Main Event Excitement Begins on WSOP Day 36
It started on Thursday, November 4.
It is the main attraction of the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, also known as the Big Dance, the World Championship, or just “the Main.” Technically, it is the WSOP 2021 No Limit Hold’em World Championship Main Event. It is a freezeout – no reentries! – with a $10K buy-in. It offers six starting flights, 120-minute levels, and starting stacks of 60K chips.
The first of those six flights got underway on Day 36 of the 2021 WSOP at the Rio in Las Vegas. We’ll start with the recap of that action and then cover the basics of other bracelet tournaments playing out at the Rio as well.
Event 67: WSOP Main Event
The first of the six starting flights brought more than 500 players into action with their $10K buy-ins…or lammers from satellite play. And the WSOP Main Event was officially underway.
It is not easy to compare flight numbers from the 2019 WSOP because there were only three flights then, whereas there are six flights this year. Those three 2019 flights delivered 1,335 players in 1A; 1,915 in 1B, and more than 5K in 1C. With late registrants, the final number for the field came in at 8,569 players. Clearly, the last of the starting days will tell the full story.
For now, we have the Day 1A information packed into a cozy chart:
|Event 67: Day 1A||$10K buy-in||NLHE World Championship (Main Event)|
|Starting stack: 60K|
|Levels: 120 minutes|
|Total entries (so far):||523|
|Registration still open?||yes|
|Total prize pool:||TBD|
|Chip leader:||Mustapha Kanit (Italy)||Top ten chip counts:|
|Players remaining:||348||Mustapha Kanit (Italy) 363,500|
|Day 1A restart:||11am Tuesday (Nov 9)||Rittie Chuapraert (USA) 345,700|
|Day 1B start:||11am Friday||Alex Livingston (Canada) 319,200|
|David Fong (USA) 298,500|
|Fabian Quoss (Germany) 273,800|
|Billy Baxter (USA) 248,600|
|Dragana Lim (USA) 237,700|
|Vladimir Vasilyev (USA) 232,000|
|Vidur Sethi (India) 226,200|
|Ayaz Mahmood (USA) 221,200|
— WSOP – World Series of Poker (@WSOP) November 4, 2021
Event 60: $50K Poker Players Championship
Five players remain. That’s what we said yesterday, too. However, we mistakenly assumed that the tournament would play to a winner the following day. Instead, the tournament took a break today and will allow those final five players to meet again on Friday, November 5. They will then play for the win, the bracelet, and the famous Chip Reese trophy.
|Event 60: Day 4 of 5||$50K buy-in||Poker Players Championship 6-Handed|
|Registration still open?||no|
|Total prize pool:||$3,016,125|
|Chip leader:||Eli Elezra||Eli Elezra = 4,620,000 chips|
|Players remaining:||5||Paul Volpe = 4,360,000 chips|
|Restart:||2pm Friday||Chris Brewer = 4,325,000 chips|
|Dan Cates = 3,875,000 chips|
|Ryan Leng = 1,625,000 chips|
Event 63: $500 Salute to Warriors NLHE
The final day of this tournament played down quickly. Day 3 brought just nine players back into action, and they started with some quick eliminations of short stacks. Original chipleader Bradley Rogoff departed in third place, and Eric Zhang went into heads-up against Guy Hadas with aggression. It didn’t take long for Zhang to win his first bracelet in the first WSOP event he ever played. He told PokerNews about playing poker as a hobby:
“It’s a dream come true! I remember as a kid watching the World Series of Poker and the victory of Chris Moneymaker in the Main Event. I always loved poker, but I only started playing a couple years ago, mainly cash games, not really tournaments. But the WSOP is always a very special occasion, and I took some time off work because I really wanted to come here. … I’m going to remember this forever, and I’ll definitely come back next year to play more events.”
|Event 63: Day 3 of 3||$500 buy-in||NLHE Salute to Warriors (1RE)|
|Total prize pool:||$712,580|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Eric Zhang (USA) $102,465|
|2nd place:||Guy Hadas (USA) $63,344|
|3rd place:||Bradley Rogoff (USA) $47,125|
|4th place:||Chulhan Choi (South Korea) $35,406|
|5th place:||Mitch Garshofsky (USA) $26,866|
|6th place:||Marty Zabib (USA) $20,592|
|7th place:||Hlib Kovtunov (Ukraine) $15,943|
|8th place:||Christopher Corbo (USA) $12,471|
|9th place:||Anthony Mccurdy (USA) $9,857|
— WSOP – World Series of Poker (@WSOP) November 5, 2021
Event 65: $1K Mini Main Event
The one-tenth version of the actual Main Event is the mini one, and more than 3800 entries pushed the prize pool just over $3.4M. Day 2 on Thursday started with more than 280 players but thinned that number to just 16 by the dinner break.
After Farid Jattin busted in 11th place for $35,308, two tables combined into one. And when Peter Cross exited in tenth place, the official final table began. Erkut Yilmaz was the first to go in ninth place, followed by James Morgan, David Tuthill, and ultimately Matthew Jewett. The staff stopped play at that late point in the evening with five players remaining.
|Event 65: Day 2 of 2||$1K buy-in||Mini NLHE Main Event Freezeout|
|Registration still open?||no|
|Total prize pool:||$3,400,609|
|Chip leader:||Thomas Boyden||Georgios Sotiropoulos = 105.55M chips|
|Players remaining:||5||Jordan Meltzer = 39M chips|
|Restart:||12pm Friday||Wataru Miyashita = 35.9M chips|
|James Patterson = 26.6M chips|
|James Rubinski = 22.325M chips|
Event 66: $10K PLO Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship
This poker pro-filled crowd started Day 2 by ending registration and setting the prize pool. Once the money bubble burst, Joe Hachem was the first to exit in 32nd place for $16,077. Other notables who followed included Robert Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Roland Israelashvili, Matt Livingston, Felipe Ramos in 23rd place for $18,841, Leif Force, Matt Vengrin, Niklas Astedt, Marco Johnson and Ben Yu in 14th place for $22,513. The final dozen bagged their chips and will return on Friday to play for the win.
|Event 66: Day 2 of 3||$10K buy-in||PLO Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship|
|Registration still open?||no|
|Total prize pool:||$1,939,600|
|Chip leader:||Danny Chang||Danny Chang = 3.62M chips|
|Players remaining:||12||Dan Colpoys = 2.04M chips|
|Restart:||2pm Friday||Matt Woodward = 1.6M chips|
|Anatolii Zyrin = 1.155M chips|
|Josh Arieh = 1.015M chips|
|Adam Owen = 955K chips|
|Aaron Kupin = 500K chips|
|John Esposito = 480K chips|
|Alan Sternberg = 410K chips|
|Jason Riesenberg = 360K chips|
|Jeff Gross = 235K chips|
|Tim Seidensticker = 150K chips|
Day 1A Main Event Highlights
One of the main highlights on the first flight of the Main Event was a certain godfather in the field. Doyle Brunson hadn’t played the Main Event in nearly a decade, and he had only played the Super Seniors tournament thus far earlier in this series. He played well and will return next Tuesday to put his 151K chips back into play.
Last year, the WSOP Main Event played mostly online, with final tables in Las Vegas and Rozvadov and the ultimate finale in Vegas. Damian Salas of Argentina won it, so he returned to the Rio this year to defend his title. However, he busted a few hours into the action.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle at one point in the evening. PokerNews reported that the Las Vegas Metro Police Department ordered the Rio Convention Center to go into lockdown mode for a period of time. Apparently, a person ended a car chase in the Rio Convention Center’s parking lot, where police discovered a suspicious item in his vehicle.
It is unclear if the suspect was affiliated with the WSOP or its players in any way. The PD spokesperson said the incident was not related to the WSOP, but Johnnie Vibes tweeted that he witnessed a person wearing a WSOP lanyard tackled and arrested by five undercover officers.
Just saw a guy with a WSOP lanyard get tackled by 5 undercover on break of WSOP main event. The placed him under arrest and emptied his pockets. No idea if he was staff or why they arrested him. Intense.
— Johnnie VIBES (@JohnnieVibes) November 5, 2021
To end on a happier note, photographer Hayley Hochstetler captured some great pictures of the women playing in the Main Event. While they remain a very underrepresented demographic in tournaments like this, their presence is noted and appreciated.