This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts – the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’ll be wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game.
One of the craziest stories of the year broke in May when it was revealed that high-stakes poker pro.
However, the Henderson Police Department arrested a suspect who was charged with multiple felonies including Burglary with a Deadly Weapon, Conspiracy Home Invasion, and Theft after the suspect went out and purchased a Dodge Hellcat Charger with a $30,000 cash down payment and also purchased a 2018 Maserati Levante SUV under his mother’s name with another $60K in cash.
On the felt,with Negreanu looking to get even, however, once again, Hellmuth pulled off the win. Negreanu promised that there would be a third match sooner than later leaving Hellmuth still feeling slighted despite his back-to-back wins.
“I’ve given Daniel credit the whole way from start to finish and I haven’t said one negative word about him. He was pretty condescending in the first match. I felt it was super condescending, and this match he handled himself much better,” Hellmuth said. “But even still, he’s preaching down to me about ranges, and I’m thinking to myself, I’ve just won 24 out of 26 heads-up matches against pros and they have me rated as a fucking underdog every match. It just blows my mind, but I just never quite get that respect, and that’s ok with me. I just want to keep winning.”
There were plenty of other winnings taking place in May with a trio of World Poker Tour events coming to a conclusion. The pandemic had forced the WPT to delay a number of its high-profile final tables for more than a year and in the middle of the month, they gathered in Las Vegas to crown three consecutive champions. First up wasfor $674,840.
“Waiting this long, you didn’t know what to expect. You don’t know, you keep waiting for it,” Zakarian said after the tournament ended. “Most people, after the pandemic, they didn’t have anything to look forward to so I was glad to have something to look forward to.”
The next day it was, defeating Matas Cimbolas in heads-up play. It was the second year in a row that Cimbolas finished as the LAPC runner-up. Finally, when he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1,261,095.
While all of that is nice, the most prestigious contest of the year came to a conclusion in May when. For the better part of a month, PocketFives ran a social contest asking the poker community to vote, March Madness-style, to see which of the (then) 60 former worldwide #1-ranked online pros stood above the rest. The finals came down to Astedt and online great Chris Moorman with Astedt edging out Moorman with 54% of the vote.
“The PocketFives rankings really motivated me over the years,” Astedt said after being crowned the winner. “I’m super happy and proud that so many people voted for me.”
Speaking of Chris Moorman, he was one of three popular player profiles to be featured this month. Moorman reflected on his career and his recent winning of his first SCOOP title.
Sami Kelopuro had been on an amazing heater and talked with PocketFives in a rare interview on the secret to his recent success and how he planed on taking it easy after his intense grind.
Finally, after winning the first-everSpring Festival Main Event, Mathias ‘KingKongJoel’ Joelsson talked about what it was like to win a seven-figure score.
By the end of the month, another Brazilian earned themselves an Online Player of the Month title, as.
It had already been announced that the World Series of Poker was going to be moved to the fall, but in the middle of June,. It was an 88 gold bracelet schedule that hoped to bring back a sense of normalcy after a year away.
While players had the WSOP to look forward to, the 2021 U.S. Poker Open was taking place in the PokerGO Studio with familiar faces winning large sums of money. Stephen Chidwick, Jake Schindler, Ali Imsirovic were all at the top of the earners list for the series but David Peters dominated them all,.
and bringing his series record to 6-0 and bringing High Stakes Duel II to an end with Hellmuth opting to cash out and start over in the coming months.
, but for him, it was taking home his third World Poker Tour Main Tour title at WPT Tampa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, . The reigning WPT Player of the Year put himself in the race for WPT all-time title, just one behind Darren Elias’ four, and picked up $613,225 in the process.
In other WPT news, the 2021 WPT Online Series Main Event reached a conclusion as well with. Plus, the WPT held its WPT Heads Up Poker Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. An online tournament, it including Doug Polk, Tow Dwan, Sam Greenwood, Anthony Zinno, Brad Own, and .
Another popular profile published in 2021 was on poker vlogger Jaman Burton and his recent move to Las Vegas. In it, he discusses how the social climate in St. Louis pushed him to make a move, the future of his vlog, and finding new inspiration in Sin City.
The string of Brazilian crushers taking down the Online Player of the Month continued in June as
The poker world was shocked and saddened in July when six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner,. An outpouring of condolences for Flack’s family poured out from the poker community as a mainstay personality from the early days of the poker boom will be certainly be missed.
Before that, Daniel Negreanu was back making headlines. After his loss to Doug Polk earlier in the year and then falling three times to Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel, Kid Poker’s ability to close in a big spot was being questioned by some in the poker world. He quickly responded, not only winning the $50,000 NLHE event for $700,000 but, , taking the PokerGO leaderboard title and trophy for an additional $50,000 score.
All month long, the World Series of Poker was running online bracelet events with some notable names adding to their poker resume including, , and for his second career bracelet.
But the big WSOP news was the rumor (which turned out to be true) that the, leaving its long-standing home of the Rio to set up shop on the Strip at Bally’s and Paris.
July also saw a pair of celebrated live wins asto walk away with a life-changing $1.460 million score. The final three agreed to chop the majority of the prize pool, creating two more millionaires as Clayton Maguire finished as the runner-up for $1.443 million and Toby Lewis grabbed the bronze for $1.235 million.
for $558,610, making it the second time that Viet Vo would come up just one spot short in the same tournament, finishing in second place for $372,415.
Brazil’s Dalton Hobold earned Online Player of the Month honors in May, in July he opened up about how he was almost scammed out his entire career by someone he trusted.
Another month,, as took home the honors in July.
August was another massive month when it came to online poker aswith $100 million guaranteed and the
Both series featured poker superstars taking home titles includingand and earning gold bracelets.
It was also the month where Erik Seidel made history,and his ninth career gold bracelet, tying Johnny Moss.
Soon after, he talked with us about winning his ninth bracelet online made it special for him.
“Winning any WSOP event is special,” Seidel said when asked where his online bracelet ranks. “This one was extra great for me because it was so unexpected. Getting through 600+ players and then the prize was close to one million, which I think is my biggest WSOP cash, felt really amazing. Might be my favorite.”
In addition to Seidel winning the WSOP edition of the Super MILLION$, a pair of perennial champions added to their MILLION$ resume.and . For Addamo, it was just a sign of things yet to come.
After Phil Hellmuth vanquished Fox Sports commentator Nick Smith in a bottle episode of High Stakes Duel, the re-match everyone was waiting for was booked.and the show did not disappoint. However, after seven wins in a row, Hellmuth was defeated as
A pair of profiles proved to be popular this month as 26-year-old high-stakes tournament pro. Plus, and sat down to talk with us about his roller coaster of a year grinding the tournament scene.
A victory forin the WSOP $25,000 Super High Roller Championship .
Finally, after six years as the President and Editor-in-Chief of PocketFives Lance Bradley stepped away to pursue new opportunities and left by.