The 2021 WSOP Championship Event could be said to have exceeded the expectations of many in the poker world. The 6000-plus player field was bolstered by the influx of Europeans, who had not been a part of the festivities to this point, but it has been former champions who made the tournament exciting. Day 2CEF was proof of this, with two in particular charging into the Top 50 overall with their play.
Final Numbers for Championship Event Highly Respectable
The overall numbers for the 2021 WSOP Championship Event compare respectably with past versions of the tournament. At the end of all the Day Ones, 6550 players came to the tables with their $10,000 and a dream. While it fell a bit short of the 8569 players that came out in 2019, it was comparable to the mid-Teens tournaments, when 6737 (2016), 6420 (2015) and 6683 (2014) players participated in the tournament.
The prize pool created by this year’s players turned out to be very pleasant. The $62,011,250 prize pool will eventually (probably Day 4) be divvied up by 1000 players, with the minimum cash in the tournament a nice $15,000 payday. It is going to be another week until we learn which players will be “poker millionaires” from the 2021 WSOP Championship Event; the entire final table will receive a million-dollar payday (for ninth place) with the eventual champion taking down an $8 million windfall.
Moneymaker, Nguyen Have Great Days
There were seven former World Champions in the field at the start of this particular Day 2, but only three of them would be around after the dust settled. 2005 WSOP Championship Event winner Joe Hachem proved to be quite resilient, surviving after doubling up a player to find a bag for Day 3, as did Scott Blumstein and Phil Hellmuth. But the real stories of the “Champion’s Room” was the play of 2003 victor Chris Moneymaker and 2016 winner Qui Nguyen.
Moneymaker played a strong game throughout the day despite starting the day with a smallish stack. He would eventually find himself on one of the featured PokerGO broadcast tables and he began to make his run. He doubled up with pocket deuces after flopping a set against pocket Aces, then clashed with Bryan Reyes; his pocket Aces provided the cooler to Reyes’ pocket Kings. All of that work saw Moneymaker lead the way for the former champions with more than 500K in chips.
Nguyen’s normal wildly aggressive style paid off for him on Day 2. He would be able to work his way up throughout the day, though, which is the key in the initial stages of the tournament. By the time the bags were handed out, Nguyen was just short of the 500K mark and joined Moneymaker in the Top 50.
Neither of these World Champions were able to hold a candle to the run of Conrad De Armas. The elevator was on a constant climb for De Armas throughout his Day 2 action, ending up with 744,000 by the time the final cards were collected. That was good enough to move him into the overall lead of the event, eclipsing the other Day 2 chip leader Rameez Shahid’s 731,700 stack. Here are the standings after the two Day Twos have concluded:
1. Conrad De Armas, 744,000
2. Rameez Shahid, 731,700
3. David Mock, 679,700
4. Adam Walton, 673,100
5. Keyu Qu, 664,900
6. Damien Steel, 649,000
7. Cameron Mitchell, 642,000
8. Farhad Jamasi, 635,000
9. Raul Martinez, 628,100
10. Daniel Lowery, 625,600
Other notables who will be in attendance for Day 3 include Scott Davies (13th place, 615,100 in chips), Matt Glantz (20th, 580,000), David Levy (23rd, 561,500), Dragana Lim (24th, 559,800), Moneymaker (30th, 531,600), David Williams (37th, 499,100), Nguyen (42nd, 479,100) and Mustapha Kanit (45th, 473,300).
For the first time during the 2021 WSOP Championship Event, the entire field will be gathered together for action. The 1440 players who emerged from Day 2ABD will join the 915 players from Day 2CEF to form the 2355 player strong Day 3. They will probably not crack the money bubble by the end of Day 3 (1000 players), but they should draw close. The festivities resume at 11AM (Pacific) and will partially be broadcast on the streaming service PokerGO.