WSOP Update: Rast, Bonyadi, Le Grab Gold; Zinno, Hellmuth Lead POY; Big Halloween Weekend Ahead

October 29, 2021
WSOP Update: Rast, Bonyadi, Le Grab Gold; Zinno, Hellmuth Lead POY; Big Halloween Weekend Ahead

Halloween weekend brings plenty of scary action at the World Series of Poker this weekend. Several major tournaments kick off as the Main Event approaches next week.

Some big names also grabbed some headlines over the last few days. Brian Rast scored his fifth bracelet and Farzad Bonyadi grabbed his fourth.

Tommy Le also showed his Pot Limit Omaha prowess by winning another PLO event after a runner-up only days earlier. Here’s a look at the news from this week in Las Vegas.

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Event 43: $1,000 Double Stack

This tournament wrapped up and Anthony Denove topped a huge field for a major score of $446,983. The tournament produced a field 3,991 for a $3.6 million prize pool.

Canada’s David Guay took the runner-up spot for $276,269. A cash game player, Denove had only $76,000 in live tournament winnings before this event.

The action was streamed as a side table on PokerGO. Jeff Platt would normally be hosting some of that action. However, Platt was actually at the final table – finishing fourth for $160,662. Platt used his No Gamble, No Future podcast to interview himself about the big run.

Event 45: $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Eight-Handed Championship

One win, one runner-up. That’s how things have gone over the last week for Tommy Le. He scored a second-place finish in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha for ​​$126,549 last Friday.

Then on Tuesday, this part-time part-time player from Orange County, California, won this $10,000 version for $746,477. This was his second bracelet win after also striking gold in 2017 in this exact same event.

The win moves the lifetime WSOP winnings for this PLO savant to $3.5 million. Jordan Spurlin finished runner-up for $461,360 and the event produced 344 players for a $3.2 million prize pool.

Tommy Le scored a win and a runner-up in PLO events over the last week. (photo courtesy PokerGO)

The big win capped a massive week for Le that brought a total payday of almost $900,000. He plays poker only a few times a year, but makes the trip to the series as well.

“It’s amazing, I love the WSOP and come every year,” he told WSOP.com afterward. “I think it’s an awesome event and I really play because I love the game.”

Event 48: $5,000 Freezeout NLHE Eight-Handed

It was “Viva la France!” in this event with Frenchman Alexandre Reard came out on top for his first bracelet. He topped a 491-player field for a score of $428,694 in an event with a $1.9 million prize pool.

Reard has numerous big finishes around the world and now adds a WSOP title as well. His lifetime tournament winnings now top $3.4 million.

Daniel Strelitz just missed out on his second bracelet, finishing runner-up for $264,953

Event 48: $1,500 Shootout NLHE

This event harkens back to a tournament format not seen too often in today’s modern game. A shootout has players advancing only after they’re the last player standing at their individual tables.

Those who eliminate all the others at their table then move on and must do the same again until one player remains. Gershon Distenfeld became the latest shootout winner after working his way through the tournament.

The New Jersey player took home his first bracelet for $204,063 in an event with 800 players and a $1.1 million prize pool. The win comes after Distenfeld made the US final table in last year’s hybrid online and live Main Event. He finished eighth in that tournament for $125,885.

As he did in that event, Distenfeld has pledged to donate his winnings to charity.

Farzad Bonyadi shows off his fourth WSOP bracelet. (photo courtesy PokerGO)

Event 49: $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship

This lowball championship brings out some of poker’s heavy hitters. That was true at the final table as well with Jake Schwartz, Benny Glaser, and Daniel Negreanu all making appearances.

Farzad Bonyadi is a pretty big heavy hitter himself apparently. The Iranian-born player who now calls Los Angeles home topped a 122-player field for $297,051.

The event produced a $1.1 million prize pool and Bonyadi took home his fourth WSOP bracelet. With a WSOP history dating back to 1998, Bonyadi has been on the poker scene for years. That year brought his first WSOP bracelet in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event.

The 2-7 events have been particularly good for Bonyadi. His next bracelet came in 2004 in a $1,000 2-7 Triple Draw event.

That was followed a year later with a win in a $5,000 NLHE tournament for $594,960. He also has several other 2-7 final table appearances as well.

Event 50: $600 Mixed NLHE/PotPLO Deepstack Eight-Handed

Chicago’s Darin Wright made his first-ever WSOP cash count. He won a bracelet. After dispatching five of his seven final table opponents, Wright took the gold and $127,219.

The event attracted 569 players for an $800,190 prize pool. Wright topped Victor Paredes in heads-up play with $78,604 going to the runner-up.

Event 51: $3,000 Six-Handed NLHE

Longtime pro Brian Rast (pictured in lead photo) found the winner’s circle again in this tournament for his fifth WSOP bracelet. In an event featuring 997 players and a $2.7 million prize pool, Rast found a payday of $474,102.

John Gallagher finished runner-up for $293,009. Rasts’s last bracelet came in 2018 and here’s a look at his previous four wins:

  • $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship (2018) – $259,670
  • $50,000 Poker Players Championship (2016) – $1.3 million
  • $50,000 Poker Players Championship (2011) – $1.7 million
  • $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em (2011) – $227,232

The latest win had Rast considering the possibility of one day qualifying for the Poker Hall of Fame.

“I think I have a pretty good claim,” he told WSOP.com. “I’ve played the biggest cash games in the world for over a decade and I’ve done a lot in tournaments as well.

“I just don’t think there are too many people. I wanted to come back here this year to the WSOP and show myself that I can still play great poker and be around and enjoy it and hopefully add more.”

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Player of the Year standings

The race for the top spot in the Player of the Year race is heating up. After impressive performances by Anthony Zinno and Phil Hellmuth, these two are battling for the lead.

Zinno leads at the moment with Hellmuth just behind. Several other big names are also stalking and here’s a look at the top five and their point totals as of Friday, Oct. 29.

  1. Anthony Zinno – 2,627.88
  2. Phil Hellmuth – 2,598.59
  3. Jake Schwartz – 2,556.93
  4. Ari Engel – 2,214.41
  5. Dylan Linde – 2,053.09

The winner takes home an extra $15,000 with second winning $7,500 and third taking $2,500.

Looking ahead to the weekend

With the $10,000 Main Event approaching next week, plenty of excitement remains in the series. A big weekend awaits with the $1,000 Seniors Championship reaching Day 2 on Friday.

The $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha reaches Day 4 on Friday with Ben Lamb leading the final 25 players. Several big names remain in the field including Shaun Deeb and David Benyamine

The mega field action returns this weekend as well with the first starting flight of the $400 Colossus kicking off Friday. It should be a busy weekend with the Tag Team, Super Seniors, and Poker Players Championship all getting started as well.

Halloween brings a sixth online bracelet event at WSOP.com with a spooky price of $666. Here’s a look at some other events in the coming days.

  • 55: $400 Colossus NLHE – starting flights Oct. 29, 30, 
  • 56: $10,000 Six-Handed NLHE Championship – Oct. 29
  • 57: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship – Oct. 30
  • 58: $1,000 Super Seniors NLHE – Oct. 31
  • 59: $1,000 Tag Team NLHE – Oct. 31
  • 60: $50,000 Poker Players Championship – Oct. 31
  • Online Event 6: $666 NLHE – Oct. 31

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