Golden Nugget's 2021 Grand Poker Series Awards More than $2.6 Million

The Golden Nugget

While the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) chugs along, another series recently wrapped up in downtown Las Vegas. The 2021 Grand Poker Series at Golden Nugget wrapped its 50-event schedule over the weekend. All told the series catered to a combined 12,859 entries and awarded $2,630,429 in prize money.

In 2007, during the height of the so-called “Poker Boom,” Zak Penn wrote and directed a poker film titled The Grand, an improvisational comedy starting Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Cheryl Hines, Richard Kind, Chris Parnell, Werner Herzog, and Jason Alexander, among others.

The all-star movie was about a fictional poker tournament called “The Grand,” which the following year became a real tournament when the Golden Nugget hosted the first Grand Poker Series. The inaugural $1,080 Grand Final saw Inhpounh Vongvone emerge victorious for $21,728.

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Since then, “The Grand Poker Series” has become an annual event and a staple on the poker calendar.

This year, John Gardner claimed victory in Event #22: $600 Championship No-Limit Hold’em $500,000 Guarantee, which attracted 1,096 combined entries for a total prize pool of $565,536. Of those, 138 players made it into the money for Day 2. The second day ended with only nine players left, and a final table was set for a third and final day. The final table lasted just under three hours and Gardner, who came into the day second in chips, ended up playing heads-up with Mark Harraka, who was the final table chip leader.

John Gardner
John Gardner

Grand Poker Series Championship Winners

YearTournamentEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
2008$1,080 Grand FinaleN/A$62,080Inhpounh Vongvone$21,728
2009$1,080 Grand Finale108$104,760Randy Propson$34,560
2010$1,080 Grand Finale143$138,710Senovio Ramirez$30,580
2011$1,080 Grand Finale235$227,950Marvin Rettenmaier$54,713
2012$1,080 Grand Finale177$171,690Charles Culp$46,356
2013$1,080 Grand Finale371$359,870Robert Kuhn$69,454
2014$1,100 Grand Finale556$539,315Sean Stevens$98,696
2015$560 Ante Up Poker Tour Main Event1,330$665,000Christian Francia$89,298
2016$570 Main Event1,520$760,000Darrell Smith$109,605
2017$570 Main Event2,025$1,012,500Sacha Mendelsohn$113,859
2018$570 Main Event1,577$788,500Guilherme Bordão$132,069
2019$600 Main Event1,313$677,508Michael Policastro$90,630
2021$600 Main Event1,096$565,536John Gardner$100,266

Other 2021 Grand Poker Series Winners

Golden Nugget The Grand

The series got underway when Jose Leon of Bellflower, California took down Event #1: $250 Omaha 8 or Better for $3,480 and the first trophy of the series. As for the biggest prize awarded in the first three days of the series, that went to Michael Brewer of Oxford, North Carolina, who topped a 99-player field in the Event #5: GNLV Poker Room Invitational for $9,100.

Other early winners included Eric Plunkett (Event #3: $250 Big-O for $3,370), David Wortham (Event #7: $100 Pot-Limit Omaha Fire Till You're Tired for $2,376), and Kathy Chang (Event #9: $250 HORSE for $3,765).

Here's a look at all those who captured titles during the 2021 Grand Poker Series at Golden Nugget:

DateTournamentGTDEntriesPrize PoolWinnerHometownPrize
28-SepEvent #1: $250 Omaha 8 or Better$5,00095$18,990Jose LeonBellflower, CA$3,480
28-SepEvent #2: $150 Daily NLH$5,00041$5,000Mary CampbellSpring, TX$1,535
28-SepEvent #3: $250 Big-ON/A70$10,640Eric PlunkettSolvan, CA$3,370
28-SepEvent #4: $120 Nightly NLH$3,00047$4,089Daryl OppeltBrookings, SD$1,324
29-SepEvent #5: GNLV Poker Room Invitational$100,00099$100,000Michael BrewerOxford, NC$9,100
29-SepEvent #6: $150 Daily NLH$5,00072$7,920Adam MirlissPrescott, AZ$2,460
29-SepEvent #7: $100 Pot-Limit Omaha Fire Till You're TiredN/A48$9,470David WorthamMurrieta, GA$2,376
29-SepEvent #8: $120 Nightly NLH$3,00036$3,132Matthew MaddoxToulumne, CA$1,034
30-SepEvent #9: $250 HORSE$5,00087$17,400Kathy ChangValencia, CA$3,765
30-SepEvent #10: $200 NLH Ultimate Re-Entry$100,0002,076$315,552Justin HaganRoseville, CA$28,402
3-OctEvent #11: $250 Omaha 8/Stud 8$10,000178$35,600Darlene SpringmanLas Vegas, NV$5,387
3-OctEvent #12: $150 Daily NLH$10,000155$17,050June JenkinsHamilton, Ontario, Canada$3,580
3-OctEvent #13: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000101$8,787Michael JamesWest Allis, WI$1,000
4-OctEvent #14: $250 Mixed PLO/8, Omaha 8/B, Big-O$10,000186$37,200Derek BuggPuyallup, WA$7,240
4-OctEvent #15: $150 Daily NLH$10,000219$24,090Qijon TroyHonolulu, HI$3,035
4-OctEvent #16: $200 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball LimitN/A108$16,416Joe KonstanSt. Paul, MN$4,796
4-OctEvent #17: $120 Nightly NLH$5,00075$6,525Eric KendallCarmel, IN$840
5-OctEvent #18: $250 Big-O$10,000109$21,800Michael HowellLas Vegas, NV$5,965
5-OctEvent #19: $200 NLH $100K GTD$100,0001,905$289,560Jenyue ChiangMesa, AZ$23,550
6-OctEvent #20: $250 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed$10,000141$28,200Luis AlvarezSouth Houston, TX$7,070
7-OctEvent #21: $250 8-Game Mix$5,000102$20,400Jacob NaumannLargo, FL$5,200
7-OctEvent #22: $600 Championship NLH$500,0001,096$565,536John GardnerEagle Mountain, UT$100,266
7-OctEvent #23: $150 Daily NLH$10,000123$13,530Norsavanh PhousithWoonsocket, RI$1,370
7-OctEvent #24: $120 Nightly NLH$5,00050$5,000Gregory RobbinsFresno, CA$1,700
8-OctEvent #25: $150 Daily NLH$10,000108$11,880Braxton LakeJersey City, NJ$2,420
8-OctEvent #26: $200 Night HORSEN/A91$13,832Michael OrnelasLos Angeles, CA$3,972
8-OctEvent #27: $120 Nightly NLH$5,00042$5,000Yette SilvermanJensen Beach, FL$1,700
9-OctEvent #28: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000111$9,657Tamara TibblesSpokane, WA$2,075
10-OctEvent #29: $200 Daily NLH$25,000229$34,808John ColesTinton Falls, NJ$5,008
10-OctEvent #30: $120 Cheap and Deep NLHN/A214$18,618Brandon KelzenbergMaple Grove, MN$1,695
11-OctEvent #31: Bar Poker Open ChampionshipN/A1,096$385,437Chris FarkasChandler, AZ$70,047
11-OctEvent #32: $200 Tag Team NLHN/A198$30,690Michael HauptmanMichael Hauptman & David Hong$6,035
12-OctEvent #33: $200 Daily NLH$25,000311$47,272Cynthia SharpFishers, NY$4,417
12-OctEvent #34: $125 Green Chip Bounty NLHN/A333$21,312Matthew NelsenArvada, CO$2,440
13-OctEvent #35: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000203$17,661Deborah PedigoSeguin, TX$3,060
14-OctEvent #36: $200 Daily NLH$25,000309$46,968Mark HaganOverland, MO$10,263
14-OctEvent #37: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000183$15,921Michael OarAlexandria, VA$4,131
15-OctEvent #38: $250 Daily NLH$50,000461$92,200Everton TaylorBrooklyn, NY$18,000
15-OctEvent #39: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000144$12,528Arthur TschoepeGeorgetown, TX$1,341
16-OctEvent #40: $250 Seniors NLH (50+)$50,000413$82,600Dennis PayeLas Vegas, NV$12,675
16-OctEvent #41: $200 Daily NLH$25,000179$27,208Nathaniel WilliamsonEscalon, CA$7,043
16-OctEvent #42: $120 Nightly NLH$5,000113$9,831Richard HarlowBullhead City, AZ$2,901
17-OctEvent #43: $400 Seniors Championship NLH (50+)$50,000153$51,255Louis CheffyLas Vegas, NV$8,675
17-OctEvent #44: $200 Daily NLH$25,000171$25,992Richard ZiskindLas Vegas, NV$3,911
17-OctEvent #45: $200 Triple StudN/A34$5,168Steven BessetteFloral Park, NY$1,500
17-OctEvent #46: $120 Nightly NLH$5,00080$6,960James FletcherWichita, KS$1,860
18-OctEvent #47: $250 Super Seniors (60+ or played Seniors)$50,000242$50,000Kenneth HarbauchDestin, Florida$6,870
18-OctEvent #48: $150 Daily NLH$10,000110$12,100Matthew FaustOuray, CO$2,405
18-OctEvent #49: $200 Super Deep Stack Turbo NLH$20060$9,120Barry BergidaBullhead City, AZ$3,280
18-OctEvent #50: $120 Nightly NLH$3,00052$4,524Scott AndersonSavage, MN$1,020
  • The 2021 @GNLVpoker Grand Poker Series catered to 12,859 entries and awarded $2.6 million in prizes.

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Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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