,000 PLO and four days later he was celebrating his second bracelet of the series, fourth of his career, and another $484,791 payday - a top 5 score of his career. Additionally, Arieh is getting it done online as well, finishing in fourth place in the WSOP.com $3,200 Online High Roller for another $96,049 and enough Player of the Year points that he's expected to take the lead when it's next updated. But in addition to his poker career, Arieh recently took on a big role at PocketFives that included launching the new staking platform. He’s been a central figure to its success both off the felt and through offering pieces of his deep runs throughout the WSOP and giving fans an old-school sweat and piece of the action. Seeing as how he works for this site, it wasn’t tough to catch him on break during Day 1c of the Main Event to ask him a few questions about his past two weeks. — You’ve been in plenty of huge spots in your career: second in the $50K PPC in 2019, third in the Main Event in 2004. Where does the 2021 WSOP rank in your career so far and could you have imagined that you’d be where you are right now? I mean, we talked before we came out and I was coming out with intentions of working a lot. I was going to deal with players and getting people up on the site [PocketFives Staking] and everything. But as the fall progressed, it made more sense to play because I was playing so free. My thoughts were flowing, which is really important to me. I mean, yes, I’m surprised because there is so much variance in whether you finish in certain spots…but I’m not surprised that I’m doing well. I’m surprised that I do have two bracelets [this year]. But my life is in an amazing place, even without the bracelets. My headspace is better than it’s ever been and the results are showing it. You’ve talked about the challenges of staying mentally tough, so where is your own confidence right now and how do you maintain your own mental toughness in tournaments? Yeah, it’s really big for me. It’s really big for me to stay engaged and focused. I’m always trying to think of creative ways to win hands and I always want to have an extra out to where I don’t have to catch the cards. I’m always thinking about a lot of extra things in a hand that a lot of people aren’t thinking about because I just like to make it tough on myself. But I am as mentally here as I’ve ever been, it’s the backbone of everything. And it’s just that my life is in a good place which allows me to not think about anything other than the task at hand. I’m able to stay completely engaged and completely focused and…I’m having fun. I don't want people to think that “Oh, Josh is winning. He's having fun," because maybe everybody is...but I was having fun at the beginning when I only had three min cashes. I went home for four days and was excited to come back and play a $1,500 event. And then, I won that. But I'm enjoying my time at the table. In years past, I've always worn headphones or something would irritate me. I haven't put headphones in once. Nothing's irritating me. I'm just staying focused and it's really doing good, obviously. When you won that $1,500 you tweeted that you “knew the assignment”, is going for the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year the new “assignment?" Yea, a banner on the wall would be fucking cool, but Shaun [Deeb] comes out wanting to win Player of the Year every year and I just want to finish higher than Shaun [laughs]. That’s all, I just want to finish higher than Shaun so I can needle him. Finishing higher than him in a tournament is a really fucking good accomplishment. Player of the year would be cool but I'm going to take it day by day. As of right now, yes, I'm going to try to get some more points and win Player of the Year. But I'm not going to make myself miserable and play when I don't want to play. Because I'm having a lot of fun and this is going to be a series that I always remember for the rest of my life. I don't want to tarnish it by beating my head against the table, trying to win POY when I don't want to be playing. Switching gears a little, you are also in charge of Staking on PocketFives which has also been a huge success. How does your new role at P5s plus the successful launch of staking fit into everything that’s going on in your world? It's just everything in my life is really lining up like I never imagined. And with Daniel’s [Negreanu] help. Daniel is just one of the great people in the world. I mean, not just poker. You can call him a good guy in poker, but he's just a good human being and the things that he's done to help us succeed at PocketFives. The way that it's actually thriving and people are making money and enjoying sweating updates more than ever before. My messages are full of all my friends outside of poker: "When's the next package going up? When's the next thing going up?" It's really bringing people a lot of fun. Plus, we're capping it, so people aren't losing a lot of money that they can't afford. I've said it a million times that it's like people will enjoy a football game more because they get to bet $10 on it. Now, they get to invest at really fair rates. I don't know. I forever my tag on my Twitter was, "I'm the luckiest man alive." But I've always felt that way and somehow now it's even better. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love playing poker. I don't know. I'm just, my relationships at home, my girlfriend, everything, life's just coming together. This is a bonus question, I wasn’t originally going to ask this but…have you ever thought about maybe letting someone you work with, maybe a content creator for the site, know a minute or two before you decide to post? You know, so maybe that person could get a piece of the current sun run? No, no…[laughs] it’s for everybody. It wouldn’t be fair…it just wouldn’t be fair. Fair enough. Seriously though, you’ve won two bracelets and a lot of money this autumn, can you flex a little and let people know what you’ve done to celebrate these wins? Ah, dude, that’s not my style. I'm so excited to be here. There are so many poker players that have contributed. I mean, my support system is full of fucking amazing players. It’s not all me. It's Shaun and Matt Glantz and Daniel Negreanu and Daniel Weinman…there are so many, I hate to leave anybody out. But they're my boys and I always bounce hands off of them. We did go to Nobu for dinner…but I haven’t even cashed out. It’s all just sitting in the thing.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. It was another busy day at the 2021 World Series of Poker as three events moved closer to completion, with some of the biggest names in poker competing in the $25,000-entry Pot Limit Omaha Event #53, the Seniors Event closing out a huge Day 1b and the first day of action in the 9-Game Mix taking place at the Rio. Ben Lamb Holds $25K PLO Lead In the $25,000-entry PLO Event #53, it was Ben Lamb, the former WSOP Main Event third-place finisher from 2011, who made it to Day 3 with a chip lead. Just 25 players made the end of Day 2 with a stack, but no one bagged bigger than Lamb, who had piled up 3,885,000 by the close of play, with his nearest challengers Nathan Zimnik (2,535,000) and David Benyamine (2,340,000) some way behind his total. Others who made the Day 3 cut included Joao Vieira (1,805,000), Bryce Yockey (1,420,000) and Jeremy Ausmus (1,280,000) just three examples of big names with big chances of success at the tail-end of the event. Another player who will hope to keep a great run going at this year’s World Series of Poker is Tommy Le (1,035,000), who won a second bracelet just the other day in PLO. Plenty of big names were unable to make it through the day, with Chance Kornuth, Joseph Cheong, Ben Yu, Ian O’Hara, Scott Seiver, Eric Kurtzman all cashing but failing to make Day 3, with Niklas Astedt, Josh Arieh, and Stephen Chidwick busting outside the money places. WSOP 2021 Event #53 $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Ben Lamb - 3,885,000 Nathan Zimnik - 2,535,000 David Benyamine - 2,340,000 LaDarren Banks - 2,000,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,975,000 Joao Vieira - 1,805,000 Farhad Jamasi - 1,480,000 Veselin Karakitukov - 1,445,000 Bryce Yockey - 1,420,000 Charles Sinn - 1,335,000 Seniors Come Out To Play On a mammoth Day 1b of the $1,000-entry Event #52 the Seniors Event, Dany Georges bagged the biggest stack as he totaled 464,000 by the close of the day’s action. Georges had a good lead from players such as Scott Sisler (372,000) who finished second in chips and Mike Ruter (345,000) who also grabbed a podium place with over a thousand players still involved. The total field of both days stood at 5,404 by the end of registration, with 622 players from the Day 1b field making it through. Big names to make the cut included the ‘Robin Hood of Poker’, Barry Greenstein (156,500), James Moore (104,000), who has already won the Super Seniors Event twice in his poker career, and Allen ‘Chainsaw’ Kessler (80,500), who highlighted the positivity of the day as the WSOP dealers at the Rio got a well-earned round of applause. https://twitter.com/AllenKessler/status/1453862989891735554 WSOP 2021 Event #52 $1,000 Seniors Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Dany Georges - 464,000 Scott Sisler - 372,000 Mike Ruter - 345,000 Ali Pabarja - 336,500 Randy Marker - 311,500 Steven Sheldon - 309,500 Billy Sewell - 297,000 Azim Popatia - 289,000 Jarufe Farah - 286,000 Matthew Shihadeh - 284,500 Rast, Elezra In $2,500 Nine Game Mix Top 10 Finally, Event #54 concluded with 136 players still in seats from 319 entries in the Nine-Game Mix which takes place six-handed throughout. After the first day’s play, Kao Saechao (240,000) had the chip lead, with Brian Rast - who won a WSOP bracelet as recently as on Day 28 - on 212,100 chips close behind him. Paul Holder came into the overnight counts third on 201,500. Other notables to grab a bag at the close of play and plan for a Day 2 strategy included Kevin Gerhart (158,300), Adam Owen (154,300), WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams (153,100), Maria Ho (135,900), three-time WSOP bracelet winner Josh Arieh (129,700) and ‘Kid Poker’ himself, Daniel Negreanu (62,000). Other superstars weren’t so fortunate, with 16-time champion Phil Hellmuth, Frank Kassela, Chris Vitch, and Mike Watson all being eliminated before the end of Day 1. There will only be 48 paid places, so all of the remaining players have a lot to do yet before they can pat themselves on the back for making a profit in another WSOP event. WSOP 2021 Event #54 $2,500 Nine-Game Mix Six-Handed Top 10 Chipcounts: Kao Saechao - 240,000 Brian Rast - 212,100 Paul Holder - 201,500 Peiwen Wang - 201,400 Eli Elezra - 196,100 Ryan Himes - 190,900 Ray Henson - 190,600 Kentaro Hori - 175,800 Christopher Putz - 169,000 Matt Szymaszek - 168,900 Finally, Chris Moneymaker was quick to pour scorn on PokerGO presenter Jeff Platt’s run in Event #43 as proof that ‘anyone’ can win big at a poker tournament. Quick as a whip, Platt shot one right back at the 2003 WSOP Main Event world champion. https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1453859024965885955
  15. 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.
  16. Six bracelet events took place on Day 26 of the 2021 World Series of Poker as Chad Norton won his first WSOP bracelet in the $800 Deepstack event and three final tables were reached with some superstars of the game in pole position to win gold. Norton Scores First Bracelet Chad Norton was dominant in his display at the $800-entry Deepstack event with the chip leader going into the final table Kevin Wang overtaken by Norton before the first-timer deservedly claimed a debut bracelet and the top prize of $214,830 to go with it. The final table of nine players began with Wang on 22 million chips, an amount far clear of the 9 million in front of the eventual winner. It was Joshua Herman who busted first in ninth place for $19,533, as he moved all-in for around four big blinds with [poker card="Js"][poker card="9s"] and was called by Norton with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Th"]. That call was vindicated across the board of [poker card="Kd"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="Ks"] as Norton’s ace-kicker played and he vaulted to 20 million chips after a fast start to the table. Next to go was William Blais for $24,982, as the Canadian moved all-in on a flop showing [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9s"][poker card="3h"]. Blais had a monster hand with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Kh"], but it was well behind his caller Norton with [poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"], and through the [poker card="3c"] turn and [poker card="9h"] river, Blais was on the rail and Norton became chip leader. Jordyn Miller was eliminated in seventh place as his [poker card="Th"][poker card="Tc"] call for his tournament life after Andres JeckIn’s shove with [poker card="As"][poker card="8h"] met with ill fortune. The flop of [poker card="8d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="2h"] gave JeckeIn top pair but kept Miller ahead, with the [poker card="2d"] turn maintaining that lead. The river of [poker card="8s"] changed everything, however, with Miller busted before the final six. The chip leader heading into the final nine, Wang was gone in sixth place, as he fell to Norton too. Wang shoved from the button with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="3c"] and was called by Norton with [poker card="As"][poker card="Jh"]. The board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="Qs"] saw Wang flop a gutshot but miss it as Norton paired up on the turn and busted Wang for a $42,031 score. In fifth place, it was the turn of Ivan Uzunov to depart the party, winning $55,279 as his shove with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Ts"] was called by JeckeIn with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jc"]. The board of [poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="As"] saw Uzunov on the rail with the Argentinian staying in contention albeit at the bottom of the counts. Narimaan Ahmadi had laddered to fourth place for $73,371 but could go no further as he shoved from the small blind with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="6c"] and Norton, who called with an audible ‘Sure, why not?” turned over [poker card="As"][poker card="6h"]. The board of [poker card="Qd"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3h"] saw Ahmadi leave the event, and Norton, who had four times the chips of his remaining two opponents combined, continued to obliterate all who sat between him and the gold bracelet. Both of Norton’s opponents were in ICM problems, and JeckeIn paid for it with his stack in third place for $98,269. The Argentinian shoved with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Ts"] but was called by the other short stack in Steve Lemma, whose [poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"] held across a comfortable board of [poker card="7s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"] which saw JeckeIn pick up a flush draw on the flop but fade both turn and river as Lemma filled up to sevens over fives on 5th street. Heads-up was looking like it might not be a procession for Norton purely due to Lemma busting JeckeIn, but with just under a 3:1 chip lead, that proved enough for a quick kill for Norton. Lemma shoved over Norton’s raise from the button and Norton made a quick call. Lemma was behind with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="9s"], Norton holding [poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] and hitting top pair on the flop as the board played out [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="3d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"] to give Lemma the runner-up spot for $132,802 and award Norton the bracelet and top prize of $214,830. WSOP 2021 Event #46 $800 Deepstack Final Table Results: Chad Norton - $214,830 Steve Lemma - $132,802 Andres Jeckeln - $98,269 Narimaan Ahmadi - $73,271 Ivan Uzunov - $55,279 Kevin Wang - $42,031 Jordyn Miller - $32,254 William Blais - $24,982 Joshua Herman - $19,533 Jeff Platt, Jonathan Dokler Head Day 4 of Double Stack Day 3 of the $1,000-entry Double Stack event saw Michael Wang end the day with a dominant chip stack as the American piled up over 24 million chips. With Joshua Harrison his nearest challenger on 14.7 million, others in contention include South Korean player Sejin Park (13.3 million), Jonathan Dokler (12.8 million), and PokerGO presenter Jeff Platt, who led after Day 2 and still has a very playable 8 million stack heading into the penultimate day. Of the players who busted on Day 3 as the field dropped from 149 players to just 17, former WSOP Main Event winner Martin Jacobson fell in 145th place for $3,124, Niall Farrell dropped in 88th place for $4,716 and Ralph Massey made it all the way to 23rd place for $15,856. Others to bust on a busy day for eliminations included Daniel Dayan, Andrew Moreno, Brandon Shiels and Antoine Saout. Wang was understandably delighted with his progress. https://twitter.com/miw210/status/1452879499423465474 WSOP 2021 Event #43 $1,000 Double Stack Top 10 Chipcounts: Michael Wang - 24,300,000 Joshua Harrison - 14,725,000 Sejin Park - 13,325,000 Jonathan Dokler - 12,875,000 Timothy Little - 11,475,000 Alexander Farahi - 10,725,000 Alex Kulev - 9,550,000 Anthony Denove - 8,475,000 Jeff Platt - 8,075,000 Kenneth Inouye - 7,475,000 Back-To-Back Final Tables For Tommy Le Tommy Le is the man to catch in Event #45, the $10,000-entry Pot Limit Omaha Championship. With a stack of 7.4 million, Le leads from Artem Maksimov, with both of the top two some way clear of Chris Sandrock (3.2m), Jordan Spurlin (2.8m), and Jeremy Ausmus (2.2m), who will all be hoping for an early double up to put themselves back in contention for the WSOP bracelet. With players such as Mike Matusow, Dylan Linde, and Daniel Zack all busting on the penultimate day of play, Le will be hoping to go one better than his last final table, where he lost out for the bracelet to our own Josh Arieh. Le got off to a blistering start on the day, with just 18 players starting out and an unlucky 13 of that number failing to make the final day. Le doubled up through Arthur Morris and never looked back, as the day’s dominant player busted Mike Matusow with a rivered nut flush against ‘The Mouth’, who had flopped the nut straight. Once the final table of eight was reached, Ashly Butler was the first player to depart, with eighth place worth $71,242. Morris himself was busted in seventh for $93,406, while Eli Elezra failed to make it five bracelets, falling short in sixth place for $124,508 as Le claimed the chip lead heading to the denouement of the PLO Championship. WSOP 2021 Event #45 $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship Final Table Chipcounts: Tommy Le - 7,240,000 Artem Maksimov - 5,080,000 Chris Sandrock - 3,200,000 Jordan Spurlin - 2,885,000 Jeremy Ausmus - 2,235,000 $5K Freezeout Final Table Set Day 2 of the $5,000 Freezeout event saw a returning field of 82 players play down to just five finalists as the penultimate day of action saw plenty of it. At the close of play, Frenchman Alexandre Reard had the biggest stack, with 8,820,000 chips, some way clear of the only remaining bracelet winner in the field, Daniel Strelitz (5,345,000). With Qing Liu (3,375,000), Conrad Simpson (2,390,000), and Ren Lin (1,535,000) completing the final five, there are sure to be fireworks as the five men play for the top prize of $428,694. Day 2 of this event saw plenty of big names exit the competition, with eight hours of play leading to the unofficial final table of nine. With players such as Daniel Lazrus, Scott Seiver, Daniel Negreanu, and Shaun Deeb all making the money but failing to trouble the final table, others weren’t so fortunate, with stars such as Ben Heath, Andrew Kelsall - who bubbled - and Alan Sternberg all falling short of profit. WSOP 2021 Event #47 $5,000 Freezeout Final Table Chipcounts: Alexandre Reard - 8,820,000 Daniel Strelitz - 5,345,000 Qing Liu - 3,375,000 Conrad Simpson - 2,390,000 Ren Lin - 1,535,000 Ari Engel, Sam Grafton Survive Day 1 Shootout Event #48 was the $1,500 Shootout, a unique event on the WSOP calendar and one of our favorites, with each 10-handed starting table producing one winner who then makes the next day of single-table shootouts ahead of a final table full of winners eventually being reached. Day 1 saw a neat total of 800 players reach just 80 as players such as Sam Grafton, Joseph Cheong, and Ari Engel all ended the day too strong for nine opponents, slaying their way to victory. Of the 12 hours that players were at the felt, some tables ended much sooner than others. The first table to leave just one player standing was the one that ended with Victoria Livschitz sat behind all the chips. Players such as Shiraz Lall and Huy Nguyen couldn’t stop her progression, with other tables just as star-studded. Sam Grafton made his way through a table that included Michael Noori, who already has a 2021 WSOP bracelet to his name, while Joseph Cheong added to the Day 2 banter after taking care of Zach Gruneberg heads-up. Ari Engel, who already has two 2021 WSOP bracelets to his name, is 79 players from repeating that trick, with players such as Maria Ho, Ryan Depaulo, Michael Mizrachi and Jeff Gross among those to miss out. Sam Soverel Leads $10K NL 2-7 Event #49 completed the mammoth day at the felt for WSOP fans, with Sam Soverel leading the way after Day 1 of the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Single Draw event. Soverel’s stack of 454,500 chips puts him ahead of Johannes Becker (373,500) and Julien Martini (338,500) at the top of the leaderboard, but there is quality in every seat, with Shaun Deeb (302,500), Benny Glaser (290,500), and Yuval Bronshtein (225,500) all in the top 10 chip counts. Elsewhere, players such as the vastly experienced Dan Shak (190,500), Chris Vitch (83,000), Scott Seiver (99,500), Nick Schulman (90,000), and Ryan Leng (74,500) will all be very positive that they can claim a profit on Day 2 and push for the gold. Among those who busted on Day 1 were stars such as Phil Hellmuth, Galen Hall, and Michael Noori. WSOP 2021 Event #49 $10,000 NL 2-7 Single Draw Top 10 Chipcounts: Sam Soverel - 454,500 Johannes Becker - 373,500 Julien Martini - 338,500 Shaun Deeb - 302,500 Benny Glaser - 290,500 Benjamin Diebold - 277,500 David McGowan - 269,500 Yuval Bronshtein - 225,500 Farzad Bonyadi - 215,500 Matt Vengrin - 210,500 Chris Moneymaker already decided pre-festival that he wouldn’t be gracing Vegas with his presence, but a recent champion has, ahem, ‘encouraged’ him to rethink that choice. Sounds like a sidebet to us. https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1451943037299568643 Finally, if you’re worried that some of the big names you love haven’t arrived I Vegas yet - such as Phil Ivey - then fear not, because the two men who battled it out for the legendary WSOP Main Event win back in 1989 were pictured together at the Rio for the first time in a long time. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1452863857467084803
  17. It took just one week for the 2021 World Series of Poker to settle into a routine. After the initial chaos of the early events with their long lines and sometimes slow-paced verification processes, the vibe at the Rio found its stride with big names winning bracelets, shot takers living their dream, and a historic blow-up we all saw coming. Week two brought back a very familiar feel to the WSOP, even under the “current conditions.” From packed fields of poker's brightest stars to an old-fashioned dose (or two) of drama, things remained lively throughout the week. With that, let’s check out the five biggest storylines from Week 2 of the World Series of Poker. #1. Hellmuth Melts Down, Wants To Burn It Down The question of whether Phil Hellmuth would win WSOP gold bracelet #16 before he lost control has been answered. This week, Hellmuth was at the third final table of his first five events and took the chip lead into the final day of the $10K Stud. The entire poker world tuned in to see if he would make history - and he most certainly did. Just not by winning a bracelet. Hellmuth saw his chip lead slip away and, as his stack tumbled, his #POSITIVITY absolutely crumbled. Then it happened - he finally freaked out. (Note: there’s an eff-ton of eff-bombs in this video so fair warning) https://twitter.com/SrslySirius/status/1447982387619528709?s=20 After losing a key pot to eventual winner Anthony Zinno, Hellmuth had a full-on meltdown. Hurling insults, swear words, and a few self-congratulatory comments. He jokingly threatened to “burn this motherf***ing place down” if he didn’t end up winning. He even re-introduced himself to the table, asking if this table even knew who he was?! For poker purists, like commentator Norman Chad, Hellmuth clearly crossed the line. https://twitter.com/NormanChad/status/1447979843811823619?s=20 For pure entertainment value, it was a historic, epic Hellmuth “Poker Brat” moment. It was an all-timer for sure and “burn it down” is going to rival “idiot from Northern Europe” in future memes. https://twitter.com/HunterGrouse/status/1448075867004022787?s=20 Once he calmed down, Hellmuth took to Twitter, issued as much of an apology as he could muster, and took his medicine. He even retweeted some of the harshest comments directed at him (see above). But for poker as a whole, this is another love-it-or-hate-it moment from the WSOP. And wherever you fall, this is for certain, this moment is one we won’t forget anytime soon. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1448431418762088448?s=20 https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1448544952162553856?s=20 #2. Misguided Man Enters the Ladies Event In case you hadn’t seen our op-ed published earlier - here’s a link. The facts are that a poker player from Minneapolis decided to be the sole man to pay the $10,000 entry fee and play the Ladies Event. He claimed it was all to raise money for unspecified women’s charities, even though in order to make any money, he would have needed to have a final table finish of eighth place or better. As should be expected the decision was met with plenty of backlash, including from some of the women who played in the event. The player ended up not making the money and according to reports, the announcement of elimination was met with plenty of cheers. As of this writing, the player has not spoken more about his experience or if he plans on making donations to women’s charities despite finishing out of the money. More importantly, the event drew a field of 643 women, including top-tier pros Jennifer Shahade, Sofia Lovgren, Jamie Kerstetter, Melanie Weisner, Elena Stover, and J.J. Liu who made the final table. https://twitter.com/JenShahade/status/1447642272221184001?s=20 https://twitter.com/thegroupie/status/1447682599426531328?s=20   The final table of the Ladies Event can be watched for free on YouTube. #3. Big Names Add Bracelets To Resume The deeper into the series, the most notable names have been emerging with new gold bracelets to add to their trophy case. Over the course of the past seven days, John Monette picked up his fourth career WSOP victory after besting Nate Silver in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship for $245,680. Days later it was Anthony Zinno grabbing his third bracelet in the aforementioned $10K Stud where he overtook a talented final table including Hellmuth, Poker Hall of Fame member Jack McClelland, and Stephen Chidwick. Zinno took home more than $182K with the win. Mixed game specialist Dylan Linde can be taken off the “best without a bracelet” list as he grabbed gold in the $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo for $170,269. Finally, longtime grinder DJ Alexander found a way to to the end of the $1,000 Flip & Go to earn some hardware of his own plus the $180,655 first-place prize. That’s leads us to… #4. Flip and Go Madness For the better part of two days, you couldn’t look at social media from the World Series of Poker without seeing the crowds that gathered in the single table satellite area of the Pavilion, hoping to flip their way into the money of the $1,000 Flip and Go event sponsored by GGPoker. READ: Fast and Furious Flip and Go Event Incites Action At The WSOP Daniel Negreanu lit the fuse and soon thereafter people were lining up to pay $1,000 to try and win a single hand in order to advance to the money round. For some, it was one and done. But for a couple of big-name pros, the quest to win the flip became costly. The event was polarizing with plenty of detractors feeling like it was a rake trap and added to the narrative that the WSOP was cheapening the brand by allowing people to “flip for a bracelet.” However, there were also plenty of accounts of people embracing the madness and adrenaline that came with leaning into the luck factor in order to advance. #5. Drama Returns to the Rio The World Series of Poker is in full swing so is the drama that comes with it. Of course, there’s the aforementioned Hellmuth explosion and “Man Entering Ladies Event”, which are their own stories. However, other mini-drama bombs have gone off this week, some of which have serious implications, some of which are just reminders of the kind of spats that take place when highly competitive players are fighting for massive prize pools. The first took place when poker pro Adam Hendrix tweeted out an issue that he heard about where an unnamed poker pro was entered in an event, sat down, and was waiting for the event to start but decided to unregister. Then later, that player re-registered (which is standardly against the rules). When that player turned out to be Kelly Minkin who unreg’d for a variety of reasons and only re-registered hours later, the air was cleared and the social media spat was squashed. Here’s a taste of the back-and-forth: https://twitter.com/AdamHendrix10/status/1446585726372499456?s=20 https://twitter.com/The_Illest/status/1446595732065042436?s=20 https://twitter.com/AdamHendrix10/status/1446656678041055235?s=20 While that gave Poker Twitter some good reads for a few hours, Shaun Deeb encountered a much more serious scenario when he woke up, with what he said, was someone in his hotel room. https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1447215029758033922?s=20 Deeb’s been mum about the incident since, not saying what if anything was taken. Thankfully, he’s fine and was spotted at the tables soon thereafter.
  18. One of the biggest days in recent World Series of Poker history played out at the Rio on Day 18 of the 2021 WSOP as Phil Hellmuth won his 16th bracelet with victory in the $1,500 2-7 Lowball Draw Event #31. Hellmuth saw off a stacked final table of talented mixed game specialists to oust Jake Schwartz heads-up after he had earlier taken out the overnight chip leader, Rep Porter. Hellmuth Makes History With 10 players reaching the final day, Hellmuth began the action second in chips behind Porter and by the time the final table of eight players was reached, Hellmuth remained second, albeit behind a new chip leader in Dario Sammartino. It didn’t take long for Porter to get back among the action, however, as he busted Kevin Gerhart in eighth place for $7,602. With seven players left, Hellmuth dropped to fifth in chips as the swingy variant of poker that has tested the best in the game over half a century put players under pressure in every pot. Jason Lipiner was defeated in seventh place for $10,023 after his stack was taken by Joshua Faris, and when Porter put Sammartino in the cage in another hand, the Italian lost a huge chunk of his stack. Sammartino was on the rail in sixth place for $13,463 when Porter took the remainder of his chips, before Hellmuth began the heater that would end in poker history. A key hand with nine-high would give the Poker Brat the lead as he played under the dutiful gaze of his wife, Katherine on the rail. After Joshua Faris’ elimination in fifth place for $18,421, Porter lost his stack as the overnight chip leader left in fourth for $25,661. Porter’s chips went to Schwartz, and when Hellmuth took out Chris Vitch in third place for $36,387, the stage was set for a huge heads-up showdown with the chips not far from even. Hellmuth had 3.1 million, just 600,000 short of Schwartz’s stack going into the final duel as the cameras zoomed in on the Poker Brat and a hundred reporters notebooks saw pens poised ready to capture the moment of poker history. Schwartz initially extended his lead and looked like spoiling the party for Hellmuth as the Poker Brat’s fellow American raced into a 2:1 chip lead in pursuit of his first bracelet. A massive all-in from Hellmuth after Schwartz had bet aggressively both pre-flop and post-flop caused Schwartz to fold and that gave Hellmuth the momentum he needed to seal the deal, as Hellmuth’s nine-high hand drew two cards and landed a seven and five to mean Schwartz had no chance of a comeback having drawn for one card with ten-high. Hellmuth celebrated - along with a rail featuring a gleeful Mike Matusow as the moment of his 16th WSOP bracelet win arrived just like the Poker Brat predicted it would. With four final tables in the first fortnight of the 2021 World Series, surely Hellmuth might also be the favorite to win Player of the Year, where his most likely challenger is Anthony Zinno. You can read all about Hellmuth’s reaction as he won his 16th World Series of Poker bracelet in the Rio right here. WSOP 2021 Event #31 2-7 $1,500 Lowball Draw Final Table Results: Phil Hellmuth - $84,851 Jake Schwartz - $52,502 Chris Vitch - $36,387 Rep Porter - $25,661 Joshua Faris - $18,421 Dario Sammartino - $13,463 Jason Lipiner - $10,023 Kevin Gerhart - $7,602 Ryan Leng Surges To Monster Lead In Event #30 The Day 2 action in the $1,500-entry Monster Stack Event #30 saw three-time WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Leng (4,070,000) bag the chip lead overnight. Just 162 players survived from a Day 2 starting field of 1,220, with the popular professional Leng amounting a slight lead ahead of Jason Wheeler (3,805,000) and a bigger one from Linda Huard (3,290,000) who are Leng’s closest challengers. Elsewhere, players such as Ian O’Hara (3,025,000), Steven Sarmiento (3,000,000), and Anthony Ortega (2,660,000) all totaled top ten stacks, with other big names such as Pavel Plesuv (915,000), Dylan Linde (820,000), and Chris Brewer (2,280,000) all well placed to make a run at the bracelet. With so many making it through, even more went home, as David ‘Bakes’ Baker, Anton Wigg, Ron McMillen, Daniel Strelitz, Natalie Hof-Ramos, and Ari Engel all failing to make a bag for Day 3. WSOP 2021 Event #30 $1,500 Monster Stack Top 10 Chipcounts: Ryan Leng - 4,070,000 Jason Wheeler - 3,805,000 Linda Huard - 3,290,000 Rafael Reis - 3,125,000 Jeffrey Vertes - 3,035,000 Ian O'Hara - 3,025,000 Steven Sarmiento - 3,000,000 Uri Reichenstein - 2,995,000 Antonio Matic - 2,905,000 Anthony Ortega - 2,660,000 Eli Elizera, Maria Ho in $3K H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Event #32, the $3,000-entry H.O.R.S.E. tournament, saw some very big names bag chips at the close of play on Day 2. Only 20 players remained in seats by the close of the action, but among them sit several of poker’s elite. The chip leader with 20 left is Eli Elezra, who bagged up a massive 1,036,000 to become only one player of two past a million by close of play. Elezra is followed in the chip counts as you might imagine by some of the best mixed game players in the world, with his nearest rivals being Qinghai Pan (1,036,000) and Michael Parizon (979,000) both breathing down his neck. Elsewhere, there were Day 3 bags for Maria Ho (908,000), Barabara Enright (446,000) and Daniel Negreanu (414,000) as plenty of big names made it through to the latter stages of the event. WSOP 2021 Event #32 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chipcounts: Eli Elezra - 1,243,000 Qinghai Pan - 1,036,000 Michael Parizon - 979,000 Michael Trivett - 973,000 Maria Ho - 908,000 Jim Collopy - 890,000 Paramjit Gill - 779,000 Ahmed Mohamed - 772,000 Richard Bai - 708,000 Sachin Bhargava - 655,000 159 Remain in $800 Deepstack The first day of Event #33, the $800-entry Eight-Handed tournament saw just 159 players take chips through to the penultimate day of the event, with Alex Miles (2,700,000) leading the way from Tony Nguyen (2,185,000) and Todd Ivens (2,030,000) as a host of recognized names gather in his slipstream. Others who will feel hopeful of adding a final table to their World Series include Ankush Mandavia (1,600,000), Simon Lefevre (1,300,000), Matt Affleck (840,000), and Ryan Laplante (650,000), with players such as WSOP Main Event winners Martin Jacobson and Ryan Riess both losing their stacks, along with Jeremy Ausmus, Sylvain Loosli, and Adrian Mateos. WSOP 2021 Event #33 $800 Eight-Handed NLHE Top 10 Chipcounts: Alex Miles - 2,700,000 Tony Nguyen - 2,185,000 Todd Ivens - 2,030,000 Stefano Calezane - 1,925,000 Ankush Mandavia - 1,600,000 Florian Guimond - 1,560,000 Damien Gayer - 1,370,000 Ian Steinman - 1,320,000 Eric Dillon - 1,300,000 Simon Lefevre - 1,300,000 Big Names Bag in Limit 2-7 Last, but by no means least, the $1,500-entry Event #34, the Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw tournament saw just 76 players survive, with over two-thirds of the 284-strong field gone on Day 1. British pro Adam Owen bagged up the biggest stack of the night with 246,000 chips, closely followed on the leaderboard by Ahmed Amin (229,500) and Brian Yoon (226,500), with others such as Andre Akkari (71,000) and Ari Engel (39,000) scraping through with fewer chips. WSOP 2021 Event #34 $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Top 10 Chipcounts: Adam Owen - 246,000 Ahmed Amin - 229,500 Brian Yoon - 226,500 Matt Grapenthien - 210,000 Daniel Anton - 207,500 David Funkhouser - 204,500 Cory Zeidman - 198,000 Ian Feller - 159,000 Ian Johns - 140,500 Matt Schultz - 130,000 Finally, Shaun Deeb has always had his finger on the pulse of the poker industry... but is this early call on Day 18 more than a little spooky? https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1449812866584899584
  19. Chance Kornuth won his third World Series of Poker bracelet as the self-confessed Short Deck novice won the $10,000-entry event to claim the $194,670 top prize. With a talented selection of six top players returning to the felt in the Thunderdome for the final table, Kornuth got the better of Chad Campbell heads-up as the final duel ended in the poker professional and coaching expert’s favor in dramatic fashion. Kornuth Claims Dramatic Victory Against Campbell The final table of six kicked off with Kornuth in a slim lead over Chad Campbell as the half dozen final table players battled to a winner under the lights. There was a quick bust-out to kick the action off as Thomas Kysar, who came into the action with the shortest stack, busted in sixth place for $32,437 with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Td"] against Kornuth’s [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Qh"] as the board of [poker card="Ad"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"] gave the chip leader two pair to further boost his stack ahead of just four remaining opponents. Next to go was Joao Vieira as the Portuguese player was eliminated by Campbell just a few hands later. Vieira jammed with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jd"] and was called by Campbell with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kh"]. On the board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ks"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"], Campbell made two-pair and Vieira missed turn and river to bust for $42,885 in fifth place. With four players remaining, a lot of play took place without anyone losing their stack. Kornuth and Campbell traded places at the top, but neither Dan Shak or fourth-place finisher Moshe Gabay could make any in-roads into their advantage and it was no surprise when Gabay lost his stack next for $58,601. The manner of Gabay’s exit was, however, a shock. Calling Shak’s shove, Gabay was all-in with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="As"] and ahead of Shak’s [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Jd"]. The flop of [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="9c"] was a sensational one, however, as while it kept Gabay ahead, it offered Shak the chance of a straight flush, which he duly hit on the [poker card="8c"] turn. The [poker card="Jh"] was insignificant in the extreme and Shak chipped up at Gabay’s expense. Despite winning that hand, Shak couldn’t threaten the leaders and bowed out in third after a courageous run. All-in with [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Ts"] against Kornuth’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Kh"], the board of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="Js"] gave Kornuth a vital pot to send him into heads-up with a lead of 2.6 million chips to Campbell’s 1.4 million. Shak, meanwhile, went to the rail with a score of $82,678. Heads-up, Kornuth took very little time to emerge victorious, after the shortest battle of the final table. On a board showing [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Jh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="9s"], Campbell raise-shoved with [poker card="Tc"][poker card="9h"] and Kornuth called with a flopped full house, holding [poker card="Js"][poker card="8c"]. The river of [poker card="7d"] ended the event and Kornuth could celebrate his third WSOP title with the bracelet and $194,670 top prize, while Campbell commiserated himself with the runner-up result worth $120,316. Kornuth’s title will feel even sweeter as he proved to his wife Emily that he was able to do it based on some YouTube learning. https://twitter.com/Srirachaaa/status/1449597512495419398 WSOP 2021 Event #29 $10,000 Short Deck Final Table Results: Chance Kornuth - $194,670 Chad Campbell - $120,316 Dan Shak - $82,678 Moshe Gabay - $58,601 Joao Vieira - $42,885 Thomas Kysar - $32,437 Dylan Weisman Gets His First Gold In Event #28, Dylan Weisman sealed a memorable victory in the $1,000-entry Pot Limit Omaha tournament for a top prize of $166,461. Weisman is a name well-known to PLO players, coaching on the popular Upswing Poker site and he utilized his stack advantage over the field to maximum effort in winning his debut WSOP bracelet. Just five players came back to the final table to play out the conclusion of the event, with Weisman holding a big lead coming into the action. Weisman had almost as many chips as his two closest challengers combined and ran over the table to become champion. Before long had elapsed, Weisman had half the chips at the table and watched on as Tim Van Loo busted Ran Niv of Israel in fifth place for $40,109. Van Loo might have been hoping to put those chips to good use, but he was the next to leave, ousted by Alexander Yen in fourth place for $54,230. It was a remarkable run for Van Loo, as not only was it his first appearance at a WSOP final table, but his first World Series cash of any kind, and the young German will be one to watch based on this event. His conqueror in the final hand, Yen, busted in third place for $74,239 in the pivotal hand of the final. Yen’s set of eights was crushed by Weisman’s set of nines and when both players improved to a full house on the board, Weisman knocked out his more dangerous rival in terms of chips. Craig Chait only had 1.7 million to Weisman’s stack of almost 20 million, so it was no surprise when Chait was busted in the runner-up position for $102,884. Weisman’s victory was worth $166,461 and in taking down the tournament, he won his first-ever gold bracelet, to the delight of his many fans and friends on the rail. WSOP 2021 Event #28 $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table Results: Dylan Weisman - $166,461 Craig Chait - $102,884 Alexander Yen - $74,239 Tim Van Loo - $54,230 Ran Niv - $40,109 Chase Fujita - $30,040 Manan Bhandari - $22,787 Youness Barakat - $17,510 Hellmuth In Position For 4th Final Table Phil Hellmuth will go into his fourth final day of an event this World Series, and with the Poker Brat holding over a million chips, there’s a chance the controversial star wins bracelet #16 tomorrow. With only Rep Porter (1,129,000) bagging up more chips than Hellmuth, who totalled 1,016,000 at the close of play, the Poker Brat will be putting on a charm offensive ahead of the final day. A little further back sits Dario Sammartino (800,000) who finished as runner-up in the last live, authentic Las Vegas WSOP Main Event in 2019. Sammartino isn’t the only other big-name chasing down Porter and Hellmuth at the top of the leaderboard. Chris Vitch (447,000), Jake Schwartz (398,000) and Ryan Riess (266,000) will all harbor hopes of victory as they battle for the bracelet on the final day of another prestigious mixed game event, with stars such as Rok Gostisa, Ali Imsirovic and Melanie Weisner all missing out during Day 2. WSOP 2021 Event #31 $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Final Day Chipcounts: Rep Porter - 1,129,000 Phil Hellmuth - 1,016,000 Kenji Faris - 840,000 Dario Sammartino - 800,000 Jason Papastavrou - 666,000 Jason Lipiner - 663,000 Kevin Gerhart - 581,000 Chris Vitch - 447,000 Jake Schwartz - 398,000 Ryan Riess - 266,000 Ryan Leng, Dylan Linde Score Monster Stacks The massive Monster Stack field was grown to a total of 3,520 players on Day 1b, with 1,219 players making the Day 2 seat draw through both Day 1a (518) and Day 1b (701). The biggest chipstack on Day 1b belonged to Rajaee Wazwaz (510,500), with Pavel Plesuv (483,500) and 2021 bracelet winner Ryan Leng (473,000) the nearest to overtaking the leader at the close of play. Others such as Dylan Linde (443,000), Andrew Neeme (304,500), Upeshka De Silva (219,000), Jesse Sylvia (129,000), Cate Hall (125,000), Ari Engel (108,000) and Ronnie Bardah (75,000) all making the cut. WSOP 2021 Event #30 $1,500 Monster Stack Top 10 Chipcounts: Rajaee Wazwaz - 510,500 Pavel Plesuv - 483,500 Ryan Leng - 473,000 Mitchell Collins - 465,000 Dylan Linde - 443,000 Francois Pirault - 440,500 Joshua Gordon - 440,500 Yeon Bae - 433,500 La Sengphet - 428,000 Matthew Eng - 424,500 Brian Hastings, Maria Ho In $3K H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Finally, in Event #32, 154 players survived from a Day 1 field of 282 who took part. Lithuanian player Vincas Tamasauskas leads the way with 197,000 chips, from top 10 players such as Brian Hastings (178,400), Maria Ho (169,400), and David Williams (168,900). Elsewhere, John Monnette (120,600), Yuri Dzivielevski (105,800), Ari Engel (95,100), Ryan Laplante (59,000), and John Racener (52,500) all made Day 2 in good chip health, while players such as Frank Kassela, Shaun Deeb, Norman Chad, Mike Matusow, and Chino Rheem all crashed out before the end of the first day. WSOP 2021 Event #32 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chipcounts: Vincas Tamasauskas - 197,000 John Fahmy - 188,700 Brian Hastings - 178,400 Daryl Aguirre - 174,600 Sachin Bhargava - 173,300 George Alexander - 169,700 Maria Ho - 169,400 Jose Paz-Gutierrez - 169,400 David Williams - 168,900 Paramjit Gill - 139,500 Maria Ho, who made it through in seventh place on the leaderboard, revealed her tactics as she made her way from the Rio after a successful day’s work at the felt. https://twitter.com/MariaHo/status/1449534894325977090 Finally, it’s still a few weeks until the WSOP Main Event kicks off, but Phil Hellmuth has kicked off some speculation about his ‘entrance outfit after posting this picture of some old classics. We’ll take some action on a green-blue tracksuit with the number ‘456’ in the corner. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1449148701247639559
  20. The latest round of action saw two more bracelet winners take down titles and earn gold as Rafael Lebron conquered the final six of the Seven Card Stud Event #14, beating David Williams heads-up for the bracelet and Harvey Mathews also took gold on a busy day at the felt. Rafael Lebron Outlasts Shaun Deeb, David Williams For Event #14 Title Lebron’s achievement was a stunning one, as despite coming into the final table with the chip lead, he faced five experienced opponents including Shaun Deeb, the former WSOP Player of the Year. Deeb, however, was unable to really get going despite this positivity before the table kicked off. https://twitter.com/shaundeeb/status/1446406630396989441 Declaration of intentions might be more of a Negreanu-style tweet, but the former #1-ranked Deeb was unfortunate to slide out in fifth place after Nicholas Seiken busted first. With four players left, Christina Hill, who had come into the day very short-stacked, managed to get up to a cash worth $25,344. It was the turn of David Moskovitz to go in third place before Lebron got to take on a player he credits as having helped him get into the game. Heads-up was an imbalanced fight from the beginning of the battle, with Lebron having used his stack to accumulate plenty of chips more than David Williams, with a chip lead of around 3:1. He put that lead to good use, getting over the line to win the second WSOP bracelet of his career, in doing so denying Williams the same achievement. The former Magic the Gathering player has now finished as runner-up in a WSOP event for a fourth time. WSOP 2021 Event #14 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Final Table Results: Rafael Lebron - $82,262 David Williams - $50,842 David Moskowitz - $35,521 Christina Hill - $25,344 Shaun Deeb - $18,475 Nicholas Seiken - $13,766 Maurizio Melara - $10,490 Hal Rotholz - $8,179 Steven Albini - $6,528 Mathews Claims $3K Freezeout Event #13 also concluded on Friday night, with Harvey Mathews the winner of what was his first-ever bracelet. The final day began with just seven players in seats and it wasn’t long before that number was reduced to six. Craig Mason busted first on the day for $49,238 when his [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"] was looking good on the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="5d"] flop and all the money went in on the [poker card="Td"] turn with Girish Apte holding just [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qs"]. But the Broadway straight came in on the gutting river of [poker card="Kd"] for Mason in every sense. It wasn’t long before two more bust-outs sent the table even shorter handed. David Lolis cashed for $65,072 in sixth place after calling off a couple of big blinds with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="2d"] and losing to Mathews [[poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qc"]. The board of [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Td"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4c"] had Lolis crushed to a chop from the turn. Brandon Caputo had led the field into play, but he departed in fifth place for $87,288 when his [poker card="As"][poker card="Ad"] was overtaken by Mathews’ [poker card="7d"][poker card="2d"] on a board of [poker card="Ts"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="Qd"] which flushed him away on the river. Apte would join him on the rail with $118,815 just a few minutes later when his last three big blinds went into the middle with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="9c"] only to be dominated then defeated by Michael Gathy’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="9s"]. Gathy was the table’s most decorated player by far with the Belgian having won four WSOP bracelets in a stellar career. He would eventually bust in third place for $164,083 when [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8d"] couldn’t overtake Mathews’ [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kc"]. The board of [poker card="Qh"][poker card="9s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="8s"] has Gathy drawing dead from the turn. Heads-up, Mathews had a better than 4:1 chip lead against Gabriel Andrade, and although Andrade almost levelled up the stacks at one point, he eventually slid back to the same level he started the duel with to bust. Andrade called off his stack with [poker card="As"][poker card="9d"] and couldn’t hold against Mathews’ [poker card="Kh"]Td], the board of [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="Ks"] ending the tournament on the river. Mathews won his first bracelet at $371,914, while Andrade had to settle for just $229,848 as runner-up. WSOP 2021 Event #13 $3,000 NLHE Freezeout Final Day Results: Harvey Mathews - $371,914 Gabriel Andrade - $229,848 Michael Gathy - $164,083 Girish Apte - $118,815 Brandon Caputo - $87,288 David Lolis - $65,072 Craig Mason - $49,238 https://twitter.com/kuufer/status/1446683409535832070   There was controversy on Poker Twitter, where, in the six-handed Event #15 professional player Adam Hendrix posted on Twitter that a ‘well-known pro’ asked to be unregistered then re-registered the same event. https://twitter.com/AdamHendrix10/status/1446585726372499456 The context for this was duly supplied by the pro in question, Kelly Minkin, whose explanation not only satisfied the original poster but most fans who arrived to find out the truth. https://twitter.com/The_Illest/status/1446595732065042436 As Day 2 played down to a final two tables of eight players, it was Jeremy Malod who led the last eight players with a stack of 7,570,000, while Bradley Jansen was his closest challenger on just over six million chips. WSOP 2021 Event #15 $1,500 NLHE Six-Handed Final Table Chipcounts: Jeremy Malod - 7,570,000 Bradley Jansen - 6,075,000 Jesse Yaginuma - 5,415,000 Ryan Andrada - 4,495,000 Ryan Pedigo - 4,270,000 Mark Liedke - 2,950,000 Jon Baylor - 2,130,000 Sean Hegarty - 1,450,000 John Racener, Jason Somerville, Terrence Chan Make $10K Limit FT A whole host of familiar names grace the final table of Event #16 ($10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship) with former Main Event final tablist John Racener leading the way as the only player with over 1 million in chips. He's joined by Jason Somerville, who has come out of semi-retirement to make an appearance, Nater Silver, and Limit Hold'em legend Terrence Chan. WSOP 2021 Event #16 $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship Final Table Chipcounts: John Racener - 1,090,000 Eric Kurtzman - 975,000 Jason Somerville - 670,000 Scott Tuttle - 650,000 Kevin Song - 515,000 Nate Silver - 440,000 Terrence Chan - 350,000 Ray Dehkharghani - 315,000 John Monnette - 270,000 Christopher Chung - 250,000 Would-be Millionaires Kick Off Event #17 The popular $1,500 Millionaire Maker got underway on Friday with 2568 runners taking a shot at the $1,000,000 guaranteed first-place prize. By the end of the night, just 567 remained with Yiming Lee holding the chip lead, followed closely by Donovan Dean, and Mark Dube. The $1,500-entry Millionaire Maker saw 2,564 players reduced to only 567 players as Yiming Li bagged up the biggest total of 487,000 chips. That was some way clear of Donavan Dean (391,500) and Mark Dube (375,000) who will go into Day 2 second and third in chips respectively. With players such as Chance Kornuth (324,000), Kitty Kuo (276,500), Anton Wigg (178,500), Shannon Shorr (101,000), Ryan Riess (97,000), and Adrian Mateos (70,000) all making the cut, another massive day will take place on Saturday as Day 1b brings thousands more players into what could be a record-breaking field in the event which guarantees the winner will become a millionaire. WSOP 2021 Event #17 $1,500 Millionaire Maker Top 10 Chipcounts: Yiming Li - 487,000 Donavan Dean - 391,500 Mark Dube - 375,000 Shan Jing - 374,500 R.A. Villaluna - 366,000 David Siegel - 363,000 Nicholas Lebherz - 360,000 Frank Bonacci - 352,500 Keyu Qu - 347,500 William Nguyen - 341,000 The final event of the day to kick off was Event #18, the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball event, which enjoyed a showing of 253 entries overall. Of those, just 104 players made it through to Day 2, with only 38 of those going to cash. Robert Mizrachi bagged up the chip lead of 201,000 chips, but he is joined by some legends of the felt, with last year’s winner of this event, Dan Zack, taking through 127,500 and other luminaries of live poker such as Julien Martini (180,000), Scott Seiver (177,000), Benny Glaser (129,000), David Benyamine (112,000), Daniel Negreanu (61,000) and Steve Zolotow (37,500) all zipping up their chips and preparing for a push towards the final table on Day 2. Mizrachi, Martini Mix it Up in Triple Draw A star-studded field took their seats for Event #18 ($2,500 Mixed Triple Draw) on Friday with Robert Mizrachi bagging up the chip lead at the end of the day. Right behind him was PSPC runner-up Julien Martini and high-stakes crusher Scott Seiver. WSOP 2021 Event #18 $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball Top 10 Chipcounts: Robert Mizrachi - 201,000 Julien Martini - 180,000 Scott Seiver - 177,000 Carlos Rodriguez - 174,500 Domnick Sarle - 173,500 Brian Tate - 173,000 Philip Sternheimer - 168,000 Schuyler Thornton - 166,500 Craig Love - 161,000 Steve Lee - 160,000 Finally, Anton Wigg isn’t just a poker boss at the felt, he’s picked up on one of the most satisfying moments in the game whether you’re at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas or just your home game. https://twitter.com/Anton_Wigg/status/1446605905395478528
  21. The $25,000-entry Heads Up Championship, Event #11, on the 2021 World Series of Poker schedule was always going to be a dramatic one. With four fantastic players making the final stages of the tournament, finding a winner would be a war of wits like no other as four men played off to meet in the final and then battle it out for the bracelet. Jason Koon Takes Down $25K Heads-Up In the semifinals, Daniel Zack was the first player to hit the rail and that meant a new winner would take home the gold as Zack was the only remaining bracelet winner in the final four. Gabor Szabo had a nut flush early to work himself into a massive lead, before making a great call with bottom pair just a few hands later. Sealing the deal with a Broadway straight against Zack’s two-pair, Szabo awaited the winner of another titanic tussle on the other table. It was a lengthy scrap for the other place in the final as Finnish online boss Henri ‘ButtonClickr’ Pusstinen was shot down by Jason Koon. Puustinen was a tricky customer and Koon found it difficult to close the match out. Puustinen dropped behind early in the match-up but consistently found a way to survive until Koon’s two pair eventually got the job done against the Finn’s bottom pair. In the final, neither player took a distinctive lead for over an hour as play started tentatively with the bracelet on the line. Koon moved into the lead but that was reversed by the talented Hungarian who established a 2:1 lead. Koon was all-in for his tournament life with [poker card="5s"][poker card="5c"] and was called by Szabo with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qc"] before a dramatic flop of [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="4h"] gave both men a big sweat. The turn of [poker card="Jd"] and river of [poker card="Js"] kept Koon alive and vaulted him into the lead, but Szabo evened up the stacks to almost level by the time the pivotal hand arrived, with both men committing their stacks to the middle pre-flop and over 90% of the chips being on the line with Koon holding [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qc"] and Szabo dominated with [poker card="As"][poker card="Js"]. The flop of [poker card="7h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2s"] saw Koon remain in the lead and nothing altered that on the [poker card="9h"] turn. When the [poker card="Qd"] river fell, Koon had an overwhelming lead. Just a few hands later it was all over and the newly named GGPoker ambassador had ended his long career wait for a WSOP bracelet. Szabo was all-in and at risk pre-flop with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="9d"] and Koon, who had pushed all-in with [poker card="Js"][poker card="7d"] needed to hit. The flop of [poker card="Jh"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5h"] saw jacks once again come to Koon’s rescue and after the [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river, Koon had won his first-ever WSOP bracelet and the $243,981 top prize, with Szabo claiming $150,790 as runner-up. WSOP 2021 Event #11 $25,000 Heads Up Championship Results: Jason Koon - $243,981 Gabor Szabo - $150,790 Henri Puustinen -$89,787 Daniel Zack - $89,787 Mikita Badziakouski - $36,280 Bin Weng - $36,280 Benjamin Reason - $36,280 Jake Daniels - $36,280 https://twitter.com/JasonKoon/status/1446398841264087044 Former #1 Ari Engel Wins $10K Omaha 8 Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel was a popular winner in Event #9, the $10,000-entry Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, where Phil Hellmuth busted out first of the final five. Hellmuth went all the way to the river against Engel and Eddie Blumenthal, but his two opponents ended up chopping the pot and sending the 15-time bracelet winner to the rail for a cash worth $80,894. With four players remaining, it was Blumenthal who was next to go, eliminated in fourth place for $107,204. The American busted to the eventual winner when Engel’s higher flush edged out his opponent and strengthened his chip lead. Engel then busted his next victim when his nut flush and low hand scooped the pot against Andrew Yeh, who received $143,988 for coming third. With Engel holding a better than 4:1 chip lead, the final battle could have been simple, but it was anything other than that. Over the course of almost eight hours and one of the longest heads-up matches in living memory, Engel and his opponent, Zachary Milchman both held the lead on multiple occasions. Both men had chances to seal victory long before Engel’s two pair queens and tens topped Milchman’s queens and eights. While Milchman brought home $195,968 for a runner-up result, it was Engel’s day and his second bracelet, which came with a top prize of $317,076. WSOP 2021 Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship Final Table Results: Ari Engel - $317,076 Zachary Milchman - $195,968 Andrew Yeh - $143,988 Eddie Blumenthal - $107,204 Phil Hellmuth - $80,894 George Wolff - $61,877 Robert Mizrachi - $47,987 Ben Landowski - $37,738 Khamar Xaytavone - $30,102 https://twitter.com/AriEngelPoker/status/1446382753910439937 Bronshtein Scores Second Career Bracelet The third and final WSOP bracelet winner of the day came in Event #12, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event. It was Yuval Bronshtein who eventually prevailed in another lengthy battle into the small hours at the Rio. Heading into the final table, Kevin Erickson had the chip lead and he made that count over the course of the final day, with 16 players reduced to the final table in just a couple of hours play. Despite that momentum, Erickson would run out of luck at just the wrong moment. Working himself into a heads-up battle against Bronshtein with a 3:1 chip lead, Erickson improved that dramatically to look nailed on for the win with an 18:1 chip lead a short time later. Bronshtein somehow worked his way back into contention, however, and managed to turn the tide to go 3:1 up in chips himself. On the final hand, Bronshtein got it into the middle with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kd"], which was way ahead of Erickson’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qd"] and stayed there through the jack-high board to relegate Erickson to runner-up for $76,868 and give Bronshtein $124,374 and the much-coveted WSOP bracelet. WSOP 2021 Event #12 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Top 10 Chipcounts: Yuval Bronshtein - $124,374 Kevin Erickson - $76,868 Tom McCormick - $53,588 John Bunch - $38,011 Ian Glycenfer - $27,488 Zachary Gruneberg - $20,262 Guy Cicconi - $15,230 Tony Nasr - $11,677 Anh Van Nguyen - $9,137 https://twitter.com/Yuvee04/status/1446408541682556928 Final Table Set For $3K Freezeout In the 13th event of the 2021 WSOP, the $3,000 NLHE Freezeout event, it was Brandon Caputo who captured the chip lead heading into the final day. With just seven players remaining, Caputo’s stack of 7,200,000 was a little ahead of Belgian player Michael Gathy (6,700,000), the four-time WSOP bracelet winner, with Gabriel Andrade (4,900,000) a little further back. Elsewhere in the event, several players made the money without managing to seal a final table seat, with Betrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (32nd for $9,299), Sergio Aido (21st for $10,816) and Niall Farrell (12th for $18,815) all going close to the final seven but falling short. Andrew Jeong, the Day 1 chip leader, bubbled the last day in 8th place for $37,824 when his top pair with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kc"] on a flop of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"] couldn’t hold against Gathy’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="6c"] for two pair. The turn of [poker card="Td"] and river [poker card="9d"] ended the hand, sent Jeong to the rail, and ended the day’s play. WSOP 2021 Event #13: $3,000 NLHE Freezeout Final Table Chipcounts: Brandon Caputo - 7,200,000 Michael Gathy - 6,700,000 Gabriel Andrade - 4,900,000 Craig Mason - 2,780,000 Harvey Mathews - 2,520,000 Girish Apte - 2,425,000 David Lolis - 2,295,000 Shaun Deeb, David Williams At Event #14 Final Table Event #14, the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event, saw six players remain with chips after a rollercoaster day sent a former WSOP world champion to the rail in the money and plenty of other big names missed out on the final day. Tom McEvoy (29th for $2,687) worked his way to a min-cash, while Day 1 chip leader Elias Hourani lasted a little longer to go out in 20th place for $3,390. Anthony Zinno ran all the way to 11th place for (5,338), but missed out on the last half-dozen, which were headlined by Rafael Lebron with 1.69 million chips. Of the six players who survived Day 2 as 76 players were cut down to just half a dozen, Shaun Deeb (1,195,000) and David Williams (1,050,000) will look to add to already legendary WSOP resumes with victory on the third and final day of the event. They’ll both be desperate to win the next WSOP Gold Bracelet and the $82,262 top prize to go with it. WSOP 2021 Event #14: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Final Table Chipcounts: Rafael Lebron - 1,690,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,195,000 David Moskowitz - 1,150,000 David Williams - 1,050,000 Nicholas Seiken - 970,000 Christina Hill - 435,000 $1,500 Six-Handed Kicks Off Event #15 saw players take to the action in the $1,500 Six-Handed tournament, with 96 players surviving from a Day 1 field of 1,450 total entries. The chip leader at the close of play was Daniel Orgil, who ended the day with a,650,000. He was followed by Daniel Rezaei (1,266,000) and Jun Obara (1,200,000) as well as plenty of other big names, such as Jonas Mackoff (502,000), Melanie Weisner (467,000), Joni Jouhkimainen (320,000), Darren Elias (265,000) and the man who has more WSOP cashes than anyone, Roland Israelashvili (262,000). WSOP 2021 Event #15 $1,500 NLHE Six-Max Top 10 Chipcounts: Daniel Orgil - 1,650,000 Daniel Rezaei - 1,266,000 Jun Obara - 1,200,000 Steve Foutty - 971,000 Jesse Yaginuma - 843,000 Jeremy Eyer - 825,000 Itai Levy - 782,000 Jared Ambler - 635,000 Sean Hegarty - 621,000 Mark Liedtke - 616,000 Dzivielevski, Nate Silver In $10K Limit Top 10 It took until the small hours of the night for Event #16, the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship, to wind to a close as 78 players were more than halved to just 35 hopefuls heading into Day 2. The chip leader at the end of the opening night’s play was Eric Kurtman, who bagged up 466,000 chips, some distance ahead of his nearest rivals Andony Wasaya (314,000) and two-time WSOP event winner Yuri Dzivielevski, who made it through with a stack of 270,000. Elsewhere in the top 10 chipcounts, Nate Silver (198,000) and Chad Eveslage (162,000) will both be hoping to add to their poker resumes with a bracelet, while former bracelet winners Chris Vitch (162,000) and Anthony Zinno (159,000) are also very well placed for more glory on the final day of the event. Some players not to make the next day's play, missing out on the money bubble, which is yet to burst, included Scott Seiver, Jake Daniels, David Benyamine, Mark Gregorich, David 'ODB' Baker, Eli Elezra, Dan Zack, Ronnie Bardah, Daniel Negreanu and Robert Mizrachi. WSOP 2021 Event #16 $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship Top 10 Chipcounts: Eric Kurtzman - 466,000 Andony Wasaya - 314,000 Yuri Dzivielevski - 270,000 Casey Mccarrel - 232,000 Christopher Chung - 201,000 Nate Silver - 198,000 Mike Thorpe - 178,000 Christopher Vitch - 162,000 Chad Eveslage - 162,000 Anthony Zinno - 159,000
  22. To win a high-profile WSOP bracelet, it takes beating the best over and over again. Just 16 remain in the $25,000-entry NLHE Heads Up Championship and they include some of the best poker players in the world. After the first day of action in the $25,000-entry No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship, players are just three heads-up victories away from playing the bracelet and top prize of $243,981. Star-Studded $25K Heads-Up Championship The early stages of this year’s Heads-Up Championship, one of the most prestigious WSOP bracelets any player can win, were complex given the number of entries. Players were drawn together, with seven of the initial player given a bye to the second round. That meant for some, winning two matches to achieve the $25,000 min-cash. For others, it meant only winning one match. Every table was packed with quality, however, and some of the early skirmishes featured players who could easily have been competing in the final. Cary Katz beat Dimitar Danchev in a topsy-turvy affair, while Daniel Zack got the better of Nick Petrangelo. Kane Kalas was overcome by Mikita Badziakouski, while David Peters took out the in-form Jonathan Jaffe. Other players to lose their chance of glory included Adrian Mateos, Ali Imsirovic, Joao Vieira, and Seth Davies. Day 2 will see both the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals take place, with some intriguing match-ups coming next. Newly appointed GGPoker ambassador Jason Koon will take on Sam Soverel’s conqueror, Johannes Becker in one of the most eagerly anticipated ties, will everything on the line as players shoot for the bracelet in one of the most demanding disciplines of all. Round of 16 Line-Up (consecutive winners to play in quarterfinals): Gal Yifrach vs. Jake Daniels Johannes Becker vs. Jason Koon Ben Reason vs. Galen Hall Henri Puustinen vs. Cary Katz Dan Zack vs. James D’Ambrosio Bin Weng vs. Julien Martini Aleksandr Shevlyakov vs. Mikita Badziakouski David Peters vs. Gabor Szabo Long Ma Crowned Reunion King The Reunion has already been described as one of the events of the Autumn and on Tuesday, it produced the winner, Long Ma, who took the title and massive $523,604 for just a $500 entry. Yesterday’s 17-hour Day 2 was in complete contrast to today’s final which took just over an hour as Ma, an electronics manager and poker tournament enthusiast, eliminated each of his four opponents in double-quick time to win his first WSOP bracelet. The final day action got going almost immediately with a bust-out as short-stacked Michael Eddy became Ma’s first victim. Eddy moved all-in for around five big blinds with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Js"] and Ma made the call with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="8c"], turning an ace on the [poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"] board. Eddy, who had come into play knowing he needed a great deal of luck to survive, cashed for $142,847. Next to go was Alex Vazquez, who busted with [poker card="As"][poker card="Qs"] against Ma’s [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jc"] after a jack on the turn saw Vazquez shove and Ma call on the board of [poker card="Kh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="8h"]. Vazquez cashed for $185,281, but it only strengthened Ma’s already dominant position. That position for Ma got even better when he reduced the battle to a heads-up clash with a big lead. Max Tavepholjalern called off his stack pre-flop after three-betting with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="8d"] and he would need to win a race against Ma who held [poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"]. That didn’t happen as the double-paired board of [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] played out and Tavepholjalern collected $241,766 in winnings. Heads-up saw Ma go into the action with a better than 4:1 chip lead and in no time at all, he had the bracelet. When Lentini open-shoved pre-flop with [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jc"], Ma made a snap-call with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="7s"] and watched as the board of [poker card="Ks"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="5h"] gave him over half a million dollars and the biggest-field bracelet won so far in the 2021 World Series of Poker. WSOP 2021 Event #4 $500 The Reunion Final Table Results: Long Ma - $513,604 Giuliano Lentini - $317,352 Max Tavepholjalern - $241,766 Alex Vazquez - $185,281 Michael Eddy - $142,847 Anthony Cass - $110,794 Jugal Daterao - $86,462 Derrick Stoebe - $67,886 Adrian Buckley - $53,625 [caption id="attachment_636553" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Long Ma, winner of the biggest-field event of the WSOP so far, the $500-entry The Reunion[/caption] Lally Takes $1,500 Dealer's Choice Another winner took home gold in Event #7, the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event as Jaswinder ‘Jesse’ Lally won the six-handed event for $97,915. Lally, a long-time player but business owner who counts poker as more of a hobby than a career, beat former bracelet winners to the gold at a final table packed with action. Just 11 players returned to the felt at the start of the day, with Craig Chat (11th for $5,612), Adam Friedman (10th for $5,612), and Jeremy Heartberg (9th for $7,307) first to leave the action. When Naoya Kihara busted in eighth place for the same amount and Day 1 chip leader Nathan Gamble left in seventh for $9,768, the official final table was set and it didn’t take long for five more players to hit the rail. Christopher Lindner busted in sixth place for $13,396 when he busted in a Seven Card Stud 8 or Better hand to the eventual winner and Lally, suddenly with all the momentum, added to his list of victims when he busted Adam Kipnis in fifth for $18,839. Ian O’Hara came into play chasing the leader and will have been disappointed to exit in fourth place so near to the gold he has yet to win in his poker career. O’Hara lost out in a three-way Stud hand where Lally’s diamond flush conquered O’Hara’s hand, leaving the young player to quip, “Stud master.” as he left the stage. It wasn’t long before Lally proved himself a master of the event itself, after former bracelet winner Andrew Kelsall brought about heads-up play. Kelsall’s elimination of the overnight chip leader, Ray Henson in No Limit 2-7 Single Draw for $40,062 gave the experience Kelsall 1.7 million chips and a chance of victory, but Lally extended his lead heads-up quite quickly in a Razz hand to race into a 5:1 lead. The final hand saw Lally win a Pot Limit Omaha hand with the nut straight on the turn busting Kelsall’s two-pair after a flush draw fell short on the river and gave Lally his first-ever WSOP bracelet. Kelsall cashed for an impressive $60,514, but Lally’s victory was worth a massive $97,915 and the bracelet was perhaps worth just as much judging by the beaming smile on Lally’s face. WSOP 2021 Event #7 $1,500 Dealer's Choice Final Table Results: Jesse Lally - $97,915 Andrew Kelsall - $60,514 Ray Henson - $40,062 Ian O’Hara - $27,147 Adam Kipnis - $18,839 Christopher Lindner - $13,396 Quick Win For Michael Perrone The third and final winner of the day was Michael Perrone, who took down the super-fast Super Turbo Bounty event which cost $1,000 and lasted just one day at the felt. With 16 hours of play producing plenty of fast-paced bounty action, a prize pool of $1.4m was chopped up, with Perrone crushing dreams on his way to banking over 10% of it. Plenty of big names ran deep, with Shaun Deeb (59th for $2,505), Cate Hall (82nd for $1,731), and Vanessa Kade (227th for $1,065) all making the money. WSOP 2021 Event #10 $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty NLHE Final Table Results: Michael Perrone - $152,173 Pierre Calamusa - $94,060 Jeremiah Fitzpatrick - $69,454 Scott Podolsky - $51,787 Paul Dhaliwal - $38,996 Paul Jain - $29,657 John Moss - $22,783 Badr Imejjane - $17,680 Gabriel Ramos - $13,861 Brock Wilson - $10,980 ElkY Ready To Roll It’s been an incredible start to the 2021 WSOP in terms of attendance with the great and good arriving in style to put down their money and take their chips for a shot at glory, including GGPoker ambassador Bertran ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, who, over a decade on from his first WSOP appearance was still as excited as a first-timer to arrive at the Rio. https://twitter.com/elkypoker/status/1445206290452533248 It’s not only ElkY who is loving this year’s return to the Rio, with WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams delighted to be back amongst it in 2021. https://twitter.com/dwpoker/status/1445486745089294345 Zhi Wu Leads $600 Deepstack Event One of the busiest Day 1s of the World Series so far saw 4,527 players arrive yesterday to play the $600-entry No Limit Hold’em Event #8, but after a thrilling Day 2, just five players remain in with a chance of winning their first WSOP bracelet and a top prize of $281,604. With the prize pool of $2.3 million, 216 players took to the tables and it was Zhi Wu who ended the day with the biggest stack of 46.1 million, ahead of Chrishan Sivasundaram (31.5m) and Ryan Chan (29.2m). With two more players having slightly shorter stacks to play with in Nicholas Zautra (15m) and Ari Mezrich (13.9m) even the short-stacked Mezrich will have eight big blinds to play with. WSOP 2021 Event #8 $600 No Limit Hold'em Final Table Chipcounts: Zhi Wu - 46,100,000 Chrishan Sivasundaram - 31,500,000 Ryan Chan - 29,200,000 Nicholas Zautra - 15,000,000 Ari Mezrich - 13,900,000 Hellmuth, Volpe In Omaha 8 Top 10 Event #9, the $10,000-entry Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship saw some very big names take part in the action, with 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil ‘the Poker Brat’ Hellmuth reaching the final day with an 8th-placed stack of 550,000 chips. The chip leader overnight is Andrew Yeh, whose massive pile of 995,000 represents a chip lead few have enjoyed so far after Day 1, with his nearest challengers Chris Vitch and Alan Sternberg, both of whom are some way back from the pacesetter with 650,000. Other big names hover not far behind, with Paul Volpe (445,000), Day 1 chip leader Michael Noori (370,000), Robert Mizrachi (340,000), and Brian Rast (165,000) all surviving a tricky Day 2. WSOP 2021 Event #9 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship: Andrew Yeh - 995,000 Chris Vitch - 650,000 Alan Sternberg - 650,000 Ben Landowski - 630,000 Ken Aldridge - 595,000 Aditya Prasetyo - 560,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 555,000 Phil Hellmuth - 550,000 Khamar Xaytavone - 485,000 Paul Volpe - 445,000 Take It To The Limit Finally, Event #12, the $1,500 Limit hold’em bracelet event saw Jeremy Maher bag the chip lead after Day featured 422 total entries. With a prize pool of $563,370 generated, just under a third of those who took to the felt survived, with the money bubble yet to burst. Day 2 will see plenty of big names in the hunt to reach the final 64 players and enter the money places, before pushing towards the $124,374 top prize and WSOP gold bracelet. They will include the chip leader Jeremy Maher (226,500) and Zinno, who bagged up 217,500 chips ahead of some reputable rivals in the shape of Yuval Bronshtein (141,500), and Barry Greenstein (86,500), and former WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen (60,000) to name just three. With stars such as Dan Shak (55,000), Ronnie Bardah (52,000), and Jason Somerville (48,000) all still in with a shout, it is bound to be a high-caliber fight to reach the final table. Other stars of the felt didn’t survive, with mixed game regulars Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb and David ‘ODB’ Baker all failing to make the Day 2 cut. WSOP 2021 Event #12 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Top 10 Chipcounts: Jeremy Maher - 226,000 Anthony Zinno - 217,500 Truong Tran - 195,000 Kristopher Burchfield - 194,500 John Bunch - 192,500 Aldon Patatanyan - 190,000 John Esposito - 187,500 Mori Eskandani - 173,500 Arthur Cole - 165,000 Tom McCormick - 160,500 Finally, while she may have stepped back from poker in the last few years to raise her family, Vanessa Selbst, always enjoys it when someone asks her if she used to play and knows their friend who also enjoys the game. A bit. https://twitter.com/VanessaSelbst/status/1445534865567461376
  23. It’s incredibly difficult to win a World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Even in an era where more than 160 will be added to poker resumes this calendar year, it still takes being one among tens of thousands of players who take their shot at winning one of the most coveted trophies in the game. But as hard as it is to win a bracelet, it’s perhaps just as (if not even more) difficult to win the title of WSOP Player of the Year. There are maybe two dozen players at most that can be considered frontrunners with a realistic shot at being immortalized on a POY banner. The reasons it’s so difficult are many - from the mental fortitude of the time, as well as having a bankroll big enough to compete. And over the years, it’s only become more difficult. The award was first introduced in 2004, with only 15 players yet to earn the honor. Daniel Negreanu is the only player to have won it twice and, without a live series in 2020, Robert Campbell was, famously, the last to win the award in 2019. Here at the start of the 2021 WSOP, a number of players will once again have designs on winning the award. Five of the 15 took the time to talk about what it takes to compete for the WSOP Player of the Year race and what will get it done here in 2021. “It's just playing your A-game all day, every day,” said Shaun Deeb, four-time WSOP bracelet winner and 2018 Player of the Year. “You have to play 50-some-odd days straight. That's a real grind. From my online background, I play every day. I'm good at that. “And make sure you play everything. You can't just play Mixed Games, you can’t just play No Limit. To win Player of the Year, someone's going to play 50-plus events or 70% of the total events out there, whatever it ends up being.” Daniel Negreanu agrees. The two-time Player of the Year (2004, 2013) says that no matter how many events you are willing to play, someone out there is likely looking to take even more shots. “I think, if someone's actually trying to chase Player of the Year, the most important advice is that if you're serious about it, you really need to be willing to put in a ton of volume,” Negreanu said. “There's no week off or two weeks off. To give yourself the best chance, you want to play the maximum number of events based on [the points system] and most importantly, one of your best chances to win, is going to be to learn Mixed Games. “If you don't play mixed games, it's going to be tough for you to accrue really big amounts of points,” he continued. “Because in these big field No Limits, you can min-cash a lot but they're also incredibly hard to make the final table and win. Whereas, if you play mixed games, sometimes you're playing against a field of a hundred. So, if you make the final table or win you can include some pretty big numbers.” Mixed games have become an important component of the Player of the Year. It’s been rare to have a POY that doesn’t accumulate crucial points through the variety of poker variants. But it has happened. Jeff Madsen did it in 2006 by winning a pair of NLHE events. In 2012, Greg Merson accomplished it was well after taking down the $10,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em Championship followed by becoming the Main Event champion. However, as the points system has evolved, mixed games have become a more prominent factor. Winners have needed to be able to balance a schedule that includes whatever tournament is running on any given day. “The Player of the Year was really, originally, established to help encourage the participation in all the events that weren't No Limit Texas Hold'em. Specifically, to have a counterbalance to the WSOP main event,” said Frank Kassela, 2010 Player of the Year and three-time bracelet winner. Kassela, who grabbed gold in the $2,500 Razz and the $10K Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship that year, notes that competing in every event isn’t just a matter of having the knowledge of how to play those games well, but having the means to do it. “I mean the most challenging thing right now for anybody that wants to try to win Player of the Year is the amount of expense they’ve added to being competitive because of all of the rebuys,” Kassela said. “Like when I did it, the year I won, was one of the first years that they were allowing even double rebuys in some of the events like No Limit Deuce and PLO. “I feel like it got so crazy the end of the last year between Sean and Daniel. I mean, whoever could afford it was the one most likely to win it.” Of course, last year, neither Deeb nor Negreanu won it. It was Robert Campbell who officially walked away with the title but only after it was awarded to Negreanu. An error in the points awarded was discovered and the title was “taken back” from Kid Poker and correctly assigned to Campbell. “I think probably the most important part nowadays is to understand the point system, which I really didn't focus on that when I won,” said 2007 Player of the Year Tom Schneider. “In 2013, I had a good chance of winning it had the rules been the same as they were before. I don't even know what the rules are this year, to be honest. So understanding of the point system, determining how valuable cashes are versus winning.” Knowledge of all the games. Check. Understanding the points system and what’s more valuable. Check. Having the resources to play as many events as possible. Check. But while all of those are important items to keep in mind, 2015 WSOP Player of the Year Mike Gorodinsky says it’s keeping the totality of the grind in check in order to be at your best is what’s really needed. “My biggest piece of advice would be to simply not put yourself into a position where you're likely to burn out,” Gorodinsky said. “Outside of a very small handful of guys who have the bankroll, skill-set, and love of the game to show up at the Rio every day and just blast through whatever tournaments happen to be that day, there aren't many people that I've met over the years, myself included, who can spend 12+ hours at the Rio every day and come out at the end of the summer not feeling like they've aged 10 years. “Remember that poker is supposed to be fun! Setting up a 40 tournament schedule may seem exciting and optimal a few months out before the series starts up, but the reality of that day-to-day grind, especially if you're not making frequent deep runs, is pretty grim. So just pace yourself, play what you're excited about/good at, and let the results come as they will.” When Gorodinsky won it, he said he didn’t start the series with the intent of winning the title but “as the results started to roll in and the possibility of it actually became attainable, I definitely did play more tournaments than I otherwise would have.” When Schneider went to the WSOP in 2007, he said he had a goal of playing an increased schedule but, more specifically, he wanted “to make three final tables.” The POY wasn’t in his sights at the start. He reached his goal of three final tables, winning two of them, and he said he did it by not getting distracted by the chase. “I know that some people have a strategy of playing, entering three events at the same time, then going over playing a little bit. That was never my strategy,” Schneider said. “My strategy was to focus on the event that I was playing. I think a lot of times you can get distracted. And when you're running really good and you got lots of money, it probably doesn't hurt, but my strategy was more play the events that I felt like I had the best chance of winning.” That mental strain can get to anybody, the feeling that in order to keep pace, you need to play everything. That includes the smaller buy-in, large field No Limit events that take up valuable time and mental energy away from being able to focus on the big-time events like the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (the very event that clinched the award for Gorodinsky in 2015.) “The hardest part for me and the part that really doesn't help me is, it's frankly really easy to cash in these small buy-in events. Like the big, huge field events. You could late regs, you play for a couple of hours, and you're in the money,” Negreanu said. “You get points for that. And, to add that to a schedule of all these big $10,000 and $25,000, that can be really taxing. I wish that wasn't the case. I would prefer an adjustment to this formula where instead of counting, 30 cashes, you count your top 12 and go from there, for example. That way, these little min-cashes don't really make the difference, because they kind of do now. So, that's probably the hardest part is just having to play multiple events in a day and late [registering] and all that sort of stuff.” “The toughest part of the WSOP/POY grind for me personally is always the lifestyle that's required to do it,” Gorodinsky added. “I’m someone who both values their sleep, as well as their time outdoors, so while I definitely love playing tournament poker, doing it day in/day out for two straight months wears pretty heavily on me. Getting into the mindset of playing until 2-3 AM most nights and then coming back to Day 2 restarts 12 hours later or less is always the toughest part of it for me. For Schneider though, any potential problems that took place while he was en route to his banner are pains that have subsided over time. “It didn't feel like a grind,” Schneider said looking back. “I mean, most poker players love poker and at the time I loved poker. The opportunity to sit in another tournament and play a tournament with big fields and big money, it's not a grind. Just like I don't think The Masters golf tournament would be a grind to golfers. I mean, I'm sure they would think that of course is tough and they got to think about every shot and all that, but that's every time they go out and play. But it's more of a privilege than that grind. That's the way I looked at it.” But Schneider, who continues his work as a CFO outside of poker, admits that he won’t be in the running this year, opting out of attending citing the WSOP COVID policies. Gorodinsky also feels like it’s unlikely he’ll take another shot at it this year. He will be in Las Vegas with plans on playing the series this year including the majority of the bigger buy-in mixed game events. But he says he doesn’t want to prioritize playing tournaments when maybe a day spent rock climbing is what he’s in the mood for. “Honestly, it isn't really a goal for me to win it again,” Gorodinsky said. “Would I go for it if I had a strong start to the summer? Absolutely. I love poker and competition in general, so the POY chase with a few other guys sounds pretty fun, but it's not an intention of mine to claim the title again." Kassela says that he’ll be back in town in early October with nearly a quarter-million of buy-ins on his schedule. That may or may not be enough to contend for the POY title but he thinks it would be a bad idea to count him out. “Well, I mean, because of my style of play, I feel like even with an abbreviated schedule compared to other people, that I'm as much of a threat to win Player of the Year as anybody else, because I'm very streaky. When I get in the zone, I've had multiple times over my poker years where I'll hit three or four final tables in a week. And I'll get in those... And if you win a bracelet, win another bracelet, come in third…you just go, bam, bam, bam, a few things like that, you're just kind of leading the pack.” Then there’s the rivalry between Negreanu and Deeb. There was a time it was personal, but Negreanu has been public about how the pair have buried the hatchet. But in no uncertain terms, both players, once again, have their sights set on taking the POY in 2021. “Yeah, I'll be in the running,” said Negreanu. “I’m not going to be as insane about it, where I'm playing every $400 event or whatever. I'm going to see how the first half goes, but really my focus is actually to win some bracelets as well. And usually, when that happens, you have a good chance to win Player of the Year. But I'll be grinding all the big, high roller events and big stuff like that. So, that bodes well for my chances, for sure.” “I pretty much go out there and my goal is to win Player of the Year,” Deeb said. “I got second in 2019, got first in 2018, but I really want to win it again. And basically, that's my goal. Try to be like Johnny Chan a little bit.” But when it comes to winning Player of the Year, there’s really only so much one can control. “The only other thing I was going to add, being just generally more open advice, is it's important to get a fast start,” Kasella added. “I know the years I feel like I've got a shot at Player of the Year have those moments when you win your first bracelet in the first week or two. I think it was the sixth or seventh day in 2010 when I won $10K Stud 8-or-Better. And then I won the Razz bracelet six days later. “When you get a ‘Bam-bam’…when lightning strikes early, makes it much easier.”
  24. Three events kicked off the action on a busy opening day of the 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas as the Rio returns to poker action for what is heavily rumored to be the final time. With the $500 Casino Employees event offering the first ‘Shuffle Up and Deal!’ of the series and $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. and $1,000 COVID-19 Relief Charity events also taking place, there was something for every bankroll on opening day. Eveslage the Leader in $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. With 73 entries, the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event #2 attracted some of the best mixed games players in poker, with former #1-ranked Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Matthew Ashton all pitching up to take part from the off. After over 11 hours at the felt, just 47 players remained, with Chad Eveslage well clear of the chasing pack on 860,000 chips. Eveslage, who has never won a WSOP bracelet, was top of the pile by a long way from his nearest challengers of John Monette (589,500) and Jean Gaspard (569,000) and will head into Day 2 in pole position to make a run at the title of this all-new three-day event. Cary Katz was the first player to bust, with Mike Gorodinsky sending Katz home in a Stud Hi-Lo hand where Gorodinsky’s sevens and deuces triumphed. There were strong opening days at the felt for Mike Matusow (421,500), Deeb (321,000), and Negreanu (270,000), all of whom finished above average. Elsewhere, 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (206,000) and legendary WSOP commentator Norman Chad (150,500) both made the cut. Registration is still open until the first card hits the felt when Day 2 resumes at 2 pm Vegas time, so with a prize pool that is sure to grow, there is plenty of excitement ahead for a thrilling event. Event #2 $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chip Counts: Chad Eveslage - 860,000 John Monnette - 589,500 Jean Gaspard - 569,000 Jesse Klein - 490,500 Mike Matusow - 420,500 Adam Friedman - 420,500 Chris Vitch - 371,500 Shaun Deeb - 321,000 Hal Rotholz - 314,000 Randy Ohel - 295,000 Just Five Remain In Event For COVID Relief Event #3, the $1,000-entry COVID-19 Relief Charity took place with 266 players taking to the felt, creating a prize pool of $205,400 and a top prize of $54,844. With 39 players paid, play went down to the final five, with the great and good gathering to play poker and donate money to help those who are most vulnerable at the same time, with the eventual chip leader, Jesse Lonis, ending the night on 2,285,000 chips. Plenty of big names busted outside the money, including three-time WSOP winner Adrian Mateos, fellow three-time winner Upeshka De Silva, and Maurice Hawkins. Hovering halfway down the chip counts for much of Day 1 but also failing to make the money was a former World Champion in the shape of Ryan Riess, who had a serendipitous seat to welcome him to the Rio, the scene of his greatest triumph, with a cameo from legendary WSOP bracelet winner Ron McMillen to boot. https://twitter.com/RyanRiess1/status/1443744580717801494 Once the bubble burst, players such as Ali Imsirovic (32nd for $1,590) Ryan Laplante (31st for $1,590), Pavel Plesuv (26th for $1,817), Shannon Shorr (21st for $1,817), Dylan Linde (20th for $1,817), Ryan Riess (18th for $2,000) and Matt Stout (16th for $2,000) all making the money but missing out on the final table. In the end, of the five players who remain, it was Lonis who led. With just four players between Lonis and a WSOP bracelet - including Jeremy Ausmus and former #1-ranked Steve Gross - it's only Lonis and Asher Coniff yet to win WSOP bracelets. Event #3 COVID-19 Charity Event Final Table Chip Counts: Jesse Lonis - 2,285,000 Jeremy Ausmus - 1,345,000 Asher Conniff - 755,000 Steve Gross - 485,000 Mitchell Halverson - 385,000 "Shuffle Up And Deal" The $500-entry Casino Employees Event kicked off the 2021 WSOP in style, with 419 entries making a prize pool of $175,980. Leo Abbe led the field after the day’s conclusion, sitting on a massive pile of 537,000 chips, with Shaun Weintraub (474,000) and Roberto Reyna (461,000) his closest challengers in an all-American top 10. One player who enjoyed his day at the felt in the first event of the series was Jesse Fullen, who provided commentary on the WSOP Online series for thousands of poker fans to enjoy this summer. Fullen began as he meant to go on, busting a player early then continuing to run up his stack throughout the opening day, ending on 223,000 chips, well above the average. Jon Aguiar was also riding high in the event and advocated the positive atmosphere as one of the benefits of playing in the opening event. https://twitter.com/JonAguiar/status/1443753395865546754 Aguiar busted in 102nd place, outside the money, but he had good company, with former event winner Chad Holloway and Garry Gates, who finished fourth in the 2019 WSOP Main Event both failing to make the money too. With the money bubble bursting on Day 1, just 63 players made a profit on their investment. The bubble didn’t last long and when it burst, Chris Moon was the man eclipsed by the field as he busted with pocket nines to Jason Smith’s ace-ten, with both an ace and ten on the flop doing the fatal damage. In the end, just 50 players remained, with Smith making the top 10 and Abbe the chip leader heading into Day 2 of the opening event with the remaining players battling for a $39,013 top prize. Event #1 $500 Casino Employees Event Top 10 Chip Counts: Leo Abbe - 537,000 Shawn Weintraub - 474,000 Roberto Reyna - 461,000 Andrew Bart - 422,000 Akash Desai - 415,000 Jack Behrens - 363,000 Marco Starnoni - 363,000 Jason Smith - 351,000 James Barnett - 343,000 Daniel Kim - 337,000
  25. Shaun Deeb is known as a master of mixed games. He’s won four World Series of Poker bracelets, each of them in a different variant. His first was in Pot Limit Hold’em, his next came in Seven Card Stud. In 2018, when he won WSOP player of the year, he took home two titles - one in PLO and another in No Limit Hold’em. It doesn’t matter the game, Deeb loves it: 5-Card Draw, Triple Stud, H.O.R.S.E… …"Contra." "Contra." Not a poker variant, but the popular run-and-gun shooter first produced by Konami in the late 80’s during the quarter arcade boom. The game was an early success but really took off in popularity when it was then brought over to Nintendo Entertainment Systems in 1988. For Deeb, playing "Contra" on his NES eventually became one of his early video game go-to's and helped open him up to the world of gaming. “I always loved video games,” Deeb said. “When ‘Fortnite’ got big there was a whole poker contingency [that played]. We had a group, about 10-15 guys from poker - a couple who had never played video games - we got on every morning, it was fun. Bunch of shit talking, played props and stuff…I mean, I love gambling and video games, it’s a great combination for me.” Enter Nelson Laffey, careerist collector of all things “nerdy” from video games to "Magic the Gathering" to "Pokémon" cards. Deeb and Laffey first met while playing poker in New York. They quickly bonded and discovered that they have more in common than just poker. Deeb heaps praise on the “really, really sharp” Laffey calling him “pretty much the most knowledgable guy” in the collectibles sector. [caption id="attachment_636114" align="aligncenter" width="618"] World Series of Poker 2018 Player of the Year Shaun Deeb.[/caption] “I just happened to run into him at a casino, he’d just gotten into poker and we became friends right away. Now, we hang out all the time and he’s one of my closest friends,” Deeb said. “He has always been big into Magic [the Gathering] and Pokémon and stuff and he approached me a couple of years ago. He said ‘hey listen, I’m buying these games, you should give me some cash, we should be partners, and I’m going to buy us a bunch of stuff.’” That “bunch of stuff” turned out to be vintage, factory-sealed video games. Convinced, Deeb cut Laffey a proverbial check, and off Laffey went, determined to succeed in his quest. They scooped up all the titles they could find that kids from the ’80s and '90s obsessed over: “Final Fantasy”, “Double Dragon”, “Deja Vu”, “Street Fighter II” and, of course, “Contra.” In total, according to Deeb, the investment brought in roughly 100 pieces. But the crowning piece, that title that brings their whole collection together, is a top-graded, third-print copy of the Nintendo classic “The Legend of Zelda.” “It is arguably my favorite piece in my collection,” Laffey said. “It’s arguably going to be - if not is - the most coveted piece throughout the entire lot. I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody that says I don’t like ‘Zelda.’” Laffey’s suspicions are easily confirmed. A recent post on TMZ.com shows that a factory-sealed copy of “The Legend of Zelda”, donated to Goodwill in Connecticut (very similar to the graded copy in Deeb and Laffey’s collection), recently sold for a record $411,278. Deeb explains that after building up the collection over the past few years, a message from end boss Cliff Josephy connected him with Ken Goldin. Goldin, a former online grinder and PocketFiver who played under the name ‘isuck123’, is the founder of Goldin Auctions, an online auction house specifically tailored for collectibles, sports cards, and memorabilia. Goldin says that the red hot video game collectibles market which has “really popped in the last 12 months” is a product of when a portion of “hundreds of millions of video game players became nostalgic...it set up a new collectibles market.” Titles like “The Legend of Zelda” along with “Pokémon”, “Super Mario Bros.” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” are currently sitting at the top of the heap for investors. A look at Goldin Auctions sees a top-graded copy of “Zelda” currently sitting with a bid of $75,000 - with roughly two weeks left to bid. [caption id="attachment_636109" align="alignleft" width="279"] In April 2021, a factory-sealed edition of "Super Mario Bros." sold at auction for $660,000.[/caption] An early edition, factory-sealed copy of the original “Super Mario Bros.” for NES has a bid of $400,000, while a near-pristine copy of “Sonic the Hedgehog” is sitting with a bid of $120,000. Deeb and Laffey’s lot is being sold as individual pieces, some this month (September 18 is the final chance to bid) and others in November, to allow investors and collectors to pick and choose what they’d like to add to their own collection. Deeb is excited to see what the collection fetches, however, investing in video games has become more than just a transaction for him. He’s discovered an investment of passion, one that connects him to his childhood and something he plans on continuing to pursue. “I love the games, it sucks to get rid of them but I know that the market’s really hot and so we’re going to unload our games and try to buy more. We’re trying to make a profit, but we love the games. I remember as a kid playing Contra and my wife used to play Zelda so it’s been really cool to have them in our collection.” Deeb enjoys video games, and clearly enjoys gaming in general but when it comes to what’s next for the investment, he insists that will be his partner’s call. “It’s a booming industry and with so much inflation going on, I’m so happy that I had part of my net worth tied into these games. And, you know, if we make money that’s cool. If we lose a little, no big deal…,” he said. “But I think we’re going to make a lot of money.”
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