WSOP Weekly: Josh Arieh Secures First Bracelet In 16 Years; Kevin Gerhart, Brad Ruben Win Bracelet No. 3

October 26, 2021
WSOP Weekly: Josh Arieh Secures First Bracelet In 16 Years; Kevin Gerhart, Brad Ruben Win Bracelet No. 3

The story of the World Series of Poker so far may be the number of players adding additional bracelets to their collections. The weekend saw some big names coming out on top including longtime pro Josh Arieh.

After a 16-year drought, he finally sealed the deal and added his third bracelet. Kevin Gerhart and Brad Ruben also secured the bracelet trifecta over the last few days

One player also won a bracelet in his first-ever WSOP event. Here’s a look at the WSOP action from the weekend and Monday.

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Event 39: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha (Eight-Handed)

Josh Arieh’s poker success goes back even before the boom of the 2000s. The 47-year from Atlanta, Georgia, scored his first WSOP bracelet in 1999 and followed that up with another 2005.

Since then, it’s always been a matter of getting close but not finding the winner’s circle. There were runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2019 as well as a third-place finish and some other deep runs.

Arieh also has runner-up and third-place finishes in World Poker Tour events. But on Friday, Arieh put those close calls in the rearview mirror, topping a field of 844 ($1.1 million prize pool) for his third bracelet and $204,766.

“I was just texting my girls,” he told PokerGO afterward. “It’s like the whole reason why I work and it’s tough being out here so long. I actually just came back [to Las Vegas]. Had some good time with them, but I was just thinking about my girls and thinking about life. Thinking about everything and just really fucking excited.”

Breaking the 16-year drought means a lot to Arieh, who now has more than $8 million in live tournament winnings. He faced off with Tommy Le heads-up for the title and was able to parlay his 3-to-1 chip advantage to the title.

In the past, Arieh admits some of the pressure of a final table has kept him from closing out events.

“I think I’m really good just like everybody else, but I haven’t won a bracelet in 15 years,” he says. “I’ve come close. I think I have three or four seconds in the last six years and I fucking dog it, I choke.

“I started feeling that pressure again right at the beginning but I was lucky enough to hold some cards and fought through the mental weakness I guess. It’s always good. Winning money and winning bracelets is always good.”

Event 40: $10,000 HORSE Championship

Another player scored his third bracelet over the weekend as well. Kevin Gerhart showed his mixed game skills in coming out ahead of 148 entries for the title and $361,124.

The event attracts some of the biggest names in poker and Gerhart topped Marco Johnson heads-up for the title. Johnson took $223,194 for runner-up in an event with a $1.4 million prize pool.

Gerhart had a rail of about 30 friends cheering him on throughout the final table. He seems to excel at mixed games with his previous bracelets coming in Razz and Pot Limit Omaha.

Event 41: $2,500 Freezeout NLHE

Carlos Chang became the second Taiwanese winner of the series. The event produced a field of 896 players for a $1.9 million prize pool.

After a few WSOP final table appearances over the last few years, Chang scored his first bracelet and $364,589. Brady Osterman took runner-up for $225,333.

“I told myself, this year if I make a final table, I will win the bracelet,” he told afterward. “And it happened! I am pretty excited. I was focused all day and yesterday.”

Brad Ruben shows off his third bracelet after winning Event 42: $1,500 Razz for his third bracelet. (photo courtesy WSOP)

Event 42: $1,500 Razz

Yet another player scored his third bracelet in this lowball event. Florida’s Brad Ruben took home $99,188 in this event that brought in 311 entries for a $415,185 prize pool.

Charles Sinn took runner-up for $61,303. Ruben’s previous two bracelets came in the WSOP Online in 2020, both in Pot Limit Omaha.

In 2017, Ruben took third in this same event, which was his first Razz tournament at the time. This year’s event was only his third time to play a Razz tournament.

Sinn led much of the day and Ruben had to battle back from a short stack at the final table.

Event 43: $1,000 Double Stack

This big-field event has reached Day 4 with Michael Wang leading the final 17 players. The event attracted 3,991 entries for a $3.6 million prize pool. 

The winner takes home a hefty $446,983. PokerGO play-by-play man Jeff Platt is also among those returning and looking for his first bracelet.

Event 44: $3,000 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em

While several other players have snagged a second or third bracelet lately, a new winner came out on top here. Connecticut’s Ryan Hansen topped a field of 161 other players for his first bracelet.

The event saw a $432,540 prize pool with Hansen capturing ​​$109,692 of that. He topped Japan’s Kosei Ichinose in heads-up play, with $67,796 going to the runner-up.

Flopping quads early in heads-up play helped Hansen’s cause. He eventually gained a significant advantage after some back-and-forth play.

“This is the dream that I never expected to happen,” Hansen said afterward about his poker career. “I was just having a shot at having some fun and look what happened.”

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

After already scoring a runner-up finish in Event 39: $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha, Tommy Le has another deep run in the game.

He leads the returning five players in this event that produced 344 players and a $3.2 million prize pool.

Le is searching for his second bracelet and has numerous big finishes in PLO events. That included winning this same event in 2017 for $938,732. This year’s winner takes home $746,477.

Event 46: $800 NLHE Deepstack

Chad Norton, of Palm Desert, California, scored not only his first WSOP cash but a bracelet as well. He won $214,830 in an event drawing 2,053 entries and a $1.4 million prize pool.

At one point on the final day of action, Norton was down to only 10 big blinds. He went on to beat Steve Lemma ($132,802) heads-up for the title.

Beyond being his first cash in the series, this was also Norton’s first-ever WSOP event. He is mostly an online player but jumping in this tournament proved to be a wise move.

Online Event 5: $1,000 Online Bracelet Championship is running online bracelet events each Sunday. This week’s big winner was Japan’s Kazuki “hyahhoo3” Ikeuchi.

He took down this championship event for his first bracelet and a $152,797 payday. The tournament saw 854 entries for a prize pool of $768,000.

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A look at upcoming events

This week brings more action from the Rio as the series nears the halfway point in terms of events. Event 50: $600 Mixed NLHE/PLO Deepstack begins on Tuesday. The low price point should produce a big field.

The coming days also bring the popular seniors event as well as some high roller action. Here’s what to look for in the coming days:

  • $3,000 Six-Handed NLHE – Oct. 26 
  • $1,000 Seniors Championship – Oct. 27
  • $25,000 High Roller PLO – Oct. 27
  • $2,500 Nine-Game Mix Six-Handed – Oct. 28

* Lead image courtesy PokerGO

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