The WSOP Is On Fire

Big names scoop bracelets during Week 2

If the WSOP came alight at the end of its first week, it was ablaze by the end of its second.

Phil Hellmuth might not have started any literal fires, but his incandescent, f-bomb-laden tirades during the $10K Stud final table certainly raised the temperature in the Rio. His third final table in a week momentarily put ‘The Poker Brat’ into third place on the WSOP Player of the Year Leaderboard, behind Jason Koon and Ari Engel, who both won bracelets in Week 1. 

f-bomb-laden tirades during the $10K Stud final table certainly raised the temperature

The $10K Stud event was eventually won by three-time WPT champion Ant Zinno, a result which doubles his bracelet count. During a jam-packed, action-filled week of poker, John Monnette won his fourth bracelet, Ryan Leng won his second, and there were firs- bracelet wins for WPT Five Diamond champion Dylan Linde and Hollywood Poker Open champion Dejuante Alexander. 

The Ladies Event turned out 644 combatants, boiling down to a final table that included the talented player, presenter, and comedienne Marle Cordeiro and veteran JJ Liu. The event was ultimately won by Lara Eisenberg. The biggest result of the week came in the Millionaire Maker as Daniel Lazrus outlasted 5,329 other players to take home the first seven-figure payday of the fall. 

Burning down the house

It all began with a lot of hype and excitement as Hellmuth came into the $10K Stud final table with the chip lead. His last victory at the series was in 2018 in the $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Turbo Event. Since then, there have been six final tables, including two that week. This was undoubtedly a great shot at bracelet #16. 

A couple of hours in, the wheels began to come off for ‘The Poker Brat’, who became increasingly frustrated with the run-outs. Eventually, the classic, idiosyncratic Hellmuth swearing spilled over into an all-out tirade. At one point he said: “I think I’m gonna burn this f**king place down if I don’t win this f**king tournament!” 

Hellmuth continued to flame, seemingly impervious to a penalty: 

Needless to say, the commentators and audience were unimpressed. Thomas Keeling didn’t mince his words as he posted an edited clip of Hellmuth’s worst moments:

These latest antics by ‘The Poker Brat’ went unnoticed by WSOP officials but not by the poker community, who have for days conducted a trial by public opinion. The verdict? Hellmuth has been raked over the coals, something which has not been lost on the 15-time world champion. 

After Hellmuth exited stage left in fourth position, Ant Zinno ultimately triumphed, defeating James Chen to bank a $182,872 payday and double his bracelet tally. 

Monnette wins his fourth bracelet in the $10K Limit Event

A couple of days earlier, there was another $10K Championship Event final table, this time in Limit Hold ‘Em. Again, there were plenty of big names in action. These included the 2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up John Racener, Run it Up founder and poker twitch godfather Jason Somerville, and former nosebleed cash game pro, MMA fighter, and DAT Poker Podcast host Terrence Chan. 

The biggest name, however, was the statistician and data journalist, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who finished runner-up.

Monnette was indeed a worthy winner. The California-based mixed game specialist has now won four WSOP titles, adding to bracelets won in 2011, 2012, and 2017. This victory was worth $245,680, but it was his wife Diana who would emerge as the day’s biggest winner.

Poker tweet of the century. 

Alexander, Linde, and Leng victorious 

In the controversial $1K Flip & Go No Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament, Dejuante Alexander added a bracelet to his already decorated resume. He defeated a final table that included David Peters to bag himself $180,665 and some WSOP gold. The 2016 Hollywood Poker Open champion Alexander previously came second in the 2017 Millionaire Maker.

Popular poker pro and Mastering Mixed Games author Dylan Linde won his first bracelet in the $1,500 Omaha Mixed. It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when the talented Idaho native was once thought of as an underachiever in poker. Not so anymore, as the online and live crusher added a WSOP title to his WSOP Circuit and WPT Five Diamond crowns.

Linde also added another $170,269 to his lifetime live cashes, bringing him to the cusp of $5m. 

Meanwhile, in the $1,500 8-Game, Ryan Leng beat Canadian beast Connor Drinan heads up to walk away with $137,969. This makes it a pair of bracelets for Leng, who won the 2018 $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em Bounty Event.

Ladies Event won by Eisenberg

On Thursday night, the Ladies Event reached its denouement with Lara Eisenberg emerging victorious. She defeated Debora Burke in a hard-fought heads-up encounter. 

Eisenberg paid tribute to her fellow competitors in her post-tournament interview. She said: “I came into this event hoping that maybe some time I would make a final table, and to walk away winning it is an indescribable feeling… It was all around just a fabulous event. There were some really tough competitors.”

to walk away winning it is an indescribable feeling… It was all around just a fabulous event.”

The Hollywood star and former winner of this event, Jennifer Tilly, joined Jamie Kerstetter and Lon McEachern in the PokerGo booth to watch the final five players battle it out. The final table started the previous night with popular poker pro and comedienne Marle Cordeiro busting in seventh. 

When the action began, Women’s Poker Hall of Famer JJ Liu was the first to bust, followed by Diane Cooley. The 2014 Ladies Championship runner-up Mikiyo Aoki came into the final day as the chip leader but ultimately fell in third place, setting up the Eisenberg/Burke clash. 

Arise (Daniel) Lazrus as the WSOP mints its first millionaire of the Live Series

The Millionaire Maker got 5,330 entries, a smaller number than years past, but still enough to generate a prize pool of $3,428,280. That meant a wonkily top-heavy payout structure was in play, reducing the ICM considerations down the straight and making it more appropriate than normal to play for first.  

The event was won by Daniel Lazrus, who bested Darryl Ronconi heads-up. With that result, Lazarus joins Mark Herm and Martin Zamani as the double bracelet winners so far in 2021. He is the first millionaire minted in Vegas this fall, joining the list of those who won seven figures at the Online WSOP on GGPoker during the summer. 

Ball leads the way in the $5k 6-Max

A star-studded field showed up for arguably the toughest WSOP event. The $5K 6-Max No Limit Hold ‘Em event always attracts players who like to battle, and that they have been for three days so far. Notables who made deep runs included Nick Petrangelo (13th), Vanessa Kade (19th), Daniel Negreanu (22nd), Frank Kassela (25th), Xuan Liu (33rd), and Ryan Laplante (34th). 

When play concluded on Thursday night, the final table of six was set with Scott Ball leading the way with 8,900,000 chips. He’s followed by Tingyi Tsai with 7,500,000 and high-stakes crusher Jonathan Jaffe with 6,170,000. The bottom three stacks are Bin Weng, Galen Hall, and 2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up John Racener. 

The final table of this event will be live-streamed on Friday, with the winner taking home $562,667 and the bracelet. There are sure to be fireworks as the 2021 WSOP enters its third week. Let’s just hope there aren’t any fires. 

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