2021 WSOP Day 36: Main Event Underway, Brunson Up to Old Tricks

Doyle Brunson

Day 36 of the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) had all eyes on the start of the 2021 WSOP Main Event. Meanwhile, one bracelet winner was crowned while two others got closer to crowning their respective champs.

It became a day to remember, with plenty of action happening in the early stages. The return of poker legend Doyle Brunson (88), playing in his first Main Event since 2013, had the Amazon room buzzing all day long.

Brunson navigated his way through the first starting day and moved on to Day 2 with 151,000 in chips. The 10-time WSOP champion was up to some of his old tricks, making great reads and dragging big pots late in Day 1. He will be back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 9 for Day 2ABD.

PokerNews' Tiffany Michelle had the opportunity to catch up with "Texas Dolly" to ask him how the 1976 and 1977 Main Event champion was experiencing his return to the grandest stage of them all.

As aforementioned, one bracelet winner was crowned with Eric Zhang claiming the coveted prize in Event #63: $500 Salute for Warriors No-Limit Hold'em.

Unfortunately, it wasn't all sunshine and bracelets as a late-night lockdown of the Rio briefly gave reason for concern, causing the Rio parking lot to be shut down for an hour.

Read our separate article for a full description of the scary situation or keep reading on to learn about everything else that took place on Day 36 of the 2021 WSOP.

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Mustapha Kanit Bags the Chip Lead After 2021 WSOP Main Event Day 1a

Mustapha Kanit
Mustapha Kanit

Day 1a of Event #67: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event Championship wrapped up with Mustapha Kanit moving on to Day 2 as the current chip leader. The flagship event of the 2021 World Series of Poker attracted 523 runners to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for the first of six starting flights.

Kanit leads the 348 survivors after Day 1a after chipping up early and building his stack consistently over the evening. The Italian poker pro will be looking to win his first WSOP gold bracelet after making two final tables so far at the 2021 WSOP.

Several legends made an appearance on Day 1a, and among them continuing on to Day 2 are Poker Hall of Fame members Doyle Brunson, Billy Baxter, and Tom McEvoy.

2021 WSOP Main Event Top 10 Chip Stacks After Day 1a

*RankPlayerCountryChip Count* 
1Mustapha KanitItaly363,500 
2Rittie ChuaprasertUnited States345,700 
3Alex LivingstonCanada319,200 
4David FongUnited States298,500 
5Fabian QuossGermany273,800 
6Billy BaxterUnited States248,600 
7Dragana LimUnited States237,700 
8Vladimir VasilyevUnited States232,000 
9Vidur SethiIndia226,200 
10Ayaz MahmoodUnited States221,200 

McEvoy, the 1983 Main Event champion, will also return for Day 2 with 96,900 in chips. The four-time champion is playing in his 37th Main Event and he is looking for his third cash of the series after hitting the pay window in the 2021 $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha and $1,500 Seven Card Stud events.

Baxter will return among the leaders after bagging 248,000 chips. The seven-time bracelet winner was a serious contender throughout the day, and he'll have the opportunity to turn one of the bigger stacks into a deep run at the Main Event.

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson made his first WSOP Main Event appearance since 2013.

Other notable players making it through to Day 2 include Rittie Chuaprasert (345,700), Alex Livingston (319,200), David Fong (298,500), Fabian Quoss (273,800), and Perry Friedman (195,500).

Damian Salas arrived to defend his 2020 WSOP Main Event championship but he was on the rail before the end of the first level when Peter Gould made a straight with his pocket fives.

Other players not moving on to Day 2 include Calvin Anderson, Upeshka De Silva, Dylan Weisman, Jerod Smith, and 2021 Player of the Year points leader Jake Schwartz.

Damian Salas
Damian Salas' title defense came to a brutal end in level 1.

Day 1b will kick off on Friday at 11 a.m. and play the same five two-hour levels as today. Be sure to keep it with the PokerNews live reporting team to catch all of the action from the floor in the second of six opening flights of the 2021 Main Event at the World Series of Poker.

Check out all the Main Event updates!

Georgios Sotiropoulos Leads Final Five in Event #65: $1,000 Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold'em

Georgios Sotiropoulos
Georgios Sotiropoulos

Day 2 of Event #65: $1,000 Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold’em has come to an end. The event started this afternoon with 282 players out of a starting field of 3,823. Only five players remain with each player locking up a guaranteed payout of at least $118,898 with a first-place prize of $432,575 paired with the coveted WSOP bracelet.

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Georgios Sotiropoulos is leading the final table with 105,550,000. Sotiropoulos was in full control throughout and will be the odds-on favorite going into the final day.

Rounding out the final five are Jordan Meltzer (39,000,075), Wataru Miyashita (35,900,000), James Patterson (26,600,000), and James Rubinski (22,325,000).

2021 WSOP Mini Main Event Final Table Seat Draw

RoomTableSeatPlayerCountryChip CountBig Blinds
Amazon4141James RubinskiUnited States22,325,0009
Amazon4142Wataru MiyashitaJapan35,900,00015
Amazon4143James PattersonUnited States26,600,00011
Amazon4144Georgios SotiropoulosGreece105,550,00044
Amazon4145Jordan MeltzerUnited States39,000,07516

A few notables who busted earlier in the day were bracelet winner Martin Jacobson, eight-time circuit ring and bracelet winner Michael Lech, and GG Poker Ambassador Nana Sanechika.

The final five players will return on Friday, November 5th at 12:00 p.m. local time to the Amazon room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to play down to a winner. The event will resume at Level 41 with blinds of 1,200,000/2,400,000 with a big blind ante of 2,400,000.

Stay tuned for more coverage of this event and the entire 2021 World Series of Poker from the PokerNews Live Reporting Team.

Don't miss the conclusion of the Mini Main Event

Danny Chang Leads the Way in Event #66: Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship

Danny Chang
Danny Chang

Day 2 of Event #66: Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship has wrapped up with 12 players heading into Day 3 to play for all the marbles. This event attracted 208 total entries, with 113 unique individuals returning at the start of Day 2.

Leading the returning pack is poker-dealer-turned-poker-pro Danny Chang (3,620,000). Towards the end of the day, Chang caught fire and bagged up at his peak.

Hot on Chang’s heels — and fresh off of their respective bracelet wins earlier this WSOP — are pot-limit specialist Josh Arieh (1,015,000) and Russian pro Anatolii Zyrin (1,115,000), who each bagged up healthy stacks and will look to position themselves at this championship final table in search of an additional piece of jewelry to add to their collection along with the $494,791 in first-place cash.

$10,000 PLO-8 Championship Day 3 Seat Draw

RoomTableSeatPlayerCountryChip Count
Amazon4301Anatolii ZyrinRussia1,155,000
Amazon4302Jeff GrossUnited States235,000
Amazon4304John EspositoUnited States480,000
Amazon4305Tim SeidenstickerUnited States150,000
Amazon4307Matthew WoodwardUnited States1,600,000
Amazon4308Dan ColpoysUnited States2,040,000
Amazon4391Josh AriehUnited States1,015,000
Amazon4393Jason RiesenbergUnited States360,000
Amazon4394Danny ChangUnited States3,620,000
Amazon4395Aaron KupinUnited States500,000
Amazon4396Alan SternbergUnited States410,000
Amazon4397Adam OwenUnited Kingdom955,000
Jeff Gross
Jeff Gross will be one to watch on Day 3

Day 3 Action

The day played down quickly with many notables hitting the rail early on. Cliff Josephy, Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, Chip Jett, Benny Glaser, and Phil Hellmuth all hit the rail by the dinner break.

Ray Henson and Erik Seidel fell just short of a payday, but the true bubble belonged to Charles Coultas and occurred in a hand against Alan Sternberg.

After the money bubble burst, Joe Hachem, Robert Mizrachi, and Nick Shulman all made quick exits. The final two tables saw four very quick eliminations during the last level of the night, with the likes of Richie Allen, Marco Johnson, Ben Yu, and Damjan Radanov all hitting the rail shortly before night’s end.

The remaining 12 finalists will return for Day 3 on Friday at 2:00 p.m. and play down to five players. Play will begin with level 21, and each level will be 60-minutes long with a 15-minute break every two levels, and a 60-minute dinner break after level 26 (~8:30 p.m. local time (PT).

Make sure to check back to PokerNews for continued coverage of this championship event, where cards will be back in the air on Friday at 2:00 p.m. local time (PT).

Check out all of the $10K PLO8 updates

  • The Main Event is finally underway! That and more in the daily PokerNews recap of the 2021 World Series of Poker.

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Senior Content Manager

A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.

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