Event #67: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event World Championship
Day 9 Completed
Event #67: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event World Championship
Day 9 Completed
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.
|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.
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.
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.”
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!
Hand #223: George Holmes raised to 6,000,000 and Koray Aldemir called. On the flop, Aldemir checked, Holmes bet 6,000,000, and Aldemir check-raised to 19,000,000 after about a minute. Holmes called after some thought.
The landed on the turn and Aldemir took nearly two minutes before betting 36,500,000. Holmes took about a minute before coming along with the call, creating a pot of over 100,000,000 in the process.
The crowd held their collective breath as the was dealt on the river. Taking around 90 seconds, Aldemir decided to check. Within twenty seconds, Holmes moved all in for 133,000,000, more than the size of the pot.
Aldemir, who covered Holmes by a mere ten million, went deep in the tank to try and analyse the situation. The German high roller spent nearly three minutes before ultimately settling on a call, which had everyone in the Amazon room jolting out of their seats to watch the showdown unfold.
Holmes showed for a pair of kings and Aldemir slapped on the table for two pair. Just like that, with one amazing call, the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event came to an end.
Holmes, the home game hero, can reflect on an unforgettable run. With just one previously recorded cash to his name, he left the stage $4,300,000 richer, all while capturing the hearts of many poker fans around the world in the process with his style of play.
Ultimately, despite a valiant effort from Holmes, the victory goes to Germany for the second time in three years. Congratulations to Koray Aldemir, poker's new world champion!
Hand #219: George Holmes raised to 5,200,000 from the button and Koray Aldemir defended. They both checked through the flop to the on the turn. Aldemir bet 4,400,000 which Holmes called. The river completed the board with the , Aldemir barreled a bet of 15,800,000 over the line to get the fold.
Hand #220: Aldemir limped in on the button and Holmes raised to 6,000,000 which was called. The flop came , they both checked to the on the turn. Holmes bet 8,000,000 for the fold.
Hand #221: Holmes limped in and Aldemir opted to check. The flop came , no action ensued and the turn was the . Aldemir bet 4,100,000 and Holmes called to see the complete the board. Aldemir fired a bet of 15,500,000 out and Holmes folded.
Hand #222: Koray Aldemir raised to 6,000,000 and George Holmes called. The flop was and Holmes checked. Aldemir bet 4,800,000 and Holmes folded.
Hand #216: Koray Aldemir limped in and George Holmes raised to 5,000,000 for Aldemir to call. The flop was checked by both players and the followed on the turn. Holmes check-called for 4,600,000 and the river was checked. Holmes tabled the and dragged in the next pot.
Hand #217: Holmes opened to 5,200,000 and Aldemir made the call to see the flop. Aldemir's check was followed by a bet worth 7,000,000 by Holmes and the subsequent call by Aldemir came thereafter. On the turn, Aldemir quickly checked once more.
The second barrel by Holmes was worth 17,000,000 and Aldemir tanked for 48 seconds before making the call. He then checked the on the river and Holmes then fired a bet of 40,000,000. Aldemir check-jammed with the for broadway and Holmes snap-called with the to chop it up.
Hand #218: Aldemir opened to 6,000,000 and Holmes defended out of the big blind. The flop was checked by Holmes and Aldemir now bet 4,800,000. This time, Holmes folded and Aldemir collected the pot.
Ozgur Secilmis has taken pride representing his home country of Turkey in the Main Event. The 5th place finisher said he wasn't paying attention to the final table payouts and was elated to realize he earned himself a $1,800,000 payday. What's up next for Ozgur? Cash games, high stakes and winning next year's Main Event.
Hand #212: Koray Aldemir raised to 6,000,000 and George Holmes called. The flop was and Holmes checked. Aldemir bet 4,800,000 and Holmes called. Both players checked the on the turn.
The river was the and Holmes cut out a sizable bet of 17,000,000 and Aldemir gave it up.
Hand #213: Holmes raised to 4,800,000 and Aldemir called. The flop prompted two quick checks. Aldemir check-folded to a bet of 4,800,000 on the turn.
Hand #214: Aldemir made it 6,000,000 and Holmes called. The flop and turn got checked through, as did the river. Holmes showed for a pair to win the hand.
Hand #215: A walk for Aldemir.
Hand #210: Koray Aldemir raised to 6,000,000 from the button and George Holmes defended. The flop came , Holmes check-folded to Aldermir's 4,800,000 bet.
Hand #211: Holmes raised to 4,800,000 from the button and Aldemir called.
The flop came , Aldemir check-called the 5,400,000 continuation-bet of Holmes. The turn was the and Aldemir checked again. This time, Holmes checked too.
The river completed the board with the . Aldemir took some time and then opted to take over the initiative. He bet 7,800,000 for Holmes to consider his options. In the end, he decided to raise it up to 38,000,000. Aldemir jumped into the tank and called.
Holmes tabled the for the bluff for Aldemir's rail to cheer as he held the for two pair and the pot. Aldemir turned around for a fist pump celebration
Hand #207: George Holmes raised to 4,800,000 and Koray Aldemir came along to the flop, on which Aldemir checked. Holmes continued for 3,800,000 and Aldemir tossed in calling chips. The turn brought another quick check by Aldemir and Holmes made it 8,000,000 to go this time.
Aldemir made the call after 38 seconds and the on the river brought in a possible flush draw and paired the board. Once more, Aldemir checked and Holmes now bet 20,000,000 and Aldemir snap-called. The pot went to Holmes, who had flopped a straight with the .
Hand #208: Aldemir limped in and Holmes' raise to 6,000,000 took it down uncontested.
Hand #209: Up next it was Holmes who limped in and Aldemir now raised to 10,000,000, which brought no resistance from Holmes.