WSOP Weekly: Phil Hellmuth Scores Final Table, Jeremy Ausmus Wins, Unknown Player Scoops $25K HORSE, & More 

October 4, 2021
WSOP Weekly: Phil Hellmuth Scores Final Table, Jeremy Ausmus Wins, Unknown Player Scoops $25K HORSE, & More 

The action is now into the second week of the World Series of Poker with a few winners already crowned. Some big names have made some news including Phil Hellmuth already finding a final table appearance.

Former Main Event qualifier Jeremy Ausmus also won his second bracelet already and two online WSOP events are already in the book. A relative unknown also emerged to score a massive win among a field of big-name pros. The series’ return has already produced some interesting news.

“We’ve spent the last 26 months dreaming of the return of the WSOP live and in-person to the Rio, and it feels incredible to say, today is that day,” WSOP Senior Vice President Ty Stewart said last week to open the series.

“There is nothing like the WSOP live with each day making history – from the unforgettable wins to the overwhelming upsets – it’s an unmatched experience. We are incredibly appreciative of those who have traveled near and far to be back in Las Vegas with us, as well as our team members and partners considering it takes a huge village to pull this event off.”

Here’s a look at the action so far.

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Hall of Fame nominations now open

Along with the action on the tables, the WSOP also announced Poker Hall of Fame nominations are now open for the Poker Hall of Fame. The process runs through Oct. 14 and poker fans can nominate players here. To qualify, players must meet the following criteria:

  • have played against acknowledged top competition
  • be at least 40 years old at time of nomination
  • played for high stakes
  • played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
  • stood the test of time

Additionally, non-players can also be nominated but must have “contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.”

After the nomination process, Caesars Entertainment will reveal a list of finalists on Oct. 15. Hall of Fame members then cast their votes on the finalists.

CBS Sports Net will air the announcement of the newest member during the Hall of Fame Bounty event on Nov. 17.

Event 1: $500 Casino Employees Championship

This event traditionally kicks off the series, rewarding players within the casino industry with a shot at a bracelet. This year’s tournament attracted 419 entries for a prize pool of $176,400.

After two days of action, Caesars Palace dealer and floor man Jimmy Barnett took the title for $39,013 and his first bracelet. Originally from California, Barnett moved to Las Vegas in 2018 and has also worked as a dealer at Golden Nugget.

Barnett regularly played with his father in Vegas and winning the bracelet brought back a flood of memories for the 36-year-old. 

“My father passed a handful of years ago from cancer,” he told WSOP.com. “We would come out here and play all the time. My grandma just passed away three weeks ago. I posted on Facebook I was going to win a tournament for her, and to win a WSOP tournament, it’s special.

“I haven’t been happier. I could have lost this and it would’ve hurt obviously, but I get to play a game for fun. I get to work at Caesars where I would stay growing up. I really am living the dream. I’m one of the luckiest people you’ll know because I have great friends, family, and doing something I love. It’s work but it’s not, it’s awesome. To win this is just the icing on the cake.”

Event 2: $25,000 HORSE

In his first tournament of the series, 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth was already gunning for a 16th. This high stakes event again brought out plenty of big names with a final table that also included: Benny Glaser (runner-up, $341,274), David Benyamine (third, $236,626), Chad Eveslage ($169,218), Ben Yu (seventh, $75,260).

Bracelet No. 16 ultimately eluded Hellmuth however. The Poker Brat finished sixth for $95,329 in an event that produced 78 entries and a $1.8 million prize pool. He seems to be taking the finish in stride.

In the end, Philadelphia businessman Jesse Klein took won the bracelet for $552,182. Despite not cashing in a major tournament since 2010, he topped a field of pros. He had a bit more than $23,000 in lifetime tournament winnings before the tournament.

“I just came out here to play this event and go home Sunday,” he told WSOP.com. “I have a wife and two kids – a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old son. I came out here to play this event and that’s it. Maybe I’ll come back out here since I won this.”

Event 3: COVID-19 Relief NLHE Charity Event

This event featured a charity element, with some of the prize pool going to frontline health care workers. The event brought in 260 entries for a $231,400 prize pool with Jeremy Ausmus (pictured above) in the winner’s circle for $48,681.

Ausmus secured the second bracelet of his career and finished fifth in the 2012 WSOP Main Event for $2.2 million. He’s had numerous other big runs and finishes in the series. He was glad to win but because of the smaller payout in this event, things weren’t quite where he hoped they’d be.

Oregon’s Jesse Lonis, leader in the Global Poker Index’s Mid-Major Player of the Year, took runner-up for $30,086.

Event 5: Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better

Illinois native Connor Drinan snagged his second WSOP bracelet after winning this event for $163,252. He entered heads-up play with Travis Pearson as a 3-1 chip leader.

But Pearson fought back and even took the lead for a bit, catching a straight flush along the way. Drinan eventually got the best of his opponent however.

On the final hand, Drinan hit three of a kind on the flop with Pearson holding top pair. The event attracted 607 entries for a $910,500 prize pool.

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WSOP online events

The WSOP.com bracelet action kicked off on Sunday with two events. In Event1: $5,300 Freezeout, Martin “Bathroomline” Zamani came out on top for $210,600.

The event attracted 156 players for a $780,000 prize pool. Ankush “Rickrosstheb” Mandavia took runner-up for $122,850 and three-time World Poker Tour champion Brian “JackBogle” Altman finished third for $70,200.

In Event 2: $500 Big 500, “NJ_AcesmarkA” scored the bracelet for $89,356. The event drew in 742 players for $480,150.

Cashing in $500 Reunion brings tears to man’s eyes

The WSOP brings out players of all ages and from all walks of life. Many dream of simply cashing in an event and that was exemplified last week.

Poker pro Kenna James captured video of George McBride, who cashed his first-ever WSOP event. The man’s joy and tears resonated with many around the poker world.

Looking ahead

Plenty of action lies ahead in the coming days. The $500 Reunion (Event 4) reaches Day 2 today with 638 players remaining. The tournament brought in a massive 12,975 entries for a $5.4 million prize pool. The event certainly shows the demand for live poker and the winner should take home a solid payout.

Monday also brings the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, which will attract plenty of pros. Here’s a look at the other tournaments in the coming days.

Tuesday

  • $1,00 Super Turbo Bounty (Event 10)
  • $25,000 Heads-up Championship (Event 11)
  • $1,5000 Limit Hold’em (Event 12)

Wednesday

  • $3,000 Freezeout  (Event 13)
  • $1,500 Seven Card Stud

* Lead photo courtesy WSOP/Hayley Hochstetter

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