Eric Zhang wins $102,465 for the 2021 WSOP Salute to Warriors bracelet

Jon Pill
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Posted on: November 6, 2021 2:12 am EDT

The 2021 WSOP Event #63: SALUTE to Warriors — No-Limit Hold’em was ultimately won by Eric Zhang. The event was intended to raise money for charity and as a salute to the six branches of the U.S. military. $40 from each entry was donated to the USO and/or “other veterans organizations.”

This donation did not impact the WSOP’s cut, which added up to $50 per entry. After the various pipers had been paid, the prize pool came out to $712,580. With 1,738 entries, the event raised $69,520. Of that, $102,465 was earmarked for first.

The money bubble — 262nd place was the bubble boy — broke late on Day 1. Among those who didn’t make it to Day 2 were Sam Abernathy, Maria Konnikova, Allen Kessler, JJ Liu, Barry Greenstein, Shaun Deeb, and Kathy Leibert.

“It’s a dream come true,” Yang said of his win. “I remember as a kid watching the World Series of Poker, and the victory of Chris Moneymaker on the Main Event. I always loved poker but I only started playing a couple of years ago.”

The high-speed structure of the event and the length of the FT bubble made for a whirlwind final table. The whole thing blew over in a smidge over 2 hours.

Zhang could hardly believe his luck in winning the event.

“Every day waking up it felt surreal,” he said. “I would never have thought I would make it this far. I actually had a flight to leave Vegas this morning [for a Moroccan holiday]. I rebooked everything!”

Zhang won the event after just a few hands of heads-up play. Despite relatively deep stacks (19 million effective with the big blind at 500k), Hadas overplayed an ace-high into Zhang’s top-pair on the turn.

The river was an ace giving Halas top pair. The dealer had to interrupt his celebration to point out that it also filled up Zhang’s straight-draw. Zhang won $102,465 for first place. Hadas took second for $63,344.

“Eric Zhang tops 1,738 entrants in the $500 SALUTE to Warriors NLH event to earn $102,465 and his first WSOP bracelet,” the WSOP tweeted.

2021 WSOP Event #63: SALUTE to Warriors — No-Limit Hold’em complete final table results

PositionPlayer NamePayout
1stEric Zhang$102,465
2ndGuy Hadas$63,344
3rdBradley Rogoff$47,125
4thChulhan Choi$35,406
5thMitch Garshofsky$26,866
6thMarty Zabib$20,592
7thHlib Kovtunov$15,943
8thChristopher Corbo$12,471
9thAnthony Mccurdy$9,857

Featured image source: WSOP