News: The craziest poker stories of 2021

Unlikely doubles, unlikely trebles, a changing of the guard and a new digital tech all were among the biggest poker stories of 2021.

10. Friedman does the treble

Adam Friedman Adam Friedman

There were a lot of landmark wins at the WSOP this year but it is doubtful we will ever see this topped in the modern game. 

Adam Friedman won the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship for the third WSOP in a row. He has been the reigning Dealer’s Choice champion since the summer of 2018. 

It is rare enough that we see back-to-back winners at the WSOP given the field sizes and quality of the players, so for it to have happened for three titles in a row seems almost impossible.

The icing on the cake? He defeated Phil Hellmuth heads-up to really make it the stuff of poker dreams. 

9. The year of the double bracelet winner

friedman Leon Tsoukernik

We always get one double bracelet winner at the WSOP, but in 2021 we got a staggering ten of them. 

Scott Ball, Josh Arieh, Kevin Gerhart, Daniel Lazrus, Anthony Zinno, Mark Herm, Martin Zamani, Jeremy Ausmus, Michael Addamo and Julien Martini all ended the year two bracelets richer.

Why were there so many? It’s hard to deny the reason for this unlikely outcome is the sheer number of bracelets on offer. We had several online WSOPs, the Vegas WSOP and the WSOPE this year. 

Indeed, Martin Zamani won his bracelets both online, Daniel Lazrus won one online and one in Vegas, and Julien Martini won both his at the WSOPE. The rest won both theirs in Vegas. 

The Genie is out of the bottle where online bracelets are concerned, so expect this to be an annual thing from here on out. 

8. GGPoker overtake PokerStars

GG GGPoker

PokerStars have been the market leader for so long that most people assumed it would always be that way. In 2020 we said the growth of GGPoker was one of our stories of the year, in 2021 they kept the momentum going. 

Several times this year they took the top spot for most cash game traffic. A small but reliable metric which has been used for years to judge a poker room’s size, and something PokerStars had not been unseated for in over 15 years. 

The lead has switched a few times this year, but the positive impact for poker fans is that PokerStars were forced to raise their game. Amongst other things they brought in a very generous rewards programme, the kind we never thought we would see again, for all players. 

GGPoker remain the site to beat in 2022 with their innovative software and momentum, but PokerStars are very much back in the fight. 

7. The year of Addamo

addamo Michael Addamo

Every year one player crushes the Super High Roller scene and in 2021 that player was Michael Addamo. 

He was one of the aforementioned double bracelet winners, taking down the $100,000 and $50,000 High Roller bracelets for seven figures each. 

He also took down the Super High Roller Bowl and two other Poker Masters events to capture the Purple Jacket. 

In total he won six High Roller titles and topped the 2021 money rankings for $9,418,837, becoming Australia’s all-time money leader in the process. 

But what really made this impressive is that his first live poker cash of 2021 was in September, he did it all in under four months. 

6. NFTs take over the poker world

NFT Cyberpunk NFTs

2021 was the year of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and as the poker world tends to be early adopters in new tech, it was very hard to avoid them. 

Poker players who had previously lived in apartments with empty white walls were now claiming to be digital art experts, and laying down silly money to own the minted version of what is essentially a Jpeg. 

Whether you think they are the next big thing or a bubble, it’s hard to ignore NFTs and they will only get bigger in 2022. Could next year be the year that they get integrated into online poker platforms?

Stay tuned for the top 5 biggest stories of 2021? Let us know in the comments:

Barry Carter

Barry Carter

Barry Carter is the editor of and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy, PKO Poker Strategy & the new book Endgame Poker Strategy

Author: wpadmin

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