WSOP Weekly: Brian Altman Scores First Bracelet; Adam Friedman Four in Row; Daniel Negreanu Details Extortion Attempt

June 13, 2022
WSOP Weekly: Brian Altman Scores First Bracelet; Adam Friedman Four in Row; Daniel Negreanu Details Extortion Attempt

Poker pro Brian Altman may have been one of the biggest names in poker without a World Series of Poker bracelet. That changed on Sunday when he added some more hardware to his poker resumé via Sunday’s online event.

Some other big names continue making big finishes including the 2021 WSOP player of the year Josh Arieh. Adam Friedman also scored his fourth bracelet in four straight years. A few players from outside the US also found the winner’s circle over the last week.

Two of poker’s biggest names, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, also have had some unique starts to their WSOP summers. Here’s a look at some of the series events from the last week in Las Vegas.

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Hellmuth suffers illnesses, Negreanu deals with extortion attempt

It’s been an interesting start to the 2022 WSOP for Hellmuth and Negreanu. The two finished second and third in last year’s player of the year standings and play deep schedules each summer. But it’s been a rough start so far.

Hellmuth acknowledged some stomach ailments (“traveler’s diarrhea”) right at the beginning of the festival. The Poker Brat also later contracted COVID and has yet to see major action in the series. Several other players have reported coming down with the sickness as well.

Negreanu hadn’t found a cash until Event 17: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball for $4,718. He followed that up with a deep run in Event 189: $25,000 PLO High Roller, finishing 16th for $57,738.

More interesting is the revelation Negreanu made last week that someone was trying to extort him. On his weekly vlog, he noted that someone had left a message that he “would go public” with what Negreanu “did to his family” in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

“The whole world’s going to know,” the caller says in the message.

Negreanu didn’t even know where Lake Havasu is and says the person is attempting to extort him. He was considering getting the FBI involved to investigate the case. Subsequent messages seemed to take on a more threatening tone.

“I have no family in Arizona and don’t know what this person is talking about,” Negreanu said on the vlog.

More messages followed that initial message and Negreanu even played some of the man speaking. Here’s Negreanu detailing the case in his own words.

Event 14: $1,500 Six-Handed NLHE

This lower-end buy-in saw 2,392 entries for a $3.2 million prize pool. After starting in the middle of the field on Day 3, France’s Leo Soma worked his way back into contention and scored the title for $456,889.

Thomas Schultz finished runner-up for $282,358 and Argentina’s Maximiliano Gallardo took third for $203,451. This was Soma’s first career WSOP cash.

Event 15: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship

The big buy-in Omaha action brought out some of the game’s best with 196 entries and a $1.8 million prize pool. That was a record number for the tournament.

New Jersey grinder Daniel Zack scored the title in this one for his second bracelet and $440,757. 

In heads-up play, he topped Dustin Dirksen, who scored $272,408 for runner-up. Yuval Bronshtein continued a nice run in the series, notching his first of two final table appearances for $195,203.

Event 16: $3,000 NLHE

Another non-American found victory lane with Austria’s Stefan Lehner pocketing a nice $558,616. Toby Boas took runner-up for $345,244 in an event featuring 1,240 entries for a $3.3 million prize pool.

Lehner battled some major ups and downs at the final table on his way to victory.

“I don’t have the words for it I think,” he told “At the beginning I was second in chips but then I was short stacked all the time. So I played very well and I’m very happy that I have this [bracelet] now.”

Event 17: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball

More lowball action hit the Vegas Strip with New York’s Dominick Sarle scoring his first bracelet for $164,243. The tournament brought in 309 entries for a $687,525 prize pool.

Jerry Wong took second for $101,514. Sarle came close to an online bracelet last summer, finishing runner-up in the Big $500 for $57,857 at Mostly an online player, he’s ramped up his live tournament play over the last couple years. That paid off on Friday.

Event 18: $1,000 NLHE Freezeout

These lower buy-in No Limit Hold’em events continue to deliver big prize pools. This one produced 2,663 entries for a $2.4 million prize pool.

Chicago’s Bryan Schultz found the top spot for a $330,057 payday and his first bracelet. Young Sik Eum found the runner-up position for $203,949.

Event 19: $25,000 High Roller PLO

Another five-figure Omaha event brought plenty of high rollers. China’s Tong Li topped a field of 264 for his first bracelet and first-ever series cash.

That’s quite an impressive feat in such a major event and he scored almost $1.5 million in the process. The event produced a $6.2 million prize pool and Fabian Brandes finished runner-up for $907,132. Last year’s player of the year, Josh Arieh, took third for $644,365. He continues showing some impressive consistency with two third-place finishes, both for more than $600,000. So far, he’s feeling confident this summer.

Event 20: $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw

The lowball action continued with Russia’s Denis Nesterenko crowned champion in this event for $108,250. The tournament produced a field of 350 entries for a $467,250 prize pool.

This was the largest win of Nesterenko’s career and his first bracelet, with California’s Von Altizer finishing runner-up for $66,910.

Event #21: $1,500 Monster Stack

The monstrous action returns for Day 3 after two starting flights and 271 players remaining. The event found a field of 2,947 players for a $3.9 million prize pool.

The eventual winner lands a $966,577 payday. Two-time bracelet winner Calvin Anderson leads the field when play resumes on Monday.

Event 22: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship: Friedman makes it four in a row

Reaching the bracelet No. 4 milestone isn’t easy, but Adam Friedman (pictured in lead image, courtesy PokerGO) made some news over the weekend winning his fourth in four straight years. Friedman has a total of five now, but won a bracelet each of the last four years.

The poker pro originally from Indiana has shown plenty of skills in mixed games with three of those four coming in dealer’s choice events. Over the weekend he added the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for $248,254.

Jean Gaspard finished runner-up for $153,433 with Phil Ivey taking third for $108,233. The tournament attracted 95 entries for a $885,875 prize pool. Friedman was pleased to finally break through in the event.

“This is in my top three or four events,” he said afterward. “I have played thousands upon thousands of hours of this game. I have had really bad success in this event over the last several years and to close it out in my first real shot I have had is amazing.”

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Three-time WPT champion Brian Altman add his first WSOP bracelet over the weekend. (photo courtesy WPT)

Online Event 3: $400 Ultra Deepstack

Poker heavyweight Brian Altman already has three World Poker Tour titles and has now broken through with his first bracelet. In 2020, Altman won an online Circuit ring and grabbed some hardware online again on Sunday.

He bested Eric Salazar heads-up for the title and $68,397. Salazar grabbed $68,397 for runner-up. Altman now has $6.4 million in live tournament winnings.

A look at the week ahead

Plenty of action remains and here’s a look at some of the early-week events:

  • $1,500 Shootout NLHE (Event 27) – June 13
  • $50,000 High Roller PLO (Event 28) – June 13
  • $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw (Event 29) – June 14
  • $1,000 PLO (Event 30) – June 14
  • $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship (Event 31) – June 15
  • $1,500 HORSE (Event 32) – June 15
  • $3,000 Six-Handed NLHE (Event 33) – June 15

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