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First-Ever WSOP Online Pennsylvania Series Makes History, Awards Eight Bracelets

Series Draws 2,478 Total Entries and Pays Out Nearly $1.5 Million

by Erik Fast |  Published: Sep 22, 2021


The second of three unique segments of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online is now officially in the books. The first-ever running of the WSOPO in Pennsylvania saw eight gold bracelets awarded from Aug. 8-17.

The series took place on the newly opened WSOP-branded online poker site, which has only been serving players inside the borders of the Keystone State since July 15. A total of 2,478 entries were made across the eight events, with $1,493,610 in prize money paid out along the way.

The very first WSOP gold bracelet to be handed out in Pennsylvania went to longtime poker pro Mark ‘ratrivers’ Herm, who earned the $48,420 top prize and the historic gold bracelet. The Royersford, Pennsylvania native defeated a field of 500 entries in the $500 buy-in Keystone Kickoff no-limit hold’em event that ran from Aug. 6-9.

Mark HermHerm already had more than $1.9 million in career tournament earnings prior to this victory, with three previous final-table appearances in bracelet events, including a runner-up finish and two third-place showings. He went on to cash two more times during this series.

The second event on the schedule was the $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em progressive knockout (PKO) event. The tournament drew 327 total entries to build a $147,150 prize pool. The top 48 finishers made the money in this event, with the largest share of that money going to Thomas ‘POTtheRIVER’ Carney, who secured his first gold bracelet and $27,593. Carney captured $14,746 in bounty earnings to go with the $12,846 he was awarded from the prize pool.

The third event on the schedule, the $3,200 buy-in High Roller, was delayed roughly a week due to technical issues during the start of play. That meant that event no. 4 was the next to play out. Dean ‘TheRealYoshi’ Morrow beat out 421 entries in the WSOPO $400 buy-in no-limit hold’em six-max event, earning $35,480 and his first bracelet as the champion.

Next up on the agenda was the $777 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. The 226-entry turnout created a prize pool of $158,200, with $40,325 and the hardware going to eventual champion Nicholas ‘Mr.Magoo7’ Lein. Morrow, just a day removed from winning his first bracelet, placed ninth in the next event for another $2,769.

That event went to Thong Do, who defeated a field of 319 in the $400 buy-in no-limit hold’em PKO event, earning his first bracelet and $22,214 in total earnings. Playing under the screen name ‘Conngong12,’ Do took home $10,026 from the prize pool, with another $12,188 won in bounties. Pennsylvania native Zach ‘CaptainLevi’ Gruneberg finished fifth for $3,953. This was the first of three top-ten finishes he secured during the second half of this series.

Michael ‘TonyBandanas’ Lavin was the next player to nab their first bracelet. He topped 288 total entries in the $600 no-limit hold’em MonsterStack event to lock up the converted jewelry and the $39,642 top prize. This was the Beverly, New Jersey resident’s second win in a WSOP branded event, having earned a gold ring in a $215 buy-in no-limit hold’em event during the 2020 Online Fall Circuit Series.

The $1,000 buy-in Pennsylvania Championship drew a field of 311 total entries. When the dust settled, it was Philadelphia resident Andrew ‘LoveToLose’ Porter who came away with the $65,525 payday and the bracelet. He defeated accomplished tournament professional Mukul ‘nevermuk24’ Pahuja heads-up for the title. Pahuja earned $40,669 as the runner-up, increasing his lifetime earnings to nearly $5.5 million in the process. Michael Lavin backed up his win in the previous event by placing sixth for another $9,769, while Matt ‘berkey11’ Berkey earned $13,547 as the fifth-place finisher.

Shankar PillaiThe series came to its conclusion with the re-scheduled $3,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em High Roller. The tournament attracted 86 entries to create a $261,440 prize pool. Shankar ‘DerekHarper’ Pillai emerged victorious in the end, overcoming Brandon ‘UpOnly’ Hall heads-up to secure the $66,641 top prize and his third career bracelet.

Pillai’s first bracelet win came at the 2007 WSOP, where he defeated a field of 827 players in the $3,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event to win $527,829. A dozen years later Pillai took down the 2019 Bracelet Winners Only event, topping 185 other champions from the series to earn $71,580 and his second bracelet. He now has nearly $3.5 million in tournament earnings to his name.

Series Results

Event Entries Prize Pool Champion Top Prize
$500 NLH Keystone Kick Off 500 $225,000 Mark Herm $48,420
$500 NLH PKO 327 $147,150 Thomas Carney $27,593
$400 NLH 6-Max 421 $151,560 Dean Morrow $35,480
$777 NLH Lucky 7s 226 $158,200 Nicholas Lein $40,325
$400 NLH PKO 319 $114,840 Thong Do $22,214
$600 NLH Monster Stack 288 $155,520 Michael Lavin $39,642
$1,000 NLH PA Championship 311 $279,900 Andrew Porter $65,525
$3,200 NLH High Roller 86 $261,440 Shankar Pillai $66,641