So close, yet so far away

We were going to go through who the latest bracelet winners are at the 2021 World Series of Poker, but considering what we put in the headline, it is only fair to start with Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth, the “Poker Brat,” the 15-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, is in position to possibly grab yet more hardware.

Going into Day of Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, Hellmuth is seventh in chips with just 18 players remaining. Andrew Yeh is way ahead of everyone with 995,000 chips, but Hellmuth sits comfortably with much of the rest of the pack, entering Wednesday’s action with 550,000.

It’s a small tournament compared to most World Series of Poker events with just 134 entries, but that is normal for a tourney with such a high buy-in and of a game format that lends itself more toward specialists. And it is also because of those two factors that the average competitor was very strong, so we’re looking at the quality of the field over the quantity.

Hellmuth’s last bracelet came in 2018. The vast majority of his wins have been in No-Limit Hold’em, but he quieted critics who saw that as a flaw when he won a Razz title in 2012, followed by another in 2015. We’ll see if he can capture a third non-Hold’em bracelet this week. The tournament will play down to five players today and conclude on Thursday.

Trio of first-time winners

In other events, Long Ma won Event #4: “The Reunion” $500 No-Limit Hold’em Tuesday for his first career bracelet. It was a marathon first few days of the tournament with three Day 1s and a 17-hour Day 2 before, but in an extreme oddity, Day 3 went for only about an hour.

Ma was the overwhelming favorite entering the five-handed final table yesterday, as his 260 million chips were more than the next two players combined. He then proceeded to knockout each of his four opponents to capture the $513,604 first prize.

Jaswinder “Jesse” Lally took down Event #7: $1,500 Dealer’s Choice and $97,915. In this unique tournament varieties, there are 20 different possible game varieties that can be played. A special dealer’s choice button rotates around the table and the person who has it gets to choose what game the table plays for the next round of hands.

Lally said afterward that he hadn’t played Stud in 15-20 years, but he loves it now, as he fared wonderfully early on in the tournament when a variation of Stud was in play.

And in Event #10: $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty, Michael Perrone emerged victorious from a field of 1,640 players (players, not entries, as it was actually a freezeout) to win $152,173. It wasn’t all lost for some players who failed to make the money, as bounties were worth $300, some ended up profiting even though they didn’t get on the right side of the money bubble.

Perrone’s original plan did not even include this tournament or the WSOP at all. He was going to play in an tourney over at the Wynn, but a friend told him to give the Super Turbo Bounty a go. He better have treated his buddy to a nice dinner.

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