Incredible heaters and heartwarming stories took focus during a wild week of the 2021 World Series of Poker.
This year’s historic WSOP is now officially past the halfway point and this week has forged some of the memories that won’t soon be forgotten. Hellmuth surged (then lost) the 2021 Player of the Year lead, Michael Addamo booked another incredible high roller win, and the three-time bracelet winner club added a brand new wing to the clubhouse.
Plus, a deep run by broadcaster Jeff Platt and the poker community rallying, once again, to show how generous it can be when someone is in need were other bright spots this week.
Let’s kick off the second half of the series by taking a look at the five biggest storylines to emerge from Week 4 of the World Series of Poker.
Hellmuth, Zinno Top Player of the Year Race
Much has been made of Phil Hellmuth’s red hot start to the 2021 World Series of Poker and how he broke through to win his record-extending 16th career bracelet. Well, after five final tables, his bracelet victory, a runner-up finish, and six total cashes, he grabbed the POY lead from his series nemesis, Anthony Zinno, earlier this week.
Then, days later, Zinno took it right back.
Now the series is halfway done and if Hellmuth wants to add that Player of the Year title to his poker resume, he’s going to have to take fewer days off and put his nose to the grindstone for the duration. Otherwise, one of the many challengers that are vying for the title are going to freeze him out once again.
Hello World Series of Sleep! For me, a key ingredient for a successful @WSOP is RandR (rest/relaxation), and sleep 💤 🛌🛌. I slept well last night, but I am taking the day completely off! I’ll play the online tourn Sunday (5 PM). I’m @AriaLV pool getting a lil sun, gym next?!! pic.twitter.com/ATmOAZkYbm
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 23, 2021
This includes Anthony Zinno who looks to build on his slim lead by continuing to run deep in nearly every event he registers in. Also, Jake Schwartz, who is currently sitting in third place, is having the best series of his career as well.
Other potential suitors for the POY include Daniel Negreanu, who after finishing 8th in the recent $10K NL 2-7 surged over 2,000 POY points and into 6th. Ari Engel just wrapped up a final table appearance at the $1,500 Shootout and moved into 4th place as well. Another player with his eye on the prize is Dan Zack, tied with Negreanu in leading all cashes with 13, sitting in 8th place on the leaderboard.
This makes the upcoming $50K Poker Players Championship an important POY event. The winner is likely to receive over 1,000 POY points and will become an immediate contender for the title. If Hellmuth can make a deep run, he may just be able to solidify himself as the frontrunner the rest of the way.
Speaking of which, this is how Hellmuth plans on making his entrance into the $50K.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 28, 2021
Addamo Keeps On Adding On
When it comes to high-stakes No Limit Hold’em, Michael Addamo is the current king and there’s no telling when his incredible (now over a month-long) sun run will come to an end. For those that need a quick recap: Addamo came to town early to play PokerGO’s $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl. While waiting, he took down the second-to-last Poker Masters event ($50,000 buy-in NLHE) for $680,000. Then two days later he won the Poker Master Main Event ($100,000 NLHE) for another $1.16 million. Those back-to-back victories allowed him to swoop in and pick up the Poker Masters Purple Jacket to boot.
As if that wasn’t enough winning, he went on to actually win the event he came to town for. He dominated the $300K buy-in Super High Roller Bowl for $3.4 million and, while he was waiting around for the WSOP to start, went deep in an Aria high roller – an incredibly underreported $200K in which he took third place for $544K.
Then guess what happened? He actually busted out of a tournament. That’s right. He fired two shells into the WSOP’s opening $25K high roller and didn’t make a dime. Heater over? Not quite.
Addamo must have decided that winning was better than not winning and came back to take down the next WSOP High Roller, this time it was a $50K. For the second time in a month, he was heads-up against Justin Bonomo and just got there in the final hand to win another $1.13 million.
There’s so much winning from Addamo, it’s impossible to provide a “quick recap.”
So, what’s next for Addamo? Likely he’ll stick around and play the $10K Main Event, and the four High Rollers on the back half of the schedule (two $50Ks, a $100K, and the $250K Super High Roller) and we’ll all get to see just how hot this amazing heater will get.
Jeff Platt Dims The Lights
It took double-checking the chip counts at the end of Day 2 of the $1K Double Stack to make sure the headline was right – PokerGO presenter, podcaster, and all-around poker media superstar Jeff Platt held the overnight chip lead with some outrageous number of chips in front of him headed into Day 3.
— Ben Ludlow (@Bloodlow) October 26, 2021
Well, Platt’s a popular guy and so for the next two days, Poker Twitter was ablaze as he continued his march to the final table. His friend Ben Ludlow, jumped on the rail and started reporting all of Platt’s key hands as he built a tower of chips. And as his stack grew, so did his rail, creating a spectacle rivaled only by Hellmuth winning bracelet #16.
— Ben Ludlow (@Bloodlow) October 26, 2021
What made this even more amazing was that Platt was named as a sideline reporter for the WSOP and so, as he was preparing to take a seat at the Double Stack final table, a camera crew showed up and they put him to work…commentating on himself.
Commentator commentating on himself. Universe may explode pic.twitter.com/chzcncvIl1
— Ben Ludlow (@Bloodlow) October 26, 2021
It was a fun 48 hours as one of poker’s good guys enjoy some run good. In the end, Platt fell in fourth place but he walked away into the arms of a legion of fans and friends, collecting a career-high score of $160,662.
— Ben Ludlow (@Bloodlow) October 27, 2021
Poker Backs One of Their Own
Poker player Michael Graydon received some terrible news earlier this year: he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
In March of this year I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Due to the location of my tumor there isn’t anything medically they can do. This year I want to play the @WSOP main event and I need your help. Selling 70% at no markup just love to play. DM to book. Plz retweet.
— Michael Graydon (@michael_graydon) October 27, 2021
So when he let the poker world know via Twitter that he’d like to play the Main Event and needed help selling pieces the generous poker world swiftly responded and within two hours, Graydon had sold out 70% (at no markup) and could start making plans for to play the Main.
The generosity took another step, when MJ Gonzales, one of Daniel Negreanu’s noted poker coaches, made an additional offer – he would give Graydon the entire buy-in and have him keep 100% of himself. Maria Ho offered to pay for his flight out and, upon suggestion, Phil Galfond gifted him training from Run It Once.
To all the people that has offered to buy pieces:
Does anyone mind if I just put him in for the whole amount and let him keep 100% of himself????
If no objections, consider it done!
Michael, dm me.
— Mj Gonzales (@therealmjpoker) October 27, 2021
It looks like you're sold out, but happy to pay for your flight out here! Sorry to hear about your situation, sending love to you and your family.
— Maria Ho (@MariaHo) October 27, 2021
I’m IN for a meet up. Text me Noah to set up
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 27, 2021
There was an outpouring of support from some of poker’s brightest stars and, while maybe this wasn’t the biggest story of this week, it’s certainly one worth following.
Three Is The Magic Number
If you think you’ve been seeing an inordinate number of players winning their third career WSOP bracelet, you are not mistaken. In addition to the aforementioned Addamo winning his third in the $50K High Roller, PocketFives’ own Josh Arieh broke a 16-year drought and won his third in the $1,500 PLO this week.
But that’s not it, when Anthony Zinno defeated Phil Hellmuth in the $10K Stud tournament, that was his third (he’s since won his fourth). Chance Kornuth took home the third of his career in the $10K Short Deck and David ‘Bakes’ Baker made it three with his victory in the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball event.
Finally, while it wasn’t his third bracelet (it was his fourth) Adam Friedman made it three in a row when he took home his third consecutive $10K Dealers Choice bracelet this year.