WSOP 2021: Who are the Defending Champions of the Championship Events

2021 WSOP

The $10,000 buy-in events at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are considered Championship Events. These big buy-in tournaments attract the very best poker players in the world, which leads to the tournaments being considered more prestigious. Winning a WSOP Championship Event is no mean feat; you do not take one down through luck alone.

The first $10,000 Championship Event of the 2021 WSOP got underway yesterday with Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship attracting 126 players. With that tournament about to shuffle up and deal, PokerNews takes a look back at the reigning Championship Event champions, and where better to start than with the 2019 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo.

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$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Frankie O’Dell

Frankie O'Dell
Frankie O'Dell

Frankie O’Dell came out on top of a 183-strong field in 2019 to win his third WSOP bracelet. It was also his third bracelet in an Omaha Hi-Lo event, with him having won a $1,500 buy-in vent in 2003 and a $2,000 buy-in event in 2007.

O’Dell defeated Owais Ahmed heads-up to secure the $443,641 top prize after contending with the likes of Robert Mizrachi, Robert Campbell, David Benyamine, and Shaun Deed at the final table.

1Frankie O’DellUnited States$443,641
2Owais AhmedUnited States$274,192
3Robert MizrachiUnited States$194,850
4Nick GuagentiUnited States$140,522
5Robert CampbellAustralia$102,868
6Jake SchwartzUnited States$76,456
7David BenyamineFrance$57,709
8Edmond VartughianUnited States$44,245
9Shaun DeebUnited States$34,467

$10,000 No Limit Hold'em Main Event - Hossein Ensan

Hossein Ensan
Hossein Ensan

Of course, the biggest Championship Event of any WSOP is the Main Event. Last year’s Main Event was an online/live hybrid, but 2019 saw 8,569 players exchange $10,000 at the cage of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and create a monster-sized $80,548,600 prize pool.

Germany’s Hossein Ensan got his hands on the lion’s share of the pot, namely $10 million, after defeating Italian high-stakes guru Dario Sammartino heads-up; Sammartino collected $6 million for his runner-up finish.

The Main Event, however, was perhaps best remembered for Garry Gates’ impressive fourth-place finish. Gates has been part of the poker media for many years and had the entire community in his corner. Gates’ run ended in fourth, a finish worth $3 million.

1Hossein EnsanGermany$10,000,000
2Daario SammartinoItaly$6,000,000
3Alexander LivingstonCanada$4,000,000
4Garry GatesUnited States$3,000,000
5Kevin MaahsUnited States$2,200,000
6Zhen CaiUnited States$1,850,000
7Nick MarchingtonUnited Kingdom$1,525,000
8Timothy SuUnited States$1,250,000
9Milos SkrbicSerbia$1,000,000

$50,000 Poker Players Championship - Phil

Phil Hui


While the Main Event is the WSOP Championship Event for the people, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship is most certainly the event for the pros. It commands a buy-in of $50,000, which 74 players paid in 2019.

Main Event runner-up Dario Sammartino went deep but busted in ninths, with Phil Ivey and David Oppenheim crashing out in eighth and seventh place respectively. It was Phillip Hui who was the last man standing, and he got his hands on his second bracelet and 1,099,311 in cash, by far his largest-ever score.

1Phil HuiUnited States$1,099,311
2Josh AriehUnited States$679,426
3John EspositoUnited States$466,407
4Bryce YockeyUnited States$325,989
5Shaun DeebUnited States$232,058
6Daniel CatesUnited States$168,305

$10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship - Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell
Robert Campbell

Australian Robert Campbell won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event, which helped him become the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. Campbell overcame 150 opponents, including Mike Matusow at the final table, to win $385,763.

It was Campbell’s second bracelet of the series having won the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw event a fortnight earlier.

1Robert CampbellAustralia$385,763
2Yueqi ZhuUnited States$238,420
3Mike WattelUnited States$164,647
4Mike MatusowUnited States$116,255
5Ryan HughesUnited States$83,971
6Qinghai PanUnited States$62,079
7Andrey ZhigalovRussia$46,999

$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship - John Hennigan

John Hennigan
John Hennigan

John "World" Hennigan has an almost supernatural ability to win big buy-in events. He is the reigning $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship champion after he took it down in 2019 for $245,451. Hennigan defeated Daniel Negreanu heads-up in that tournament as he won his sixth WSOP bracelet.

Three of Hennigan’s other bracelets have come in Championship events. He won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (2014), the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (2016), and the $10,000 H.OR.S.E (2018). Do not bet against Hennigan winning another $10,000+ event in 2021.

1John HenniganUnited States$245,451
2Daniel NegreanuCanada$151,700
3David "ODB" BakerUnited States$104,416
4Michael SemenovRussia$73,810
5David SingerUnited States$53,621
6Chris TrybaUnited States$40,066
7Frank KasselaUnited States$30,817
8Frankie O’DellUnited States$30,817

$10,000 Razz Championship - Scott Seiver

Scott Seiver
Scott Seiver

Scott Seiver has two WSOP Championship event titles to his name. Seiver won the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship in 2018 and followed that up with the $10,000 Razz bracelet in 2019.

Seiver came out on top of a tough final table in the $10,000 Razz in 2019, a table that housed such luminaries as David Bach, Andre Akkari, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.

1Scott SeiverUnited States$301,421
2Andrey ZhigalovRussia$186,293
3Chris FergusonUnited States$131,194
4Daniel ZackUnited States$94,305
5Daniel NegreanuCanada$69,223
6Andrew AkkariBrazil$51,911
7David BachUnited States$39,788

$10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship - Nick Schulman

Nick Schulman
Nick Schulman

The 2019 edition of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event attracted 193 players, including Nick Schulman. It was Schulman who accumulated all the chips in play and who scooped the $463,670 top prize.

Schulman found himself three-handed against former WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem and Brian Hastings. Neither posed a threat as Schulman came out on top to win his third bracelet; his other two both came in the$10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball Championship events.

1Nick SchulmanUnited States$463,670
2Brian HastingsUnited States$286,570
3Joe HachemAustralia$201,041
4Denis StrebkovRussia$143,700
5Christopher VitchUnited States$104,688
6Corey HochmanUnited States$77,763
7Michael McKennaUnited States$58,918
8Bryce YockeyUnited States$45,551

$10,000 No Limit Hold'em 6-Handed Championship - Anuj Agarwal

Anuj Agarwal
Anuj Agarwal

Anuj Agarwal had cashed a couple of times in WSOP events before 2019 but those results, with all due respect, were not anything to write home about. That changed when Agarwal bought into the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship 6-Handed event alongside 271 others. Three days after parting company with a five-figure buy-in Agarwal beat Australia’s Kahle Burns heads-up to become a WSOP champion.

The victory came with $630,747 and, of course, a coveted WSOP bracelet.

1Anuj AgarwalUnited States$630,747
2Kahle BurnsAustralia$389,832
3Gal YifrachUnited States$257,533
4Leonard MaueGermany$174,252
5Dong ChenChina$120,828
6Ben HeathUnited Kingdom$85,915

$10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship - Jim Bechtel

Jim Bechtel
Jim Bechtel

Jim Bechtel finished fourth in the 2006 $50,000 HO.R.S.E. event for $549,120 and then we hardly saw him until the 2019 WSOP. Bechtel appeared in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship where he muscled his way through the 91-strong field to emerge victoriously to secure the $253,817 top prize.

Bechtel had to contend with Galen Hall, Paul Volpe, Jean-Robert Bellande, Prahlad Friedman, and Darren Elias at the final table, but still managed to get the job done.

1Jim BechtelUnited States$253,817
2Vince MussoUnited States$156,872
3Darren EliasUnited States$109,738
4Prahlad FriedmanUnited States$78,157
5Jean-Robert BellandeUnited States$56,693
6Pedro BromfmanUnited States$41,897
7Paul VolpeUnited States$31,556
8Galen HallUnited States$24,232

$10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship - Juha Helppi

Juha Helppi
Juha Helppi

Finland’s Juha Helppi came close to winning a WSOP Championship event in 2015 but fell in fifth place in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. Helppi isn’t known for his fixed limit prowess, but you would never have known because he won the 2019 $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.

Helppi went on to win another championship event in 2020. The Finn triumphed in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship online at GGPoker for an additional $290,286.

1Juha HelppiFinland$306,622
2Mike LancasterCanada$189,505
3Tam HangUnited States$133,718
4Anthony MarsicoUnited States$96,272
5Kevin SongUnited States$70,750
6Josh AriehUnited States$53,095
7Kyle RayUnited States$40,709
8Qinghai PanUnited States$31,902
9Robert ComoUnited States$25,566

$10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship - Luke Schwartz

Luke Schwartz
Luke Schwartz

The United Kingdom’s Luke Schwartz is known for his table trash talk more than he is his poker ability, and he likes it that way because his brash attitude masks a talented poker player.

Schwartz finished fourth in the 2012 edition of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He made amends for not winning that particular tournament by taking down the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship in 2019.

This was Schwartz’s first bracelet win. He had to defeat George Wolff heads-up to get his hands on it, but it was never in doubt in Schwartz’s mind.

1Luke SchwartzUnited Kingdom$273,336
2George WolffUnited States$168,936
3Johannes BeckerGermany$116,236 
4Mark GregorichUnited States$81,635
5Yueqi ZhuUnited States$58,547
6Calvin AndersonUnited States$42,898

$10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold'em Championship - Sean Swingruber

Sean Swingruber
Sean Swingruber

Sean Swingruber had never cashed in a live WSOP event before he headed to Las Vegas in 2019. Swingruber is usually found playing low-to-mid-stakes tournaments, so it was a surprise to see him buy into the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event. He went on to defeat Ben Yu in the final round, and walked away with $186,356 and a piece of poker’s most sought after jewelry.

1Sean SwingruberUnited States$186,356
2Ben YuUnited States$115,174
3Lance GarciaUnited States$73,333
4Keith LehrUnited States$73,333

$10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship - Greg Mueller

Greg Mueller
Greg Mueller

Canada’s Greg Mueller won two WSOP bracelets in 2009, including the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. He waited another decade before banking his third bracelet, but it was worth the wait.

Mueller showcased his mixed game skills in the 2019 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, and bulldozed his way to victory, leaving the likes pf Phil Galfond, Scott Clements, Dario Sammartino, and runner-up Daniel Ospina in his wake.

1Greg MuellerCanada$425,347
2Daniel OspinaColombia$262,882
3Dario SammartinoItaly$184,854
4Scott ClementsUnited States$132,288
5Craig ChaitUnited States$93,678
6Michael SemenovRussia$71,505
7Matthew GonzalesUnited States$54,043
8Phil GalfondUnited States$41,625

$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship - Adam Friedman

Champion Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

Ohio’s Adam Friedman has a trio of WSOP bracelets to his name, two coming from Championship events. Friedman won the $10,000 Dealers Choice in 2018 and followed that up with a victory in the same event in 2019!

There is a $10,000 Dealer’s Choice on October 18, 2021. Friedman couldn’t go back-to-back-to-back, could he?

1Adam FriedmanUnited States$312,417
2Shaun DeebUnited States$193,090
3Matt GlantzUnited States$139,126
4David MoskowitzUnited States$100,440
5Michael McKennaUnited States$72,653
6Nick SchulmanUnited States$52,656

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