Koray Aldemir Wins 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event for $8,000,000
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Koray Aldemir, 31, took the reins from defending champ Damian Salas Wednesday night as he became the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion, topping a 6,550-player field to win $8 million and the coveted gold bracelet.
On the 223rd hand of the final table, Aldemir finished off his unrelenting heads-up opponent — George Holmes — and now sits atop the poker mountain until July 2022.
Aldemir’s victory propelled him to fourth all-time among Germany’s winningest live tournament players with just north of $20 million in cashes, $12 million shy of Fedor Holz. More importantly, he's the champion of the world and joins an exclusive club that includes legends of the game such as Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, and Johnny Chan.
“It’s the one tournament family and friends know of basically. It does mean a lot to me to win it," Aldemir told media moments after shipping the bracelet.
2021 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|2||George Holmes||United States||$4,300,000|
|3||Jack Oliver||United Kingdom||$3,000,000|
|4||Joshua Remitio||United States||$2,300,000|
|6||Hye Park||United States||$1,400,000|
|8||Jareth East||United Kingdom||$1,100,000|
|9||Chase Bianchi||United States||$1,000,000|
Aldemir, Holmes, and Jack Oliver were the lone remaining players with dreams of becoming poker's 2021 World Champion entering Wednesday's session. Clearly, Aldemir was the favorite entering Day 9, not only due to having a massive chip lead but also because he's more experienced in tournaments than his opponents.
But he'd quickly discover that his opposition was ready for battle. Holmes played masterfully all evening and pulled off a number of impressive bluffs that even shocked the PokerGO commentators. The gap in experience between Aldemir and the competition wasn't evident much on this day.
Holmes Shows Oliver the Lights
Three players returned to the Amazon room Wednesday for the ninth and final day of the tournament. Aldemir, who played big stack poker throughout the final table, returned with a massive chip lead over Oliver and Holmes but had to grind for every chip during the final session.
Early on, Holmes and Oliver battled each other to face Aldemir for the bracelet, but neither was willing to give in. Holmes would land a small jab, and then Oliver would punch back. In doing so, both struggled for quite some time to make up any ground on the chip leader.
Three hours into Day 9 and Holmes finally landed a haymaker. Or, as his rowdy fans in the attendance repeatedly shouted, he "showed him the lights" on Oliver. But it required a bit luck when he called a 35.7 million chip all-in bet preflop with queen-jack and was up against ace-eight.
The board would run out jack-high, giving Holmes top pair for the win while eliminating Oliver, who received $3 million for third place, in the process.
Underdog Here to Win It
Holmes finished 213th in the 2019 WSOP Main Event for $50,855, his only prior recorded live tournament cash. But if you thought the poker player from the "Dirty South" was satisfied just to make it heads-up in poker's most prestigious event, you'd be mistaken.
When the final two players returned to action following a brief break, Holmes sat down ready to tangle with the German poker superstar. Despite trailing by more than 2-1 in chips at the start of heads-up play, he battled his way back, pot by pot, and eventually grabbed a small lead.
“I was pretty stressed to be honest," Aldemir said of losing the chip lead during heads-up play. "After 10 days of poker, especially the last five or six days were all super stressful. Not a lot of sleep, like five hours a day. All those people watching me play. It’s not easy. Respect to all the other players too who all played great. Crazy experience.”
"Respect to all the other players too who all played great. Crazy experience.”
For the first time at the final table in two days, Aldemir wasn't well ahead of the competition. Would the setback cause the high-stakes pro to crumble? Not hardly. He's too experienced and composed to wilt under pressure. When the going got tough, the experienced player got going.
Aldemir jumped right back into the chip lead after winning a series of consecutive hands. That didn't deter Holmes from continuing to play solid poker. The inexperienced tournament player forced his seasoned opponent to earn every chip and kept the score close for a lengthy period of time.
In the end, however, overplaying top pair doomed the Atlanta resident. On the 223rd and final hand, with the blinds at 1,200,000/2,400,000 with a 2,400,000 big blind ante, Holmes raised to 6,000,000 with king-queen and his opponent, who held a slight chip lead, made the call with ten-seven suited.
The flop came out ten-seven-deuce and the preflop raiser made a continuation bet of 6,000,000. Aldemir, with top two, check-raised to 19,000,000, which didn't convince the underdog to dump king-high, and he made the call.
When a king hit on the turn, Aldemir led out big for 36,500,000 and when Holmes called, those watching began anticipating the end of the Main Event nearing. The river nine of clubs changed nothing and Aldemir decided on a check. Holmes paused for a bit before moving all in for 133,000,000.
With action back on the German poker great, he had a difficult decision to make given the circumstances. After much thought, he opted to call, then showed his winning hand, which put an end to the 2021 WSOP Main Event. Holmes walked away with $4.3 million and put on an overall impressive performance.
“On the flop, I kind of have the nuts almost all the time," the champ said of the final hand. "On the turn still happy. My plan was to check-call on the river because he showed he was capable, but I had to think about it because it’s a big moment obviously. If I lose the hand I don’t have much left. I’m glad I made the call.”
Congratulations to Koray Aldemir, the 2021 WSOP Main Event champion!
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 Vladimir Peck Wins 2021 WSOP Event #18: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball ($134,390)
- 18 DJ Alexander Captures 1st WSOP Bracelet in Event #20: GGPoker Flip & Go ($180,665)
- 19 Phil Hellmuth Denied 16th Bracelet as Anthony Zinno Wins His 3rd in the $10K Stud Championship
- 20 Dylan Linde Wins His First WSOP Bracelet in Event #21: $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo ($170,269)
- 21 Michael Prendergast Wins Maiden Bracelet in Event #24: $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack ($127,428)
- 22 Ryan Leng Wins Event #23: $1,500 Eight Game Mix 6-Handed for $137,969
- 23 Daniel Lazrus Wins 2021 WSOP Millionaire Maker for 2nd Bracelet ($1,000,000)
- 24 Lara Eisenberg wins 2021 World Series of Poker Ladies NLHE Championship
- 25 Czech Pro Dalibor Dula Becomes First European Bracelet Winner at the 2021 WSOP
- 26 Anthony Zinno Wins Fourth Gold Bracelet in Event #27 $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
- 27 Scott Ball Celebrates First WSOP Bracelet in Event #25: $5,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
- 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 Phil Hellmuth Wins Record 16th World Series of Poker (WSOP) Gold Bracelet
- 31 Jim Collopy Wins 2021 WSOP Event #32: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. for Second Gold Bracelet ($172,823)
- 32 Michael Noori Captures First WSOP Bracelet and $610,437 in the Monster Stack
- 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 Bradley Ruben Dazzles in the $1,500 Razz; Wins Third WSOP Bracelet
- 42 "Hobby Player" Carlos Chang Wins First Bracelet in $2,500 NLHE Freezeout
- 43 Ryan Hansen Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #44: $3,000 6-Handed Limit Hold'em ($109,692)
- 44 Chad Norton Wins A Bracelet in His First-Ever WSOP Event!
- 45 Kazuki 'hyahhoo3' Ikeuchi Wins WSOP Online Event #5: $1,000 NLH ($152,797)
- 46 France's Alexandre Reard Wins 2021 WSOP Event #47: $5,000 Freezeout NLH ($428,694)
- 47 Tommy Le Wins WSOP $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship For Second Time
- 48 Brian Rast Wins Fifth Bracelet; Sets Sights on Poker Hall of Fame
- 49 Premonition Becomes Reality as Darrin Wright Wins First WSOP Bracelet
- 50 Dreams to Win a WSOP Bracelet Come True for Anthony Denove in the $1K Double Stack
- 51 Farzad Bonyadi Wins Fourth Bracelet in $10K 2-7 NL Single Draw, Ends Sixteen-Year Drought
- 52 Poker Philanthropist Gershon Distenfeld Wins WSOP Bracelet, Pledges All Winnings to Charity ($204K)
- 53 Nicholas Julia Wins Event #54: $2,500 Nine-Game Mix 6-Handed ($168,608)
- 54 Shaun Deeb Wins 5th Bracelet in WSOP Event #53: $25,000 PLO ($1,251,860)
- 55 Robert McMillan Wins 2021 WSOP Event #52: $1,000 Seniors Championship ($561,060)
- 56 Ben Yu Wins Fourth Bracelet in Event #56: $10,000 6-Handed NLH Championship ($721,453)
- 57 Anatolii Zyrin Defeats Massive Field in Colossus to Claim Second WSOP Bracelet ($314,705)
- 58 Brian Yoon Wins Fourth Bracelet in Event #57: $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship ($839,350)
- 59 John 'Relevancy' Ripnick Wins WSOP Online Bracelet Event #6: $666 NLH ($114,898)
- 60 Team Ruter Crowned Event #59: $1,000 Tag Team Champions ($113,366)
- 61 Jean-Luc Adam Wins First Bracelet and $255,623 in Event #58: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
- 62 Kevin Gerhart Earns Fourth WSOP Bracelet in Event #62: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($186,789)
- 63 From Online Crusher to WSOP Gold: Eelis Parssinen Wins Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha
- 64 Cole Ferraro Comes From Behind to Win WSOP Event #61: $600 Deepstack Championship ($252,491)
- 65 Eric Zhang Wins 2021 WSOP Event #63: $500 Salute to Warriors ($102,465)
- 66 Jermaine Reid Reschedules Flight Before Winning WSOP Event #69: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($113,459)
- 67 Mourad Amokrane Dominates the Final Table On His Way to Winning Event #71: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha
- 68 Scott Ball Wins Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop
- 69 Motoyoshi Okamura Wins Event #72: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $209,716
- 70 David Moses Wins Maiden Bracelet in 2021 WSOP Event #70: $888 Crazy Eights ($888,888)
- 71 Romain Lewis Captures 1st Bracelet in 2021 WSOP Event #76: $10K Super Turbo Bounty
- 72 Brian Hastings Becomes 29th Player in WSOP History to Claim Five Gold Bracelets
- 73 Denis Strebkov Wins His Second WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #74: $2,500 Big Bet Mix
- 74 Koray Aldemir Wins 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event for $8,000,000
- 75 Chad Himmelspach Comes Back From a Single Blind to Win WSOP Event #75: $1,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em ($270,877)
- 76 Paulo Joanello Makes Dream Come True After Winning First WSOP Bracelet in Event #77 $1,500 Fifty Stack ($321,917)
- 77 Adrian Mateos Wins $250K Super High Roller for Fourth WSOP Gold Bracelet ($3,265,262)
- 78 Ausmus Denies Hellmuth and Negreanu; Wins Third WSOP Bracelet in $50K PLO High Roller ($1,188,918)
- 79 Mikita Badziakouski Claims First Gold Bracelet in Event #85: $50,000 High Roller ($1,462,043)
- 80 Leo Margets Wins First Bracelet and $376,850 in Event #83: $1,500 The Closer
- 81 Michael McCauley Wins Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold'em ($161,384)
- 82 Daniel "SilasSilver" Turner Wins WSOP.com $1,000 Mini Main Event ($142,663)