Poker news | Oct 25, 2021
2021 WSOP: Weekend Bracelet Winners
By RTR Alex
The 2021 World Series of Poker has been eventful to say the least. We've had our fix of underdog stories as Adam Friedman defeated Phil Hellmuth and Jim Collopy outlasted Daniel Negreanu in Event #32. Hellmuth also gave us one of his classic freak-outs as Jesse Klein tilted the 16-time champ. We've seen a huge $1 million prize won in the Millionaire Maker, and with 43 gold bracelet winners crowned already, they have taken home a total of $12,301,826 collectively.
As we hit the half-way mark with Event #44 coming to an end today, as Ryan Hansen wins $109,692, we're glad to say the action shows no sign of slowing down. The past few days continued to roll-out the results, as the weekend brought us a combined prize-pool win of just over $800k. We saw a first-time winner in poker-hobbyist Carlos Chang, as well as a couple new three-time champs, with Kevin Gerhart and Bradley Ruben.
Kevin Gerhart - Event #40: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E
Out of 149 entries, Kevin Gerhart came out on top in this mixed-game event of HORSE. He defeated some of the biggest names in poker to claim the top prize of $361,124 from a $1.4 million pool. This is Gerhart's largest prize-win yet, but he says his most important was the Razz event win in 2019:
"I would consider the first one, the Razz one, the most important just because it opened the doors for me for bigger and better things," he said. "I just started playing $10ks this year so it's something new to me and I haven't experienced this field very much but I have played against all these guys in the $1,500s. I am just so happy to have all my friends that support me through everything."
Only 5 players entered the final day of the event, with both Bryce Yockey and Brandon Shack-Harris also aiming to add to their bracelet collection. Gerhart went into the table as chip leader ahead of Eddie Blumenthal and managed to hold the lead until he came out victorious.
After 4 days of battling some tough opponents, Gerhart found himself heads-up against two-time bracelet winner Marco Johnson as the last remaining players, and both were looking to walk away with their 3rd WSOP title. Johnson looked dangerous at one point, coming close to beating Gerhart in a heads-up hand but eventually dropped to a very short stack from which he couldn't recover. He ended up coming in second and settling for a consolation prize of $223,194.
Here's how the Final Table shaped up:
|PLACE||WINNER||COUNTRY||PRIZE (IN USD)|
|1||Kevin Gerhart||United States||$361,124|
|2||Marco Johnson||United States||$223,194|
|3||Eddie Blumenthal||United States||$155,971|
|4||Bryce Yockey||United States||$111,701|
|5||Brandon Shack-Harris||United States||$82,033|
|6||Chris Vitch||United States||$61,819|
|7||Jake Schwartz||United States||$47,835|
Carlos Chang - Event #41: $2,500 NLHE Freezeout
After beating out 894 players, Carlos Chang ended up in a 3.5-hour heads-up battle with Brady Osterman. The prize pool became a huge $1,993,600 with Chang cashing in a massive $364,589 to take home his first bracelet in #41 of the 2021 WSOP Events.
Chang has previously made 3 final tables across the years - playing in the Monster Stack of the 2015 WSOP Europe, the 2015 Little One for One Drop at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and the Closer in 2019. He stated that "yes, this is my fourth final table. I told myself, this year if I make a final table, I will win the bracelet. And it happened! I am pretty excited. I was focused all day and yesterday."
As one of only 3 WSOP champs from Taiwan, Chang joins a short list of bracelet winners hailing from the island. Commenting on his name joining the ranks Carlos stated - "I don't know if I can count myself to the greats of Taiwan, I am a hobby player, I'm probably the better non-pro out there." As a self-professed poker-hobbyist, taking home over $350k isn't bad for a weekend in Vegas.
Chang came into the final table with the chip lead and a clear head and outlined his simple, but effective strategy in a post-win interview:
"At the beginning, I was trying to attack the middle and short stack. I lost a three-bet the first two hands, that got me down to 6 million, lost two flips, down to 2.8 million, the shortest and then I slowly came back. I got lucky when I hit the straight flush draw against the kings. I got lucky on Day 2 too, I started with 8.5 big blinds, won three flips in a row. The strategy I employed this time, just play one hand at a time. That's the key I supposed instead of trying to win immediately... If you're losing, just wait for the next hand. That's what I was trying to do, my goal was to win one hand at a time."
His play-by-play mindset proved vital during the 3.5-hour heads up face-off against Osterman. stating: "I had to pick out some spots. Brady was pretty aggressive, and I wasn't getting any cards." Chang stayed calm, despite the jeering from Osterman's side-line, and eventually came out on top in this back-and-forth battle.
Here's how Event #41 finished:
|2||Brady Osterman||United States||$225,333|
|6||Sung Joo Hyun||South Korea||$64,864|
|7||Gerald Cunniff||United States||$49,179|
|8||Quang Ngo||United States||$37,820|
|9||Christopher Basile||United States||$29,506|
Bradley Ruben - Event #42: $1,500 Razz
Yesterday, Bradley Ruben took home his 3rd WSOP bracelet in Event #42 - cashing in just short of $100k at $99,188. Ruben conquered a field of 311 players, including some big names at the final table - with two-time champs Yuri Dzivielevski and Matt Grapenthien, as well as final-table regular David Baker, looking for his second title.
Both of Rubens previous wins came in the 2020 and 2021 Online WSOP tournaments - both Pot-Limit Omaha events. This win therefore gives Bradley his first live-felt win and his first bracelet outside of Pot-Limit Omaha.
Ruben has conceded that as much as skill is involved, Razz requires a certain luck of the draw, where sometimes whoever catches a better card at an all-important time, could be led down the road to an easy victory. In a post event interview, Ruben states:
“It’s a lot of it. Getting big hands, a lot of times equities run close, so it’s who catches better. But it’s also a lot about picking your spots and waiting and being patient when you’re short-stacked and getting it in okay, so there’s a skill in that, but a lot of it is catching."
He was chasing Sinns for most of the day, who held the chip lead by quite a stretch. Sinns’ playstyle and big stack helped keep him on top, as Dzivielevski and Baker went out in 4th and 5th respectively. Managing to take the lead and hold it, Ruben landed around "300K in chips... and [he] just ran like God pretty much from then on, doubled up a couple of times, so it’s really just running good at the end.”
In a game has only played a handful of times, it seems that this helped Ruben stay level-headed and light-hearted in a competition against the aggressive playstyle of Sinns.
“My theory is, if you play a game that you haven’t played much before, it’s more enjoyable." he said. "You’re kind of like a kid, you’re in awe of it. That’s helped me a lot in this tournament, and the one I got third in, in 2017.”
Final Table Results:
|1||Bradley Ruben||United States||$99,188|
|2||Charles Sinn||United States||$61,303|
|3||Matt Grapenthien||United States||$41,758|
|5||David "ODB" Baker||United States||$20,732|
|6||Brett Feldman||United States||$15,127|
|8||Hassan Kamoei||United States||$8,658|