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WSOP 2021: Michael McCauley Wins Career First Gold Bracelet in Event #86: $1K Super Turbo NLHE; India’s Neel Joshi Finishes 3rd ($72,031)

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  • Attreyee Khasnabis November 22, 2021
  • 5 Minutes Read

After 15 hours of grueling play on Sunday, American pro Michael McCauley emerged as the victor in the 2021 WSOP Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em to take home his first-ever gold bracelet and a $161,384 payday!

Interestingly, this was McCauley’s first-ever WSOP cash. Not only that, this was the only event McCauley played, besides the daily deep stack, and he said he was “thinking about going to go play $2/$5 no limit cash game,” but decided to jump into this tournament instead. What a way to open one’s WSOP scorecard!

“This is my first WSOP, so it’s pretty amazing to come out here and win a bracelet. I was nervous, but after I won a couple of pots, I settled down and trusted my reads. I tried not to pay attention to the field, trusted my game, and I believe I can play with the best of them,” McCauley said in the post-event interview.

Near-misses seem to be the story for Team India at the 2021 WSOP. Just five days after Aditya Agarwal’s runner-up finish in Event #76: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty, it seemed like Young Gun Neel Joshi would continue India’s four-year-long streak of winning a gold bracelet at the annual series. Alas! It was not meant to be, as the 24-year-old ended his dream run in third place for a career-best $72,031 (~₹53.58 Lakhs). This is now the third-best finish by an Indian at the series, after Agarwal’s runner-up finish in $10K Super Turbo Bounty and Abhinav Iyer’s 60th place finish in the WSOP Main Event.

Ankit Ahuja (31st for $4,074 – ₹3.03 Lakhs) and Yudhishter Jaswal (63rd for $2,739 – ₹2.03 Lakhs) also cashed the event.


Neel Joshi’s Dream Run Ends in Third Place

Neel Joshi came close to clinching India’s second solo bracelet, eighth overall, in the Super Turbo NLHE. The Pune-based player did exceptionally well to finish third for his best live recorded finish worth $72,031 (~₹53.58 Lakhs).


A well-known name in the domestic circuit, Joshi’s biggest score to date happens to be his online score in PokerBaazi’s inaugural ₹5 Crores GTD EndBoss. He had finished runner-up to Abhishek Maheshwari for ₹65.01 Lakhs.

Before this, Joshi’s deepest run in a WSOP bracelet event was his sixth-place finish in the 2020 WSOP Online Event #36 $1.5K Fifty Stack NLHE for $59,878 (~₹44.75 Lakhs). The chemical engineer from BITS Pilani had already posted four cashes in this year’s series. Counting his Sunday run, Joshi has netted $84,711 (~₹63.01 Lakhs) in WSOP winnings this year, pushing his lifetime WSOP earnings to $191,088 (~₹1.42 Crores).

Joshi was first featured in the live coverage during Level 26, where he reportedly held 800,000 in chips. By the time only 18 players were left in the fray, Joshi had spun up to 1.72 Million – the third-biggest stack in the running.

When the unofficial ten-handed final table was convened, Joshi was fourth in stacks with 1.91 Million. As we saw last week in Agarwal’s FT finish, the Super Turbo structure ensured a swingy final table ride. While Joshi got lucky against Andrew Wilson’s pocket aces to claim the chip lead, he soon lost almost half his stack to Yuval Bronshtein.

Joshi bounced back to grab the chip lead with just five players remaining but could not extend his stay at the final table for long, ultimately walking out in third place.

MPL Poker Ambassador Dhaval Mudgal, Ankit Ahuja, and Yudhishter Jaswal were the other Indian players who played the event.

Ahuja finished 31st for $4,074 (~₹3.03 Lakhs), and Jaswal came 63rd for $2,739 (~₹2.03 Lakhs). Mudgal busted out before the money bubble had burst.

The event paid out 154 places. The double-elimination of Daniel Rezaei and Minkyun Kim on the bubble saw them both chopping the min-cash of $1,606.

Some of the notables who made the payouts list included Vinny Pahuja (18th for $5,721), Ben Yu (26th for $4,793), Justin Liberto (55th for $2,739), Anthony Spinella (58th for $2,739), Nikhil Gera (65th for $2,474), Ryan Leng (83rd for $2,118) and Anthony Zinno (87th for $2,118).


Unofficial Final Table Chip Counts

1. Andrew Wilson – 6,250,000

2. Rajvir Dua – 5,100,000

3. Michael McCauley – 2,460,000

4. Neel Joshi – 1,910,000

5. Luigi Curcio – 1,320,000

6. Yuval Bronshtein – 1,070,000

7. Filippo Ragone – 865,000

8. Marc Lomeo – 850,000

9. Josh Arieh – 550,000

10. Dara O’Kearney – 320,000


PocketFives’ Josh Arieh has been a revelation at this year’s WSOP. Besides picking up two bracelets in Event #39: $1,500 PLO and Event #66: $10K PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, the man also has final-tabled four bracelet events. In this event, he came close to his fifth FT score but fell out on the final table bubble, finishing 10th for $10,604. He is currently headlining the WSOP POY leaderboard race with 3,996.87 points. However, 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth is hot on his heels with 3,664.09 points. A bracelet win or close finish in the remaining bracelet events can easily propel the Poker Brat to the top spot – a title he is yet to win!

Josh Arieh
Josh Arieh


Final Table Recap

Dara O’Kearney was the first player to be eliminated from the final table after his ran into Andrew Wilson’s . The latter spiked an Ace on the flop, dismissing O’Kearney in ninth place.

Dara O'Kearney
Dara O’Kearney


Less than five minutes later, Marc Lomeo’s were bested by Luigi Curcio’s . With the board running , Curcio turned the higher two-pair, eliminating Momeo in eighth place.

Marc Lomeo
Marc Lomeo


Neel Joshi was seen in action against Wilson in what turned out to be a jaw-dropping hand. Joshi moved all-in for 2.48 Million from the cutoff with . Wilson snap-called from the button, holding .

On the flop , Wilson was a78% favorite to win the hand. The turn reduced the odds to 71%, with Joshi having the outs for a spades flush. The on the river sealed the deal in Joshi’s favor, giving the Indian pro a two-pair along with the chip lead with 4.91 Million in chips.

Just when it was starting to look like the bracelet for within reach for Joshi, he lost a huge pot to two-time bracelet winner Yuval Bronshtein. Joshi’s were pitted against Bronshtein’s . Joshi needed an Ace or King to win the pot, but the community cards opened . Joshi’s stack dropped to 2.80 Million.

A double-elimination saw the field size reduced to five players. In a three-way hand, Filippo Ragone jammed from early position for 1.73 Million. Michael McCauley re-shoved and Luigi Curcio called off with his remaining 880,000.

Luigi Curcio

Filippo Ragone

Michael McCauley

The rundown saw McCauley hitting a Bicycle straight on the river, knocking out Ragone (6th) and Curcio (7th) in the process.

Down to five-handed play, Joshi was in the chip lead with 6.7 Million in chips. Play continued for another 35 minutes before the Indian-origin player Rajvir Dua was sent to the rail. His failed to hold up against Wilson’s that turned two-pair on the board.

Rajvir Dua
Rajvir Dua


Yuval Bronshtein was the next to fall, and his were cracked by McCauley’s that rivered a better two-pair on the runout . Bronshtein walked out in fourth place.

Yuval Bronshtein
Yuval Bronshtein


Despite his phenomenal performance in the tourney, Neel Joshi’s dream run ended in third place. The Young Gun shoved all-in from the small blind with 4 Million, and McCauley promptly called from the big blind.

Neel Joshi

Michael McCauley

Joshi and his rail were lobbying for a King, but the poker gods had other plans. The board ran and McCauley’s pocket sixes held.

Neel Joshi
Neel Joshi


The heads-up began with Michael McCauley (11,500,000) enjoying a comfortable chip lead over Andrew Wilson (8,950,000). While Wilson doubled-up once, in the end, McCauley walked away with a shiny new gold bracelet.

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson


On the final hand, McCauley raised from the button to 1.20 Million, and Wilson moved all-in for 7.70 Million. McCauley snap-called.

Andrew Wilson

Michael McCauley [j11]

The board blanked out, and just like that, McCauley won his career-first gold bracelet!

Michael McCauley
Michael McCauley


Final Table Results (USD)

1. Michael McCauley – $161,384

2. Andrew Wilson – $99,742

3. Neel Joshi – $72,031

4. Yuval Bronshtein – $52,679

5. Rajvir Dua – $39,022

6. Filippo Ragone – $29,282

7. Luigi Curcio – $22,263

8. Marc Lomeo – $17,153

9. Dara O’Kearney – $13,395


Content & Images Courtesy: PokerNews, WSOP & PokerGO

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