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Doyle Brunson Arrives; Defending Champ Salas Busts Before 1st Break of 2021 WSOP Main Event

doyle brunson wsop main event

Doyle Brunson took a seat in the Amazon room, last year's champion busted, and a player flopped a royal flush in the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event. And this all occurred before the first break of Day 1a on Thursday.

Brunson arrived at around 12:30 p.m. PT, 90 minutes into the first level of play, the first time he's competed in the world championship event — a tournament he's won twice — since 2013.

Dressed in a pink golf shirt and his trademark cowboy ht, the 10-time bracelet winner took his seat and immediately drew the attention of the room.

"Texas Dolly," 88, made his first appearance in a WSOP event on Halloween when he entered Event #58: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em, but was eliminated less than an hour later.

At the time of publishing, he was still hanging around his 60,000-chip starting stack, so off to a better start than last week. Brunson won the Main Event in 1976 and 1977.

Bad Beat Dooms Defending Champ

Damian Salas

Damian Salas, who won the hybrid Main Event last year, announced "shuffle up and deal" to kick off the world championship event at 11 a.m. PT. Less than two hours later, the defending champion was, to quote long-time poker announcer Norman Chad, "whamboozled."

Salas would end up losing a race against Peter Gould to bust, but the true damage to his stack came moments earlier thanks to a bad beat.

The flop came out {9-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{7-Clubs} and Salas, who raised in early position preflop, was holding {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. On a monster draw, he bet out and the player in the hijack raised. Poker vlogger Lynne Ji then three-bet, and both players made the call. When the {j-Hearts} came on the turn, the hijack bet around half pot and Salas moved all-in. Ji mucked her cards and the hijack called and turned over {j-Clubs}{9-Clubs}.

Salas was unable to dodge the four-outer as the river was the {j-Spades}, giving the hijack a full house and the defending champ a short stack.

Flopped Royal Flush

During Level 1, Haim Gabay picked up the absolute nuts — a royal flush. He didn't win a massive pot, as is often the case when someone hits a royal, but it was still a moment to cherish for the poker player.

The board read {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{q-Spades}{10-Clubs} and Gabay was holding {q-Hearts}{j-Hearts} for a flopped royal flush. He stood up and took out his phone so that he could capture the moment on video. Most poker players only hit a few royal flushes during their lifetime.

Day 1a of the 2021 WSOP Main Event will last for five levels of 120 minutes each. PokerNews will be on hand providing live reporting coverage of the session and all future sessions of the world championship event.

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  • Find out the crazy events that took place early on Day 1a of the 2021 WSOP Main Event.

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