Adam Friedman Defeats Phil Hellmuth to Win WSOP $10k Dealer's Choice for Third Straight Year
Table Of Contents
Phil Hellmuth sought to extend his bracelet record to 17 on Wednesday in 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #36: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship, but he was denied during heads-up play by Adam Friedman, who pulled off an incredible comeback along with one of the most impressive feats in WSOP history.
Friedman took home $248,350 for the accomplishment, his fourth gold WSOP bracelet and the third consecutive time he's won this very same tournament. No player in history had ever gone back-to-back-to-back in the same WSOP event. This accomplishment is right up there with Michael Mizrachi winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, arguably the most prestigious non-Main Event tournament in poker, three times in his career.
"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."
He continued: "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."
The 2021 version of the $10k Dealer's Choice had 93 entrants, 14 of whom cashed. Friedman beat out a field of 122 entries in 2019 and 111 runners in 2018.
2021 WSOP Event #36: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship Final Table Results
|1||Adam Friedman||United States||$248,350|
|2||Phil Hellmuth||United States||$153,493|
|3||Jake Schwartz||United States||$107,861|
|4||Carol Fuchs||United States||$77,437|
|5||Mike Matusow||United States||$56,826|
|6||Andrew Kelsall||United States||$42,646|
|7||Matt Glantz||United States||$32,746|
|8||Mike Gorodinsky||United States||$25,741|
Friedman now has four gold bracelets and over $2 million in WSOP cashes. This one certainly didn't come easy as he had to grind until the wee hours of the morning against a tough heads-up foe to capture the victory. Hellmuth, who won Event #31: $1,500 No-Liit 2-7 Lowball Draw on Sunday, had better than a 2-1 chip advantage at one point during heads-up play.
Cheered on by a large crowd of supporters there hoping to witness poker history, Hellmuth was unable to seal the deal this time. That doesn't take away from the fact that he's been the most outstanding performer during the first half of the 2021 WSOP. The 1989 World Champion now has five final table appearances this month, including one title, and has leapfrogged Anthony Zinno atop the WSOP Player of the Year standings.
Check out the rules and basic strategy to all the popular poker formats
Final Table Action
The final day played down at an anticipated pace, with the first elimination not occurring until the second level of play when Joao Vieira was scooped in a Badacey hand and finished in 10th place ($20,726). Next, the legendary Negreanu exited in ninth place ($25,741) after his last few chips were won by Matt Glantz in a game of limit hold ’em. Not long after, Mike Gorodinsky moved the last of his chips in the middle against Schwartz in a hand of pot-limit Omaha eight or better and was eliminated in eighth place ($25,741).
"Once people play the dealer’s choice, they always keep coming back."
At this time the tournament combined to one “unofficial” final table of seven and play would continue until they were down to one.
Next to exit the tournament area was Glantz, who got the last of his chips in the middle in a three-way pot of Badacey, and he was out in seventh place ($32,746). Andrew "AJ" Kelsall played his final hand in Razz against Matusow and was eliminated in sixth place ($42,646).
Meanwhile, Matusow played his final hand in Badugi against Hellmuth, his long-time pal, and the former was out in fifth place ($58,826). The last female standing, Carol Fuchs, was eliminated in fourth place ($77,437) via a hand of 2-7 pot-limit Triple Draw versus Friedman.
"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."
Hellmuth then busted Schwartz in third place for $107,861, the same man he defeated heads up to win bracelet No. 16. That set up quite the intriguing heads-up match. Hellmuth had a sizeable lead against Friedman, but he couldn't hold onto that chip advantage. After much back-and-forth jockeying, Friedman ultimately prevailed to defend his 2018 title for the second WSOP in a row.
“Obviously I ran good in a lot of spots," Friedman said. "I pride myself on not having any games that I play terribly at. I think I’m a pretty well-rounded player. I keep working. I think about the game a lot and all I try to do is put myself in favorable positions. You have to be willing to play any of the 20 games at all times. You can’t be fearful of one of them."
As for defeating the most-decorated player in WSOP history, Friedman offered the following on Hellmuth: “I knew what games I wanted to play against Phil if I ever got heads up with him. The truth is I simply out-carded him. I made a lot of hands and picked off some bluffs at the right spot.”
Friedman will now turn his attention to the $50K Poker Players Championship (PPC) where he'll look to continue his mixed game success.
Adam Friedman's World Series of Poker (WSOP) Bracelets
|2012||$5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo||212||1st||$269,037|
|2018||$10,000 Dealer's Choice||111||1st||$293,275|
|2019||$10,000 Dealer's Choice||122||1st||$312,417|
|2021||$10,000 Dealer's Choice||93||1st||$248,350|
In this Series
- 1 Caesars Palace Dealer Jimmy Barnett Crowned Casino Employees Champion
- 2 Jesse Klein Tilts Hellmuth on Way to 2021 WSOP $25K H.O.R.S.E. Win for $552,182
- 3 Jeremy Ausmus Wins First Gold Bracelet of the 2021 World Series of Poker
- 4 Long Ma Tops Near 13,000-Player Field to Win The Reunion and First WSOP Bracelet
- 5 Connor Drinan Wins Second Bracelet in Event #5: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
- 6 Tyler Cornell Gets Signature Victory in 2021 WSOP Event #6: $25,000 High Roller ($833,289)
- 7 Jaswinder "Jesse" Lally Wins 2021 WSOP Event #7: $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed ($97,915)
- 8 Aces in the Final Hand as Zhi Wu Wins Event #8: $600 Deepstack ($281,604)
- 9 Ari Engel Wins Second WSOP Bracelet in $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 Championship; Hellmuth Fifth
- 10 Michael Perrone Wins 2021 WSOP Event #10: $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em ($152,173)
- 11 Jason Koon Wins Maiden WSOP Bracelet in Event #11: $25K Heads-Up Championship ($243,981)
- 12 Yuval Bronshtein Wins Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #12: $1,500 Limit Hold'em
- 13 Harvey Mathews Wins Event #13: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em ($371,914)
- 14 Lebron Captures Gold; Wins 2021 WSOP Event #14: $1,500 7-Card Stud
- 15 Bradley Jansen Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #15: $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em ($313,403)
- 16 John Monnette Wins Fourth WSOP Bracelet in Event #16: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship ($245,680)
- 17 Daniel Lazrus Wins 2021 WSOP Millionaire Maker for 2nd Bracelet ($1,000,000)
- 18 Vladimir Peck Wins 2021 WSOP Event #18: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball ($134,390)
- 19 Phil Hellmuth Denied 16th Bracelet as Anthony Zinno Wins His 3rd in the $10K Stud Championship
- 20 DJ Alexander Captures 1st WSOP Bracelet in Event #20: GGPoker Flip & Go ($180,665)
- 21 Dylan Linde Wins His First WSOP Bracelet in Event #21: $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo ($170,269)
- 22 Lara Eisenberg wins 2021 World Series of Poker Ladies NLHE Championship
- 23 Ryan Leng Wins Event #23: $1,500 Eight Game Mix 6-Handed for $137,969
- 24 Michael Prendergast Wins Maiden Bracelet in Event #24: $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack ($127,428)
- 25 Scott Ball Celebrates First WSOP Bracelet in Event #25: $5,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
- 26 Czech Pro Dalibor Dula Becomes First European Bracelet Winner at the 2021 WSOP
- 27 Anthony Zinno Wins Fourth Gold Bracelet in Event #27 $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
- 28 Dylan Weisman Wins WSOP Event #28: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha for First Bracelet ($166,461)
- 29 Chance Kornuth Wins Third WSOP Bracelet in Event #29: $10,000 Short Deck ($194,670)
- 30 Michael Noori Captures First WSOP Bracelet and $610,437 in the Monster Stack
- 31 Phil Hellmuth Wins Record 16th World Series of Poker (WSOP) Gold Bracelet
- 32 Jim Collopy Wins 2021 WSOP Event #32: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. for Second Gold Bracelet ($172,823)
- 33 Ran Koller Wins WSOP Event #33: $800 Eight-Handed No Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($269,478)
- 34 David "Bakes" Baker Wins Third WSOP Title in Event #34: $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw
- 35 Anthony Koutsos Wins First WSOP Bracelet In Event #35: $500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em ($167,272)
- 36 Adam Friedman Defeats Phil Hellmuth to Win WSOP $10k Dealer's Choice for Third Straight Year
- 37 Karolis Sereika Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #37: $1,500 Super Turbo ($195,310)
- 38 Michael Addamo Wins Third WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #38: $50K High Roller ($1,132,968)
- 39 Josh Arieh Wins Third Bracelet in Event #39: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha ($204,766)
- 40 Kevin Gerhart Wins Third Career Bracelet in Event #40: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
- 41 "Hobby Player" Carlos Chang Wins First Bracelet in $2,500 NLHE Freezeout
- 42 Bradley Ruben Dazzles in the $1,500 Razz; Wins Third WSOP Bracelet
- 43 Dreams to Win a WSOP Bracelet Come True for Anthony Denove in the $1K Double Stack
- 44 Ryan Hansen Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #44: $3,000 6-Handed Limit Hold'em ($109,692)
- 45 Tommy Le Wins WSOP $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship For Second Time
- 46 Chad Norton Wins A Bracelet in His First-Ever WSOP Event!
- 47 France's Alexandre Reard Wins 2021 WSOP Event #47: $5,000 Freezeout NLH ($428,694)
- 48 Poker Philanthropist Gershon Distenfeld Wins WSOP Bracelet, Pledges All Winnings to Charity ($204K)
- 49 Farzad Bonyadi Wins Fourth Bracelet in $10K 2-7 NL Single Draw, Ends Sixteen-Year Drought
- 50 Premonition Becomes Reality as Darrin Wright Wins First WSOP Bracelet
- 51 Brian Rast Wins Fifth Bracelet; Sets Sights on Poker Hall of Fame
- 52 Robert McMillan Wins 2021 WSOP Event #52: $1,000 Seniors Championship ($561,060)
- 53 Shaun Deeb Wins 5th Bracelet in WSOP Event #53: $25,000 PLO ($1,251,860)
- 54 Nicholas Julia Wins Event #54: $2,500 Nine-Game Mix 6-Handed ($168,608)
- 55 Anatolii Zyrin Defeats Massive Field in Colossus to Claim Second WSOP Bracelet ($314,705)
- 56 Ben Yu Wins Fourth Bracelet in Event #56: $10,000 6-Handed NLH Championship ($721,453)
- 57 Brian Yoon Wins Fourth Bracelet in Event #57: $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship ($839,350)
- 58 Jean-Luc Adam Wins First Bracelet and $255,623 in Event #58: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
- 59 Team Ruter Crowned Event #59: $1,000 Tag Team Champions ($113,366)
- 60 Dan "Jungleman" Cates Takes Down $50,000 Poker Players Championship for First WSOP Bracelet
- 61 Cole Ferraro Comes From Behind to Win WSOP Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship ($252,491)
- 62 Kevin Gerhart Earns Fourth WSOP Bracelet in Event #62: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($186,789)
- 63 Eric Zhang Wins 2021 WSOP Event #63: $500 Salute to Warriors ($102,465)
- 64 From Online Crusher to WSOP Gold: Eelis Parssinen Wins Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha
- 65 "It Feels Amazing": Georgios Sotiropoulos Wins Mini Main Event for 3rd WSOP Bracelet
- 66 Josh Arieh Wins Fourth Bracelet in Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship
- 67 Koray Aldemir Wins 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event for $8,000,000
- 68 Scott Ball Wins Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop
- 69 Jermaine Reid Reschedules Flight Before Winning WSOP Event #69: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($113,459)
- 70 David Moses Wins Maiden Bracelet in 2021 WSOP Event #70: $888 Crazy Eights ($888,888)
- 71 Mourad Amokrane Dominates the Final Table On His Way to Winning Event #71: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha
- 72 Motoyoshi Okamura Wins Event #72: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $209,716
- 73 Brian Hastings Becomes 29th Player in WSOP History to Claim Five Gold Bracelets
- 74 Denis Strebkov Wins His Second WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #74: $2,500 Big Bet Mix
- 75 Chad Himmelspach Comes Back From a Single Blind to Win WSOP Event #75: $1,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em ($270,877)
- 76 Romain Lewis Captures 1st Bracelet in 2021 WSOP Event #76: $10K Super Turbo Bounty
- 77 Paulo Joanello Makes Dream Come True After Winning First WSOP Bracelet in Event #77 $1,500 Fifty Stack ($321,917)
- 78 Benny Glaser Wins Event #78: $10,000 Razz Championship for 4th Gold Bracelet ($274,693)
- 79 Ole Schemion Breaks WSOP Duck; Wins Event #79: $1,979 Hall Of Fame Bounty No-Limit Hold’em For $172,499
- 80 Robert Cowen Wins 2021 WSOP Event #80: $3,000 6-Handed PLO ($280,916)
- 81 Jason Wheeler Wins First Bracelet in 2021 WSOP Event #81: $800 NLH Deepstack ($202,274)
- 82 Adrian Mateos Wins $250K Super High Roller for Fourth WSOP Gold Bracelet ($3,265,262)
- 83 Leo Margets Wins First Bracelet and $376,850 in Event #83: $1,500 The Closer
- 84 Ausmus Denies Hellmuth and Negreanu; Wins Third WSOP Bracelet in $50K PLO High Roller ($1,188,918)
- 85 Mikita Badziakouski Claims First Gold Bracelet in Event #85: $50,000 High Roller ($1,462,043)
- 86 Michael McCauley Wins Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold'em ($161,384)
- 87 Michael Addamo Wins $100,000 High Roller for His Fourth WSOP Bracelet
- 88 Boris Kolev Wins Maiden Bracelet and $511,184 in Event #88: $5,000 8-Handed No-Limit Hold'em