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WSOP 2021: PocketFives Head Josh Arieh Ends 16-Year Drought, Wins Event #39: $1,500 PLO For Third Career Bracelet ($204,766)

Josh Arieh
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  • Namita Ghosh October 23, 2021
  • 3 Minutes Read

The 52nd Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas handed out another gold bracelet on Friday. Event #39: $1,500 PLO logged in an 82-player field and topping the five finalists on the final day was PocketFives’ head Josh Arieh (cover image), who clinched his third career bracelet and $204,766 in prize money, ending a 16-year bracelet drought.

Arieh kept a steady momentum on the final day and took it down in under three hours, eventually defeating former bracelet champion and PLO specialist Tommy Le heads-up.

The bracelet victory comes after a 16-year gap for the 47-year-old Arieh. The native of Alpharetta, GA, won his first bracelet in 1999 and followed that with a second bracelet win in 2005. Arieh is most famous for his third-place finish in the 2004 WSOP Main Event and was featured prominently on ESPN. He has also final-tabled 12 WSOP bracelet events. All of this makes this third bracelet victory a significant milestone for Arieh.

Reacting emotionally after taking down the event, Arieh said, “I was just texting my girls. It’s like the whole reason why I work, and it’s tough being out here for so long…I actually just came back. Had some good time with them, but I was just thinking about my girls and thinking about life.”

He recounted his run: “I started feeling that pressure again right at the beginning. But I was lucky enough to hold some cards and fought through the mental weakness, I guess. But it’s always good; winning money and winning bracelets is always good. I don’t know. There’s part of me that, like, I feel like I should, that I could be a Hall of Fame inductee. I don’t know inducted but at least a chance to be inducted. So I’ve been thinking about that for a few years, get a third bracelet, and maybe I’ll get on the ballot. But now I’ll try to get four.”

Only 58 players progressed to Day 2, and the unofficial final table was formed within nine hours. Some of the notables who cashed along the way include former bracelet winners Filippos Stavrakis (12th for $12,517), Ari Engel (15th for $8,200), Daniel Zack (17th for $6,803), and Scott Baumstein (18th for $6,803).

Indo-American Nitesh Rawtani (6th for $35,278), Lior Abudi (7th for $26,603), Charles Wilt (8th for $20,371), and Ashor Ocahana (9th for $15,842) were the last few players to hit the rail on Day 2.

Final Day Chip Counts

  1. Josh Arieh – 6,330,000
  2. Tommy Le – 5,300,000
  3. Ivan Deyra – 5,110,000
  4. Robert Blair – 2,450,000
  5. Gabriel Andrade – 1,400,000


Final Table Recap

The final table witnessed its first elimination within 90 minutes of play. Gabriel Andrade was eliminated by Robert Blair in fifth place.

Arieh switched gears to further extend his lead and soon held over 10 million in chips.

It wasn’t until another 90 minutes before Arieh sent Ivan Deyra packing in fourth place. Arieh quickly scored his second knockout of the day by dispatching Robert Blair in third place.

Arieh entered the heads-up match against Tommy Le with a 3-to-1 chip lead. The battle was swingy, but eventually, Arieh pulled ahead into a commanding lead.

The final hand of the tournament saw Le moving all-in with a flush draw and a pair. Arieh called with aces and a straight draw. The turn and the river blanked out for Le while Arieh completed a broadway straight to win the event.

In his post-win interview, Arieh said, “Before we started the final table, I knew that it was going to be me and Tommy head up. I just knew. I can show you a text on my phone that says it’s going to be me and Tommy head-up, and I hope I have more chips when we start. And that’s what happened.”

Final Table Results (USD)

  1. Josh Arieh – $204,766
  2. Tommy Le – $126,549
  3. Robert Blair – $89,968
  4. Ivan Deyra – $64,890
  5. Gabriel Andrade – $47,492


Content & Images Courtesy: PokerGO & PokerNews

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