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Poker news | Jul 22, 2022

2022 World Series of Poker Recap: All the Best Highlights

By RTR Alex


The 2022 World Series of Poker at Ballys and Paris, Las Vegas, has finally come to an end.

After 7 weeks of jam-packed action and over $58,908,609 paid out in first place prizes alone, the WSOP has closed its doors - until next year of course.We saw drama day-in day-out - with countless first time winners, poker-legend upsets, heads-up battles for the ages and the second largest payout in poker tournament history, this year's contest did not disappoint.

All of these highlights are quite difficult to sift through, so we've done all the hard work for you and compiled a list of the greatest and most dramatic moments from this year's series.

Event #2: 10 Minute Showdown

Event #2 of the 2022 World Series of Poker, kicked off with a bang. One of the highest ranking poker players of all time, David Peters, showed up to teach us all a lesson.

Playing in the $100,000 High Roller Bounty, Peters topped a field of 46 entrants to take home the top prize of $1,166,810. He defeated Chance Kornuth heads-up to claim his fourth gold bracelet and further cement his name in the poker history books.

The final table lasted just 26 hands and a little over an hour before Peters was crowned the champion from the group of five, which included equally notorious players like Dario Sammartino, Ali Imsirovic and Koray Aldemir.

Peters, who taught himself to play poker back in 2004 and has risen to the highest ranks of the game. This latest win moved him ahead of Erik Seidel in the all-time earnings rank, where he now sits in fifth place with $40,715,449.

Despite all of this, the most impressive part of the story is yet to come... Peters managed to end heads-up play in just 10 minutes, with one of the best players out there, Chance Kornuth - who was fresh off his first WPT title win. Peters' impressive display made this one of the fastest final tables in the history of the WSOP.

Neymar Jr First WSOP Cash-in

Global soccer superstar, Neymar Jr, has been part of the poker scene for some time now, but he has only ever bubbled at WSOP events. Now, the Brazilian legend can add a WSOP cash-in to his long list of accolades and achievements, as he landed 49th place in the Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Holdem Event.

Despite his worldwide notoriety, Neymar was almost mistakenly kicked out by a security guard who approached the player and his team to say “Sorry guys, I gotta kick you out, you can’t stay here.” Fortunately, he cleared up the situation and was soon able to celebrate his cash-in.


Music Producer Steve Alibi Breaks WSOP Bracelet

In more celebrity news, legendary music producer Steve Albini - who produced tracks for Nirvana and The Pixies (among many others) - managed to bank his second WSOP gold bracelet, along with $196,089 in prize money.

After a successfully smooth run to the finish line, Albini topped off the celebrations by dropping the bracelet as soon as it was awarded, breaking it in the process. Not his finest moment...

Hellmuth Denied 17th Bracelet

This year, Phil Hellmuth was on the hunt for his 17th gold bracelet, but was unable to convert when David Jackson managed to outplay him heads-up.

Hellmuth has stated that he is on the hunt for 24 WSOP bracelets and we're sure he'll stick around to give it another shot, but this year he was unable to add to the tally.

Now, we all love to see the legend play some great poker, but sometimes watching the "The Poker Brat" get beaten in a heads-up showdown is just as satisfying. Often we're even rewarded with an infamous Hellmuth freakout, which we all love and hate at the same time.

Jackson defeated many poker pros in the event including the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Maria Ho and Justin Bonomo who all contributed to the prize pool but found themselves out of the cash when they were knocked out on day 1.

Jackson was rewarded well for his efforts, landing a $598,173 payday alongside his second gold bracelet. Check out his post-win interview below:

Daniel Negreanu: $1.1 Million Loss

Speaking of legends falling short - Daniel Negreanu also struggled in this year's series. Although he managed to cash-in on 12 events, they were all min-cashes or just slightly above, and for the first time since 2011, the GGPoker Ambassador failed to reach a WSOP final table.

For the first time in years he was also not in the conversation for Player of the Year, making this one of his worst stints at the felt ever. By the end of the series, Negreanu was down $1.1 million, according to results compiled on his vlog, which he ran every day for the 48 days he was in Las Vegas.

Despite not having a great run, he did finish as a runner up in the Fantasy League event, which slightly softened the blow to his bank account with a $100,000 prize.

He also found himself in the middle of perhaps the most dramatic moment away from the felt, when an active shooter false-alarm occurred. The scare unleashed chaos upon the event with people scrambling to escape what they thought to be a certain death situation. More to follow on this, but you can check out Negreanu's perspective on the situation from his personal vlog below:

Active Shooter Scare

On the evening of Saturday 16th July, just a few days before the end of the series, as Vegas was rocked by rumours of an active shooter situation at the MGM Grand hotel and casino. Fortunately, it was a false alarm, but effects rippled through the whole strip as panic was fueled by misinformation, largely spread through social media.

Before the rumours could be quashed, fear reached the floor of the WSOP, at which point hoards of people began trying to flee the venue. In the middle of the mayhem, Daniel Negreanu and many other players were injured as they were trampled by other competitors. The chaos ensued just before the WSOP crowned its Main Event champion.

After about 30 minutes of people fleeing from various casinos up and down the Las Vegas strip, the LVMPD took to Twitter to clarify the situation:

The Comeback Kid's First Bracelet: Super Seniors

Moving on to more wholesome content - we also saw Massoud “Comeback Kid” Eskandari win his first ever bracelet in the Super Seniors event.

Eskandari showed just why his nickname is "The Comeback Kid" back home in Los Angeles, as he completed an impressive final table comeback to defeat Jennifer Gianera heads up and take home $330,609 in prize money. This was his first time in the event and he managed to turn around a 4-1 chip lead that Gianera had built heading into the 1v1 showdown.

Eskandari doubled his money to claw his way back against Gianera and eventually gained his own 4-1 lead, from which he was able to close out the win and claim his first WSOP bracelet.


Michael Wang: Heads-up Comeback

Following suit is Michael Wang, who formed his own heads-up comeback against Farid Jattin and denying Jattin's maiden title in the process.

Wang won his first bracelet seven years ago and now takes home his second along with $541,604 thanks to some stunning heads-up play. The American defeated a field of 573 players which included Poker Hall of Famer, Erik Seidel, who was forced to settle for third place.

Michael wang wsop

Main Event: Taxed Winnings

What would a highlight list be without the Main Event?

This year's main event hosted the second largest entrant field of all time, with 8,663 players, but only one could come out on top.

Norway's Espen Jorstad topped the field and took home a whopping $10,000,000 with his prestigious gold bracelet. It was mostly smooth sailing for Jorstad who ran a big stack for much of the tournament and struck gold when he landed a heads-up battle against Adrian Attenborough who tanked multiple times to give away the win.

Perhaps the more interesting story of the main event is the final payout structure.

With 9 players landing in the cash, but all having various countries of origin, the different tax rates made for some interesting final payouts.

As it turned out, 4th place John Eames took home more than Michael Duek who finished 3rd with an expected $1 million more in prize money. Attenborough, after all his hard work and a tough heads-up loss, fell in second place and ended up with just 20% more than Eames in 4th. Attenborough was required to pay 40% tax on his earnings - cutting his $6,000,000 all the way down to $3,600,000.

Check out the full comparison below:

Position Player Prize Tax owed Prize after taxes
1st Espen Jordstad $10,000,000 $0 $10,000,000
2nd Adrian Attenborough $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $3,600,000
3rd Michael Duek $4,000,000 $1,600,000 $2,400,000
4th John Eames $3,000,000 $0 $3,000,000
5th Matija Dobric $2,250,000 $675,000 $1,575,000
6th Jeffrey Farnes $1,750,000 $675,000 $1,075,000
7th Aaron Duczak $1,350,000 $405,000 $945,000
8th Philippe Souki $1,075,000 $0 $1,075,000
9th Matthew Su $850,675 $330,000 $520,000

If you want to see Attenborogh's terrible tanks, highlights from the final table and more detail on the main event, check out our full main event article here.

Final Event: Tournament of Champions

The Tournament of Champions wrapped up the series as usual, where we saw Benjamin Kaupp take home a career-best $250,000.

This is Kaupp's first bracelet and what better way to win than against the greatest players from the 2022 Series. bracelet and Circuit ring winners from the 2022 WSOP season. The Tournament of Champions is a freeroll event open to all 570 gold bracelet and Circuit Ring winners from this year's WSOP season, 470 of which showed up to compete and take home a slice of the $1,000,000 pie.

It's understandable that most players were burnt out after the 7-week long series, so seeing 100 big names drop off the list was no surprise. But there were still some well-respected pros at the final table, with the likes of Robert Cowen (4th - $75,000) and Yuliyan Kolev (7th - $27,500), as well as ring winners like Gregory Wish (6th - $37,500) and Eric Bensimhon ($20,000).

Place Player Country Prize (USD)
1 Benjamin Kaupp United States $250,000
2 Raul Garza United States $150,000
3 Ryan Messick United States $100,000
4 Robert Cowen United Kingdom $75,000
5 Ali Eslami United States $50,000
6 Gregory Wish United States $37,500
7 Yuliyan Kolev Bulgaria $27,500
8 Eric Bensimhon France $20,000
9 Gianluca Speranza Italy $15,000
10 Jonathan Woof Canada $11,400

Dan Zack: Player of the Year

Dan Zack has been a consistent Player of the Year contender since 2017, and this year, he finally topped the PoY points ranking and collected the prestigious award.

Zack added two gold bracelets to his name, along with 14 cashes and two other final table appearances. His first place prizes totalled over $765,000, bringing Zack's all-time live earnings to $2,739,186.

"It means a lot, I set a goal three years ago that I really wanted to try to win it before I left poker, and this is the third series I've tried." - Zack

It seems this couldn’t come at a more perfect time as Zack’s future plans may stop him from returning to the felt. The three-time bracelet winner said he plans to get married next year and have children in the near future, which would mean he won’t be able to play full time anymore. Perhaps this was the best farewell to the WSOP that Zack could ask for.

Position Player Points
1 Dan Zack 4,530
2 Daniel Weinman 4,040
3 Koray Aldemir 3,275
4 Shaun Deeb 3,197
5 David Peters 2,982
6 Yueqi Zhu 2,766
7 Joao Viera 2,752
8 Joao Simao Peres 2,735
9 Alex Foxen 2,548
10 Brian Rast 2,520