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 and was called by Szabo with before a dramatic flop of gave both men a big sweat.
The turn of and river of 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 and Szabo dominated with . The flop of saw Koon remain in the lead and nothing altered that on the turn. When the river fell, Koon had an overwhelming lead.
Just a few hands later it was all over andhad ended his long career wait for a WSOP bracelet. Szabo was all-in and at risk pre-flop with and Koon, who had pushed all-in with needed to hit. The flop of saw jacks once again come to Koon’s rescue and after the turn and 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
Hey, we won one.
— Jason Koon (@JasonKoon)
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
Won the 10k o8 WSOP event!
— Ari Engel (@AriEngelPoker)
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 , which was way ahead of Erickson’s 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
I won! Bracelet #2!
— Yuval Bronshtein (@Yuvee04)
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(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 on a flop of couldn’t hold against Gathy’s for two pair. The turn of and river 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, 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