Posted on: November 16, 2021, 12:46h.
Last updated on: November 16, 2021, 01:00h.
The WSOP final table is set. After six days of busted draws, all-in jams, bad beats, three-bets, four-bets, and a smattering of game-theory-optimized check-raising, nine players remain in poker’s biggest event. All are guaranteed at least $1 million. All are chasing the $8 million first prize.
Koray Aldemir, shown here, has $12M in tournament winnings to his name. But he has never won a WSOP bracelet. He is the bookies’ favorite to do so on Wednesday. (Image: Poker Central)
The final nine were whittled down from a starting field of 6,650 hopefuls at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. As ever, the finalists are a disparate mix of nationalities, backgrounds, and skill levels.
Among them are an ex-US Marine and a rapper from Argentina known as Pappo MC. In all, there are four Americans, two Brits, a Turk, the aforementioned Argentine, and a German.
The latter, Koray Aldemir, holds a dominating chip lead of 140M. His closest competitor, the American George Holmes, has 83M.
Bookies’ favorite Aldemir has been a fixture on the high-roller poker scene for several years, with more than $12M in net tournament earnings in his career.
The 31-year-old Vienna, Austria resident’s biggest score to date was $2M for his third-place finish at the High Roller for One Drop in 2016. He has never finished first in a WSOP event, which means he does not hold a coveted gold bracelet.
In contrast, Holmes is the “Home Game Hero,” someone for the neutrals to root for. The Atlanta, Ga. resident has only one recorded tournament cash, for $50,855, following a 213th-place finish in 2019 in this very event.
Holmes isn’t the only amateur, though. While Arizona native Joshua Remitio, in fourth place, has previously cashed in three events, he has earned even less than Holmes in his poker career. His best live cash is just $650, and this is his first WSOP event.
Shake Your Moneymaker
Holmes and Remitio will be hoping to emulate Chris Moneymaker in 2003. The Tennessee accountant was a rank amateur when he spun an $86 stake into $4.5M by qualifying for the Main Event online.
He went on to win the whole thing. His unlikely victory and headline-grabbing last name helped ignite the poker boom of the mid-2000s.
Moneymaker ran deep in this event, too. He was one of the early big stacks, prompting speculation that lightning might strike twice. But it wasn’t to be. He busted on Saturday in 260th place for $38,600.
Chase Chasing the Pack
Chase Bianchi: Moneymaker in disguise?
Oddly, the finalist with arguably the second-most impressive poker resume after Aldemir bears more than a passing resemblance to a youthful Moneymaker, albeit with the addition of a massive beard.
Seattle native and committed Christian Chase Bianchi, a WSOP bracelet holder, will enter today’s final table eighth in chips. But he won’t be praying to the poker gods like his heretical fellow short stacks.
He told PokerNews that making the WSOP final table was “a sack of crap compared to the treasure we have in Christ.”
The final table will be split into two parts on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be live-streamed for the first time by PokerGO.