WSOP Weekly: Ari Engel, John Monnette, Jason Koon Score Bracelets; Phil Hellmuth Plays at Third Final Table

October 11, 2021
WSOP Weekly: Ari Engel, John Monnette, Jason Koon Score Bracelets; Phil Hellmuth Plays at Third Final Table

The bracelet-hunting action continues in Las Vegas this week at the World Series of Poker. Some major names scored big over the last week including Ari Engel, John Monnette, and Jason Koon.

Another online bracelet also wrapped up on Sunday. Phil Hellmuth also continues his successful start to the series, returning for his third final table appearance on Monday. Here’s a look at some of the action over the last week.

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Event 4: $500 Reunion

This poker family reunion paid off in a big way. The event produced 12,973 entries for a $5.4 million prize pool. When the action came to a close, Long Ma came out on top for his first bracelet and $514,604.

The 35-year-old lives in Dallas, Texas, and began playing poker 12 years ago. He works for an electronics company and took a big chip lead into the final table.

“With a big stack I needed to know from the first few hands whether they would be aggressive with me or slow down,” he told WSOP.com afterward, “and from that I pretty much knew the table and could control my stack and play.”

New York’s Giuliano Lentini finished runner-up for $317,352. The event kicked off the big-field weekend tournament events in a big way.

Event 6: $25,000 High Roller

Some of the biggest names in poker ponied up a five-figure buy-in for this event. With 139 entries, the high roller saw a $3.5 million prize pool.

In the end, it wasn’t one of the more recognizable players who came out on top. Tyler Cornell, of San Diego, California, scored his first bracelet for $833,289.

Michael Liang finished runner-up for $515,014 after Cornell held a considerable chip advantage going into heads-up play.

Spain’s Adrian Mateos made a run at his fourth bracelet, finishing third for $381,870. Jonathan Jaffe, who has a World Poker Tour title, came in fourth for $286,202.

Event 7: $1,500 Dealers Choice Six-Handed

Canada’s Jaswinder “Jesse” Lally became the first non-American to win a bracelet in the series. He topped a field of 307 for his first bracelet and $97,915

The tournament features 20 different games and Lally admitted to not even knowing all of them when he got into the event.

“I was so excited to make the final table first of all, but now that my dream has come true, it’s just an amazing feeling,” the 58-year-old told WSOP.com afterward. “I learned a lot playing all these games. Some of these games I’ve never played like Badacey or Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Regular.”

Florida’s Andrew Kelsall finished runner-up for $60,514. After one final table already, Phil Hellmuth also made a nice run, finishing 18th for $4,429 in an event that produced a prize pool of $409,845.

Event #8: $600 Deepstack

This lower price point event produced a solid turnout – 4,527 entries for a $2.3 million prize pool. Zhi Wu, of Massachusetts, scored his first WSOP cash and first bracelet for a nice total of $281,604.

Ari Mezrich finished runner-up for $173,998. Wu held a massive chip lead going into heads-up play and the recreational player certainly used that to his advantage.

Event 9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better Championship

The four-card action brought in 134 players for a $1.3 million prize pool. A name familiar to poker fans rose to the top for the title.

Ari Engel won a six-hour heads-up battle with Zachary Milchman for his second bracelet and $317,076. His first came in 2019, when Engel took down a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $427,399.

“It felt awesome,” Engel told USPoker on Monday. “It’s so tough to actually win tournaments and most of the time they end in other ways.”

The win included an interview with Barstool Sports personality and poker player Ben Mintz.

Hellmuth also found another deep run. The Poker Brat seems determined to score bracelet No. 16 and finished fifth for $80,894.

Event 10: $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty

Chicago’s Michael Perrone earned his first bracelet and $152,173 after topping a field of 1,640 entries. France’s Pierre Calamusa took runner-up for $94,060 in an event featuring a $1.5 million prize pool.

Perrone had several WSOP cashes as well as two circuit rings coming into this fast-action, one-day tournament.  He’d originally planned on playing at the Wynn, but a friend coaxed him into jumping in the Super Turbo instead. That turned out to be a wise decision.

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Jason Koon shows off his new hardware after winning the $25,000 Heads-up Championship. (Photo courtesy WSOP)

Event 11: $25,000 Heads-up Championship

This event has become one of the premier tournaments in the series each year. Pros from around the world hope to come out on top in the mano a mano action.

Fresh off signing as an ambassador with GGPoker, Jason Koon created even more buzz. He scored his second bracelet and $243,981 for the title.

Koon and his wife also welcomed a new baby to the family two weeks ago. Koon said he’d been up with the baby until 8:30 the morning of the event. The lack of sleep didn’t seem to phase him too much and he topped Hungary’s Gabor Szabo for the title. Szabo took home $150,790 for second.

Event 12: $1,500 Limit Hold’em

Israel’s Yuval Bronshtein came out on top in this event, adding a second bracelet to his trophy case. The tournament attracted 422 entries for a $563,370 prize pool with Bronshtein winning $124,274.

When heads-up play began, Bronshtein faced an uphill climb against Kevin Erickson, who held almost a 3-to-1 chip advantage.

That increased to as much as 6 to 1, but Bronshtein found a few double-ups and also a couple flushes that paid off. He eventually pulled off the win with the final hand seeing Bronshtein’s A-K top his opponent’s K-Q.

Event 13: $3,000 NLHE Freezeout

This event marked a bit of a return for Michigan’s Harvey Matthews. He was a regular at the WSOP before Black Friday, but hadn’t played again until 2019. He returned this fall in a big way and began the final table as the short stack. Matthews was able to work his way back, however. 

“I just ran absolutely insane, probably the most insane I’ve run in my entire life,” he said afterward.

The tournament produced 720 entries and a $1.9 million prize pool. Gabriel Andrade, of Houston, Texas, took runner-up for $229,848.

Event 14: $1,500 Seven Card Stud

This final table brought plenty of interesting names. David Williams finished second for $50,842 with Shaun Deeb taking fifth for $18,475.

In the end, however, ​​Rafael Lebron reached the winner’s circle for his second bracelet and $82,262. The player from Washington has some nice poker skins on the wall himself.

His previous bracelet came in 2016 in a $3,000 Limit Hold’em event for $169,337. That came only days after finishing runner-up in a $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha event for $212,779.

The Stud event found 261 players for a $348,435 prize pool. The 38-year-old tries to play some WSOP events each year but only plays a few times a year beyond that.

Event 15: $1,500 NLHE Six-Handed

Bradley Jansen topped a field of 1,415 to grab his first bracelet and $313,403. The tournament produced a $1.9 million prize pool.

The Wisconsin attorney had long dreamed of winning a bracelet and has now made that come true. Bradley staged a rally to secure the title. Runner-up Jeremy Malod at one time held 70% of the chips in play at the final table. He ultimately took home $193,711 for runner-up.


John Monnette battles in Event 16: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. (photo courtesy PokerGO)

Event 16: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship

John Monnette added his fourth WSOP bracelet in this event as well as $245,680. He defeated political analyst Nate Silver heads-up for the title and some other big names also appeared at the final table.

Silver appears occasionally on the tournament scene and won $151,842 for second, just short of winning a bracelet. Monnette’s history at the WSOP dates back to 2005.

His most recent bracelet before this one came in 2017 where he won $256,610 in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship.

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Hellmuth makes another final table run

Plenty of eyes will be on the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship on Monday. In his third final table of the series, Hellmuth returns as chip leader and on a mission for another WSOP bracelet.

Getting that won’t be easy. Three-time WPT champion and two-time bracelet winner Anthony Zinno sits second in chips. Stephen Chidwick also returns seeking his second bracelet.

The action streams on PokerGO beginning at 7 pm (ET). Can Hellmuth get it done? Either way, it’s been a huge start to the WSOP for the Poker Hall of Famer.

Online Event 3: $400 NLHE Ultra Deepstack

The third of WSOP.com’s Sunday bracelet events played out yesterday with Pete Chen taking the title. The event attracted 1,023 entries and rebuys with Chen scoring $82,559.

He entered heads-up play against “Selvastar7” with a 2-to-1 chip lead before finishing off his opponent. Selvastar scored $50,903 for runner-up.

Looking ahead this week

Several interesting events are on the WSOP schedule in the coming days. The Millionaire Maker has now reached Day 3 with seven figures going to the winner. The $1,000 Ladies Championship also gets started on Monday. 

Several lower buy-in mixed game events are on tap in the coming days. Here’s a look at a few more events to watch this week:

  • Event 23: $1,500 Eight Game Mix 6-Handed – Oct. 11
  • Event 24: $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack (8-Handed) – Oct. 12
  • Event 25: $5,000 Six-Handed NLHE – Oct. 12
  • Event 26: $1,000 Freezeout No-Limit Holdem – Oct. 13
  • Event 27: $1,500 HORSE – Oct. 13

* Lead image courtesy WSOP

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