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WSOP 2021: Defending Champion Adam Friedman Denies Phil Hellmuth Record-Setting 17th Bracelet in Event #36: $10K Dealer’s Choice Championship ($248,350)

WSOP 2021: Defending Champion Adam Friedman Claims 4th Gold Bracelet in Event #36: $10K Dealer's Choice Championship ($248,350)
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis October 21, 2021
  • 5 Minutes Read

The 52nd World Series of Poker (WSOP) is in its third week, and already we have witnessed some mind-boggling action! While Phil Hellmuth 16th bracelet victory in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw was a momentous occasion, Event #36: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship was equally, if not more, eye-grabbing. The reason is the seven-handed final table comprised of six former bracelet winners, with the heads-up playing out between Hellmuth and defending champion Adam Friedman (cover image)!

For the longest time, it looked like Hellmuth was on track to win a record-setting 17th bracelet. However, it was not to be as Friedman turned the tide in his favor to win the event for an incredible third consecutive time for $248,350!

Interestingly, all three out of the four of Friedman’s bracelets have come in the Dealer’s Choice format and in back-to-back years. After winning Event #18: $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed in 2018, Friedman successfully defended his title in 2019. With the WSOP annual series getting canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Friedman has once again defended his title in 2021.

Friedman presently has $3,387,518 in live tournament earnings, of which $2,084,638 he has won at the WSOP.

“It’s really amazing. I didn’t expect this,” Friedman said after the win. “I just wanted to have a shot to be able to do something that no one else has done in the 53-year history of the World Series, and to do it in this event is pretty fantastic. Once people play the dealer’s choice, they always keep coming back.”

“This $10K is so much different from every other $10K event because if you look at every other tournament, there’s been a less percentage drop off compared to every other event. People that play in this tournament – they want to play in it again and again because it’s so addicting. There are so many games you don’t get to play in other events … so many thought processes and strategies. It’s such a unique tournament,” he added.

While the Poker Brat, aka Phil Hellmuth, lost out on the opportunity to win his career-17th gold bracelet, there is no denying that this has been his best start at the WSOP ever – and this says a lot considering his legacy at the annual series, spanning several decades. Poker’s self-proclaimed ‘G.O.A.T’ had previously mentioned that he wanted to win at least 24 gold bracelets before retiring from poker. At the rate at which he is going, he may inch closer to that target before the 2021 WSOP wraps up.

Hellmuth has already scored six times in this series, of which he has final tabled five events. He currently has $1,3748,718 in WSOP earnings.

Coming back to the tournament, the $10,000 buy-in tourney registered 86 entries, posting an $867,225 prize pool. Day 2 played down to 10 players, with Friedman bagging the overnight chip lead.

Joao Vieira (10th for $20,726) was the first player to hit the rail on the final day followed by GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu (9th for $25,741).

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu

 

The seven-handed final table was formed following the elimination of two-time WSOP bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky (8th for $25,741).

Mike Gorodinsky
Mike Gorodinsky

 

Final Table Chip Counts

1. Adam Friedman – 2,100,000

2. Jake Schwartz – 1,200,000

3. Phil Hellmuth – 850,000

4. Mike Matusow – 450,000

5. Andrew Kelsall – 435,000

6. Carol Fuchs – 385,000

7. Matt Glantz – 250,000

 

Final Table Recap

Less than 30 minutes into the start of the final table, the first elimination took place. In a three-way hand, Matt Glantz moved all-in and was called by Jake Schwartz and Adam Friedman.

Matt Glantz:

Jake Schwartz:

Adam Friedman:

Friedman won the pot with the A-5 low with , while Schwartz took the Badugi half with his . Glantz was eliminated in seventh place.

Matt Glantz
Matt Glantz

 

Play continued for nearly two hours before Andrew Kelsall was sent to the rail in sixth place by Mike Matusow.

Andrew Kelsall
Andrew Kelsall

 

Even after winning the last of Kelsall’s chips, ‘The Mouth,’ aka Mike Matusow, could not extend his stay at the final table for much longer. In a battle between two friends, Phil Hellmuth won out, dismissing Matusow in fifth place.

Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow

 

Not much later, the lone female player on the final table, former WSOP bracelet winner Carol Fuchs hit the rail in fourth place.

Carol Fuchs
Carol Fuchs

 

Down to three-handed play, Jake Schwartz jammed and Hellmuth called. The latter’s / hit a ten-seven low and a ten-seven-four-deuce Badugi that bested Schwartz’s /, eliminating him in third place.

Jake Schwartz
Jake Schwartz

 

The heads-up between 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (3,500,000) and defending champion Adam Friedman (2,100,000) started with Hellmuth commanding a slight edge over Friedman and turned out to be a swingy battle. However, by Level 23, the defending champion had won the lead back from Hellmuth and eventually rode it to the finish line.

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth

 

On the final hand, Hellmuth raised from the button and Friedman three-bet. Hellmuth shoved his remaining stack, and Friedman snap-called. Both players stayed pat on all three draws, and Friedman authoritatively tabled for a nine-dugi. Hellmuth nodded his head in acknowledgment and mucked, ending his dreams for the 17th bracelet.

Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

 

Final Table Results (USD)

1. Adam Friedman – $248,350

2. Phil Hellmuth – $153,493

3. Jake Schwartz – $107,861

4. Carol Fuchs – $77,437

5. Mike Matusow – $56,826

6. Andrew Kelsall – $42,646

7. Matt Glantz – $32,746

 

Other Event Recaps

Day 2 of Event #38: $50,000 High Roller NLHE 8-Handed played out seven sixty-minute levels of play before the nine-handed final table was set. Two-time bracelet winner Michael Addamo holds a commanding chip lead with a stack of 11,475,000. Justin Bonomo (4,975,000), nine-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel (4,335,000), one-time bracelet winner Gal Yifrach (3,160,000), and Chris Hunichen (405,000) are also in contention.

Michael Addamo
Michael Addamo

 

The Event #39: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha attracted 821 entries, and after over 14 hours of play, 58 players bagged for Day2. Two-time bracelet winner Josh Arieh topped the end-of-day chip counts with a stack of 1,000,000. Robert Blair (852,000), three-time bracelet winner Ryan Leng (847,000), Fred Goldberg (653,000), and Gabriel Andrade (645,000) round out the top five stacks.

Josh Arieh
Josh Arieh

 

The Day 1 of Event #40: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. logged in 139 entries, and after the first ten levels of play, 71 survived for Day 2. Qinghai Pan bagged the overnight chip lead with a stack of 373,000. Three-time bracelet winner Scott Seiver (261,000), Andrew Yeh (229,500), and former bracelet winners Randy Ohel (219,500), David Benyamine (219,000) are also in contention.

Quinghai Pan
Quinghai Pan

 

Content & Images Courtesy: WSOP & PokerNews

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