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First Segment of 2021 WSOP Online Awards 33 Gold Bracelets

More Than $18.2 Million In Prize Money Paid Out In July Series

by Erik Fast |  Published: Sep 08, 2021


The first-ever World Series of Poker Online was held in 2020, taking the place of the indefinitely postponed live WSOP festival which is typically held in Las Vegas during the summer. Nearly $175 million in prize money was awarded across 85 bracelet events, with over 283,000 entries made throughout the series.

The online-only series was likely conceived as just a temporary solution, but the runaway success of the new approach led WSOP organizers to run it back this year.

The 2021 WSOP Online has a total of 74 gold bracelet events on the schedule. The first 33 bracelets were awarded on US-facing online site throughout the month of July, with play open to those 21 years or older who were physically located within the borders of Nevada or New Jersey while in action.

A total of 27,134 entries were recorded during this segment of the WSOPO, with more than $18 million in prize money paid out along the way. Turnout for the Nevada and New Jersey events was lower this year when compared with the 44,229 entries and more than $26 million in prize money awarded in the 31 events of the 2020 domestic WSOPO series. But then again, the appetite for online poker was at an all-time high during the pandemic when most brick-and-mortar cardrooms were closed.

Bracelet Hunting Season Begins

With no multi-event winners through the first leg of the WSOPO, there were 33 different players who came away with a piece of the coveted hardware. While most of those were earning their first taste of gold, a number of the game’s top stars added to their collections during the month of July.

2016 Card Player Player of the Year award winner David Peters secured his third career bracelet by taking down the largest buy-in event of the month, which was the $7,777 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller. He pocketed $283,940 as the champion, which was the biggest top prize awarded during the Nevada and New Jersey events.

Peters’ first bracelet at the WSOP was in a $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event in 2016, earning $412,557 after topping a field of 1,860 entries. He locked up his second bracelet during the 2020 WSOPO, emerging victorious from a 128-entry field in the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em heads-up championship with $360,480. The 34-year-old now has $36,559,592 in career tournament earnings to his name, which is good for sixth on poker’s all-time money list. More than $4.9 million of that has come in WSOP bracelet events.

There were five more players who were able to pick up their second bracelet. 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific $1,100 AUD accumulator event winner Bryan Piccioli took down the $500 turbo deepstack no-limit hold’em tournament on July 12 for $83,332. 2018 $1,500 no-limit hold’em bounty event winner Ryan Leng came out on top in this year’s $1,000 freezeout event for another $108,654 score.

2020 WSOPO $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em freezeout champion Allen Chang defeated a field of 498 entries in the $600 buy-in pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better six-max event, banking $61,394 while adding bracelet number two to the mantlepiece. Bradley Ruben won his first bracelet in the 2020 WSOPO $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event. He locked up number two by winning the $600 buy-in six-max PLO event, outlasting a field of 551-entries to cash for $69,148.

WPT main event champion and online tournament legend Chris Moorman was the final player to secure his second bracelet during this segment of the WSOPO. The British poker pro was once the top-ranked player on the internet, and is still among the top 10 on PocketFives’ all-time money list with more than $18.7 million in online cashes.

Moorman won his initial bracelet in the 2017 $3,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em six-max event. It seems only fitting that his second came in an online bracelet event. The $800 no-limit hold’em eight-max turbo deepstack drew a field of 623 entries, and Moorman was the last man standing to earn $102,406 and the gold.

Notable first-time bracelet winners crowned during the month included 2019 European Poker Tour Monte Carlo main event winner Manig Loeser ($600 NLH ‘Monsterstack’ – $104,313), Thinking Poker Daily podcast co-host Carlos Welch ($888 NLH ‘Crazy Eights’ – $124,369), rising tournament star Justin Saliba ($5,300 NLH freezeout – $253,800), and popular poker Twitch streamer Justin Lapka ($400 NLH eight-max – $75,371). Other winners included WSOP Circuit ring winner James Gilbert ($1,000 NLH ‘North American Open’ – $137,570), 2019 PCA $25,000 high roller champ Martin Zamani ($888 PLO ‘Crazy Eights’ – $92,598), and 2020 WSOP $10,000 main event fourth-place finisher Ryan Hagerty ($500 NLH turbo – $67,207).

Dan Sindelar rounds out the list of accomplished players that won their first bracelets. The 2014 WSOP main event seventh-place finisher beat out a field of 2,024 entries in the series-ending $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em ‘Grand Finale’ to secure the top prize of $159,100. This was Sindelar’s second podium finish of the month, having placed runner-up in event no. 12 earlier in the series for $51,527. He totaled $223,000 in earnings across nine cashes throughout July.

Series-Long Standouts

The event winners weren’t the only players to put together incredible runs in recent weeks. A number of players had a massive series despite not capturing a title. Felix Vandeput made four final tables during the series, the most of any player. He accumulated over $221,000 as a result. Seven other players managed three final-table showings, including Alex Foxen, Martin Zamani, Michael Dyer, Ryan Laplante, John Riordan, Michael Holtz, and Mark Liedtke. Another 30 players made two final tables.

David Peters ended up with the most earnings after the 33 events were finished thanks to his win in the largest buy-in tournament of the series. Daniel Buzgon placed second with more than $278,000 banked during the series. Most of that money came from a pair of runner-up finishes in the two $3,200 buy-in events on the Nevada and New Jersey schedule. He earned $149,386 in the first and another $126,882 in the second. The winners of those two high roller events, Justin Saliba ($256,000) and Sang Lee ($251,000) are the other players to surpass the quarter-million in earnings mark for the series.

Four-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen was the player who racked up the most in-the-money finishes during the series, cashing 17 times for $41,779. There was a four-way tie for the next-most cashes, with two-time bracelet winner and three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno, bracelet winner Yueqi Zhu, bracelet winner Ryan Depaulo, and Qinghai Pan all making the money 15 times each.

Putting The ‘World’ In World Series of Poker

The WSOP Online consists of three unique segments this year. The first to kick off was the Nevada and New Jersey leg that ran from July 1 through Aug. 1. The rest of the 74 total online bracelets to be handed out will take place between Aug. 1 and Sept. 12.
For the first time ever, a WSOP gold bracelet will be awarded in a US state outside of Nevada and New Jersey. A total of eight bracelets are up for grabs Aug. 8 – 15 on the new WSOP-branded online poker room serving Pennsylvania.

The third and largest part of the series will take place on international-facing GGPoker, with 33 bracelets events from Aug. 1 – Sept. 12. The single largest event of any of the online offerings will be the $20 million guaranteed, $5,000 buy-in main event that is set to run from Aug. 29 through Sept. 5.

The inaugural running of this tournament featured a $25 million guarantee, which was surpassed when 5,802 entries built a final prize pool of $27,559,500. Stoyan Madanzhiev earned $3,904,685 as the eventual champion.

Make sure to keep an eye out for Card Player’s ongoing coverage of the WSOP Online in the coming months. ♠