Friday night at the 2021 World Series of Poker saw the second Day One of action in the $10,000 Championship Event, but more eyes might have been on “The Mothership.” The main arena in the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino’s Amazon Room was playing down the final table of the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship, and it did not disappoint anyone. In fact, the eventual champion made the most of his stay on the table, lurking in the field and strategically attacking before eventually capturing one of poker’s most prestigious championships.
“Jungleman” Reigns Supreme in $50K PPC
With five players remaining in the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship, Dan Cates was lurking in the pack waiting to strike. Although Cates held 3.875 million in chips, that was only good enough for fourth place of the five remaining players. The only player that Cates topped at the start of battle was Ryan Leng’s 1.625 million stack, while Cates looked up at “High Roller” specialists Chris Brewer (4.325 million), Paul Volpe (4.36 million) and chip leader Eli Elezra (4.62 million).
Cates went on the offensive from the moment the cards went into the air. He was highly active on the tables, taking advantage especially during a session of No Limit Hold’em in which he took over the chip lead. Leng also charged up the leaderboard, doing his damage in Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. By the time the players went to their first break, Cates and Leng had ascended to the top of the leaderboard, while Elezra had dropped to the basement.
The first elimination would come in a round of No Limit Hold’em and it would see Leng actually take over the lead. After Brewer raised the stakes to 800K from the button and with few chips in reserve, Leng would only call out of the small blind. After an A-Q-5 flop, Leng bet out enough chips to force Brewer all in and, after a call, the cards went to their backs:
Leng (SB): J♣ J♠
Brewer (Button): 7♠ 7♣
Leng had Brewer covered in every direction, except for dodging the two remaining sevens in the deck. Those turned out to not be an issue, however, as a deuce on the turn and a six on the river left Leng as the winner of the hand, in first place with 8.6 million chips and Chris Brewer out of the tournament in fifth place.
For more than three hours following Brewer’s departure, the foursome fought it out for supremacy. Elezra would eventually be dispatched from the tournament, losing in Razz against Volpe, and all three men – Leng, Volpe and Cates – would be basically even in chips. For the next three hours, these men would shuttle chips around and take turns in the lead, although Cates at one point reached a dangerous point of under a million in chips.
Cates was able to come back from the felt, however. As the clock neared 2AM, Cates would get action from every street in Razz against Leng. Both men were bluffing their chips, it turned out, as Cates showed a pair of tens that usually would be a loser in Razz. Leng, however, started with a four-three and made two pair by Fourth Street with his holdings to actually make a great hand…but not what you want in Razz.
Now stacked with 12.4 million in chips, Cates went on a rampage. He would eliminate Volpe in third to go to heads up against Leng with a 16 million/2.9 million edge. Leng would claw back to almost even (10.5 million/8.4 million), but he would never get a shot at taking the lead. The end would come in Limit Hold’em when, after posting the big blind ante and the big blind, Leng was only left with a couple hundred thousand in chips. Those went in after Cates raised the hand and the cards were turned up:
The A♥ J♥ 10♥ monochrome flop gave Leng a pair, but it opened a world of doors for Cates. Looking for a King or Queen to improve his hand, Cates caught the Q♥ on the turn to take over the lead, but Leng now had outs to the chop with a flush. Those did not come home, however, as the trey on the river improved Cates to Queens up and earned him the title of “best all-around poker player” in capturing the Chip Reese Trophy and the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship.
1. Dan Cates, $954,020
2. Ryan Leng, $589,628
3. Paul Volpe, $404,243
4. Eli Elezra, $286,983
5. Chris Brewer, $211,235
6. Josh Arieh, $161,422*
(* – eliminated on Thursday, part of official final table)
Day 1B of Championship Event Draws Solid Numbers
Day 1B of the $10,000 Championship Event continued the solid performance of the “Main Event” from its opening action. On Day 1A, a cozy 523 players came to the tables, with 348 of those earning the right to move on to Day 2 action next week. On Day 1B, those numbers would improve, boding well for a solid Championship Event field once all the Day Ones are in the books.
Day 1B drew an impressive 845 players to the felt, with 611 of those souls fortunate enough to be able to book a date for play on Day 2. Between the opening Day Ones, 1368 players have come through the turnstiles in the Rio tournament rooms, with 959 players still remaining from the opening action. Extrapolating out these numbers if they hold for the remainder of the 2021 WSOP Championship Event, that would mean there would be a 3420-player field, a very credible field considering the circumstances.
Taking to the top of the mountain after the action on Friday night was Las Vegas local Steve Foutty, who amassed 287,000 chips for battle on Day 2. He led these players who also made the Top Ten for Day 1B:
1. Steve Foutty, 287,000
2. Matthew Traylor, 279,500
3. Maxime Canevet, 277,500
4. Justin Garcia, 243,500
5. Kayvon Shahbaz, 238,500
6. Keegan Westover, 230,700
7. Kevin Rasor, 228,900
8. Aaron Earthman, 226,800
9. Jonathan Williams, 225,100
10. Jean Guillette, 223,200
Other notables who will be around on Day 2 include Stephen Chidwick (124,900), Ryan D’Angelo (171,500), Faraz Jaka (168,200), and Ronnie Bardah (139,600).
Although Foutty had a wonderful day, he did not take over the overall lead. Here is the HIGHLY unofficial Top Ten after two days in the Championship Event:
1. Mustapha Kanit, 363,500*
2. Rittie Chuaprasert, 345,700*
3. Alex Livingston, 319,200*
4. David Fong, 298,500*
5. Steve Foutty, 287,000
6. Matthew Traylor, 279,500
7. Maxime Canevet, 277,500
8. Fabian Quoss, 273,800*
9. Billy Baxter, 248,600*
10. Justin Garcia, 243,500
(* – Day 1A player) So, who will join these men from Day 1C? We will find out on Saturday. The cards will hit the air at 11AM (Pacific) and, for the first time, the numbers should eclipse 1000 players for one of the Day Ones. The excitement is beginning to build as the 2021 WSOP Championship Event festivities continue through the weekend.
(photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)