German Player Aldemir Won Wsop’21 Main Event

The World Series of Poker wrapped up the 88 tournaments that comprised the 2021 WSOP in Las Vegas. It signaled the end of an era, as it was the last series to take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino after 17 years. The Vegas series will move to Bally’s and Paris in 2022. The two properties located on the Las Vegas Strip are connected and both owned by Caesars Entertainment, which also owns the World Series of Poker.

While the 2021 WSOP had its issues with international players being able to get into the United States to compete in the Vegas series and some players opposing the Covid-19 vaccine mandate, the series did well overall. With a pandemic still not resolved and statewide Covid restrictions in place in Las Vegas, Nevada, WSOP executives were pretty happy with the overall results.

That included the 2021 WSOP Main Event.

Bringing It Together

When originally planned, the Main Event scheduled four starting flights. But when the US government announced the opening of American borders to international visitors from November 8 forward, the WSOP made a snap decision to add two more starting flights and late registration.

After started days ended, the WSOP reported these numbers:

  • Day 1A = 523 players (348 survived)
  • Day 1B = 845 players (611 survived)
  • Day 1C = 600 players (433 survived)
  • Day 1D = 2,550 players (1,933 survived)
  • Day 1E = 797 players (592 survived)
  • Day 1F = 1,045 players (782 survived)

And when the staff did the math, they came up with these final Main Event numbers:

  • Total players: 6,650
  • Total prize pool: $62,011,250
  • Number of payouts: 1,000
  • Minimum payout: $15,000
  • Winner payout: $8,000,000

Every player at the final table would walk away with a minimum of $1M.

Considering that there were some late entries during Day 2 action, the Day 2ABD and Day 2CEF numbers were a bit tough to gather. They appeared to be:

  • Day 2ABD = 2,900 players started and 1,440 of them survived
  • Day 2CEF = 1,810 players started and 915 of them survived

Day 3 then brought all remaining players to the tables at the same time. The playdown ensued.

Finding the Money

There were 2,355 players who sat down to play at the beginning of Day 3. In past years, the goal was to survive Day 3 and try to make it to the money spots on Day 4. This year, however, play moved faster than expected. By the late evening hours of November 11, everyone realized that the money bubble neared. Hand-for-hand play ensued and lasted for several hours.

Finally, well after 1:00am local time, the bubble burst. Kevin Campbell pushed his aces, and Chris Alafogiannis called with A-9 of clubs. The dramatic rollout of the board produced 9-T-8 on the flop with one club, and a 7 of clubs on the turn. The 9 of spades on the river cracked Campbell’s aces and guaranteed everyone else in the field at least $15K.

Campbell received a complimentary entry to the 2022 WSOP Main Event.

Finding Nine Millionaires

Play stopped with exactly 1,000 players, all of whom returned for Day 4 action. The rush of bust-outs cleared many of the tables, and the end of that night found only 292 players putting chips into bags.

PokerStars Ambassador Ramon Colillas of Spain was the chip leader going into Day 5, and he did remain in the top tier of players throughout that day. But the end of Day 5 found a German poker pro by the name of Koray Aldemir holding the chip lead.

Day 6 played down to just 36 with Aldemir bagging a fifth-place chip stack and Colillas a seventh-place one. One lone Australian remained in action. Sean Ragozzini of Melbourne, who won his seat into the Main Event on GGPoker/Natural8, was 12th on the leaderboard. But Hye Park held the overall lead.

The playdown to the final table made for a long night. The first person eliminated on Day 7 was Jonathan Dwek of Canada. As the day turned to evening, previous WSOP bracelet winners like Robert Mitchell and Mitch Halverson departed the action. Three-time bracelet winner Chance Kornuth busted in 16th place for $305K, and Colillas exited in 14th place with $380,050.

Ragozzini just missed the final table when he busted in 11th place for $585K. And Canadian Demosthenes Kiriopoulos took the same amount for his tenth-place finish on the final table bubble.

The nine remaining players celebrated their spots at the coveted final table and their guaranteed payouts of $1M.

First of Two Final Table Days

The final nine players, a more international group than expected, started their eighth day of play with these chip counts:

  • Koray Aldemir (Germany) 140M chips
  • George Holmes (USA) 83.7M chips
  • Alejandro Lococo (Argentina) 46.8M chips
  • Joshua Remitio (USA) 40M chips
  • Jack Oliver (UK) 30.4M chips
  • Ozgur Secilmis (Turkey) 24.5M chips
  • Hye Park (USA) 13.5M chips
  • Chase Bianchi (USA) 12.1M chips
  • Jareth East (UK) 8.3M chips

It only took five hands for Bianchi to make his move, but his K-Q couldn’t beat the A-K of Oliver. Bianchi finished in ninth place.

East pushed all-in on the next hand with A-J, but Holmes called with pocket queens that turned to a set. East departed in eighth place.

More than 50 hands later, Lococo risked it all with pocket tens against the pocket nines of Aldemir. The latter had a nine on the flop, though, for a full house, and Lococo left in seventh place.

Park took pocket sevens to an all-in hand with Aldemir and his A-Q. But a queen on the turn busted Park in sixth place.

Secilmis had doubled when necessary, but when he tried it again with K-5 suited, Aldemir showed up with pocket nines. Secilmis didn’t improve, leaving him out in fifth place.

Instead of stopping at four players as planned, they agreed to play on. Some double-ups changed the makeup of the shorter stacks. And when Remitio moved with J-7 suited, Oliver met him with A-2 and caught two pair on the board to bust Remitio in fourth place.

Three, Two, One

The final day of action started with these chip counts:

  • Koray Aldemir with 264.6M chips
  • Jack Oliver with 77.3M chips
  • George Holmes with 57.4M chips

Aldemir and Holmes took control of the action and battled for first and second places, while Oliver tried to maintain a tack. It took about a dozen orbits, but Oliver made his move with A-8. Holmes called with Q-J suited. An 8 on the flop gave Oliver hope, but a J on the turn busted him in third place.

Aldemir took 261.9M chips into head-up against Holmes and his 137.4M chips. Holmes climbed and even took the lead, and the two exchanged that lead back and forth until Aldemir took it one final time after about 100 hands played that evening. Finally, Holmes and his K-Q got involved with Aldemir and his T-7 suited. The board of T-7-2-K-9 brought no flush but gave two pair to the German poker pro. Home-game player Holmes called with his top pair, but Aldemir showed his two pair for the win.

The final results were:

  • 1st place: Koray Aldemir (Germany) $8M
  • 2nd place: George Holmes (USA) $4.3M
  • 3rd place: Jack Oliver (UK) $3M
  • 4th place: Joshua Remitio (USA) $2.3M
  • 5th place: Ozgur Secilmis (Turkey) $1.8M
  • 6th place: Hye Park (USA) $1.4M
  • 7th place: Alejandro Lococo (Argentina) $1.225M
  • 8th place: Jareth East (UK) $1.1M
  • 9th place: Chase Bianchi (USA) $1M


Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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