Five Memorable Hands from the 2021 WSOP Main Event Final Table

Koray Aldemir 2021 WSOP Main Event

Poker fans around the world have to wait one more day for the final table of the 2022 WSOP Main Event, eagerly anticipating the resumption of play at Bally's and Paris, Las Vegas.

And what better way to gear up for this must-not-miss final table — and perhaps get a taste of what we can expect this year — we thought we'd look back to the 2021 WSOP Main Event final table.

Here we take a look back at five memorable hands from last year's Main Event final table.

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From Second in Chips to Busto

Alejandro Lococo

Alejandro Lococo had started the final table third in chips, but had moved up to second in the standings after the early eliminations of Chase Bianchi and Jareth East.

When this hand took place, another short stack in the shape of Ozgur Secilmis propped up the leaderboard, but that didn't stop a huge confrontation breaking out between Lococo and chip leader Koray Aldemir.

Aldemir had three-bet pre-flop with {9-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} after Lococo opened with {10-Clubs}{10-Spades}. Aldemir flopped a full house, with Lococo check-calling all three streets — the last street for his tournament life — on a board of {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}, only to be shown the bad news.

This hand saw Aldemir strengthen his hold on the chip lead, sitting with more than other six players' chips combined.

Fun Fact: This hand is used as a training exercise for new PokerNews live reporters!

Cracking Kings with T9 Suited

Ozgur Secilmis

Secilmis had been the short-stack in the previous hand, but with play five-handed he found himself middle of the pack when this hand took place.

Having opened with {k-Spades}{k-Clubs} he called the shove from Joshua Remitio for the American's last chips. Remitio's {10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} looked to be far behind, but the {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}{7-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{a-Diamonds} board saw him flop trips to crack Secilmis' pocket kings and double up. Secilimis would ultimately bust in fifth position.

Fun Fact: Secilmis was the first Turkish player to make the WSOP Main Event final table

Almost a Double KO!

It would have been one of the most famous hands in WSOP Main Event history, if only pocket queens had held.

Aldemir unsurprisingly still held the chip lead and it was the German with the ladies {q-Spades}{q-Hearts}, having both Jack Oliver {j-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} and Joshua Remitio {a-Hearts}{j-Spades} at risk.

The flop {10-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{8-Spades} gave both opponents outs. The turn {3-Diamonds} gave Oliver additional flush outs, with the river {7-Diamonds} completing his flush to triple up. Remitio would win the side pot with his rivered straight.

However, Aldemir still held the lead with double the remaining players' chips put together. It would take a lot to deny him victory.

Breaking Out the Double Check-Raise

George Holmes

George Holmes was one of the stories of the final table, making his way from home games to playing for millions of dollars on the greatest stage of all.

But this 'Home Game Hero' wasn't afraid of mixing it up three-handed.

Both he and Jack Oliver were battling against Aldemir, when Holmes made this extravagant play. Check-raising Oliver twice on a {q-Clubs}{q-Spades}{7-Spades}{j-Diamonds} board, with Oliver throwing his hand away on the turn.

Oliver would be eliminated in third place, which brought the tournament to heads-up. George Holmes or Koray Aldemir - who would come out on top?

Clinching Victory in Style

Koray Aldemir

More often than not, the final hand of the WSOP Main Event is an all-in confrontation; the two players enduring the agony of the run-out with the cameras and confetti poised.

On this occasion, the moment of victory was preceded by a drawn-out chess match of a poker hand, with Aldemir getting it right on the river to come out on top.

Having check-raised on a {10-Hearts}{7-Spades}{2-Hearts} flop, Aldemir bet on the {k-Spades} turn with Holmes calling. The river was the {9-Clubs} and Aldemir checked.

With around 105 million chips in the middle, Holmes shoved for 133 million and Aldemir went into the tank. Three minutes later, Aldemir had made his decision. He called with {10-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} for two pair, beating the {k-Clubs}{q-Spades} top pair of Holmes. And just like that, he was world champion.

  • How many of these hands do you remember from last year's WSOP Main Event final table?

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European Executive Editor

Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German. He also holds an NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism.

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