WSOP 2021 Week 6 Recap: Main Event Kicks Off, Brunson Joins the Party and More
The past week was perhaps the most exciting one at this year’s World Series of Poker. The Main Event finally kicked off on November 4, starting the long and important journey towards the biggest final table of the year.
To mark the occasion, even the poker legend Doyle Brunson decided to join the fun. This was the first time the Hall of Famer entered the Main Event since 2013, and fans and fellow players were thrilled to see him in the mix.
Another trademark WSOP event came to a close as the $50K Players Championship crowned the winner. It was none other than Dan “Jungleman” Cates.
Cates pulled a proper miracle to get back into the tournament and proceeded to win his first gold bracelet.
We’ve also seen some movement in the Player of the Year standings, as Jake Schwartz surged to the top, followed by Josh Arieh and Ryan Leng. Currently sitting in fourth is Kevin Gerhart, followed by Anthony Zinno and Phil Hellmuth.
WSOP 2021 Main Event Gets Under Way
Thursday, November 4, was the official kickoff of the 2021 Main Event. A total of 523 players turned up for Day 1A, with 348 making it through to Day 2.
Among the survivors was the poker legend Doyle Brunson who decided to come back to the Main Event felt after a seven-year hiatus. Now 88 years old, Brunson showed he still knows how to play, as he was among the players who bagged for the day.
Day 1B saw a bigger turnout, with 845 entries and 611 survivors, while Day 1C attracted the round number of 600 players, 433 of whom will be coming back to play on.
This brings the total number of entries thus far to 1,977, but there are still three starting flights left. While it seems that this year’s Main Event won’t be breaking any records, we could end up with a very decent turnout when all is said and done.
Surviving players from the initial six flights will come back for Day 2 on November 9 and 10, depending on what starting flight they picked. Then, on November 11, all remaining players will finally come together for Day 3.
Dan Cates Wins the Players Championship
Apart from the Main Event, the $50,000 Players Championship is one of the biggest and most important WSOP events. It attracts all of the best players around, and winning this tournament is the dream of many.
Everyone else will have to put their dreams on hold until the next year at least, though, as this year’s title went to none other than Dan “Jungleman” Cates.
Cates banked almost a million for his performance, but more importantly, he won his first WSOP bracelet. And, he did it playing against the players with much more experience in mixed games.
Things didn't look promising for Cates at one point during three-handed play. He was all-in on the river for his last 300,000 chips. Leng, who was getting 11 to 1 on a call inexplicably, decided to fold the top pair, sending the pot Jungleman’s way and giving him a new life.
Is this the craziest hand of the 2021 @WSOP?
If Ryan Leng had called @junglemandan would have been eliminated, but instead Jungle made a massive comeback to grab the win in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $952,020! pic.twitter.com/htI8Qb1nwH
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) November 6, 2021
From that point onwards, Cates kept building his stack, eliminating Paul Volpe in the process and then defeating Ryan Leng in the heads-up skirmish. Call it luck, destiny, or whatever else, Jungleman joins the elite group of players with the Players Championship title to their name.
Player of the Year Race Update
It’s not often that the Player of the Year race has so many serious competitors. Over the course of the week, there have been some significant changes on the leaderboard, with Jake Schwartz getting ahead of the pack with 2,711 points.
The WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard, presented by VELO sees a new leader as @Jake11291 takes over the lead as @KevinGerhart moves into 2nd with his win in Event 62. https://t.co/qOxDEge7b9
— WSOP (@WSOP) November 4, 2021
While Schwartz still doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet to his name, the US pro has had an impressive run at this year’s series, with a runner-up finish in a $1,500 2-7 Lowball event (won by Hellmuth), two third places, and a few more deep runs.
Surging into second place is Josh Arieh, who won two PLO8 events this year and made a deep run in the Players Championship, eventually finishing in sixth. The difference between him and Schwartz is fewer than 20 points.
Rounding up the top three at the moment is Ryan Leng, with 2,684 points. Leng had one win and two runner-up finishes this WSOP, including second place in the $1,500 Monster Stack.
Kevin Gerhart, Anthony Zinno, Phil Hellmuth, and Shaun Deeb are sitting in 4th through 7th, and they all have a great chance to turn the tables and seize the top spot. The difference between Deeb and Schwartz is fewer than 200 points, while Hellmuth and Zinno are both in the 100-points region.
With quite a few tournaments still to go, the POY battle is nowhere near over. It seems things will remain exciting and uncertain all the way until the end, and what more could poker fans ask for?